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Commercial Flooring News

Water-Based Adhesives Have Come A Long Way

Neil Sanders, technical manager at F Ball and Co, discusses specifying contact adhesives when working on the vertical application of skirting and coving:
THESE finishing touches to a flooring installation are crucial to its final appearance. However, the wrong adhesive can compromise the aesthetics of the entire project.
To maintain the durability of skirting and coving, contractors must select the adhesive best suited for the job, which in the case of vertical installations including against walls or steps, is often a contact adhesive.
Traditionally contact adhesives were solvented. However, extensive research has led to the development of high performance water-based contact adhesives. These are now a popular alternative to conventional contact adhesives, and combine fast drying properties with ease of working, which proves ideal for vertical applications.
Skirting and coving: Wooden skirting is common to domestic settings, whereas PVC is the preferred material for commercial environments, due to its hardwearing, durable and hygienic properties. Coving is commonly used in installations where floorcoverings curve upwards to become flush with the surface of the wall, negating the potential for dirt and bacteria to get trapped in the joint where the two surfaces meet. This method is used in hospitals and healthcare facilities, where hygiene and cleanliness is key.
Benefits of water-based contact adhesives: Recent developments mean water-based contact adhesives now offer the same reliable performance characteristics of solvent-based products, with key additional benefits. Water-based contact adhesives are low odour, non-flammable, and drying time can be accelerated by directing warm air across the adhesive. They can also be used in any setting or environment.
Flooring contractors are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of water -based contact adhesives, particularly when working in more sensitive settings. This is because solvent-free products minimise the emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) emissions during installations. Low odour is ideal for when areas need to be reoccupied quickly, for example in healthcare facilities and communal social housing areas.
Recent developments in their formulation mean that water-based contact adhesives can now benefit from longer open times, increasing the area that can be covered before contractors have to bond the skirting or coving.
Product advice: If unsure about solvents and VOC emissions, flooring contractors can consult GEV (the association for the control of emissions in products in flooring installations, adhesives and building products) for advice on which products have been awarded Emicode quality marks EC2, EC1 and the best label of EC1 Plus for ‘very low emissions, for the best environmental compatibility and health protection.
Solvent-free solutions: One reformulated water-based contact adhesive from F Ball currently available is a safer alternative to conventional solvent-based products. The formation of an instant bond makes this adhesive suitable for use on vertical surfaces. As mentioned, contact adhesives can be used for securing PVC and rubber edgings, coving and nosing and floor and wall coverings with PVC, rubber, cork and most textile backings.
Furthermore, with an EC1 Emicode quality mark, the contact adhesive is suitable for use in biologically sensitive areas such as healthcare and education facilities, as well as food preparation areas, where health, hygiene and product consideration is crucial.
As with every flooring installation, always consult a manufacturers’ adhesive guide when specifying the most suitable product. Check the compatibility of the adhesive and material to create a lasting, quality floor finish.

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