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Commercial Flooring News

Don’t Be Confused By Choice Of Adhesives

Graham Stott, resilient product manager at Mapei, advises caution when selecting adhesives suitable for different products:

THERE is a vast array of adhesives available on the market today that have different purposes. These products can appear identical in behaviour but are specified for particular materials and applications.

These adhesives have been formulated to perform the specific task of securing different types of floor finishes, providing a lasting bond throughout the life expectancy of the floor coverings. So while it may seem the vast options available can be confusing, it is dedicated to the required and expected final result.

The variations are based around the concept that each floorcovering has its own characteristics – differentials can be found in absorption, porosity, flexibility, stability and density. The inclusion of underfloor heating as well as the final intended purpose of the floor can also determine the choice of adhesive. It demands that the adhesive employed to secure the flooring can comfortably overcome any peculiarities that may be inherent in the floor finishing materials. Most floorcovering adhesives for resilient and textiles are of a water dispersion type, apart from dedicated ‘wet areas’ where polyurethanes are often favoured. Constant development via extensive research has resulted in refinements to these products.

Along with the development of adhesives to specifically suit certain floor finishes, many European manufacturers have developed these products to return a higher yield. This means significantly less product is applied to the floor, whilst maintaining the high adhesion qualities.

The generalisation of applying most water based adhesives with a single size trowel, generally an A2 notch, eliminates the error of too little adhesive. Adhesive starvation will result in the carrier of the adhesive, in this case water, evaporating at a faster rate, causing the product to cure too quickly and lose its tack, giving the same effect as late placement.

It also prevents too much adhesive being applied. Too much product slows down the release of the carrier and results in moisture entrapment. Both scenarios are recognised common occurrences in the resilient

flooring industry.

Some in the industry are suspicious regarding the volume against weight packaging, however judging from our experience at Mapei most installers merely want the information on coverage they will yield per unit to be a realistic and true figure when deciding on their adhesive choice.

It is also worth noting an adhesive’s environmental credentials. The demand for environmentally friendly products has vastly increased in the last few years. Products holding EC1 or EC1 Plus for very low emission of level of volatile organic compounds contribute towards LEED and BREEAM standards, providing a healthier environment for the installer as well as the end user.

In summary, while the choice of adhesives available on the market can be overwhelming at first glance, when using the right adhesive, the results will be effective and long lasting. Research continues to improve adhesive coverage, environmental impact and overall value.

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