Concrete flat/level/tolerance/high/low....

Discussion in 'Vinyl & Rubber Flooring Sales and Installations' started by MFloor, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. MFloor

    MFloor Pro Member

    Cards on the table, after installing for 16 years without a clue, when installing hardwood in my mom's house, she informed me that i was Dyslexic, thought i had known that small detail my entire life........

    anyway, never been an issue, not really one now, but it leads to my over thinking crap i know.
    I never needed to worry much about concrete levelness doing mostly sheet vinyl in apartments my 1st decade. Now mostly installing laminate, and EVP/LVP in new build houses figured before i talk crap, better know what i am talking about.

    Apparently someones job is to check the levelness of concrete before i show up to install flooring. Sweet right, no worries, if i am there, must mean its good to go........

    Now i have not done more then 3-4 on concrete, but only took 1 before i got my 4ft level out, and started getting in my head. Was told had to be 6', didn't understand, so watch some video, that just confused me more. Not sure since they made a 20'level it applies to flooring.

    All that so you know where i am coming from, I had to force myself to learn the right way to check concrete levelness, to understand how these are getting the go ahead for floating planks.

    i got the results, but know idea what to make of them. So check out the pictures, and let me know your thoughts. Any and all comments advices, cheap shots, are welcome. I just need to be sure im right before i bring it up,

    and no i was not going to buy a 6' level to do someone elses job, so i made one.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2017
  2. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    I can't figure out what happened, @MFloor, but your picture(s) didn't work. Try again.
  3. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I think you're in an industry where manufacturer makes a product for the concrete industry and the two clash. Slabs are really never flat enough, it's extremely difficult to work with concrete.

    So it's basically hindsight 20/20 because the problem shows up after the fact.

    It's the reason I always liked gluedown plank, it follows contour of slab which still needs to be somewhat flat.

    It's really a battle trying to put down leveler, you're never prepared to walk into a few bags of leveler, throws scheduling off, then you have to make a profit for at least a day. If you have to grind, doing it properly or cost effective means a bit of an investment which is hard to justify the cost if you use it sporadically.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    Level is never really an issue I deal with on commercial jobs. We deal with tolerances for flatness and it's not something we really dwell on unless there's an EXPLICIT inspection required. That happens on government, military and institutional projects that have full time Quality Control inspections.

    On larger, open spaces you really need to shoot the whole room with a laser. Smaller areas I use a 10 foot piece of aluminum 1" x 4" rectangular tube. One of these helps a lot:
    Veritas® Tapered Gauges - Lee Valley Tools

    We find that where a slab has flatness issues it's common that a combination of diamond grinding, self leveling, screeding, floating and skim coating are needed to get the concrete to tolerance in the most cost efficient manner.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    That's a pretty cool gauge, unaware of its existence. I can estimate visually within a sixteenth but there's zero doubt showing another the actual number.

    You can't chase humps either like a whack a mole, when you think there's a hump need grinding when next to it needs fill.
  6. MFloor

    MFloor Pro Member

    Really, after reading that, your shocked i can load the photos. I get one to work

    mfloor2.jpg mfloor3.jpg 1.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2017
  7. MFloor

    MFloor Pro Member

    okay thats new
  8. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    The gauge isn't really for the work------rather it's needed to DEMONSTRATE specifically how far out of tolerance the various problems are. Superintendents like to play games----evade, deny, delay, distract, rush, pressure, LITERALLY hide the slab defects. So you need to SHOW how far out his slab is with pictures and Email that are sent to his boss. That lets them know you are not there to play games. On site inspectors LOVE it when you can put aside the nonsense and get down to brass tacks-------whatever that means.

    I've seen them go so far as to stack drywall and other crap in areas where they know there's a big problem. 80-90% of the rest of the area looks good so you accept and get started only to find the mess at the end. Most contracts read that once installation begins the slab has been accepted. So we deal with that.
  9. MFloor

    MFloor Pro Member

    I only checkd where the "stress cracks" are, mostly seems about 1/4 inch off, upto a good 1/2 inch in a few places.
  10. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    If the slab curled you can grind down the humps fairly easy. More often though on either side of the saw cuts or construction joints the slab is flat but consistently sloped toward the joints. That's a much bigger deal.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. MFloor

    MFloor Pro Member

    yea, from what i have learned, mostly from here, is what i pretty much assumed, there is no money to be made in doing better, so just do it.
    Since it was actually the case on one of the 4, i just thought "our" inspectors weren't doing there job.

