Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Graham and Ashkahn have been around the proverbial float block. They’ve visited centers all over the world, consulted with them, and trained them on how to make their centers as good as possible. It’s tempting to ask them, specifically, what are some of the most common mistakes they’ve seen in this time.
Fortunately, someone did. The duo hash out exactly what they think of when it comes to both “common” and “expensive” construction mistakes for float centers, especially where those two points intersect on the float center Venn diagram of unhappiness.
FTS Blog – Float On’s Halloween Spooktacular (horror stories about float center construction)
Listen to Just the Audio
Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Graham: Yo, yo, yo, yo.
Ashkahn: Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey. This is Ashkahn.
Graham: And I’m Graham.
Ashkahn: And we have a question from somebody that we are going to answer today on this podcast.
Graham: That is a really good description of what we do here.
Graham: And that question is …
Ashkahn: Yeah, that was your cue.
Graham: Yeah, it wasn’t the best cue that I’ve taken. “What are the most common/expensive construction mistakes you’ve seen float centers make?”
Ashkahn: Yeah, there are some big ones that you can make.
Graham: Yeah, and we’ve talked about some of them here too, just kind of scattered across different episodes, so-
Ashkahn: Here’s a-
Graham: You should go back and listen to every episode and see if you can spot them.
Graham: It’s kind of like a Where’s Waldo, Where’s Waldo kind of thing.
Ashkahn: All right, let’s do this thing.
Ashkahn: Number one, the-
Graham: Carpet. Putting carpet in your float room.
Ashkahn: That’s not very common.
Graham: But it is expensive.
Ashkahn: It’s not even as expensive as other things-
Graham: It’s true.
Ashkahn: You just rip the carpet up. Number one, improperly sloped floors.
Graham: Super common.
Ashkahn: Super common and very difficult to fix/expensive.
Graham: Yeah, because you have to tear out your flooring, re-slope things.
Ashkahn: Yeah, I mean, it’s just crazy, and it’s just hard. It’s just hard. You have all these floor drains in your room and they all need to have slopes going down to them, and it’s a very small room, and you know, you don’t have this crazy elite concrete guy because you have a relatively small project compared to other concrete projects in the world.
Graham: I’d say that’s actually what makes it the most, one of the most common. A lot of people try to slope their floors. We’ve seen so many centers that they’ve made an attempt to slope their floors and what’s happens is half of the slope works and half just dumps the water out their door, or does something equally as awful, you know?
Ashkahn: Or just like a pool, as soon as you get like a little bit of puddling somewhere, it means you have to clean that spot up every single time, forever. Like, every single transition, you need to have to be like, “Okay, gotta go get this puddle spot.” That’s why it’s so annoying. Like, little tiny mistakes that lead to something where the water doesn’t go down the drain well is like, continuous ongoing work for you and your staff for the rest of the time that you have that there.
Graham: Which is expensive in staffing cost and then also expensive to fix for something relatively little. You’re like, “Wow, I wish this room drained better,” and it’s like $40,000 to go in and like actually correct it for all of your rooms, you know?
Graham: It’s insane. So yeah, that’s a really good one. I would say-
Ashkahn: Yeah, number two.
Graham: Yeah number two, was ceramic tile and cementitious grout, I would say is hugely expensive, right?
Graham: Because you need to use certain types of tile and grout for it not to be destroyed by salt water. That’s going to be, usually porcelain tile and epoxy grout. That’s not obvious necessarily if you’ve not worked in this kind of corrosive setting before. Even in wet environments they’ll use non-porcelain tile because having the non epoxy grout, because having water soak in and then be able to evaporate is actually part of how a lot of tile rooms work and function. But in this case, they can’t be porous because salt water will wreak havoc on them.
Using them not only means that you have to go back and redo all of your tile and all of your grout when it starts decaying, and cracking, and stuff like that, but you’re likely to have water damage on all of the soundproofing and the expensive work that you did behind that tile.
Graham: So likely tearing out all of yours soundproofing or at least a layer of it.
Ashkahn: Big trouble. Big trouble.
Graham: You might have mold back there in which case you need to do mold remediation as well. Yeah, so improperly sealing your walls and waterproofing in general, but I’d say within that is like a main category, is just using the wrong kind of tile.
Ashkahn: Yeah, and grout.
Graham: Yeah. Number three.
Ashkahn: Number three. Number three. Not having enough space to get your float tanks in and out of the room they’re supposed to go into.
Graham: Oh, good one. Yeah.
Ashkahn: Super common. So many stories out there of people building beautiful, nice, soundproofed, waterproofed walls, and then realizing their float tank’s too big. It doesn’t turn quite right because the hallway’s too narrow, or you’re just not quite making it up or down a staircase, or it’s not getting through the doorway, or for whatever reason, you now have to cut out a chunk of beautiful, thick, soundproof, expensive, waterproof wall, to be able to get a float tank in.
And any time you’d ever want to get that float tank out of the room, which doesn’t happen that often but it does happen, now it’s build into the room. You have to cut that same wall out. Huge trouble, super common.
Graham: Yeah, it’s a good one. That is a good one. We see it happen so often.
Ashkahn: Number four?
Graham: Number four.
Ashkahn: Number four.
