In the latest edition of Lagler Direct 12-2013 Wolfgang Gortz retires at the age of 66 after 33 years service. Wolfgang is one of the reasons for the worldwide success of Lagler Germany today and will be sadly missed by many. From all at Lagler Australia we wish him a long and happy retirement. Wolfgang GortzAlso check out the re-sand and white oiling of an old floor using PST.

New addition to the Lagler team

David.Stellini

Lagler Australia would like to welcome David Stellini to staff at our Tullamarine branch. David brings with him a wealth of experience with over 15 years experience sanding and polishing using a vast array of machines, coatings and stains. David also has installation experience with varied flooring systems.

Feel free to drop in, say hello and have a coffee.

Welcome aboard David.

Moisture Matters #2 – The Tests

In a previous post we discussed the issue of concrete subfloor testing prior to installation. Some of the grey areas in testing have been ironed out with the release of the new resilient flooring standard AS/NZS 1884. While it may not be a “Timber Flooring” standard per se, it is still indicative of industry best practice and highly relevant. Another relevant flooring standard is the Carpet Installation AS/NZS 2455.

It’s widely accepted that US-based research is the most credible. Massive groups like the Portland Cement Institute, CTL Group, and the International Concrete Repair Institute have invested heavily in research, in response to what they dub the “billion dollar problem”, of moisture-related flooring failures.

certification_photos(Pic Courtesy of Peter Craig/ Concrete Construction.net)

 

The most recently updated AS 1884 (2012) references and draws from this largely US-based science. More on that later.

Firstly, what about the old “Moisture Meter” capacitance test? They are simple. The Meters were readily available, a little pricey perhaps, but easy to use. You just pop the thing on the concrete surface and voila, it gives you a  percentage. The Standards once stipulated that a “moisture content” of less than 5.5% was acceptable to apply floor coverings, and indeed many manufacturers specified this in their spec sheets (and some still do).

But how many contractors or installation shops actually did this test and documented the findings in a way which could be referenced later if needed? According to our findings, not many.

Well, that’s pretty irrelevant now, as the research has indicated serious shortcomings in the simple “moisture content” test. Pages have been written, but we’ll try and summarise it thus: Moisture Meters only measure the top few mm of concrete via electrical resistance, and give you a percentage of water in the area measured.

derhams2

It turns out that this measurement does nothing to indicate what kind of vapour drive will occur when you slap a semi/non-permeable surface over that concrete, that is, a floor covering.

Other issues, such as increased use of fly ash in concrete have been known to skew resistance meter readings.

The new AS 1884-2012 now discards these measurements.  Even the older carpet standard AS 2455-2007 also states that MC is not a conclusive reading and that Relative Humidity (RH) must be determined. The question is- HOW must it be determined- and WHERE?

Well, AS 1884 references two US- based methodologies, namely ASTM F2170 (in-situ probes) and ASTM F2420 (surface insulated hood method). Each standard itself is 5 pages long.

So which one is right? Well, AS 1884 expressly implies that the in-situ probe method is the one to do, and the surface method is an option only when the slab absolutely cannot be drilled (due to under-slab heating, cables or such like).

MSDS 1

 

This is because the overwhelming evidence is that capturing the RH% at a certain depth within the slab gives you the best possible indication on what a floorcovering is likely to experience at any time in the future, if it is laid now.

The surface method has been found wanting. Not only is it far more susceptible to the ambient conditions, it can only give you a snapshot of the surface humidity at the time of the test. Vapour drive has a habit of increasing once you put a floorcovering down, and there are no real ways to predict exactly how much vapour drive will occur. The in-situ method tells you the maximum possible potential for moisture. In other words, it’s a best-practice.

Even the Surface Hood standard contains wording which implies the test has limitations, and that the in-situ method should be considered.

And what about moisture barriers? All of this should not be required, surely, if you’re going to lay a moisture barrier, right? Well, not necessarily. MB’s all have permeability ratings. Not all of them can withstand exceptionally high RH, and the spec sheets need to be carefully consulted. Also, a MB can cost as much as $20 per square metre, even more, and this needs to be costed. A moisture test, even if sourced independently (which is an especially good idea in commercial flooring, as a certified independent report can limit your liability to a huge extent) can cost as little as $1.50 per square metre.

