New Flooring Tool
RECENTLY attended a distributor trade show in Orlando with Estillon to present Smartfloor, a floating floor system. This was an unusual show as it was for manufacturers to show their products to distributors. Although small there was a lot of interest.
˘As you may guess I focussed on the tools being exhibited. I had seen most of them before, except for the Gundlach Hot ‘Glue 2’ Carpet Seaming System. This is designed to join carpets with various backings as double stick, but it can also be used for single stick.
I was amazed at the strength of the joins produced. I have previously used hot melt glue to join the edges of carpets for hand carving designs.
Hot melt glue is simple to join small lengths, but on larger double stick installations it is not easy.
Heat seamed joins do work, but depending on the carpet, the tape can sometimes mirror through the carpet. Even if not, it requires the join to be produced and then turned back a full width of carpet. The is difficult with longer carpets.
Some people have tried to place the heat seam tape on the adhesive, but when the heat is applied to melt the adhesive on the tape, the adhesive strength along the join can be compromised.
This new system overcomes these problems. It comprises a 110v glue gun designed with a support stand that keeps the applicator tip in the correct position on the seam.
That allows the gun to be released for both hands to remain free to press the edges of the carpet into position and to use a seam weight and/or roller to press the carpet onto the tape and adhesive.
The design of the new applicator tip prevents the glue from rising above the base of the carpet pile. The applicator tip applies the glue to the backing of the carpet by direct glue to the underside to make the seam.
The seam is produced by placing a 50mm wide fiberglass mesh tape onto the carpet adhesive and allowing it to ooze through and transfer to the back of the carpet.
In the middle of the mesh tape is a 20mm polyethylene coated paper blocker that is adhered to the centre of the mesh tape to prevent the adhesive from contaminating the edges of the carpet being seamed with the hot meld glue.
There is a tape guide to position the mesh along the seam. The hot melt glue has been formulated to give some open / working time, which allows for positioning and rolling the seam. It remains flexible after cooling.
The hot melt glue forms an inverted ‘T’ between the edges of the carpet and the underside of the backing, encapsulating the fiberglass mesh on the top of the paper blocker. The system comes in a sturdy box to keep the kit in good working order when being transported and stored in the van.
I tested the system using Egalsoft underlay (other underlays can be used), Axminster and tufted secondary backed carpets. The method is to lay the underlay and position the carpet. You then roll the tape guide along the edge of the carpet with felt tip pen in the middle to mark a line on the underlay.
Gluing the carpet can be achieved by either folding or turning back half of the length or to fold or turn back along the whole length. This will depend on the size of the roll length and personal preference.
Apply the adhesive to the underlay covering the tape line by approximately 150mm. Standing or kneeling on the side without adhesive, place the tape along the felt tip line mark which will position the tape along the middle of the seam.
Then apply adhesive to the other side and place the carpets into the adhesive gliding over the surface to give good transfer of adhesive to the carpet.
The pre-heated glue gun is then placed between the edges of the seam and by pressing the trigger and moving the glue gun along the seam dispense the glue. While applying the glue, press the edges of the seam down, roll and or use a seam weight.
In terms of materials, 25 glue sticks and one roll of tape is sufficient for 31m of seam; and 25 each of the 440 Series 10in long glue sticks are sufficient for the 100ft long roll of tape.
The advantage of this system is that it gives strength to the seam which has not been easily achieved in the past on double stick (can be used for single stick).
It will be an advantage when carpets are wet cleaned. That sometimes results in seams opening from shrinkage with woven carpets and delamination on secondary backed carpets (seams should always have seaming adhesive that will prevent fraying).
But this system is far stronger because it automatically seals the edges. It also adds strength to the seam when exposed to heavy traffic.
I lent the system to a contract company for a large installation of Axminster carpet on Egalsoft underlay using Ardex adhesive. It was a nursing home installation that had previously gone wrong; I was involved as a consultant.
The installation has now been completed with very positive feedback from the fitters. I have a feeling they won’t be keen to return the gun to me!
The big question is who will supply this new system to the UK market? Gundlach originally sent the gun via Sweeney Todd who is already a Gundlach customer.
I spoke to Simon Sweeney who agreed to order some for stock partly based on my comments and test, but also the response from the contractor Manchester Flooring (not the original contractor) which was very impressed. In my opinion this is the best innovative new tool for the flooring trade
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Sweeney Todd Blades
T: 0161 790 7850
John Roberts is a prominent consultant in flooring trade and founder of TAOFS The Academy of Flooring Skills which offers one to one and group training.
This article has been found at the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.