The expert preparation of the substrate surface of commercial flooring is considered a critical step for the successful application of the flooring system. So much time is spent on choosing the finishes and the flooring type that the subfloor preparation is often an issue that is not detailed in any contract. This omission can prove to be a costly error as the failure to prepare the subfloor properly can lead to flooring failure and result in very costly repairs.

What is Standard Floor Preparation?

Floor preparation is generally understood to mean preparing the floor to receive the chosen flooring material to be fitted by the floor covering installer. Standard floor prep is taken to mean cleaning the concrete surface before laying the new flooring material. Cleaning the concrete surface would include the removal of any contaminants, adhesives, dust, debris, or curing compounds. This floor prep could also include patching small holes and doing some minor leveling.

But what if the concrete surface needs more than just superficial preparation, and there are major repairs to be carried out, including grinding and overall leveling? The issue of who is responsible for finishing and preparing the substrate becomes important because if the substrate is not correctly completed, there will be problems during the installation period, and beyond. The result can be recurring problems with the flooring going forward such as lifting or cracking.

Who is Responsible for the Flooring Preparation?

Generally speaking, the floor covering installer’s responsibility is to prepare, not repair. The substrate contractor is responsible for ensuring that the surface is ready for the new floor covering. Many installation problems and problems that arise after the new floors have been laid are caused by inferior substrate preparation.

There are many gray areas as to who is responsible for the floor preparation. If floors need to be removed first, no-one knows what condition the substrate will be in. There are also manufacturers’ installation guidelines to be followed to ensure complicity with any warranty. The best advice would be to keep the lines of communication open with whoever is in charge of the project.  It is in your interest to operate as a member of a team for any problems arising to be sorted out promptly as they arise.

For more help and advice on substrate preparation and flooring systems, contact the experienced team at Garmon and Company.