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Installing In Wet Areas – Don’t Be Wet

Peter Daulby on safety flooring in wet areas

THE selection and correct use of adhesives is more important than ever, what with the pressures for fast building, new and heated screeds, etc.

When I talk to floorlayers on-site or at our training school, and I tell them about my past career as a floorlayer, sometimes they don’t believe me when I tell them about the ‘good old days’. Back then, things were ready (usually), floors were dry, and nobody was in the way. The site labourer would even work with us sweeping the worst out of the rooms before we got to them, and clearing up after us.

I also don’t remember new floors having to be protected from other trades, as we were usually the last ones in. Ah, those heady days…

Last week the site I visited was a nightmare for the guys working on it. The problems were endless: trying to capture areas to work in; preventing people walking on new latex or a DPM that’s just been installed in spite of being coned off; trades all on top of each other.

Bearing in mind the challenges floorlayers face these days, thank heaven for pressure sensitive adhesive. It has almost become the Swiss army knife of flooring now. It’s easy to use, goes over a variety of sur faces, and is suitable for use with almost any flooring.

One frequent question on our helpline, however, is: What adhesives should you use in wet areas? We predict a lot of new projects in these locations. A new generation of safety flooring, just launched, provide slip prevention for both bare feet and shoes from a single product. For sites such as care homes and hospitals, this is a godsend, and floorlayers will need to be up-to-speed on suitable adhesives and installation techniques in readiness for these new projects.

But there’s no need to worry. Installing safety flooring in wet areas is no more problematic than in any other part of a building, as long as you follow the real basic rules. Make sure the adhesive is up to the job, and follow the manufacturer’s guide. Adhesive manufacturers spend a fair amount of time and a lot of money testing adhesives with different products on your behalf, so make use of the guides available.

If the guide says use a two-part water resistant adhesive – then use it! These guides also give trowel notch sizes, adhesive open times and often lots of extra information on floor preparation. Check the label on the tub for information about storage and temperature, so you don’t get caught out by a cold snap. Follow the guidelines and you’ll deliver a professional job ever y time.

Training courses are available from most adhesive and flooring manufacturers and are always good value for money. Even if you’ve been around a while like me, new products and methods of application are being launched all the time and it’s well worth the effort to spend a day or so going through them with the people who developed them. Peace of mind and a job well done will save you time and money in the long run. Our technical team will happily advise you. And let’s hope that the new generation of flooring for wet areas gets your phone ringing with new contracts.

Peter Daulby is regional technical services manager at Altro
T: 01462 489405

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