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Bad, Bad Testing

#1
Need to hop on my soap box again about proper testing or lack thereof.

I'm between testing trips to a franchise location for a well known hair salon with a massive failure. Due 90% to improper RH testing and 10% to bad substrate prep for self-leveling.

In short, the installer "self-tested" by drilling one hole, and utilizing either a Tramex or Delmhorst type system, letting it sit for 20 minutes, and telling the owner there was no moisture problem Huh(no slamming manufacturers intended here).

Next, they installed their self-leveler and installed the (expensive)sheet flooring. It started releasing in a few weeks. Tried re-gluing a few times with the same results.

Six months later now, I'm call to conduct RH tests, and what to I find? Readings that climbed from 75% RH to 85% within 5 minutes of inserting my Wagners. Worse still was finding absolutely NO substrate prep under the disbonding self-leveler...thick cutback adhesive, carpet adhesive, even a dead bug!!!

And I just keep asking myself, why do "professionals" do this to unsuspecting, trusting customers? And when are manufacturer specs going to require "testing performed only by ICRI Certified independent testing technicians".

To me, it's just smart business!!! And think of all the flooring failure claims that might be avoided. Just the administrative costs to the Armstrongs and Forbos of the world must be staggering!!!

Geez, I'd bet we could all meet in the Bahamas for a couple of weeks on what they all spend!!!

I forgot to mention, a walk around the building revealed the water penetration points. Time for the landlord to step up too!!
JK Nixon
Concrete Restoration Services, LLC
Pittsburgh, PA
http://www.rhtester.com
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#2
(12-18-2012, 02:35 PM)CCR Wrote:  And I just keep asking myself, why do "professionals" do this to unsuspecting, trusting customers? And when are manufacturer specs going to require "testing performed only by ICRI Certified independent testing technicians".

To me, it's just smart business!!! And think of all the flooring failure claims that might be avoided. Just the administrative costs to the Armstrongs and Forbos of the world must be staggering!!!

Mega agree.

Just as an aside, JK- who calls you for the test- the salon themselves or a project manager/ such like?
The problem with socialism is that you soon run out of other people's money.
- Margaret Thatcher

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#3
It was actually the flooring distributor initially who then referred the owner to me. Owner is paying for the test.
JK Nixon
Concrete Restoration Services, LLC
Pittsburgh, PA
http://www.rhtester.com
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#4
To be candid, I and a handful of others have an interest in seeing some kind of industry drive towards testing by independent (certified) agencies.

That said, it's still simply the best common sense approach and hopefully the industry will eventually push it. We know the wheels turn slowly in this regard but it's encouraging to know that independent agencies are currently getting some work anyway. I'm all set up and ready to go, but haven't yet gone out into the big wide world of marketing the service, and I'm blessed with gainful employment in the meantime.

Equally, there's nothing wrong with mitigation specialists like JD being responsible for testing. There's no "vested interest" other than seeing that flooring doesn't fail. It still safeguards against the Builder/ GC/ Installer-invoked pressure to rush installation.

What worries me is that, if it takes a long time to get the message across in the US, how long will it take here!
The problem with socialism is that you soon run out of other people's money.
- Margaret Thatcher

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#5
I for one am making a go of it as a tester. While not out every day testing, my business is growing slowly. My web site has helped but I'm still trying to figure out the "path of least resistance" to getting business from GCs vs. Installers. I do know that architects absolutely have the power to specify third party testing, but few do that I have seen. And countless flooring installers want to, or are asked to test by the GCs here in the States.

I agree, mitigation specialists such as JD are typically well qualified to test, but many prefer someone else do it.

All I know for sure is that over the next couple of years, I hope to be in a position to cease installing self levelers and toppings to supplement my income. I'm getting to old to be hurling around 50 lb bags of stuff all day long.!
JK Nixon
Concrete Restoration Services, LLC
Pittsburgh, PA
http://www.rhtester.com
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#6
What a sad situation.

