Starlog, the official publication of the Starnet Worldwide Commercial Flooring Partnership, is designed to highlight and educate our readers about opportunities, benefits, and issues related to flooring. As a service to our clients, as well as potential clients, we furnish these downloadable versions of the Starlog for their own knowledge and use.
Preparing Sub-Floor Slabs That Have Been Submerged for a New Flooring System.
Mother Nature holds nothing back when it comes to storms.
It can sometimes take years for people to recover from hurricanes and tropical storms and the resulting flooding. Some of the most difficult installation challenges arise in the wake of natural disasters. And when water is present, these projects must be approached carefully and sys- tematically. If not, subsequent failure is highly likely.
The general rule of thumb is: no two restoration projects are the same. Each project must be inspected and dealt with according to individual circumstances. This issue of Starlog highlights some of the considerations of installing commercial flooring on slabs that have been submerged. For any of the following steps, Starnet Members are here to help.
With LVT you can have it all. Aesthetics. Performance. Low maintenance. Long life-cycle. With so many reasons to love luxury vinyl tile (LVT), it is becoming the product of choice for commercial spaces ranging from retail, healthcare and education to hospitality and office. And while some LVTs are tailor-made for commercial use, others are geared for homeowners. How to make sense of the thousands of options, let alone which may be the best solution for your project? Your Starnet member has the expertise to help you navigate the world of LVT.
"Be prepared" is not just a Boy Scout motto. Being prepared for a floor installation project is the best way to ensure your project will flow smoothly and with the least amount of disruption to the overall construction schedule. It seems simple enough, but it's easy to overlook a critical task if you're not aware of what it is, why it's important, when to do it and who is is responsible for getting it done. This Starlog provides an overview of some important pre-installation checklist items you can use to "be prepared" for your next flooring project.
Access floors have come of age. In the 1960's, raised access floors were a necessary evil for main frame computer rooms. These spaces needed a flexible flooring system for wire and cable management, and the natural plenum created under the floor was also used to distribute air to cool computers and other equipment.
Time and again, businesses decide to purchase carpet directly from a manufacturer. Their reasoning is simple. Buying a commodity product direct will save middleman expenses. More often than not, these companies find out the hard way, that carpet is not a commodity, and that buying direct does not save money in the long run. In many cases, it doesn't even save money in the short run! Buying direct paves the way for "nobody wins" scenarios that drive installation complaints and claims up.
Here's a subject that is as relevant and topical today as it was when Starnet® first covered it in "Carpeting Without A Professional" in Starlog Volume 1, Issue 4, published in 1999.
Starnet® members consistently rank that newsletter as one of the most requested of all Starlog. We've received many requests to revise the original newsletter with updates on the costs and complications. So, we'd like to take this opportunity to reintroduce this important topic to Starnet® member customers
Selecting, Working With and Getting the Most From Your Vendor Partners
In a strong economy, it's easy to justify using quality products and networking with top-notch vendors on every aspect of the job. This is even more important in a down or recovering market.
In "A Tale of Two Cities," Charles Dickens opens with, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
This story could be a parable for today's business climate. The pressure to cut a corner here or there to stay profitable, or to find creative ways to get more work done with fewer people, is testing the mettle of many companies.
A PRIMER ABOUT CARPET CONSTRUCTION FOR END USERS
What are some of the performance components that make carpet perform well? Although you needn't be an expert on all carpet matters, a basic understanding of construction will help you choose a carpet that meets the physical and aesthetic needs of your space. Plus, a working knowledge about construction will help everyone on the project — manufacturers, designers, contractors and end users — ensure that the carpet delivers on everyone's expectations.
WHAT GOES INTO THAT MAGIC NUMBER...
A flooring contractor can provide a ballpark estimate during a project's pecification stage. But providing a hard quote for the actual cost is like predicting the score of a game when the first pitch is thrown.
Sure, player stats and team standings may be good indicators, but how any one game plays out can leave us in suspense until the bottom of the ninth.
And so it is with floor preparation estimates. Every job is unique.
Work With a Starnet Member!
In 1992, a handful of independent professional flooring contractors from around the country came together to discuss a novel concept. By sharing knowledge, skills and resources with each other, they realized they could become a positive force for the betterment of their trade, and help their customers do their jobs better, too. Fifteen years later, and now 168 Members strong, these industry leaders hold true to their original vision. By doing so, they continue to earn the respect and trust of architects, designers, facility managers and the flooring industry's premier manufacturers.
Moisture-related floor covering failures are responsible for over $1 billion annually in damages. The problems range from cupping, buckling, blistering and adhesive failure to discoloration and mold growth. These issues can occur soon after the installation, and in some cases, years down the road. This StarLog provides information about concrete, moisture and pH problems and solutions.
