Where Are You Going To Start?

Discussion in 'Commercial Flooring Sales & Installation' started by Incognito, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. eaadams

    eaadams Sport Floor Pro

    No they don't flatten but at least in my area a lot of people choose to just level over the humps and bumps.

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  2. Incognito

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

    In the example of the project above I would not have recommended the K15 because of the existing adhesive. For carpet tile it's really not necessary to remove an existing multi-purpose glue so long as it's not been grotesquely contaminated with construction smegma. I could have more quickly screeded/floated/skimmed out the problem areas with substantially less time and material using any premium cementitious floor patch.

    In this instance the salesman isn't very experienced so he only knew there would be extra labor and patch needed. He got a change order for the extra prep. It occurred to him we MIGHT need K15. The super was someone who just fell off the turnip truck and didn't know a piece of drywall from a hole in the ground. THEY decided to self-level in the same manner all the home owner/DIY come on here and ask about how they are going to "self-level" their floor to prep for whatever flooring they're hoping for.

    By the time I humped all the K15 up the stairs and cleaned, scraped and primed the area I decided, what the hell-----might as well dump out all the K15. You can change horses in the middle of the stream and the customer will be confused if I tell him I don't need to "self-level" the concrete. The problem I have with self leveling is you really need to FLOOD the space well over the highest point in the room for the leveling effect to work.

    Contractors, whether it's the concrete sub trying to fix his own humps or the GC using laborers who don't know what they are doing tend to cheap out BIGTIME in the application. So they self leveling is poured over the humps adding to the highest point without the basic skills and preparation needed to spread that puddle out far enough and trowel/smooth it off around the perimeter of the puddle to receive our flooring. So when they are done it LOOKS smoother superficially and maybe is even flatter technically but when all is said and done I have to go sand down the entire puddle, skim coat it and ramp/float off the entire puddle, oftentimes so severely that those ramps need sanding and skim coating.

    To flatten out large scale areas with K15 or any knock off you REALLY need to be experienced with the process and extremely meticulous in the application---------for resilient flooring.

    Yeah, I know I'm preaching to the choir here. But not everyone understands this. Few do understand it as it's counter intuitive and contrary to the terminology, concept and marketing of "self leveling" products.
  3. Incognito

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

    It wasn't all that bad when I finally got it clean and dropped the straight edge across. They sent me TWO apprentices that day so one jumped right on the Scrape-Away whilst we pushed the GC and his laborers to drag as much of that crap out of the way as they would/could. Worst part was they had no dumpster on site so they were just going to shift that mountain of BS side to side. I still don't know what's under that pile of wood base. The area was so compromised with the painter and drywall guy slopping shit on the carpet glue a straight edge wasn't even going tell much til the floor was scraped and swept reasonably clean. So after the initial battle for space I grabbed the Scrape-Away and cleaned off 4-5 foot from the higher ground in anticipation of needing that much leveling.

    It wasn't REALLY necessary for carpet tile to dump all that K15. Neither did it hurt anything. SCRAPING GLUE and CLEANING for the primer and self leveling are substantially more critical for a self leveling job than for your basic patching for a glue down carpet or carpet tile prep job. Therein lies the rub. I've done literally hundreds of carpet tile/glue down carpet jobs with similar blown out walls and height differences. This is the first in memory that self leveling was sent/considered. The standard practice is to clean and scrape well enough to smooth out the slab with regular patch well enough so you can't see or feel the height variations through the carpeting. K15 is overkill.

