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Working over raised-access floor panels with F Ball and Co’s cement-based primers

FLOORING contractors who undertake installations in office environments will be familiar with working over raised-access floor panels. While benefits in these settings have made them increasingly popular, they need special preparation before installing a floorcovering to ensure the finished appearance isn’t compromised.

When installed, raised access panels have small gaps or joints where individual panels meet. When applying a levelling compound directly over the top of raised access flooring, the product will sink into these gaps, potentially resulting in weak points, which apart from affecting the finished appearance of the installation, can cause the levelling compound to crack and lose its integrity. It’s therefore necessary to fill these gaps beforehand and is just as important when installing thin resilient floorcoverings, such as LVTs.

Dual benefits
For this purpose, cement-based primers, including F Ball and Co’s Stopgap Fill and Prime, are available that fill the gaps between flooring panels while simultaneously priming the subfloor, saving valuable time. Says the company: ‘They have a thixotropic consistency, meaning they flow freely when stirred but set to a gel-like consistency on standing, enabling the joints to remain filled. They’re suitable for use over well-bonded, waterproof adhesive residues, prior to the application of the recommended levelling compound.

‘Stopgap Fill and Prime can also be applied to mechanically fixed and glued P5 flooring grade chipboard before the application of a recommended levelling compound, removing the need to overboard the subfloor with plywood, saving valuable time and expense.’

Similarly practical in office environments are carpet tiles. When installed using a carpet tile tackifier, such as F Ball’s Styccobond F41, individual tiles can reportedly be easily lifted and replaced when they become stained or worn in walkways or areas occupied by chairs with castor wheels, for example.

Case study
F Ball’s Stopgap Fill and Prime and Styccobond F41 have reportedly helped create a professional flooring finish over wood and metal raised access panels as part of a refurbishment to create new office space for a government service in Liverpool.

Contractors from HB Flooring, based in Sutton Coldfield, used Stopgap Fill and Prime and Stopgap 1200 Pro levelling compound to prepare subfloors before installing a combination of LVTs and carpet tiles over one floor of the building, totalling 2,500sq m.

It was first necessary to prime the wooden raised access panels, in the office’s entranceway and walkways, where the LVTs would be installed, and fill joints between panels. Contractors therefore applied F Ball’s Stopgap Fill and Prime over 400sq m of the total floor area including all the wooden raised access panels and a small section of the metal flooring.

Once the primer had cured, F Ball’s Stopgap 1200 Pro levelling compound was applied to create a base for the installation of the LVTs. Says F Ball: ‘Stopgap 1200 Pro is a two-component levelling compound for preparing sound internal subfloors that’s suitable for use over old adhesive residues including bitumen and carpet tile tackifiers, says the company. It’s also fast drying and setting, allowing floorcoverings to be installed in four hours after application.

‘F Ball’s Styccobond F41 carpet tile tackifier was used to install carpet tiles directly over the metal raised access flooring section. Styccobond F41 is said to ensure carpet tiles are held firmly in place when subject to lateral movements, such as everyday foot traffic and equipment being wheeled around, while allowing them to be easily lifted vertically if they need to be replaced.’

Contractors from HB Flooring installed LVTs over the remaining flooring areas, comprising wooden raised access panels, which had previously been prepared using Stopgap Fill and Prime and Stopgap 1200 Pro.

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