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Failures Are Often Down To Poor Preparation

Howard Golder – good riddance to bad welds – part 1

THIS month I am beginning a new series with advice from the Altro technical team on how to avoid bad welds. I will start by featuring the most common reasons why welds fail.

I see many installations of safety and smooth vinyl. Most are good, but there are plenty that don’t make the grade.

A lot of the ‘bad ones’ could have been avoided if more attention had been paid to preparation and detail. This is especially true with welding the joints in floors.

Many welds fail because of incorrect preparation, a typical example being gap welding. The two edges of the vinyl are left slightly away from each other and then welded. Although this saves time for under pressure floorlayers, in the long run it can prove to be a false economy.
The finished weld looks OK but is much weaker than it should be. If a cross section was taken of a gapped weld and grooved weld it would show two contrasting results.

The rod on the gapped weld would only be attached to the edges of the vinyl whilst the grooved weld would show the rod attached to all the groove.

A weak weld, when subjected to various forces such as footfall, expansion, contraction and so on, will eventually fail.

The consequences of weld failure can be the ingress of moisture and contamination underneath the flooring. In time this can lead to the adhesive letting go and the edges of the vinyl pulling away from the joint and rucking up. The rucked up edge of flooring creates a potential trip hazard.

Once the welded seam has failed it can be difficult to rectify and in some cases, if the subfloor is damaged, remedial work will be time consuming and costly.

– Next month we will look at the tips and techniques you can use to ensure you get a good weld every time. We’ll cover effective preparation, the best welding methods for smooth and safety vinyl, and give a few tips for achieving neat and tidy internal and external mitres.

Howard Golder is with Altro technical team
T: 01462 489405

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at