In 2015, we worked with Congoleum’s Duraceramic Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) for the first time. This required learning the ins and outs of working with a tile that was much thinner than standard ceramic tile, that didn’t require traditional portland based cement setting material, and who’s grout was acrylic based instead of cement based.
Duraceramic is set with Congoleum’s DS100 Duraset Adhesive. This needs to flash over and become tacky before installation can continue. However, before installation, there is some mandatory floor prep that must be done. These range from moisture tests to ensuring the surface that is getting LVT is clean and solid for installation.
If installing over a wood subfloor, moisture testing must be done to ensure the subfloor is within moisture requirements. In addition, the subfloor must be of adequate thickness and should be plywood. If the subfloor is not plywood, 1/4” plywood is added to ensure a smooth and moisture resistant substrate. If there is a crawl space under the subfloor, it must have a liner installed under the floor joists to ensure excessive moisture does not affect the floor above it. If this is not observed, moisture issues can occur leading to cracked grout, cupping, discoloration, in addition to other problems.
If installing on concrete, the concrete should meet the same flatness requirements and should also meet moisture requirements. Concrete floors tend to be the easiest floors to prepare on average, as moisture mitigation systems and flatness can be remedied with ease and are usually thick enough by themselves to take any floor covering.
When we installed these jobs, we had to install 1/4” Plywood, skim coat using Ardex Feather Finish, and wait for the adhesive to get tacky. The main problem was that the summer months were so humid in parts of Fargo that the adhesive was not curing, in fact, our papers were becoming damp from sitting in the room. We tried to notify the contractor in charge of the job, as we were subs at the time, and we were told to install it.
We only worked for that contractor for a few more months, but we no longer do that type of work. Thanks to our Design Audit, we now know better than to rush work and to do our homework to ensure the best results for our clients, as that’s the best form of marketing.