I see this so often it makes me sick. When you ask that installer what the RH was, he'll tell you it was 72% and he tested it with a such-n-such tester. He'll tell you he did everything properly and he doesn't know where the moisture is coming from, but IT'S NOT HIS PROBLEM.

And he'll get away with it.

I believe either the flooring manufacturer should mandate independent testing to receive the warranty (they get a tarnished reputation no matter whose fault it is) or the building owner should demand an independent tester. On large jobs the Architect or GC should also demand an independent tester, and I believe EVERYONE must also do their own testing.

I have been doing this for 17 years now, and you wouldn't believe the 'testing' I have seen. Even the biggest professional certified testing companies can screw testing up royally. It doesn't take much time or money for the GC, flooring installer, architect or owner to place a few of their own Wagners in the concrete and see if they agree with the reports they are seeing.

Anyone with a vested interest should be verifying the results. It's fast, cheap and easy.

And Pat if you come back with some sassy remark about fast cheap and easy I swear I'll hop a plane and track you down... I know what's going through your mind Tongue
JD Grafton
Concrete Answers for Flooring Problems
[email protected]
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#7
Everything you said JD is on the money. I truly believe in time, more and more specs will require independent testing. As far as the big testing companies, you don't always get what you pay for except a heck of a sales pitch and a high price.
JK Nixon
Concrete Restoration Services, LLC
Pittsburgh, PA
http://www.rhtester.com
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#8
(12-20-2012, 08:34 PM)CCR Wrote:  you don't always get what you pay for except a heck of a sales pitch and a high price.

You hit that on the head! Wink
JD Grafton
Concrete Answers for Flooring Problems
[email protected]
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#9
I am now moving away from ICRI as a testing authority. What contractors have done in California is they have a senior 'guy' who has worked for the firm for his whole career retire. Then he goes and gets an ICRI cert. Then when I tell someone to go to the ICRI website they hire XYZ company to do testing. Then XYZ company comes in and does testing and the 'guy' pushes the work to his old shop who then switches the product out. (probably with some level of referral or kickback)

So, now, I am taking the ICRI out of my testing specs and am requiring the tester to be independent from any manufacturer or subcontractor on the project. And if I find out that the above is going on, I will throw them under the bus. Also I am pushing that the testing firm has to do 'materials testing' aka more than just moisture as I usually know the 'retired guy' isn't going to have / isn't smart enough to get through the school to get a PE after his name. Key is to not let the PE's do 1869 testing since they never do it right and almost always get false low test results. The best moisture only testing firms I work with have very strict statements of non-collusion and non-involvement in their literature and contract. Those people I can trust. Just cant trust ICRI's list anymore to have pro's on it. Heck, there is one tester on the ICRI list I called up and asked for RH testing. He didn't even have RH testing equipment. Said 'oh well the dome test is good enough for most people'. I don't think ICRI does a good enough job on re-certification. You should have to be re-certified every few years minimum or get taken off the list.

I also have to be careful about the moisture sealing companies. I caught one of them referring my questions to one of my competitors because they don't have a great marketing effort out here and rely on this sub to do their 'bidding' but that sub also has a flooring business that competes with me.

Like I now have as a mantra. You have to be careful to avoid a fox & hen-house issue.
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#10
I wish more thought like you. I have a statement on my home page which I actually need to update to include my independent position away from any manufacturer. As far as 1869...I just won't do them anymore. Too often, if it's done with 2170, they want to proceed with installation based (often) on the lower MVER number Huh

Just yesterday, I read the installation specs for a sheet flooring from a well known flooring manufaturer who actually stated in their literature to install based on the lower of the two test results Huh

Ya know, it seems like there should be an organization made up exclusively independent testing companies (like me) who do nothing else...period. While perhaps not bullet proof, it is probably the best way to keep the fox out of the hen house.
JK Nixon
Concrete Restoration Services, LLC
Pittsburgh, PA
http://www.rhtester.com
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