VINYL TIME AND SHEET FLOORING
Tiles and sheeting are available for numerous applications and vary in thickness and durability depending on the amount of wear that they will have to tolerate. Industrial and commercial environments would favour a more durable material as opposed to domestic environments where the covering would not have to be as strong.
The sub-floor should be thoroughly examined before any work is started. Sub-floors must be hard, dust free, level and dry. If the surface does not abide by any of these criteria, the covering will ultimately peel off. Adhesives used would depend largely on the type and porosity of the sub-floor. An open porous sub-floor would require more adhesive per m2 than a tight, dense sub-floor. Adhesives would be applied to the floor in small areas so that the tile can be laid before the adhesive dries out. If the area to be covered has many internal walls and openings, there will be a large wastage factor as opposed to an area with no obstructions. Areas of wastage are where the walls meet the floor and where tiles or sheeting would have to be cut to fit the remaining space.
When measuring out a room, it is wise to measure generously allowing for waste. A percentage factor of 5% is generally applied to the square metre area that needs to be covered. Purchasing the tiles or sheeting should then be done checking that the batch numbers of the material are the same. If material from different batches is used, there is a chance that the colours would vary slightly, and this is highly visible once the flooring has been laid.
Laying vinyl floor tiles
Before laying the tiles, the underside of each tile should be cleaned with a solvent to remove dirt or grease which could have accumulated there. The solvent also makes the surface more receptive to adhesives, making the bonding greater. The area to be tiled should be marked out with a pen or chalk, starting with two perpendicular lines through the centre of the room. Pour sufficient adhesive onto the sub-floor to cover a reasonable area. Spread the adhesive evenly using a trowel with standard size notches (1.5mm x 1.5mm x 1.5mm at 4.0mm centres) and spread using a semi-circular motion. Make sure not to leave any bare spots, pools or overlapping ridges.
Lay the first tile at the intersection of the two lines with the edges exactly on the lines. Following tiles will be laid against the two adjacent perpendicular lines moving out from the centre. This creates a border which makes it easier to lay consequent tiles. Make sure that the tiles are butted firmly one against the other with no gaps. Leaving gaps will trap water and dirt during use and cause the tiles to lift. Once the tiles have been laid, and while the adhesive is still in its tacky state, the tiles should be rolled over with a 68kg roller, ensuring a firmer grip to the sub-floor and removing any unwanted air bubbles.
Laying vinyl sheeting
Sheeting should be rolled out before laying and left to straighten. Laying would start along the most prominent wall that can be seen from the doorway. Ensure that no joints will occur in a doorway as this is a large traffic area and the sheeting may shift away from the joint. Allow at least 20mm overlap against all walls so that the sheet may be trimmed for a perfect fit. If the sheeting has a pattern on it, measure the second strip up against the first and mark the sheet so that the pattern matches exactly with the first sheet. Any joints occurring between sheets should overlap each other so that a perfect joint can be attained.
Once all the sheets are laid on the sub-floor, take the first sheet, and roll back about 300mm along its length. Apply adhesive evenly and collate that part of the sheet to the sub-floor. Smooth down the sheeting from one side only to avoid the formation of air bubbles. Align the second sheet with the first overlapping the two. With a straight edge and cutting knife, cut through both pieces of flooring. Remove the loose piece of vinyl from under the joint and a perfectly matching joint will remain. Fold back the first panel, spread adhesive and stick down. Repeat the procedure until all the sheets are stuck to the floor. Where joints are encountered, make sure that the two edges are pushed firmly one against the other. Once complete, all joints can be further sealed with a seam sealer. Any excess adhesive should be removed immediately with a damp rag.
Before the adhesive has had a chance to harden, the sheeting should be thoroughly rolled with a 68kg roller ensuring good adhesive transfer and to eliminate any further air bubbles.