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MAPEI Tech Talk is a blog devoted to the flooring and construction industry. It is updated on a regular basis by the social media team at MAPEI Americas, and it will feature guest bloggers occasionally as we provide you with viewpoints from across the industry.
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October 1, 2015 - 18.28
#MAPEITechTip: What is telegraphing when installing resilient flooring?
by MAPEI Product Support
Resilient Flooring Installation
Telegraphing happens in resilient coverings (LVT, VCT, Rubber, Sheet Goods, etc…) as it is applied to the substrate—taking on any imperfections, protrusions or undulations in the substrate. Often it is as a result of poor installation and maintenance methods, and may also be a result of the type of flooring, since some floor types are more susceptible to telegraphing—consult the flooring manufacturer for special instructions when installing their flooring.
As with any installation, good surface preparation is key to minimizing the effects of telegraphing to ensure the resilient floor is place on a flat surface without 'high' or 'low' spots that can telegraph through to the finished surface.  It is important to remember that 'Surface Preparation' is no longer an option, but it should be the ‘norm’.  How many times have you walked into a hospital or shopping market and noticed waves or puckers in the VCT or resilient flooring...not only are they aesthetically displeasing, but in high traffic areas can be ‘trip hazards’.
Proper surface preparation is typically achieved by either using a skim coating or patching compound, such as MAPEI Planipatch with Planipatch Plus, Planiprep FF or Planiprep SC  to smooth out the surface prior to installing the floor covering.  A popular method to prepare large square footage areas to an acceptable flatness for resilient, is to use self-leveling underlayments—such as Ultraplan 1 Plus or Novoplan Easy Plus and an appropriate primer.  Once the surface is properly prepared, applying the proper adhesive per manufacturer’s recommendations will help avoid any issues, such as installing over semi-cured adhesive, insufficient or improper rolling of flooring that can also contribute to telegraphing—consult the flooring manufacturer for proper roller weight and rolling procedures.
What about moisture vapor (MVT, Moisture Vapor Transmission) in the concrete”—is it something to be concerned about like telegraphing? I will address moisture in the substrate (MVT) in a future blog—how to quantify and how can it be managed to ensure that both the adhesive and the resilient flooring are not compromised.
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> Comments: (2)
The control joint picture is more likely than not due to slab moisture re-equalization. What is proper fix? Epoxy in EVERY joint?
Evan Adams (October 6, 2015 - 01.41)
Good Morning Evan,
Thank you for your engaging question. There are many factors that can contribute to telegraphing under the resilient flooring such as moisture, going over ridges in the adhesives and going over movement joints.

The photo demonstrates what can happen when joints that are designed to accommodate movement in the concrete are not honored all the way through the entire resilient floor installation, but are filled with a cementitious patch instead of an elastomeric joint filler.

If a cementitious patching compound or underlayment is placed across or in these joints, the movement of the concrete will cause them to crack and break up or will push out of the joint—manifesting itself as a telegraphed joint under the resilient flooring.
Cris Bierschank (October 6, 2015 - 14.39)
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