Every business develops words, definitions and terminology that become part of the language of the trade. If you're a designer, specifier, facility manager or building manager, learning and using interiors language and lingo helps you communicate better with and to each other. You not only sound smarter, you are equipped to make more intelligent decisions. Understanding trade words can be essential to the integrity of the job itself. At the very least, it eliminates misunderstanding and confusion.
Patterned carpet is not new but its design sophistication is breaking new ground. With multiple colors and intricate patterns, these carpets were originally introduced to hide foot traffic wear and stains in large spaces. Today's patterned carpet visuals have evolved into an art form. Carpet mills have engaged the services of big-name designers to develop exquisite patterns. The variety of standard and custom yarn colors is virtually endless.
The environmentally responsible commercial construction market will reach $10 to $20 billion over the next five years. This "green" growth will offer greater opportunities for everyone from product manufacturers to specifiers to be involved with environmentally responsible building projects. Along with this growth you can expect more information, and unfortunately, more misinformation, about green construction materials and methods. To help you separate fact from fiction, this issue of StarLog focuses on the most often asked questions that designers, specifiers and facility managers have about how flooring can contribute to earning LEED points and play a role in environmentally responsible projects.
An Initial Low Cost Strategy Can Be A Costly Decision
Time and again, businesses decide to purchase carpet directly from a manufacturer. Their reasoning is simple. Buying a commodity product direct will save middleman expenses. More often than not, these companies find out the hard way, that carpet is not a commodity, and that buying direct does not save money in the long run. In many cases, it doesn't even save money in the short run! Buying direct paves the way for "nobody wins" scenarios that drive installation complaints and claims up. Good flooring contractors, such as StarNet Members, provide more than just quality installation services. They are valuable resources whose expertise in product selection, site issues and project management assure a successful project.
Ask retailers what they hate most about floorcovering renovations, and they'll tell you it's the hassle of removing merchandise off of, and then back on to, display racks and fixtures. Librarians have a similar lament about packing and unpacking volumes of books off of, and back on to, shelves and bookcases. Conventional renovations are highly disruptive and costly when you factor in the time, the labor, the damaged and misplaced items, downtime to normal operations and patron annoyance. The process can also pose safety risks to workers. The good news is that there is a better way to manage retail and library renovations, and it's available only through your StarNet Member professional flooring contractor.
On the surface, flooring projects may seem fairly straightforward. Specify a nice floorcovering. Negotiate a fair price with the installer. Down goes the floor and in comes the furniture and building occupants. But, scratch that surface and the potential pitfalls that can undermine your flooring project reveal themselves. What if the subfloor has hidden moisture? How about the floorcovering that's missing in action even though the furniture has arrived? What if the installation looks awful due to sub-par equipment or workmanship? Then there's the problems that sneak up after-the-fact, like the floorcovering that looks great the day it is installed, but starts to ugly-out a few months later. And, every specifier's and facility manager's worst nightmare: the floor that becomes unsafe due to trip and fall hazards. Now that straightforward flooring project is a huge issue, if not a serious liability. How do you anticipate problems, and better yet, prevent them from compromising your flooring project? The solution is to work with contractors who are committed to bringing your job in on time and on budget, despite all the potential pitfalls.
We've created our own maintenance monster, in a sense, because today's carpets are masters of disguise. The intricate patterns mask soiling and stains. The advanced fibers and backings are engineered to resist crushing and fluid absorption. New dying techniques ensure that carpet colors stay bright, vibrant and colorfast. Yarn treatments applied during manufacturing and even some after-market treatments, effectively repel stains. All this can create a false sense of security.
Patterned carpet now accounts for over 90% of commercial carpet installations, especially in high profile locations. The broad array of available styles and customized treatments defies description. Designers and facility managers know that patterned carpet has practical and aesthetic benefits.
Imagine being one of the unlucky millions of people caught in the great blackout of 2003 in New York City. While many of you watched the evening news with interest, those experiencing the power outage faced emotional panic, plus the risk of personal injury in pitch-black hallways and elevators.
Considering that slip and fall injuries in the workplace alone are responsible for almost $5 billion dollars in wage replacement and medical payments, the additional costs for injuries in mercantile centers, hotels, and entertainment complexes caused by natural and unatural disasters makes one pause to think.
Wood has been a favored interior finish for generations. In commercial environments, this has been a love/hate relationship. Love the look — hate the maintenance and moisture issues. Those concerns can be put to rest, thanks to innovations in hardwood construction plus the introduction of laminate flooring. These products feature great aesthetics with superior physical performance and easy maintenance.
