Pricing VCT & Prep Questions

Discussion in 'Commercial Flooring Sales & Installation' started by Josef Fischer, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. Josef Fischer

    Josef Fischer Pro Member


    A bit of background, I work in Atlanta GA as an architect on schools, typically on renovations/additions at approx. 10-30,000 SF, but also new schools with approx 100-150,000 SF. As an architect, I rarely have to deal with the nitty-gritty of pricing adds or changes, and in house we have RSMeans 2016, as well as flooring manufacturer reps that come in with (usually low) expected materials+installed costs that we can expect for their products.

    90% of our work is VCT, with gym floors and admin/media center 2x2 carpet tile thrown in the mix.

    So why I've joined, we have a county that expects all GC Potential change orders to provide backup showing all material line item adds and all man-hour at pervailing wage/hr adds to the job. A school came back with a moisture issue (99% RH) on 4 of the 6 phases (no vapor barrier, built in the 70s) at 24,168 SF of affected VCT. VCT replacement is all the school corridors, so working around lockers in place, no base at lockers, base at walls, working to the existing VCT in classrooms and leaving classroom VCT in place. We've gone through a number of products that the flooring installer and Architect recommended for a moisture barrier that the county rejected (too costly) and settled on the owner recommendation, Stauf R701, a urethane that according to the cutsheet, can be installed up to 90% humidity, but the owner called Stauf directly and got them to approve it for our school... I know... We also worked directly with the 3 crews from 3 installing companies that were subbed from the finishing subcontractor, since they were not familiar with Stauf R701, to see how long it took them extra to do the work and come up with a reasonable add.

    So, the original cost on the job is approximately $3.10 labor and materials assuming no moisture mitigation. Swapping out the specified glue (your standard stuff, lay it out until it's tacky and go to town, come back and do the edges) with Stauf R701, They've added another $1.80, for a total cost of $4.90 for VCT install with moisture-resistant urethane. Now I'm thinking this is a good price, especially after watching the guys lay a couple hallways, but honestly I have no idea as this isn't my daily job, and the best I have is RSMeans to go for. They had to lay it "wet" so getting started seemed to be a big hassle, and if they let the R701 tack up, it became useless, so they had to cut their edges with a separate team, "as they went". Furthermore, asking around the office, I'm getting prices of $6-7/SF for moisture mitigation barriers... though this isn't a barrier per say. The county thinks the number should keep going down, but I feel like I'm squeezing blood from a stone at this point and the installers have been doing a good job to this point.

    Is the county being a Scrooge, or am I way off? I appreciate your guys' expertise on this.
  2. Incognito

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

    Hi Josef. I've been dealing with the commercial VCT/vinyl and moisture failures forever and a whole long life.

    You can't look at mitigation systems without considerations of PREP---------prep before the membrane and prep over the membrane. We've seen too many failures to be interested in anything other than Blastrac/shot blast and Koster epoxy or equivalent and in Los Angeles that alone is way over the prices you're quoting. Way over. I guarantee you're customers will have success and then failure with their Moisture Treatment of the Week Club Membership. The failures will eventually dictate they adapt to 21rst century flooring realities. It's NOT asbestos tile. It's NOT cutback adhesive. That's basically what's hard to grasp for the "end user" who lives in the 1950's-1990's when tile was tile and glue was glue.

    Plastic/limestone tile and water based glues aren't going to survive on concrete slabs poured over dirt 50-75 years ago after they demo WHATEVER was laying on there unless you spend a zillion dollars to remediate the moisture and alkaline problems.

    I suggest you specify 9" x 9" asphalt asbestos tile made by Kentile.[​IMG] That would be just as reasonable as the consumer's expectations that VCT is a cheap alternative.
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  3. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Yes, kinda strange paying 6$ and up a foot to “protect” a 50 cent tile. I say polished concrete, permeable sealer

    Have a similar situation at a school using Mapei planiseal pmb, I’m not sold on it. School wants vinyl plank and remove vct. Budget? There’s also failures with moisture barriers under new slabs here at a large multistory assisted living, last I heard shot blasting was discussed.
  4. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    We are all paying for it.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    The county is simply not dealing with reality. I think Incog summed it up very well. The pricing for the change is very reasonable and if truth be known since the flooring contractor hadn't worked with the product until this job they probably didn't realize how slow they were going to end end up going and under-priced the change. Going back to beat them up for a lower number at this point would be akin to kicking an injured dog IMO. You might get bit. Suddenly the work slows down to nothing or the workmanship falls off, etc.
  6. Josef Fischer

    Josef Fischer Pro Member

    UPDATE: They came out with a 5 man crew yesterday after prepping and have made significant progress. Quality looks good to me (see photo) those lockers will be repainted as well fyi. My gut is they did roughly 1/3 of the SF.

    On the comments above, I appreciate the recommendation on different products, and yes, I like the idea of sealed concrete in schools, but for certain counties we've had no traction there. For this project specifically, there's no "speccing the job" it's already out and in construction. The glue is a urethane epoxy, so not water based. Not sure what more I can do than that.

    Finally, in response to Kentile Asbestos tile floor... I've not looked into it but you do realize that if it has asbestos in it, it'll never go into a school system. If it doesn't have asbestos in it, that's really poor branding. I don't know of an architect in Georgia who'd spec that.

    Edit: on prep, they spread a floor leveler (would have to go back to my specs to see what it was) two coats across the entire floor. I assume there's crack mitigation per spec, but since the work is being performed largely between two of my site visits, I won't have a pic for confirmation of floor prep.

    Attached Files:

  7. Commercial Floor Rep

    Commercial Floor Rep I Support TFP Published

    Mr. Fischer,

    Incog was being facetious. They haven't made Kentile for over 20 years. He's referencing back to his comment that the end user's mind set has not progressed past the 1990's. There are obviously no flooring materials still being produced for mass consumption that would contain asbestos.
  8. Josef Fischer

    Josef Fischer Pro Member

    On Epoxy, we do epoxy resin in the restrooms in a lot of schools with mixed results. We think the product is going down great, usually Keyresin wins the bids around here, but some school systems aren't cleaning them right and are then complaining later that they "look dirty" and "don't hold up". I've made the visits 1 year and 2 years after construction and the products fine, they just aren't putting elbow grease into maintenance...

    I've not had a school interested in epoxy resin for the corridors/classrooms, but that would be interesting. Any pictures of a school out in LA that you've done it on?
  9. Josef Fischer

    Josef Fischer Pro Member

    Hah, thanks, you guys caught me, I was more interested in baseball and gameboy than tile 20 years ago... showing my age (or lack thereof)
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  10. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Ain’t nothin stopping VCT from crackin.
  11. kwfloors

    kwfloors Fuzz on the brain Charter Member Senior Member

    They ran all the tile the same direction, don't see that much.
  12. Incognito

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

    borders should have been offest to account for the lockers

    but of course I cant see the bigger picture

    maybe the equal border to the walls makes sense overall

    just looks off in that one photo
    • Agree Agree x 4

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