Monday, February 17, 2014

The Causes Of Flooring Failures

This article was originally published in Cleaning & Maintenance Management.

Flooring, whether it is hard surface or carpeting, is typically one of the most costly capital investments a building owner makes in a facility, and when something goes wrong, it can be another costly investment to repair it. A good example of this is when individual floor tiles or entire parts of a floor start to loosen from the floor backing (or substrate) or begin to buckle.

When this kind of flooring failure occurs, it is often blamed on poor installation. However—and unfortunately—the methods used to clean and maintain the floor can also play a role. And as floor installers turn to more environmentally friendly adhesives, which typically produce fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than more conventional adhesives, these problems may actually increase.

Often, moisture, soil, contaminants, oils, salts, acids, small particulates and floorcare chemicals and chemical residues make their way down cracks, pores and grout areas, eventually reaching the bottom of the floor. As these build up under the surface, they can cause either the concrete or the adhesives securing the floor to break down. When this happens, tiles loosen and flooring failure problems begin.

A lot of this can be prevented by ensuring there is proper protection—a sealant along with adequate coats of finish—applied to the surface of the floor when it is first installed. However, this protection must be maintained because over time it typically wears away. And today, because many facility managers are choosing not to apply finish to floors, whether for cost or environmental reasons, flooring failures can be the result.

Check back next week to learn about various causes of flooring failures.

1 comment:

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