Without a doubt, it is simpler, faster and more cost effective to install new flooring under office systems using a professional lift system than to do the same job by dismantling and reassembling furniture, using jerry rigged tools not designed for the job and employing extra labor. And yet, a surprising number of facility managers either don't know about, or don't take advantage of flooring companies that use today's professional lift systems.
The Grand Ballroom at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cancun, Mexico, was aglow under thousands of twinkling starlights as StarNet® members, vendors and guests gathered for their annual celebratory banquet this past April. The dinner marked an occasion the attendees look forward to every year — the Design Competition Awards.
The evening capped days of business sessions, a trade fair and socializing that were as relaxed and friendly as Cancun's beaches.
A Floor For The Ages
Visit ancient Rome and you'll see ceramic tile in ruins ranging from servant homes to noble estates. Natural ceramic tile was the flooring medium used for the ordinary to the extraordinary. For centuries, ceramic tile floors played the dual roles of design and durability. Amazingly, many of these floors still retain their color and designs, even though the rest of the building has deteriorated. Today, aesthetics and functional benefits are still the key reasons behind ceramic's popularity. Ceramic tile is the floor for you if you're looking for style that never goes out of fashion, versatile colors and designs, installation pattern options, unsurpassed durability and easy maintenance.
Here's a subject that is as relevant and topical today as it was when StarNet first covered it in "Carpeting Without A Professional" in StarLog Volume 1, Issue 4, published in 1999. StarNet members consistently rank that newsletter as one of the most requested of all StarLogs. We've received many requests to revise the original newsletter with updates on the costs and complications. So, we'd like to take this opportunity to reintroduce this important topic to StarNet member customers.
No matter what floorcovering you select, the key to a great installation lies beneath the surface.
Proper substrate preparation creates the foundation for floors that look great and perform well. Taking short cuts with patches that repair substrate damage and imperfections, and with levelers that create smooth, flat surfaces, invites costly and unsightly installation issues and failures.
One Size Does Not Fit All
The majority of commercial floor coverings are designed to meet the general needs of the floored space. They are styled and manufactured to be aesthetically pleasing, durable and easy to maintain. But the very nature of commercial interiors, and the activities that happen in these spaces, has given rise to a new category of floor coverings — specialty floors. These products have enhanced physical characteristics and unique properties to fulfill the needs of special spaces and niche areas. Specialty floors offer value-added features and benefits for spaces where general floor coverings fall short on required or desired performance.
Confused About "Green?" -- You're Not Alone!
One of the hottest topics, if not THE topic of the new millennium for the design and build industry is "green." Specifiers, facility managers, building owners and building occupants are demanding green buildings, green products, green construction methods, and green renovation and demolition. A heightened sense of environmental awareness for future generations is driving this desire to reduce the impact of man-made buildings on the natural environment.
A Fluid Situation
Moisture in concrete substrates is a leading cause of flooring failure, costing billions of dollars annually in damage, downtime, repair and replacement. You might think this problem occurs primarily in humid climates, or in geographies with a high water table.
But moisture problems are much more widespread--and the problem is growing.
It may seem logical that purchasing carpet by itself, as opposed to through a qualified flooring professional, would result in a lower cost. However, carpet is not a stand-alone product. There are many additional services and expenses required to complete an installation project properly. A lower price does not necessarily mean a lower cost.
A recent national survey confirmed the increased expense of carpet as an exclusive purchase and explored the origins of these costs. The survey examined several components of carpet installation ranging from material price to management time to simple cost per square yard. The following table details these elements based on an average installation of 1, 000 square yards. The resulting cost increase was between $3. 55 and $7. 21 per square yard.
Uncovering the Toxic Floor Covering Myths
By Harry Korrison, Howard's Rug Company
The impact of new carpet on the indoor environment has served as a hot news topic in recent years, with the media sometimes reporting sensational accounts of human suffering from so-called "toxic carpet fumes." Such stories are enough to make any property manager shudder. But is carpet toxicity really a legitimate concern?
Despite the carpet industry's efforts to improve the quality of installation workmanship, bond failure in commercial carpet installations remains a leading cause of complaints, lawsuits and premature replacement.
Annual losses from such failures run into the millions of dollars, and ripples and open seams caused by bond failure create a high-liability safety hazard.
This bulletin discusses the most common types of failure, their causes and methods of prevention. The highlighted boxes are selected quotes from applicable sections of the Carpet and Rug Institute's CRI 104
Standard for Installation of Commercial Textile Floorcovering Materials
Shading, pile reversal and pooling are characteristics exhibited by many cut-pile carpets, rugs and other textile floor coverings. Though normal, they are sometimes unexpected and result in complaints.
This bulletin discusses these conditions and their causes in an attempt to assist carpet and fiber manufacturers, dealers and buyers to make informed decisions regarding carpet selection and complaint resolution