Replacing Old Floors With Vinyl Tiles Polyflor

Replacing Old Floors With Vinyl Tiles Polyflor

Replacing Old Floors With Vinyl Tiles

17 Oct 2012. Comments 0

“We are having to replace the laminate floors in our office building and are consi-dering replacing them with vinyl tiles. Please could you advise which process to follow and what to consider?” Bethany Alberts, Constantia

Before replacing your old floor and selecting a new one, there are many factors that need to be considered to ensure a successful installation and that you get the best value for money.

The first important step is to check for moisture levels and rising damp. Old buildings often have solid concrete bases, but will have no rising damp protection. This needs to be carefully checked using a moisture test. Drill down to at least 40-50mm below the screed surface and take a moisture (RH) reading.

A generally acceptable RH level is below 75%, but it would be wise to check with the flooring manufacturer of the new covering you are selecting, as to whether they have any special requirements.

Whilst the previous floor may not have given any problems in the old building, we need to remember that, in the past, buildings were built at a slower speed.

This allowed for screeds to dry and cure before the floors were installed and for the adhesive used to dry and cure before any rising damp or capillary moisture came into contact with the new fully cured adhesive which was then able to resist moisture.

In addition, bituminous adhesives (natural waterproofers) were also widely used and would seal the pores of the cement screed, thus preventing the rising damp from coming into contact with the adhesive.

Whilst the older product may not have lifted in certain moist conditions, the more modern products are better looking, brighter, easier to clean and in fact generally more durable under today’s increased foot traffic conditions.

Unfortunately, however, the fast-track building projects we see today force other work to be completed around the flooring installation. Lighting, dust and drying time of cement bases and residual moisture are all factors that give the modern flooring installer and related products a difficult task and make it all the more important to detect the presence of moisture through accurate testing methods.

Secondly, if required, select the right liquid or cementitious-type damp-proof sealers for your selected new floorcovering. With a wide variety on the market it is advisable to check with the flooring and adhesive manufacturers which damp-proofing product and adhesive they approve. Taking care to follow the recommendations of the manufacturer will pay handsome dividends.

Finally, pay careful attention to the sub-base and screed density or strength. Ensure that no delamination, cracks or weaknesses are present or likely to occur. The levelness and smoothness of the screed base is critical as the new-generation flooring material with its improved surface and decorations is likely to highlight any surface imperfections.

Carefully and thoroughly remove any old adhesive as it will impact on the successful application of moisture barriers, self-levelling or smoothing compounds and new adhesives applied to fix the new floorcovering. Make sure that your installer pays particular attention to areas where black/bituminous adhesives were previously used, as these will require specific treatment to avoid problems with the above-listed application.

A sound, level substrate will ensure that your new floorcovering gives you the “new look” that you wanted and proper planning of a refurbishment will ensure a hassle-free job without any hidden surprises.

*The views expressed in this article are not necessarily the views or opinions of FLOORS in Africa and may not be applicable to all resilient floorcoverings. This article has not been solicited or sponsored by FLOORS in Africa.

If you have any flooring question relating to design, installation, problems or commentary you wish to share with Denver, please e-mail him at with ASK DENVER in the subject line or phone Blythe at Polyflor on 011 609 3500.

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