Graham: Four-alido. Quattro. I would say extending your soundproofing all the way to the ceiling, or sorry, to the ceiling but not to the roof.
Graham: So not extending your soundproofing past your ceiling, all the way to the roof or the next story.
Graham: Because you’ve just built these nice soundproof walls, you’ve surrounded your float tank with them, your ceiling is finished, or it was finished before you did this. The time to do ceiling work is when there’s nothing else around for it to fall on, for you to have to kind of wedge little pieces up into the joists and stuff like that. If you don’t extend your sound proofing up past where your ceiling is so you actually have this kind of full barrier going all the way up to the next level of your building, then it means sound is just going to go right past all of your soundproofing. It’s just going to kind of hop over your wall. Like it follows the path of least resistance so it’s going to go through your thin ceiling, over the top of your wall, and back through a thin ceiling, right into your float room. It’s kind of all of this money wasted on the soundproofing that you did build because you’re not achieving near what it’s capable of if you’d just raised it up a little higher.
Ashkahn: Raise the roof.
Graham: You gotta the raise the roof.
Ashkahn: At least raise the walls.
Graham: The other expensive part is it’s not cheap to go back and replace that. To go in you either have to decide yeah, how you’re going to tackle this. Are you going to cut a thin slice of ceiling out on either side and then wedge little pieces in which is what we did at Float On, and was a very long process, and tedious, and hands still kind of hurt from thinking about doing that. Or, are you going to, yeah, tear out a bigger portion of the wall so it’s easier to extend back up? But then you just wasted a ton of money and resources building and finishing this wall that you’re now tearing out in little bits so you can extend it higher. So yeah, getting that right from the beginning is-
Ashkahn: Big trouble.
Graham: Another big one. Number five?
Ashkahn: Number five.
Graham: Number five.
Ashkahn: Number five. Not having float tanks. How many people build these beautiful float centers and then they just don’t put any float tanks in there?
Graham: Get out of here.
Ashkahn: And it’s like, what are your customers going to float in? You know? It’s crazy. Super common.
Graham: All right, number six? Do you actually have a number five over there?
Ashkahn: No, that’s it. I think those are the only problems that I think can happen.
Graham: I’ll say another one for soundproofing that’s common but not entirely expensive to fix is, getting unnecessary vibration into your float tank. You either set up the float tank so that it’s touching the wall or it’s not touching a wall, but it’s one that’s built in like a cabin style, like an ocean float room or something. When you build it in, it’s just those wooden pieces that you’re using as the mounts for the kind of outside finishing are just right up against the wall, it’s drilled into a wall. The base is just touching the floor. These are all weak points where despite all of your soundproofing, vibration is one of the hardest things to block out which is why it’s so important to completely isolate your float tank from anything else.
You know, having a vibration isolation system down underneath it where you use vibration isolation pads with a little stand on top of it. Making sure that it’s not coming into rigid contact with the walls. Making sure that even for its pump system, that the pump system is up on vibration isolation pads and there’s just no way of sound to travel through the ground, or the walls, into the float tank without some kind of disjointed semi air gap going on there. That one’s not expensive to fix, but it is really common, and it’s expensive in the sense that you’ve invested a lot in soundproofing. You’re not making like 50% out of the use to it, just because you didn’t go that extra 10% and make sure that everything’s actually isolated from vibration.
Ashkahn: Yeah. So there you go, six top reasons that six common mistakes that-
Graham: Call it five and a half. Yeah.
Ashkahn: Yeah, your last one is kind of a half one. If you guys have other questions that we can answer in list form like this, then go over to floattanksolutions.com/podcast and type them in, and you may just hear it. You may just hear us talking about it.
Graham: All right, thanks everybody.
Recent Podcast Episodes
Graham and Ashkahn kick off the New Year by discussing the things to consider when adding a float tank to an existing business. This is a fantastic episode to start with if you’ve already got a service-based business or are a practitioner looking to start up on your own and looking for ideas.
The boys talk about logistical considerations, the built-in advantages to adding on to an existing practice, as well as how nice it is to have a meatball sandwich after chilling out in a sensory reduced environment for an hour (Ashkahn has a serious one-track mind).
Graham and Ashkahn round out the end of the year by talking about all the naughty and nice things about having business partners.
It’s a shorter compilation today, which gives you plenty of time to talk to your own business partners about what you think about them!
The holidays are a busy time for float centers and it often means lots of new customers asking questions. This means it can be a really great time to brush up on the facts about floating. Fortunately we’ve formed a folio of fantastic studies for you to fancy. Feliz Navidad!
In every service business, there’s a running joke that someone likes that’s usually somehting along the lines of “this job would be great if it weren’t for all the customers!” (*cue laugh track and uproarious applause*), well, the boys have not shied away from talking about the difficult sides of running a shop like ours. We’ve got episodes about handling negative Yelp reviews, customers too intoxicated to float, and even what to do when it’s time to 86 a problematic client.
You can tell this episode was recorded a little while ago, really close to after we all got back from the Conference. The boys are a little tired today, but they still have lots to talk about.
Grashkahmn share their initial reactions to the Conference now that it’s being run by the industry as a non-profit. This is a nice episode especially if you’re looking for some insights on their behind-the-scenes perspective on this big industry event and how it has changed this year.
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