Flooring Magazine recently sat down with industry stalwart, Australian Flooring Supplies (AFS), to discuss tools and accessories for this month’s feature.

Ask anyone with experience in the flooring industry for advice and they will tell you the same thing, you should always use the right tool for the job.

Many of us have learnt this the hard way and many newcomers are still looking for a quick-fix when they can. The result is an inferior job in the short-term and the potential for time consuming and costly problems that demand fixing in the long-term.

For example, we often see installers using electric tackers for larger applications where an air powered tacker should be used instead. Electric tackers are designed for quick fixes and short sporadic uses, not continual use for hours on end. Using electric tackers incorrectly like this causes overheating which often leads to jamming and snapping.  By using tools that are inadequate for the job, you also risk damaging them.

When concrete grinding, sanding or scraping concrete subfloors, using vacuums and dust extractors equipped with HEPA filters is incredibly important. Cheap vacuums just don’t do the job and can be hazardous to installers’ health.

Maintain your tools

If you are an installer who relies on your tools for a living, not caring for them could end up costing you considerably in the future. Even premium tools that are designed to last for many years can quickly deteriorate when inadequately maintained. For example, at the end of the day make sure your electrical equipment is stored inside or in a garage. Too often we hear of tools being left in ute trays where moisture can affect internal components.

Top tips for looking after your tools

  • Undo your Jamb Saw’s blade clamp and screw before first use (as these are on machine tight).
  • Change Carbon brushes and remove dust in Jamb Saws.
  • Use the correct staple size, as specified by the manufacturer, in all types of staplers (Roberts 15mm tacker staples specifically suit 10-600 stapler).
  • Keep your nap and pin plates clean in all knee kickers.
  • Check the use by date of your gas cells and only use in date gas cells in all types of nail guns (BEA/GFS).
  • Replace Delrin guides on your Roberts wall trimmer when they become worn so skirting boards are not marked and scratched.
  • Replace your carpet tucker wheels if chipped or damaged to insure a cleaner finish.
  • Make sure all cutters/knives and trimmers have clean, fresh blades in them to ensure the best result when cutting and trimming.
  • Be sure to clean the nozzle on your Gekko contact spray to make sure you spray only the area that requires glue, not the entire wall (nasty clean up that one).

 “A lot of tools are now supplied in blow mould cases to protect them. Yet we often see these tools come in for repairs without the case. Take advantage of this tailor-made product protection and safeguard your toolkit.”

Knowledge is power

Whether you are newly qualified or more experienced, we all have gaps in our knowledge. Staying on top of the latest innovative products on the market and the cutting-edge techniques currently used within the industry can be time consuming. However, it is always important to build on your knowledge and skills to help you get the job done better and faster, so you can stay competitive in what some describe as a ruthless industry.

“Attend trade events and manufacturers’ information events. All flooring accessory distributors go to great lengths to bring up to date product information and installation procedures to market as per each manufacturer’s recommendations. Take the time to attend and learn.”

Flooring has been rapidly evolving over the past few years. This has created more affordable options for consumers, but has also made it harder for them to identify the core differences between each type of product. Similarly, installers now need to be experts in identifying specific materials used in each type of product as well as that product’s best installation method.

Flooring installation today

Whilst every installer needs the stock standard tool kit to get the job done, we are seeing a slight shift in the particular tools and accessories required in 2019.

Here are a few innovations the team at AFS have recently seen;

  • For those harder to cut Hybrids and thicker vinyl planks guillotine cutters are now replacing knives. The ROBERTS 630mm Pro Flooring Cutter is a guillotine-style cutter manufactured to cut precise, clean-edges on all types of flooring materials.
  • Installation of Vinyl sheet can be made easier and faster with the aid of the new Roberts Cove Trimmer, this tool can be used to not only mark the wall glue line but also cut the sheet vinyl at the top of the cove.
  • New and improved Jamb Saw. With the advent of 5mm products and laminates we are now able to quickly and cleanly cut a channel in the skirting without having to remove and replace. It now also features a vacuum port to save time cleaning wood chips and dust.
  • Gas nail guns have made putting down Smoothedge quicker and easier over concrete floors. Try GFS 10-1000 and BEA 10-15928.
  • Gekko aerosol cans and canisters have made spraying down pressure sensitive adhesive and contacts faster and easier, allowing for quick installations and repairs
  • Makinex tools have made take ups and levelling floors easy. Using the Makinex Jack Hammer Trolley lightens the lifting load. With the Makinex mixing station you can mix five bags of levelling compound in one go. As it is on wheels it is also easy to move around the site so you can pour directly out of the station where ever it is needed.
  • Cyclone’s range of concrete grinders and polishers use helical gear drive, just like your car’s transmission to produce high torque machines with no wear and less noise. Concrete and stone grinding and polishing have never been easier.
  • Moisture Fix by Oxtek – a one-step application moisture protection for concrete slabs. Pour and sweep over slabs, it’s just that easy.

Australian Flooring Supplies (AFS) is an established and well-known brand with a solid reputation within the flooring trade industry.  As one of Australia’s largest flooring accessory distributors and a design-led flooring company, AFS is a total flooring solution. They have everything from nails, adhesives and blades to cement mixers, tile cutters and 1.6 tonne carpet cutting machines, catering for all of your flooring installation needs.

With 20 conveniently located branches throughout Australia – including four in VIC, nine in NSW, one in the ACT and six in QLD – shopping with AFS is easy. For branch locations visit www.australianflooringsupplies.com.au

Pictured: Gekko Water Based Tackifier (G67-C)