    From what i learnd since, concrete sucks, and everyone knows it. Im just trying to figure out, since "our" guy came it the go ahead, if it goes side ways due to levelness, is that on me?

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2017
  12. MFloor

    MFloor Pro Member

    if you recall my questions about laying laminate over wet leveler a few weeks ago. that was missed by "our" inspector, caught by me, only 1/4 sort fixed by "our" repair guy, Cost me a weekend, but i hate to walk away even when i know better. Had from what is claimed some planks that the 1/4 didnt cover gap wise, so i ate a bowl of shit.

    I worked wonders around those not working at all, and i end up paying for the repairs.

    So good looking out here with helping me see things as a "normal" installer would
  13. MFloor

    MFloor Pro Member

    not sure if the pictures are working, not sure if i need to make them smaller.

    Attached Files:

  14. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    If you have someone sign off on floor is ready for install then that is godsend. Usually "they" throw all responsibility on installer which is wrong.

    The demolition/removal of previous flooring is not done until installer does it, therefor any prep needed is unseen. That's where everything goes wonky, dollars and time is involved which is also unknown, installer doesn't want to lose money by giving a number. I like to throw a roundabout number to whomever we are contracted to, then they have to make a profit because it's their time too.

    I see no one trying to help in this, CFI has dropped the ball on many "Installation issues" I can't do time and material per say hourly, too many variables and I don't let the clock run, prep to me is an Irritant, but needs precision. The money in my equipment saves extreme amounts of time that if I put an hourly number on looks outrageous.

    You shouldn't be losing money just because of floor prep.

    Take my tile Removal Service. All I am doing is removing tile and thinset, collaterally I may grind down some humps and allow some thinset as filler, but in no way do I know if it's flat enough for the next flooring to go in. Usually I ask what's going down next to know what I need to do as far as if it had residual adhesive/etc. to make it a better bond. But looking at it an installer would think it's perfect, then put a straightedge on it and it's a different story.

    We have gone over many floors out of tolerance which ended up just fine for gluedown hardwood and could have spent thousands of dollars and still get some hollow spots. The gradual drops sometimes works fine. I recall two one was 1/2" over 6 ft, another 1" over 6 ft. Both were installed over.

    Then there's the disconnecting of floating floors, sponginess, etc that are hindsight prep situations.
  15. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain Owner/Founder Administrator

    Not sure what you're doing, but something is hanging up. Yes, it would be helpful to make your photos smaller - maximum 1920px wide would be great.
  16. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
  17. SteveG

    SteveG Pro Member

    • Funny Funny x 1
  18. MFloor

    MFloor Pro Member

    Yes, thanks for all the info, also i am fully aware that i very well could be a super hero. Once mom dropped that bomb on me, i read up on it, i like most thought just read write backwards, oh no, so much more. It explained my entire life, along with wanting to smack my math teacher, that old bat accused me of cheating all the time. I was cocky, i just really thought i was smarter then she was.

    Yea, i do not understand the stuff going at the place i sub from currently. There people inspect the sub floors before installation, and give the go ahead. So as it was the one time i stopped, and made someone fix the concrete, my pointing this stuff out, is calling the inspector out for not doing it, or not right.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. MFloor

    MFloor Pro Member

    The super powers my Dyslexia gave me are, apparently I have a desire to make people happy, sounds nice, but sucks at times. As with my need for perfection, sounds nice, but sucks too. I end up putting hours into the stupid little details that most never notice.
    I am to laid back to get to worked up, but mistakes stress me out. Finding this place was a game changer. when i screw something up, or cant get it to my liking, i need to know why, i am like a dog with a bone, so my hunting for answers kept leading me here, so you guys better not be full of shit, or im in trouble.
    • Funny Funny x 2
  20. MFloor

    MFloor Pro Member

    mfloor-before-hall.jpg hall4.jpg
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 12, 2017

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