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Commercial Flooring News

Installing LVT? Don’t Forget The Subfloor!

Paul Rogers answers flooring contractors’ questions

Q: I’m about to fit out an open plan office with carpet tiles and my client would like vinyl flooring in breakout areas where employees take their coffee breaks, I’ve got a tight deadline and obviously don’t want to do any more subfloor levelling than necessary. What vinyl product would you suggest and what adhesives do you recommend?
A: The most logical option would be to use loose lay LVT tiles for breakout areas, which also have a similar depth to carpet tiles, so you won’t need to build up the subfloor. They’re easy to cut to shape and can be fitted using exactly the same tackifier. We recommend that you use a high grab tackifier adhesive.
Q: Why do loose lay tiles need a tackifier? Can’t I just use a bit of double-sided tape to give them a bit more stability?
A: Please don’t be misled by the term loose lay. By this we mean tiles that are not intended to be permanently adhered to the floor. They are specifically designed so that they can be easily removed and replaced if needed.
Be aware though, that advice from product manufacturers on adhesives does vary and is sometimes dependent on the area of use and/or traffic levels. Some manufacturers advise that in certain circumstances, their products can be laid without adhesives or with double-sided tape, in some cases a tackifier adhesive is required.
Eliminate risks wherever possible. Avoid making ‘judgement calls’ on application criteria such as assessment of traffic levels, or interpretation of installation advice and contact the product manufacturer for clear advice if any doubt exists.
We believe that the use of a tackifier offers a simple, proven and cost effective solution, allows easy removal and always ensures a good finish – ultimately avoiding uncertainty and risk.
Q: I have a subfloor that has some surface imperfections. Will loose lay LVT cover them up?
A:: Loose lay vinyl tiles are designed for ease of installation and have the flexibility of being able to be installed on a variety of bases, but the essential subfloor requirements are the same as for any other resilient tile product.
The appearance and performance of your finished installation will always depend on the quality of the subfloor, and any irregularities or unevenness will show through.
Subfloors should be smooth, sound, clean and dry in accordance with BS8203. Do check with the product manufacturer for installation guidance on specific bases such as, new or existing concrete, raised access floors, timber and existing resilient floorcoverings.
Paul Rogers is technical specification manager at Forbo Flooring Systems

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