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Neil Sanders on high temperature adhesives

THIS month I will focus on high temperature adhesives formulated for use in areas that are subject to high temperatures or to significant temperature variations.
Different floorcoverings and environments require particular performance characteristics from adhesives. As the range of floorcovering types has expanded, so too has the range of adhesives available to secure them. This has resulted in leading manufacturers developing a comprehensive range of specialist adhesives, to meet the needs of each environment and floorcovering.
The use of floor to ceiling windows is becoming increasingly common in modern buildings, as a way of allowing maximum exposure to natural lighting indoors. In much the same way as would be expected within conservatories or greenhouses, floor to ceiling windows can cause significant temperature fluctuations between the day, when sunlight warms the room, and night when the room cools.
Extreme temperatures and temperature fluctuations create a very demanding environment for flooring adhesives. The use of some traditional adhesives in high temperature areas can lead to dimensional instability, ultimately causing resilient floorcoverings to shrink or move.
Moving floorcoverings leave gaps that can threaten the long-term performance and aesthetic appeal of a finished floor, potentially leading to costly remedial work. As such, adhesive products should be chosen that offer a high resistance to heat and have a high bond strength, reducing the potential for movement when a floorcovering is subjected to variations in temperature.
In the past, flooring contractors working in areas prone to high temperatures would have used an epoxy adhesive, but thanks to advances in flooring technology there is now a water-based, solvent free, non-flammable alternative. Water-based, high temperature vinyl adhesives have high dimensional stability, making them particularly suitable for use in heavily glazed areas, including offices and conservatories.
They are protected against bio-degradation and suitable for use over normal underfloor heating installations. The high initial tack and fast drying time of water-based high temperature adhesives also makes installation easier for contractors and allows floorcoverings to be ready to receive foot traffic almost immediately.
When working with water-based adhesives, highly absorbent subfloors, such as sand/cement screeds and plywood, should be primed to prevent rapid drying of the adhesive, which would reduce the open time.
When installing a new floor, adhesive products that have been specifically developed for particular applications should always be considered before general-purpose adhesives. Using a high temperature adhesive in conservatories or other areas prone to extreme temperature fluctuation will ensure the long-term performance of a new floorcovering – maintaining its appearance and helping to avoid remedial work in the future.
Neil Sanders is technical director for F Ball and Co
T: 01538 361633

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