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Accessing training courses in LVT

Tim Green explains the role of training in LVT and how to access courses.

GIVEN the premium associated with LVTs and customers’ high expectations for finished results, it’s essential to have the skills and knowledge to ensure a flawless finish when installing them.

Living up to expectations for the appearance and longevity of LVT installations requires an understanding of best practice in subfloor preparation and floorcovering installation.
Flooring contractors should cover these topics in basic training when starting on their flooring journey. However, changes affecting the industry and the need to work to increasingly high standards require flooring professionals to continuously update their knowledge and acquire new skills to retain a competitive edge.

Prep school
The first step in any flooring installation should be to check the subfloor is suitably sound, smooth, and dry, and LVT installations are no exception to this rule.

Basic training should also cover how to avoid common causes of floor failure, chief of which is still unmanaged subfloor moisture. A moisture test should be conducted to determine if the subfloor is dry enough to receive floorcoverings. Where Relative Humidity levels are higher than 75%, a moisture management solution is required to prevent floor failure. The usual solution for suppressing excess subfloor moisture is the application of a liquid waterproof surface membrane.

F. Ball recommends a smoothing compound is then applied to create a smooth base for the receipt of floorcoverings and ensure the visual appearance of an installation isn’t compromised by imperfections in the subfloor showing through.

Choosing the optimum product
Having a good knowledge of the range of new products available will help in choosing the optimum product for a particular job and avoid compromising the finished appearance of an LVT installation.

For example, particular smoothing compounds are designed especially to withstand heavy loads and high-foot traffic and others are designed to accommodate slight movements in subfloors of metal and wood.

Flooring adhesives need to be selected for their compatibility with chosen floorcoverings, as well as their specific performance features. For example, there are vinyl adhesives that are recommended to avoid visible trowel serrations showing through thin vinyl floorcoverings. A suitable moisture resistant adhesive will be necessary to install LVT floorcoverings in damp and humid environments.

Advancements in technology
The need for flooring contractors to strive to continuously improve and develop their knowledge throughout their careers has become particularly important as advances in technology have accelerated the development of subfloor preparation products and adhesives with advanced properties and applications.

These have enabled F. Ball to create vinyl adhesives with pressure sensitive characteristics, which provide an advantage when installing LVTs, together with various other features. These include moisture resistance and the ability to hold LVT floorcoverings in place over various temperatures, which are often an issue in heavily glazed areas subject to solar gain, such as rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, and can cause floorcoverings to expand and contract significantly, resulting in tenting and gaps at the edges of floorcoverings over time.

Combinations of new, fast-drying smoothing compounds, waterproof surface membranes and adhesives mean contractors can prepare subfloors and install floorcoverings in a day, helping to meet increasingly demanding time constraints.

Regular training will help flooring contractors to keep abreast of wider changes affecting the flooring industry too. For instance, calcium sulphate screeds are increasingly common in new builds and require specific treatment to ensure against floor failure. In such cases, traditional cement-based smoothing compounds may not be suitable, and the use of a compatible calcium sulphate-based smoothing compound is often recommended.

Accessing training
As a well-known manufacturer in subfloor preparation products and adhesives, F. Ball
believes it’s responsible for promoting industry standards and best practice and, by extension, the positive reputation of the flooring industry. This is why flooring professionals of any skill level can attend free training courses at the F. Ball Centre of Excellence, the purpose-built, state-of-the-art training centre at F. Ball’s Staffordshire headquarters.

Experience shows people get the most from practical instruction, and they’re sometimes put off by the thought training will involve sitting in a classroom all day. For this reason, courses at the F.Ball Centre of Excellence have been developed to allow participants hands-on experience using a range of F. Ball products in a controlled environment.

Training programmes, which run year-round, are led by experts from within the company, cover subfloor preparation, moisture management, and adhesive selection. These include specialist courses for apprentices and experienced professionals and a three-day course on achieving optimum results when installing LVTs.
01538 361633
Tim Green, head of training at F. Ball and Co. Ltd

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