It's getting tougher and tougher to choose the perfect flooring product for your community with the ever-growing number of colors, styles, and materials on the market. But fortunately, it's getting easier to install a number of these products, thanks to innovative installation systems for both underlayments and floor coverings ranging from hardwoods to laminates.
“We want to make it easier for the contractors,” says Dennis Socha, a business development manager for Levelrock floor underlayments at Chicago-based USG Corp. “A product is only as good as the person installing it.” The manufacturer recently introduced a new time-saving product to its family of poured gypsum-concrete underlayments. Levelrock Quik-Top, which can be applied over subfloors to provide a smooth and level surface or used as a finishing flooring product, dries within 15 hours, unlike many other gypsum-concrete underlayments that require five to six days to dry. The product's smart tagline: Pour today and cover tomorrow.
Quik-Top's speedy application helped Washington, D.C.-based developer PN Hoffman repair 105,000 square feet of uneven concrete flooring at Union Row condominiums in D.C. “We were able to level half a floor, approximately 15 units, per day,” says Carolyn Desmond, a development manager at PN Hoffman. “This product cures quickly, allowing other trades to enter the unit just hours later to continue their work. This prevented delays due to inaccessibility of units. Construction delays can cause a snowball effect, potentially resulting in a loss of money.”
Manufacturers have also made big advancements in hardwood flooring, which no longer needs to be glued or nailed to the subfloor. Notable examples include Armstrong locking hardwood and Bruce Turlington Lock&Fold flooring—both offered by Lancaster, Pa.-based Armstrong World Industries. The lock-in-place systems feature NextGen engineered technology that eliminates the need for glue, staples, or nails and reduces installation time by 30 percent to 50 percent compared to traditional hardwood offerings.
“One of the bigger challenges with hardwood flooring is for the customer to be able to install it themselves or for the professional to have products that are easier and faster to install,” says Dick Quinlan, general manager for the Bruce brand at Armstrong World Industries. “We have looked at that as a very big opportunity in the marketplace.” And customers don't have to sacrifice style for ease of application. Amstrong's locking hardwood products are available in a variety of exotic, hand-sculpted, and American-style options.