Make Sure Your Word Is Your Bond
Neil Sanders on specialist adhesives
WITH so many different products on the market, selecting the best adhesive for each flooring job can be difficult.
An adhesive that works well in one setting might not be compatible with another. Choosing the right adhesive for the job can offer significant timesaving opportunities for contractors working to tight deadlines, and guaranteed, lasting results for customers.
General purpose adhesives, which are compatible with the majority of floorcoverings on the market, fill an important role for flooring contractors and can be used to secure a wide variety of flooring types.
However, contractors who gamble by using the wrong adhesive for the floorcovering are opening themselves up to potentially costly mistakes. Every flooring project presents unique challenges.
l Fast-track adhesives: Modern flooring contractors are under increasing pressure to complete jobs to tight deadlines, often competing for working space with other tradesmen.
With such pressure to bring rooms into use as quickly as possible, fast-track vinyl adhesives are now available that deliver maximum flexibility when installing tile and sheet vinyl floorcoverings.
Strong initial grab and fast drying properties of fast-track adhesives allow for early placement of floorcoverings, which means that vinyl tiles can be placed and receive foot-traffic immediately, minimising the downtime of the area.
Versatile, modern, fast-track adhesives also offer an extended open time, giving flooring contractors flexibility in the way that they install new floorcoverings.
l High temperature adhesives: Extreme temperatures and temperature fluctuations can lead to dimensional instability in traditional flooring adhesives, causing resilient floorcoverings to shrink or move. Moving floorcoverings leave gaps that threaten the long-term performance of a finished floor.
Floor-to-ceiling windows, particularly, promote sunlight levels that can cause significant temperature fluctuations, necessitating the use of adhesives that offer high resistance to heat and have a high bond strength.
Water-based, high temperature vinyl adhesives are available that have high dimensional stability and are recommended for use in heavily glazed areas, such as offices and conservatories.
The high initial tack and fast drying time of water-based high temperature adhesives also makes installation easier for flooring contractors.
l Conductive/anti-static adhesives: In the majority of environments, the generation of static electricity is an acceptable everyday occurrence and will not pose a problem to users of a finished floor. However, in areas where electronic equipment and machinery are going to be used, electro static discharge can damage delicate electronic equipment and even create a fire hazard.
To accommodate the safe use of electronic equipment and machinery, contractors should select an anti-static acrylic adhesive, designed for use in conductive floor installations. This will protect electronic equipment when used with a suitable conductive floorcovering. Solvent free, fibre filled conductive adhesives offer high bond strength, strong initial tack, a long open time and good plasticiser resistance.
l Outdoor adhesives: Contractors working on outdoor flooring projects must be aware that general purpose adhesives are not formulated to withstand the extreme conditions that outdoor flooring can be subjected to.
Sustained rainfall, winter frosts and summer heat can lead to the failure of traditional adhesives, which is why an adhesive formulated for outdoor use should be selected for use with external floorcoverings, such as synthetic grass carpets or walkways.
Polyurethane adhesives are ideal for outdoor use. Once cured, they are resistant to water, grease and oil, creating a bond that can withstand the elements.
Selecting the right adhesive for each environment, subfloor and floorcovering type will allow flooring contractors to deliver an aesthetically pleasing and high quality floor finish.
Always refer to the adhesive manufacturer’s recommended adhesive guide for the latest approved recommendations, in order to offer guaranteed results.
Neil Sanders is technical director at F Ball and Co.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.