    Carpeting hides a LOT.
  4. eaadams

    eaadams Sport Floor Pro

    I was at the world of concrete this year. I was at the quality in slabs lunch. Room of about 200 contractors talking about slabs, flatness, costs. One guy was the largest concrete slab contractor in NYC. They were complaining about unrealistic specs and communication between owner architect and contractor. I stood up and said they have got to push for the costs they need to make flat slabs for flooring people. My reasoning was that so often when we show up on site it is end of project, the change order money has been spent and when we need to level a floor (which they all said was 'very' affordable) and when I said leveling is between $3-$4.50 to level their jaws hit the ground saying that is more than the concrete costs. Industry on this subject is so broken

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  5. Incognito

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

    There's a real void of common sense between the flooring manufacturer's specifications and realities of construction practices. Some of the products and adhesives the industry is favoring make no sense---------IF they understood the basics of commercial concrete slab construction and flooring installation.
  6. eaadams

    eaadams Sport Floor Pro

    Most of the specs are written by arcom and bsd not the flooring people. For example if you did any k15 and ardex were to look at it, they would insist any slab be shotblast before application.

    I can't say how many jobs I've been on where some flooring low bidder slopped on k15 without profiling. Take a hammer break it off, see a bunch of crap under the k15, that is the flooring manufacturer's out on the complaint.

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  7. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Wish I were there, we could have coordinated your outburst and I would of said, "yeah, what he said"!

    Some new levelers say no need for shotblasting? K-16? Others?
  8. eaadams

    eaadams Sport Floor Pro

    Read the fineprint. Any amount of 'smegma' and you are supposed to blast. It is a nice out.

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  9. Incognito

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

    Yes, the first K15 job I did (with my boss when he was still on his knees) failed because we didn't even check the slab for porosity, let alone profile. It was the Getty Center Art Storage areas and quite substantial areas blew right off.

    From then until very recently he wouldn't consider using self leveling without shot blasting. THAT is really how you get to that $3.50-$4.00 a foot costs and it's also how you can exclude the whole process from many occupied spaces as it's just crazy impossible to run that kind of operation around the public in a clean and safe manner.

    MOST of the other companies I am aware of that use quite a bit of the products will scuff the surface with a grinder, sander or not even all that, prime and pour. I see TONS of self leveling coming right off the slab when I demo.
  10. tsb

    tsb well dressed

    re: flattening floors

    You're right that shot blasting just profiles the concrete and doesn't do anything to level the floor.

    I'm also very careful about not saying that grinding will level a floor. If you don't know what you're doing you can actually make a hump worse depending on how you sit on it with a grinder. And different grinders have different flex. I can throw a full set of 18 double seg diamonds (I usually run a half set) on my husky and the floor will definitely be flatter than when I started, but we have equipment that does it faster.

    If someone wants us to grind down high spots we use a ziplevel so we can easily check and recheck areas and a shavemaster in combination with our grinders. unless the concrete is super soft you can sit in the same spot forever with a grinder to take off an 1/8 inch. And then your diamonds start heating up and glazing over and you get nothing done.

    I recently did a job that had an insane amount of mud on the floor. Pictures just didn't do it justice. the ENTIRE 6k square feet was as bad as this picture. They did have it cleared out for me though.

    Attached Files:

  11. eaadams

    eaadams Sport Floor Pro

    I would be very interested to read specifically how you use the ziplevel. I bought one for that exact purpose. But I've found it slow and not all that accurate when you are in the 1/8" range of tolerance.

    Here is one for everyone talking about grinding... here is a job we just did where the slab was probably, in places, 1/4" high & 1/8" low. GC rejected my change order cost. I wanted to scarify down the joints, shotblast, and prime/featherfinish. So they ordered in a few pallets of feather finish and then put two guys on the floor with floor buffers to sand down the feather finish for days. Used laborers not masons (which is a no no in California, but no one complained, saved them probably $20/hr/man)

    For me, it still cost me a lot. My time & a crew member's time (+cost) to go out there, check it, return to shop, x2 times. $0 from GC.

    Attached Files:

  12. tsb

    tsb well dressed

    We do re-calibrate it to our zero measurement frequently when taking measurements. It's not perfect but imo it's quicker and easier than a laser level (especially when taking multiple measurements multiple times). We almost always get the same readings when re-measuring.:shifty:

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