F Ball & Co - nursing homes

INSTALLING flooring in care-homes can pose several challenges for flooring contractors. If flooring is installed along corridors for example, residents may be required to remain inside or outside of their accommodation for prolonged periods of time. Where communal areas, such as dining rooms or lounges, are being refurbished, access to facilities could be restricted, causing inconvenience for residents and staff alike. Some adhesives and levelling compounds also create unpleasant odours or present health and safety concerns when used in enclosed areas.

Nowadays, several flooring preparation products, including waterproof surface membranes, levelling compounds and adhesives are available that, when used together and applied correctly, allow floorcoverings to be installed quickly, easily and safely. Whereas installing new floorcoverings might have once taken several days, leaving areas inaccessible in the meantime, these fast-track solutions can cut this down to less than a day.

Moisture management
Unmanaged moisture, whether residual construction moisture or rising damp, is one of the leading causes of floor failure. Where the relative humidity (RH) levels in the subfloor are above 75% (or 65% if wood floorcoverings are to be installed) some form of moisture management will be required to control the moisture in the subfloor and prevent it damaging the floorcovering or even causing complete floor failure.

After a surface has been suitably prepared, a moisture measurement test should be carried out to determine the relative humidity (RH) levels of the subfloor. Several timesaving options exist where a solution for damp is required.

Damp can be controlled with the application of a waterproof surface membrane. Advanced products are now available that will isolate excess subfloor moisture where relative humidity values are up to 98% with a single coat application and will fully cure in as little as three hours.

Even quicker, two-coat systems are available. The first coat cures in 15-20 minutes, and a further 30 minutes curing time is required for the second coat, creating a barrier against residual construction moisture where the Relative Humidity value is up to 95% in less than two hours.

A smooth finish
Recent advances in cement technology have also enabled the development of levelling compounds with fast-track properties, without compromising on quality or finish.

Levelling compounds are now available that are walk-on hard from 30 minutes and allow textile and resilient floorcoverings to be installed from as little as 45 minutes after application. The same products are low-odour, easy to use, self-smoothing and can be applied at thicknesses of up to 10mm.

Where old adhesive residues (including bitumen and carpet tile tackifiers) are present after the removal of old floorcoverings, contractors can save time by using a levelling compound that has been specially formulated for use without the mechanical removal of old adhesive residues. One such product, Stopgap 1200 Pro from F Ball & Co takes as little as 60 minutes to set and is ready to receive floorcoverings from as little as four hours. In most applications, including when it’s applied over old adhesive residues, it’s not essential to prime beforehand, saving further time.

Safe and hygienic solutions
When it’s required to install flooring in areas of care homes that remain open to residents or visitors, contractors should be sure to select a low odour adhesive, to avoid any unpleasant smells that could cause irritation to residents.

Advances in adhesive technology mean that most adhesives are now formulated to be solvent-free and low odour, and contractors will find solvent-free, low odour adhesives for use with a wide variety of floorcoverings. These adhesives have been developed with a range of other specialist properties, including the ability to be applied over underfloor heating systems, on vertical surfaces and in areas subject to extreme temperature fluctuations.

To prevent a substandard finish or even complete floor failure, contractors should always ensure that adhesives are compatible with the chosen floorcoverings.

‘It’s advised contractors consult manufacturer’s guidelines or F Ball’s recommended adhesives guide (RAG), which lists the adhesives recommended for use with floorcoverings produced by over 200 leading floorcovering manufacturers,’ says the company.

‘The guide is available as a free app or a printed booklet and an interactive version can also be found on the F Ball website.‘