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Commercial Flooring News

Help To Stop You Coming Unstuck

So you are looking to select and apply flooring adhesives. Well, you won’t do any better than following the expert advice on this and the following page from the CFA, FITA and NICF:
Selecting the right adhesive:
The correct selection of adhesive plays a crucial part in the successful installation of any floorcovering and it is therefore important that full details of the subfloor, site conditions, in-service conditions and floorcovering itself etc., are made fully known to all parties at an early stage.
Since the basic purpose of the adhesive is to bond two different surfaces together and ensure that they remain together under the expected service conditions and for the full term of the installation, it is essential that a fully compatible adhesive is chosen.
Most adhesive manufacturers work extremely closely with the appropriate floorcovering manufacturers and publish extensive recommendations for adhesive suitability with particular floorcoverings.
Many factors affect the choice of adhesive; the following lists the most important:
1. type of floorcovering;
2. backing of floorcovering;
3. type of subfloor;
4. temperature requirements (e.g. presence of underfloor heating, use in conservatory etc.);
5. horizontal or vertical bond;
6. permanent or release bond;
7. internal or external installation;
8. special in-service requirements (e.g. electrical conductivity, wet areas etc.);
9. health and safety considerations.
Due to environmental issues there are now more solvent free, low odour, low VOC (volatile organic compounds) and water based products being marketed. Gradually more contractors and fitters are prepared to accept these products, moving away from the long held belief that adhesives that do not smell do not work properly.
Lack of odour is an increasingly important issue for food processing plants and those installations carried out in occupied buildings or where people are to be admitted as soon as a project ends. No client can risk smell sensitive claimants seeking compensation for subsequent health problems.
Manufacturers’ guidelines on product use are now often issued in CD and on-line formats, as well as in book form, to make the information as accessible as possible to avoid problems during and after installation.
Since the basic purpose of the adhesive is to bond two different surfaces together and ensure that they remain together, under the expected service conditions and for the full term of the installation, it is essential that a fully compatible adhesive be chosen.
Most adhesive manufacturers work extremely closely with the appropriate floorcovering manufacturers and publish extensive recommendations for adhesive suitability with particular floorcoverings.
Application of the adhesive:
Most flooring adhesives are conventionally applied by steel trowel with 60deg V-shaped notches along each edge. The depth and spacing of these notches are specified to control the quantity of the adhesive applied and to suit the floorcovering being laid.
With some adhesives it is possible to follow on using a roller, pre-wetted with adhesive, to flatten out the ridges and minimise ‘grin’ through of adhesive.
The adhesive manufacturers take great care to ensure that the correct trowel notch size is specified for each adhesive and situation, and it is essential to follow their recommendations. It is important that the correct notch size is maintained throughout the adhesive application.
Alternative methods of application, such as spray and roller, offer the advantage of applying the adhesive from a standing position and, with spray in particular, means that faster application rates can be achieved. Both these methods of application require specially formulated adhesives and will provide adhesive coatings without the normal ridged pattern.
It is important to remember that adhesives must be applied at the correct temperature and that good drying conditions are maintained throughout the installation. The open time of the adhesive should never be exceeded.
All adhesives must be used in accordance with the instructions provided by the manufacturer and the British Standard Codes of Practice.
Good working practices must be maintained at all times. Some adhesives may incorporate quantities of organic solvent. If this renders the product flammable, the container will be labelled accordingly.
All safety instructions should be followed and where necessary. The correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be worn as detailed in the manufacturers Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
All adhesives must be applied to clean, structurally sound and dry substrates. Guidance on the correct subfloor preparation should be closely followed.
Types of adhesive:

Gum spirit (resin alcohol) adhesive: A solution of resin and polymer, normally in industrial alcohol and containing filler and other modifiers. Highly flammable. Traditionally used with linoleum.
Lignin paste adhesive: An aqueous dispersion of sulphite lye and filler. Non-flammable.
Synthetic rubber dispersion adhesive: An aqueous dispersion of resin, synthetic rubber, filler and other modifiers. Solvent containing, solvent free and low VOC types available. Non-flammable.
Contact adhesive (rubber solution): A solution of synthetic rubber in organic solvent. Contains resins or other modifiers and/or fillers. Can be both flammable and nonflammable, applied to both adhered ends. When touch-dry, as soon as the two parts are brought together with a firm, but not sustained pressure, a bond will develop.
Contact adhesive (solvent free): A dispersion of synthetic rubber in water. May contain resins, modifiers and/or fillers. Non-flammable.
Acrylic adhesive: An acrylic ester copolymer emulsion containing resin modifiers and/or fillers. Solvent containing, solvent free and low VOC types available. Non-flammable, ideal for plasticized PVC and most modern floorcoverings. The range includes tackifiers (or pressure sensitives) and black conductive adhesives.
Pressure sensitive adhesive: An acrylic ester copolymer emulsion that may contain resin modifiers. Non-flammable.
Bitumen solution adhesive: A blend of bitumen in organic solvents with the addition of powdered and/or fibrous mineral fillers. Flammable. Bitumen in solvent for thermoplastic tiles and wood blocks.
Bitumen emulsion adhesive: An aqueous emulsion of bitumen containing rubber and/or other modifiers, which may contain mineral fillers. Non-flammable. Retains a high degree of moisture resistance. Used for installing thermoplastic tiles, wood blocks and mosaics.
Epoxy adhesive: Two component adhesive consisting of epoxy resin and hardener, which are mixed together immediately before use. Both components may contain fillers and other modifiers. Non-flammable and flammable types available. Usually for rubber and plasticized PVC in conservatories, wet rooms, industrial kitchens or for exterior use. As coatings for surface applied moisture membranes.
Polyvinyl acetate (PVAC) emulsion adhesive: An aqueous emulsion of polyvinyl acetate homopolymer or copolymers, which may contain fillers and other modifiers. Nonflammable, for use with timber, including close fitting joints such as tongue and groove jointing of flooring boards and panels. Can be used as a primer to reduce the porosity of subfloors.
Polyurethane (PU) adhesive: One or two component types are available, often in solution in organic solvents. Flammable and non-flammable types available, usually a two part system for timber floors and a single pack product for use without mixing for surface membranes and rapid bonding of timber where a small expansion during cure is not critical.
Conductive adhesive: Specially formulated adhesives to allow installation of fully conductive and anti-static floorcoverings.
Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) and VOC free: Adhesives with decreased or eliminated organic solvents. VOCs are man made chemicals with high vapour pressure and low water solubility found in a wide range of products in many industries. High VOCs are believed to be harmful to people and to the environment.
Low solvent and solvent free: The chemical liquid used to dissolve an adhesive compound has been reduced or removed from the formula. This reduces the smell, but the adhesive mixture may still contain eye and skin irritants.
Dispersion adhesive: Consisting of a stable dispersion of a polymer in liquid that remains fluid, usually water.
Emulsion adhesive: A stable emulsion of a liquid hydrophobic resin in water, i.e. the resin does not absorb the water so the emulsion remains fluid.
Note: Some of the above types, which are normally non-flammable, may incorporate small quantities of organic solvent. If this renders the product flammable, the container will be labelled accordingly.

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.