Even with a barrier being applied, the best possible practice is to have a test report with full results on record. It’s better than insurance.

 

Shake shake shake

We’ve heard of some similar stories going around… make sure you shake that thing. Forgive us if it sounds patronising, but we all need reminding..!

From Hardwood Flooring Mag…

They applied one coat of penetrating finish stain and two coats of single-component satin water-based polyurethane. The next morning, some areas of the floor appeared almost gloss, while the hall appeared to be matte flat. The master bedroom area looked like semi-gloss.

The contractor and his foreman had left the finishing to one of their newer crews. New to water-base finishes, this crew rolled out two coats of single-component satin water-based polyurethane as told. Being new to using water-based finishes, the idea of thoroughly shaking a finish seemed foreign to them, and almost reckless. Having used an oil-based polyurethane for years, they knew that if you shake that finish, bubbles and foam would prevent a nice, smooth finish application for hours afterwards.

But most modern water-based finishes contain really effective anti-foaming additives that prevent the foaming and bubbling the crew had feared. When the label directions encourage shaking, it is to ensure that all of the contents become equally dispersed prior to pouring the first puddle and line on the floor. This includes the flattening agents, which may settle while in inventory. Gravity isn’t just a good idea, it’s a law.

Read the article here.

Le Decepcion Parquett

Not the name of a movie you’d expect to see on SBS, but a post about the time-honoured French artistic method of Le Trompe l’oeil (no, we’d never heard of it either).

That’s French for “deceives the eye”. You’ve seen those street artists who chalk images on the ground where, when viewed from a certain angle, they look like 3D objects bursting out of the ground. Very clever. Ever seen it done with timber flooring?

parquetry image

Our US friends at Hardwood Flooring Mag have come up with story. Check it out here. 

Key to failure #1: Trying to please everybody…

Here at Lagler we’ve handed out years and years’ worth of wordy advice about the consultancy process when quoting for jobs, and how crucial it is to the end result (i.e.- getting paid).

What you do and don’t tell a customer when offering your services will always come back to haunt you, for better or worse.

Also, some customers are simply better to deal with than others. We can’t play psychologists, or be as skilled as those criminal profilers on TV dramas (like that dude who reads body language, that’s especially cool). However, there are also some red flags to look out for at the very first point of contact.

Thanks to our American friends at Hardwood Flooring Mag, with some tips that are truly universal. A summary, and a few points of our own:

BEFORE THE QUOTE:

– Do they expect you to meet them out of acceptable business hours, especially on a weekend when you should be with your family? Think about what else they may expect.

– Do they dote over their dogs? Seriously, it’s an issue. The first scratch may be blamed on you.

Sure they’re cute, but…

– Are you providing a quote to a third party, a proxy, or other, or are you dealing direct with the homeowner or primary stakeholder?

– Do they baulk at paying a deposit (presuming you charge deposits. If not, you should…) ?

– Have they been derogatory or unreasonably critical of other/ previous tradespeople? Are you privvy to the full story?

DURING THE JOB:

– Are they following you around? Tell them to go away and let you do your job, politely, of course. One contractor recently had the homeowner follow him around. Every scratch and emission of dust was queried, argued and discussed. The job took three days longer than it needed to.

– Do they change their minds about gloss level or stain colours? They’re likely to change their mind about paying you…

Read the full article here. 

Primatech Nailers

When it comes to secret nailers, Lagler Australia stand by the PRIMATECH brand.

Beautifully crafted in Canada, this range has everything you want. These are proper cleat nails, not staples, although the new P250 Pneumatic can fire staples.

The most popular overlay nailer is the Primatech Q500 Manual. It fires the perfect depth with an easy hit, using 18 gauge 32 or 38mm.

q500 overlay

For the solid boards 19mm and over you can use the H330 Manual Nailer. It’s a multi-hit, but you don’t have to bash the you-know-what out of it to make it fire.

Both the overlay and the solid-board nailers have pneumatic versions, the Q550 (overlay) and P240/ 250 (19mm).

These nailers are exceptional quality and start with a bit of change from $600.

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