Eleven quarters and counting.

The surge in U.S. apartment construct ion shows no signs of letting up. With 11 consecutive quarters posted of at least 600,000 units under construction, it’s safe to predict Q12 will do little to disrupt the trend.

More amazing still, all this during a global pandemic.

It’s easy to see why this go-go, up-tempo pace might put extra pressure on general and specialty contractors to meet aggressive finish dates.

Acclimation Blues

Speed is the name of the game. Consider floor installation. Many flooring product manufacturers advise a couple days of acclimation in an HVAC-conditioned environment before installing tile or sheet goods.

Good luck with that.

Acclimation is a fading installation principle Tony Pastrana has monitored for years. Few understand the consequences of ignoring it better than Pastrana, a 43-year veteran of Armstrong Flooring, a leading commercial and residential flooring products manufacturer.

Callback Risk

“You should acclimate the flooring product and the subfloor with the HVAC unit running. You want to remove lingering moisture before installation,” advises the installation training and technical manager.

Try explaining that to a slammed installation contractor. They’re willing to risk a callback on tunneling, buckling, or unsightly gaps that could result from unacclimated installation. Pastrana sees plenty of the fails, as he rules on warranty claims made in floor disputes.

“I work closely with builders and contractors to determine the cause when there’s a flooring issue. It’s important to inspect the floor to get the full picture,” Pastrana says.

Contractor Lessons

Pastrana is passionate about helping installers minimize callback risk by observing best practices. He has personally trained many crews, offering time- and cost-saving advice and tips.

“Putting a product in wet set fashion doesn’t mean dropping it on the adhesive right away. Wait 10 to 15 minutes. Let the adhesive flash off a bit. Otherwise you get a bubble underneath you can’t get rid of,” cautions Pastrana. “I explained that to an installation crew recently. That was news to them. They had no bubble troubles after that.”

Besides personal coaching from an industry pro, Pastrana offers several other ideas for callback-free installations:

  • Watch the Vid. “We post brief videos all the time on best practices. Watch them. They can really help.”
  • Use Improved Adhesive Technology. Next-gen adhesives flash off quicker, reducing waits, says Pastrana.
  • Order No-Acclimation Flooring. Pastrana cites his company’s ProMerica Max 12 no-acclimation flex luxury vinyl tile as ideal for multifamily applications. “ProMerica Max 12 features a fiberglass reinforced structure so it is very dimensionally stable and requires no acclimation so you can install it with confidence quickly and with no worries,” he says.

“Another great product is our Empower plank flooring, which we see being used in more high-end multifamily applications. Empower is also very dimensionally stable, so acclimation isn’t needed. It is the only product of its kind that can be installed under cabinets immediately with no worries,” says Pastrana. “It’s perfect for large installs. No T-mold breaks are required, so you save even more time. What’s more, it features our Diamond 10 technology coating, so the floor holds up really well to scratches and stains. Owners like it because it looks newer longer.” Pastrana adds it’s available in a variety of wood finishes and colors, including six shades of on-trend gray.

There’s probably little anyone can do to please impatient multifamily developers and owners. However, it’s good to know they and their contractors have flooring options to slash callbacks and deliver an even better project in less time.

Learn more about how acclimation-free flooring can speed your next multifamily project.