VCS Products Pty Ltd
“The Flooring Solutions People”
The worldwide trend is towards timber flooring that is installed by the DIY installer. Costs of labor and the relative ease with which many processes may be accomplished makes this a trend well within the ability of a handyman. The ability to work to a method is the key to success in this task and at VCS Products Pty Ltd we attempt to pass on the methodology that makes for a successful result.
The flooring industry has a lot to offer and the techniques now in use have been well established by professionals for many years. This takes the ‘trial and error’ out of the equation. Especially where you receive some training from a company within the industry it becomes easier to achieve good results.
VCS Products Pty Ltd was established in 1989. We have been involved in the industry at a practical, technical and training level for many years. We are delighted to pass on our knowledge to assist. In addition VCS Products Pty Ltd offer all of the products that are required to achieve a good result and provide additional technical support. A hire service rounds out our range allowing the DIY enthusiast to use professional grade tools.
Tools of the Trade
Many people have an existing collection of tools. As you look through this list you may see items that you already have. While each floor will require some individual tools it is important to make use of the correct tools for a great result.
The most often used tools are;-
3mm Drill Bits
As you go through these modules make note of any items that you may need for your project.
Concrete is a good surface to fix flooring onto. However many floors fail because of moisture problems associated with concrete. To avoid this there are certain facts that the installer must be aware of.
1. Concrete must be dry to the point that it does not release moisture
2. Concrete must be mechanically prepared by sanding to ensure it is clean and sound.
3. Concrete should be reasonably level. 3-4mm deviation over 3lineal metres for direct fix to be free of ‘hollow-spots.’
Concrete cures at a rate of 25mm per month from the last time that the slab was wet.
Therefore a 100mm thick slab will require 4 months from the roof installation to reach a
suitable installation point.
It is always important to check that moisture will not intrude.
A simple moisture test involves placing a piece of clear plastic sheeting on the floor 1m x 1m and taping the edges to the concrete. After 24hours there will be some slight fogging of the plastic if moisture is coming up.
Mechanical preparation is a must. Washing the concrete or using chemicals causes concerns with adhesives etc. A good rough sand with coarse 16grit, 20grit or 24grit paper will provide an excellent surface for installation.
Concrete is not level. There will be height variations. A straight edge will show that the floor has dips in places. As long as these are not extreme dips [6mm or greater] they will not interfere with the finished product. If there are large dips these must be filled with a suitable leveling compound such as Ardit K15. [a cement based filler]
Sealing The Slab Why & How? Should We Seal The Slab?
In most cases the answer is yes. When you fix timber to concrete it is important to remember that timber has the potential to expand markedly. This can result in cupping which detracts from the appearance of your floor. When you seal the floor using SIKA 156 [moisture barrier] you prevent moisture affecting the floor from below. This is the best protection that you can provide. Even if your flooring contractor suggests that it isn’t required we would strongly suggest that it would be needed. We have seen instances where a floor has failed due to moisture ingress. There is every chance that the floors would have survived were they to have been installed using SIKA 156 Moisture barrier and T55 adhesive.
In Australian Standards the recommendation for moisture levels in concrete is based on 5.5% as read on a Protimeter. As there is a margin for error in these readings we have always recommended a maximum of 5%. This is the maximum moisture content in the concrete on which a timber floor is to be installed. NOTE: this is a Protimeter reading – not the actual moisture content of the concrete.
Which Product Should I Use?
The industry standard is SIKA 156 Moisture Barrier. This Barrier penetrates into the slab and prevents moisture from reaching the timber. Supplied in kits to suit all applications.
4Kg Kit = 22 – 25m2
16Kg Kit = 88 – 100m2
Dependant on how porous the slab is.
DIY timber floors are not as difficult as some people might consider. In fact we have assisted people with projects up to 400m2. All DIY!
The key to the systems is Sikaflex. When you use a Sikaflex system you are assured of an outstanding level of adhesion to the concrete or sub-floor surface. Some people have argued that a stiff adhesive approach is successful however in time the flaws in this approach are apparent. Either extreme is prone to failure; either too flexible or too stiff. Sikaflex gets this balance just right. Not being stiff it is not prone to cohesive failure [ where the glue hold the timber and the floor yet shears in the middle causing lifting] and not being too flexible it does not allow cupping unless under very high levels of stress such as a major floor. After 25 years we have never seen anything better than the Sika approach.
Sika Systems are just that. Complete systems designed for peace of mind. For Solid timber use T55, for Bamboo use T53 & over difficult situations speak to us about the possible variations. We can offer genuine practical advice that works.
FLOORING PACKAGE EXAMPLE