There’s no need for carpet installation costs to spiral out of control. Today, I’m exploring ways to reduce four of the biggest hidden costs of installation: moisture management, labor, warranties, and priming and sealing.
1) Moisture Management
Moisture management can be a serious concern during the installation process, and if left untreated, high levels of relative humidity (caused by curing concrete or fluctuating water tables) can cause serious problems down the line.
Many carpet manufacturers offer a low relative humidity rating on their standard carpet products, and many conventional water-based adhesives can break down in high moisture environments. If you’re concerned that you may have a moisture problem, this can necessitate expensive and time-consuming testing, and sometimes, the purchase of specialized (and more expensive) carpet and adhesives.
Thankfully, some manufacturers’ standard carpet products are designed to withstand greater levels of moisture, using moisture wicking technology to reduce the impact of sub-floor water. By pairing these products with “dry adhesives” (like TractionBack, or some forms of pressure-sensitive tape adhesives), standard carpet tiles can be installed in relatively humid environments (of up to 85% relative humidity) – reducing installation costs in the process.
Learn more about managing moisture during your next flooring install: 4 Easy Moisture Management Solutions for Your Next Flooring Install.
2) Priming and Sealing
Many organizations solve the problems of moisture management and floor compatibility by priming and sealing the sub-floor. The practice is so common that many people assume it’s an unavoidable part of the installation process – but in truth, the costs of purchasing primers and sealers, and the labor costs of applying them, can often be avoided.
Issues with floor compatibility are caused by a problem known as plasticizer migration. This happens when the PVC found in some carpet tiles reacts with adhesive left-over from previous floor installations. In addition to being detrimental to health, the carpet’s adhesive begins to breaks-down into a gooey mess, and the tiles begin to slide around the floor.
While the problem can be solved by priming and sealing, these costs can be avoided by choosing carpet tiles with a non-reactive backing. Certain types of cushion backing (like open cell cushion backing) don’t contain any PVC, and won’t react with residual adhesives; and when combined with floor compatibility warranties offered by some manufacturers, you can reduce the need for priming and sealing. This can easily equate to savings of $2-$3 per square yard of flooring.
In many parts of the country, labor costs are an expensive part of the installation process. Thankfully, in addition to saving costs by ditching primers and sealers, your choice of carpet tile size can also have a huge impact on labor costs. In a large, open space, larger 1m2 tiles will require fewer tiles to be installed; and in a small, narrow environment, like a corridor, specially-shaped carpet planks will be easier to fit, and require less time spent trimming carpet tiles down to size.
Learn more about the pros and cons of different carpet tile sizes: Why Do Carpet Tiles Come in Different Sizes?
The costs of flooring installation can extend further than you might expect.
In particular, some manufacturers’ warranty programs require organizations to follow very specific floor preparation and testing procedures during the installation process. Without following these specific directions, an otherwise legitimate warranty claim can be voided by the manufacturer.
Lastly, there’s an important caveat to consider. While it’s important to avoid the hidden costs of carpet installation, it’s just as important to ensure that cost-saving measures don’t negatively impact the performance of your carpet in the long-term. In most cases, the long-term costs of ignoring problems during the installation process will be far greater than the short-term costs of addressing the problem. After all, installation is just the start of your carpet’s lifetime – and you’ll be living with your choice for years to come.
Learn more about the hidden costs of carpet tile installation (and how to avoid) them, and download our whitepaper now.