Flooring installation mistakes
Quality flooring installation can challenge even the most experienced pros. Each material can be problematic in its own way. Mishandling these trouble spots can trap an installer into attempting a cosmetic cover-up, or require a return call to address a quality issue. Heed the advice of these seasoned installers when laying floors and avoid these 10 common flooring installation mistakes.
Tiling directly on concrete
As a substrate for tile installation, concrete presents more issues than you might think, with the potential for reflective cracking that happens when concrete cracks through shrinkage related to curing, or because of shifting sub layers below it. These cracks can create stress that cracks the tile layer too.
Laurent “Frenchy” Billaud, who owns a tile installation company, says he often sees floors where the installer skips putting down a crack isolation membrane. As its name implies, the membrane isolates the concrete (or plywood) from the tile layer, allowing it to float unaffected by whatever movement and stresses happen below. When properly installed underneath an entire floor, manufacturers “will often warrant the entire installation, including the cost of replacing and installing new tile.”
Beware: A crack isolation membrane does not take the place of expansion joints in a tile flooring installation. It works in tandem with them.
Insufficient subfloors below natural stone
Billaud also notes a preparation mistake common to natural stone installations. “If you have a subfloor composed of regular 3mm plywood and you install your stone directly on that, chances are that it will crack,” he says. “You need a second layer of plywood, glued and screwed.”
Furthermore, the upper layer should be offset so the joints in the two layers do not match up. The screws for the top layer should only anchor into the layer below, not penetrate the joists.