changes in Johnsonite stair tread installation

Discussion in 'Commercial Flooring Sales & Installation' started by Mark Brown, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    What changes did they go and make now??

    I get to redo 104 of them from manufacturer. They are flaking?? Best thing I can come up with to describe it. By the time I was done the job the first staircase was degrading. Advised client to wait 6 months then file a complaint. Best to have some serious problems before making note of a problem.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. In the middle of 2016 - so not really all that new, Johnsonite made some quiet changes to their tread installation instructions.

    • They no longer allow the use of Johnsonite Powertape to install the front of the tread.
      • This was done because Powertape never hard sets. It stays in a tacky state forever. Over time and with certain stair profiles, the angled back riser in particular, this would allow the nosing to pull away and create a tripping hazard.
      • You can still use the wide stair tread tape for the flat part of the tread.
    • They do not allow the nosing on the tread to overlap the riser.
      • This creates a void at the top of the riser that allows the nosing to flex and eventually the nose breaks. Basically, the same thing that happens when the nosing epoxy isn't used.
      • They also feel that this violates ADA standards by creating a toe catch. A visually impaired person apparently uses their toe to run up the riser to sort of "feel" their way up the steps and this overlap install method could cause a fall.
      • Interesting to note that pretty much everyone else in the tread market allows an overlapping installation.
      • This was a big change in my market as pretty much every tread install I've ever seen was installed overlapping.
    • Standard Cove base adhesive is not acceptable to use on the riser material. Their recommendation is Johnsonite 946 acrylic contact cement. This should also be used to attach the front nosing of the tread.
      • Their first attempt at an acrylic contact cement - Johnsonite 945 - was horrible. It didn't really work well at all. Especially on any kind of vertical surface. The 946 is a HUGE improvement. It has a ton of holding power. The downside is that it's expensive.
      • You can also "flash" this contact and accelerate its drying time with a little heat from the old heat gun. **Caution don't try this with the tread adhesive it won't work and you'll make a mess - just the 946 contact cement.
      • Here's a neat little tool / trick that I picked up from their tech guys on using the 946. Get yourself a silicone basting brush. (See attached phot) They sell them about anywhere that sells kitchenware and they aren't expensive. Cut the bristles down to about 3/4" of an inch in length. Use these to apply your contact. The bristles put a nice little texture on the contact and helps it grab better. (I know, I know everybody uses scrap carpet, just give it a try. It works really well.)
      • Another little caution here as well, while the rubber treads are thermoset rubber, the riser material - in the case of separate riser, not the one piece tread riser - is thermoplastic this means you have to be really careful if you're using regular contact cement because 99.9% of them are not plasticizer stable and the riser will fall off. This is the reason for Johnsonite using an acrylic based contact.
    • It's critical that you leave a uniform 1/16" gap around the perimeter of the tread to allow for expansion.
      • If the treads are cut in too tight it creates tension across the nose of the tread and forces the nose out away from the riser. This can cause the nose to appear wavy.
      • Most guys hate leaving a visible gap around anything. Color Rite caulk makes matching caulk for all of Johnsonite's colors as well as most all the rubber industry (Burke, Roppe, Flexco, etc.) Use that if seeing this gap is an issue. Think of it like a soft joint like you would for tile, works the same way.
    I've included several attachments that I use when I'm talking to our customers here whether it be installation, project managers, architects and designers or our own people when I'm training because I think it helps to see it visually. Please be kind as I'm not the greatest artist, but I think they are clear enough and work ok. :)

    At any rate the goal is to make sure you don't get caught off guard with an installation. If I can answer any questions, as always, don't hesitate to ask.

    Attached Files:

    • Informative Informative x 3
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Appreciation Appreciation x 1
  3. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    That's all I can say about your effort here!
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. Thanks Mark,

    I know there are a lot of other profiles out there. If someone has a particular profile that they want to see or that they run into all of the time, send me a pencil drawing of it and I can make it into a pdf with the way it should go in if that helps. It helps me too. If you're running into it, my people are running into it. So, if I have it made up I can print it off and hand it to somebody or email it. Makes explaining it over the phone a whole lot simpler if they can follow along with a picture.
  5. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    I was always under the impression that to be "technically" correct the stair tread nosing was always to be net cut to the riser? Perhaps i was wrong on that, but either way i know more times than i would like to admit they get over lapped. Also, not too sure how you folks south of the border get on but up here in the queens north too often we are using wall base (please don't hate me i have been fighting it) as riser material. This does not work... sorry, it does not work well. Cannot scribe to it because the materials are not the same dimensions so overlap is all you see. Perhaps i can make more people believe me with your information :) Not to mention if Johnsonite/Tarkett won't allow over laps any longer then gonna have to use proper riser material

    That power tape system was probably the dumbest idea i have ever seen for installation. I have tried it a few times myself and then decided to never do that again. Hell i have a hard enough time getting people to believe me the epoxy is a real thing and necessary.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    I love the power tape system. Most of the treads that I do are commercial with people climbing over me. The tape allows traffic right away and no mess.
  7. Guys,

    Here's another little cheat sheet that I find helpful!

    I got to be honest on the contact though. This is just me talking from my own installation experience. I still like solvent based contact cement vs. the Johnsonite 946 if it's a tread material (Thermoset rubber vs. Thermoplastic rubber or vinyl) that can handle it. It has better initial grab in my opinion. I think they will both settle out at about the same holding power once they fully cure, but if you're doing something with a severe angle on the nose, the old style contact still works better.

    Attached Files:

  8. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    I refuse to use contact if it isn't solvent based. Bad experience leaves a bad taste.

    The only thing I will use the other shite for is corners in millwork Johnsonite base
    • Like Like x 1
  9. They won't say this, but I use super glue on my corners for that. It works really good and it's fast. One of their competitors actually states that in their installations instructions for their version of millwork.
  10. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    know what's funny?? About 10 years ago I went to a seminar they had in Calgary and the rep said superglue was the deal. I'm not allowed to use it do to being dumb and sticking myself to things :)
    • Funny Funny x 1
  11. Best thing I've ever seen for stopping blood flow when you cut yourself on the jobsite. I've always got about 20 tubes in my box because I'm a klutz with a knife. Probably a good thing I moved into sales.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1

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