Novalis vinly flooring

mona68August 27, 2011

I found this product on a Novalis Forum web site that is now filled. I wan to continue discussing this product. I was so impressed by what I read that I had no worry about buying this product for my entire new home that was just built. Now I just have to cry. I am so uhappy with this product. I love the looks and it is exactly what I want EXCEPT it is all coming up. We hired a professional to do the install. There was trouble from the start and we took it up and were dumb enoug to buy more and give it a second try. That is how badly I wanted this floor. It now looks so bad it is making me sick and I don't know how to resolve it. We haved lived with it for months, trying to ignore it and it keeps getting worse. We did everything you were supposed to do perfectly. My husband is a General Contractor and not just a do-it-yourselfer. But because we wanted the best job we hired the professional. Has anyone had this problem and how did you resolve it?

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DHandyman

Here is my story posted on the Lowe's website and my resolution is to rip out the floor:
With all the great reviews about this product I am almost afraid to post something negative so people think, ah another poor DIYer that doesn't know what or in this case how to do it. Anyway let me give you the facts and you can judge for yourself. After removing the old carpet including all carpet staples the floor was scraped, nailed and sanded where needed. 5mm plywood, (not Lauan!) was put down with rink shank nails. All gaps filled with wood filler and sanded. Before applying Henry's vinyl tile primer floor was swept and vacuumed. So much for the prep work and since I couldn't think of anything else installation was next. Laying down the planks is pretty much a no-brainer and using a hand roller as recommended should be all to it. I did notice from the get go that a couple of planks needed some extra attention and I ended up using full boxes of Novalis planks to keep them down. The next day, which is today, I inspected the work and found that the majority of planks were in one form or shape not sticking. Even the ones with the extra weight on them did not seem to hold well. I was able to lift the tiles up with hardly any resistance. The glue was still soft and it was obvious that hardly any adhesion between the floor and the plank exists. Let me assure you, the preparation was painstakingly done, ambient temperature around 85F, low humidity (Nevada) of 25%, each plank was rolled and rolled again,... I do understand that I am obviously in the minority of unhappy Novalis customers and I have no explanation why this floor is not sticking. I still wait to receive a call back from the customer service representative, not that I expect much of it anyway.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 4:54PM
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OrchidOCD

DHandyman - I have no personal experience with this product at all - my only exposure to it has been this long thread on GW which got me to google it to read more about it. One thing that I did note about it is the operative temperature limits the mfg states - below 85F. I suspect that their adhesive fails at 85F or above, and if 85F is the extreme high it can withstand (after all, they advise using a hair dryer to warm it to remove/replace a tile) then it likely starts to loose adhesion in the 80-84F range. Logically, the vinyl wouldn't be affected by those temps, though, so you may have better luck with it using a vinyl adhesive designed to withstand higher air temps.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 5:36PM
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DHandyman

OrchidOCD, excellent observation regarding the temperature limitation and you did noticed the contradiction to heat up the tile to "reactivate the glue". In my humble opinion the glue can withstand higher temperatures than 85F, even a (recommended) hair dryer will easily do 150F, and what I should have seen is glue that is being to warm/soft should have squirted out while pressing down. No such thing. I took pictures and if somebody enlightens me how to post them I will do it, that clearly shows only, let's call it, spotty contact areas between the tile and the floor. Even planks that I weighted down over night came back up after a while, saying that the glue had ample time to cool down and stick but it did not. Since I like to understand how things work or fail in this case, I will inspect the planks that I heated up this morning and see if this helped and I will stick a plank on a piece of vinyl and concrete. People seem to have no problem with those surfaces. I also made up my mind to buy vinyl glue like a couple of posts recommended and treat it as a non self stick product. The so called warranty is not a big deal, I have only a couple of hundred bucks invested, it's for a rental so I don't charge myself labor, and Novalis still has not called back.
Thank you very much for your comment, it sure helps to get different opinions and makes you go over the problem in different ways.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 11:15PM
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xand83

DHandyman, sorry about all the trouble the Novalis is causing you. I'm installing it now in the house and have found that the vinyl glue does create a much more solid, smooth feeling across all the planks. Almost like it's down like sheet vinyl.

I haven't used much of the adhesive, just brushing a little on with a 2 1/2 paintbrush and making sure I hit the ends. One room is night & day better than the first room I installed without the glue. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 9:45AM
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DHandyman

Just a quick update. I did receive a phone call from Novalis this morning and before I even finished my second sentence the rep told me that I must have gotten a bad batch and that I should return everything to Lowes including the ones that are on the floor for a full refund. I am actually with mona68 and want this product to work. Even so Lowes confirmed the return I went ahead and purchased a small can of Armstrong glue as well as a new plank. The glue is easy to apply and the test plank (one that would not stick) is glued down waiting for an inspection. The new plank found a spot as well and went down with no glue. I will inspect everything tomorrow and report. If the extra glue does the trick I will go that route and that might be the way out for mona68 as well.
On a different note it is actually no surprise to hear something about a bad batch. I assume that could also mean shelf life of that glue. As we all know most things have an expiration date and glue definitely falls into this category. Funny thing is that I found only a couple of boxes where the production date was present. In this case it was 4/11 meaning only 4 month old. All other boxes showed only a code. No way to tell how old this stuff is. Another funny thing is that the new shipment of planks do not even show Novalis anywhere on the box. Are they getting afraid to put their name on this product? Oh well,...

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 8:57PM
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babs77

DHandyman and Mona, I'm curious to know something. What color was the backing on your planks? I've seen both a gray and a black finish.
I've installed this in 5 rooms and except for one plank that won't stay down I'm having no issues. I wonder if Mona has tried contacting the manufacturer as well???

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 10:09PM
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DHandyman

babs77, to answer your question, the backing is all black. I have done some testing and my final verdict is that you can end up with planks where the glue is simply bad. After laying down 400sqft and pulling up about 100 of it I can testify to a huge variation in stickiness. Some planks where down so good that even with a heat gun it was extremely difficult to remove but unfortunately there where enough planks that had the adhesion of a "post it" note. The bad glue could be caused due to a lot of reasons, from manufacturing variations, extreme temperatures during shipment (summer, winter, coming from China), to just simply old planks. Like I said before, glue is vulnerable to a lot of things and goes bad over time. I am glad I followed the advise with the Armstong adhesive. Just a small extra step, but those planks now stick for good.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 11:19PM
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athomesewing

Any further word from the mona68?
Anyone else having problems?
I've got a huge stack of boxes of this that hasn't been installed yet and I'm feeling apprehensive now.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2011 at 8:29PM
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