No more waiting around

DONNELLY Watson Flooring, based in Ipswich, opted for fast-track subfloor preparation products from F Ball & Co to create what it describes as a smooth, hardwearing base for the receipt of vinyl floorcoverings as part of a canteen refurbishment at Endeavour House, Suffolk County Council.

Faced with an uneven screed and high subfloor relative humidity levels, contractors used Stopgap 1200 Pro moisture-tolerant levelling compound to create a level surface prior to the application of Stopgap F77 waterproof surface membrane.

A layer of F Ball’s Stopgap 300 HD heavy duty levelling compound was then applied to ensure the floor would reportedly be able to withstand the high levels of foot traffic it was expected to be subject to.

The first point of action was to assess the condition of the subfloor. This included carrying out a moisture test, which indicated the Relative Humidity (RH) levels in the newly-installed concrete screed were higher than the 75% maximum threshold for installing floorcoverings.

Rather than wait for the residual construction moisture to evaporate, it was decided to apply a waterproof surface membrane to stop excess subfloor moisture damaging adhesives and floorcoverings and potentially causing complete floor failure.

Contractors also noted the screed was particularly uneven. If a waterproof surface membrane is applied over a rough or uneven subfloor, it may pool in undulations on the surface. This will necessitate a greater quantity of product to achieve full coverage, adding more expense to the project. It can also result in an extended curing time for the areas where the membrane has pooled.

In instances such as these, a levelling compound can be applied over the uneven subfloor to help achieve a more even coverage rate of a subsequently applied waterproof surface membrane. In these situations, a moisture tolerant levelling compound must be used, so contractors opted to apply F Ball’s Stopgap 1200 Pro levelling compound.

Says the company: ‘Stopgap 1200 Pro is a low-odour, fast-setting, fast-drying levelling compound suitable for preparing sound internal subfloors prior to the installation of new floorcoverings. It has the added benefit of being suitable for application over old adhesive residues, such as bitumen and carpet tile tackifiers without the need for priming. It’s also ready to receive floorcoverings from as little as four hours after application, adding to its suitability for fast-track installations.

‘Once the levelling compound had cured, F Ball’s Stopgap F77 waterproof surface membrane was applied over the area where floorcoverings were to be installed. Stopgap F77 cures to create a barrier against excess subfloor moisture where RH levels are up to 98%, with a single coat application, in as little as three hours.

‘Contractors then applied F Ball’s Stopgap P141 primer, which is designed to create a textured finish to enhance bond performance between levelling compounds and non-absorbent surfaces, including waterproof surface membranes. Stopgap P141 is also rapid-drying, allowing contractors to quickly proceed to the next stage of the subfloor preparation process.’ Finally, Stopgap 300 HD heavy duty levelling compound was applied to create what’s described as a smooth and hardwearing base for the receipt of LVTs. As well as being suitable for use in areas subject to heavy traffic and high footfall, such as the canteen, it’s also said to be fast-setting and fast-drying, and is walk on hard from just 90 minutes following application.

Commenting on the project, Daniel Donnelly, director at Donnelly Watson, said: ‘Using a particular combination of fast-track products from F Ball meant we could move quickly and efficiently from one stage of the subfloor preparation to the next, minimising the time the area remained off limits, avoiding waste and enabling the canteen to open on time.’
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