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Considerations to remember when installing LVT

Gary Haigh looks into the key considerations Ardex considers which contribute to a seamless LVT installation process.

The installation of luxury vinyl tiles requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure a successful and long-lasting result. From assessing the subfloor to selecting the right adhesive, each step plays a critical role in achieving a floor that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also durable. Let’s look deeper into the key considerations we (Ardex) take, that contribute to a seamless LVT installation process.

Identifying the subfloor
Understanding the subfloor is the foundation of a successful flooring installation. Whether it’s sand/cement screed, gypsum, or timber, each substrate requires the appropriate preparation and treatment. Different subfloors have varying characteristics, and recognising these differences is essential for selecting the appropriate products and processes.

Moisture testing and substrate stability
Moisture-related issues can have a damaging impact on the longevity of your LVT floor. Before installation, it’s important to carry out thorough moisture testing of the subfloor. High moisture readings (75% – 98% RH) will require an appropriate dampproof membrane (DPM) or moisture vapour suppressant (MVS) to control surface moisture and protect the final floorcovering.
Additionally, assess the subfloor for soundness, stability, laitance, and the presence of lignite. Addressing these concerns may require specialised solutions, such as epoxy primers, repair products, or flooring grade plywood. Properly dealing with these issues ensures a stable and resilient foundation for the final floorcovering.

Levelling and smoothing compound selection
Achieving a smooth, level surface is critical for a flawless flooring installation. Choosing the right levelling and smoothing compound is crucial to ensure it meets a minimum standard of SR1 (Surface Regularity). The levelling and smoothing compound will create a smooth, even surface that enhances the adhesion of the LVT.

Area use considerations
Understanding the purpose of the space where the LVT is being installed is paramount. Considerations such as underfloor heating (UFH), solar gain, and expected foot traffic impact the choice of materials and installation methods. Tailoring the approach to the specific needs of the area ensures the flooring not only looks good but also serves its purpose.

Selecting the appropriate LVT involves more than just aesthetics. Factors such as slip resistance must be considered, especially in areas prone to spills or where safety is a concern. Ensuring the chosen finish aligns with the functional requirements of the space is key to the long-term success of the flooring.

Adhesive selection
The adhesive used in an LVT flooring installation is a key component that directly influences the longevity and performance of the floor. Following the LVT manufacturers’ recommendations for adhesive selection is important, to protect you as the installer, from any potential flooring failures. Each flooring material has specific adhesive requirements, and deviating from these guidelines can have a negative impact on the installation.

LVT suitability and acclimatisation
Allowing LVT to acclimatise to the installation environment is often overlooked but is crucial for preventing issues, such as shrinkage or expansion. Following manufacturer guidelines for acclimatisation ensures the flooring materials adapt to the temperature and humidity of the space, reducing the risk of post-installation problems.

Use the correct tools
Having the right tools for the job is a fundamental aspect of successful flooring installation. From precision cutting tools to instruments for levelling and applying adhesives, a well-equipped installer ensures each step of the process is executed with precision and efficiency.

Follow guidelines and datasheets
Adhering to guidelines and referencing product datasheets is a best practice throughout the installation process. This includes instructions on preparation, application, and any specific recommendations from the manufacturer. Following these guidelines ensures the flooring material is installed according to industry standards, maximising its performance and longevity.

Communication with clients/end-users
Before the installation process, effective communication with clients or end-users is essential. Establishing clear expectations, discussing the intended use of the space, and addressing any specific concerns or requirements contribute to a smooth and satisfactory installation process. An open agreement ensures all parties involved are on the same page, minimising the likelihood of customer dissatisfaction.

Skills and training
Executing a flawless flooring installation requires a skilled and knowledgeable professional. Being well-versed in the intricacies of different flooring materials, subfloors, and installation techniques is paramount. Consideration of training courses and partnerships with organisations can enhance the installer’s skills and keep them up to date with the industry’s best practices.

ARDEX hosts a series of courses at our purpose-built ARDEXacademy training centres, led by our team of technical experts who have extensive knowledge and practical experience of the flooring and tiling industries, allowing our courses to remain up to date, covering the latest information, industry regulations and technological advances.

Organisational skills are the backbone of a successful flooring installation project. From coordinating product deliveries to managing the installation timeline, planning and execution of the installation are essential.

A well-organised approach ensures each step is carried out efficiently, minimising disruptions and delivering a finished product that meets or exceeds expectations.

A successful LVT installation requires a comprehensive approach that considers every detail, from the subfloor to the final finish. By addressing issues such as moisture, stability, and acclimatisation, and by following guidelines and communicating effectively, flooring professionals can ensure a smooth and durable installation.

With the right skills, organisation, and attention to detail, each project becomes a testament to the expertise and professionalism of the installer.
Gary Haigh is technical support manager of Ardex

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