Author: Nancy Lines
Date: 7/5/2008 8:24 pm EDT
My husband is in a manual wheelchair with combined weight of around 300 lbs. We have a 5 year old house with commercial vinyl composition tile in the kitchen and bathroom. The tile was glued to a wood subfloor over 16 inch joists. It is cracking from the small front wheels of his wheelchair especially where he rolls under the counter and lav. We've already had some tile replaced, now we're considering having the tile completely removed and using something else. Will avaire tile have similar problems, we realize the small wheels when he turns and pivots puts a lot of pressure on a small area. We have wood laminate in the rest of the house, and it seems to be holding up great. I also don't want to have a height difference between flooring because it want him to be able to roll freely across the house.
Date: 7/6/2008 9:11 am EDT
If the floor is flat the weight of the wheelchair won't be a problem for Avaire tile. But the height betweem the laminate floor and Avaire tile is 1/4" so choosing an appropriate transition piece is important so the chair can smoothly roll from surface to surface.Tell us more about the area that will meet up to the Avaire tile and we can suggest a transition piece. Thanks
Author: Nancy Lines
Date: 7/6/2008 3:11 pm EDT
Thank you for the reply! We enter from the garage directly into a utility room, that leads into the kitche. Both the utility room and kitchen have the tile, however the utility room has a floor drain at the side of the washer. I read where you couldn't use avaire tile with a floor drain, so we would have to leave the tile in the utility room. Going through the utility room into the kitchen is through a normal 36" doorway w/door. Leaving the kitchen into the rest of the house (where the laminate flooring is) is a wide opening between cabinets and a hall wall, the opening is at an angle 76" long. The bedroom into the bath is again a 36" door way, with another doorway into the closet from the bath. I really would have liked the avaire tile to go in the utility room also, that would take care of one transition, but I don't know how we would work around the floor drain. Thanks for any ideas.
Date: 7/8/2008 9:38 pm EDT
Hold on a minute Nancy.
Your floor is a wood structure! Are the floor joists 16" deep or do you mean the floor joists are 16" on center?
It sounds as if your current vinyl tile is experiencing deflection between the floor joists. This would indicate that your subfloor may be inadequate for the tile installation you now have. The minimum thickness of a subfloor required by code is usually 5/8" thick. It isn't unusual for builders to take advantage of that minimum to save money. The truth is...a minimum thickness subfloor doesn't always qualify for certain flooring materials.
A rigid floor product such as Avaire tile may not do you service if the subfloor is deflecting. Even tho Avaire tile is much thicker than what you have now it is also very rigid and brittle and a person in a wheelchair would be delivering a tremendous point-load to the subfloor.
There is also an overall deflection requirement for tile installations of a maximum deflection of 1/360. It is not known at this time whether or not your structure meets that minimum. It sounds as if it may not.
It would be helpful to know the following:
What size are the floor joists?
What is the spacing of the floor joists?
What is the unsupported span of the floor joists?
What is the thickness of the subfloor?
What is the subfloor material used?
Knowing the answers to the above questions your deflection abilities of your floor can be determined and a suitable floor covering can then be recommended.
Not trying to discourage you using Avaire tile but at the same time not wanting you to experience another flooring failure.
Laminate flooring has a very high tolerance for deflection and if the joints aren't separating that may be your better choice.
Author: The Avaire Team
Date: 7/9/2008 1:06 pm EDT
Journeyman makes some excellent points.
While Avaire tile is vigorously tested with up to 900 pounds of dynamic weight, it sounds like your subfloor might have issues. The key requirements for a successful Avaire tile installation are flatness and structural strength. If there are "hills" and "valleys" in the subfloor (not flat enough), or loose subfloor components, or excessive deflection, there could be problems.
An Avaire floor installed over a subfloor which meets the flatness and structural requirements will handle a 300 pound wheel chair.
It is difficult to assess your situation precisely without having answers to all the questions Journeyman asks. And even then, there could be weak points in the subfloor that would cause a problem.
While we are always eager to have customers install Avaire tile, it is even more important that they love their results. In your case, with the type of failures you've already seen with the vinyl flooring, you might experience issues with Avaire (or traditional tile for that matter) with the subfloor in its current condition. To be safe, even though there is a good chance Avaire tile would perform well, I'd recommend having a professional evaluate your subfloor. We'd be happy to colloborate with you and/or your contractor to make the best possible decision.
You may reach us at 402-505-7627.
Thank you for considering Avaire tile!
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