F Ball adhesives
This summer, many flooring contractors will face the annual challenge of refurbishing the floors of educational buildings in time for the next school year. With tight deadlines and the highest standards of safety and hygiene required, fast-track products are a necessity in order to bring schools and colleges back into use as quickly and to as high a professional standard as possible. Nowadays, a number of leading floor preparation products, including waterproof surface membranes, levelling compounds and adhesives, are available, which allow floorcoverings to be installed quickly, easily and safely.
During the refurbishment of any floor, contractors should make time to prepare and consider the requirements of the setting. In an educational environment, the flooring installation must be easy to clean and able to withstand high levels of daily traffic, for example.
Before proceeding with the job, it is crucial that assessments of the subfloor are carried out to ensure the long-term durability of a new flooring project.
Carrying out a moisture measurement test is essential before the installation of a new floorcovering, as failing to do so can allow damp to manifest and the floor to ultimately fail. Undetected moisture can also lead to the growth of mould and bacteria, which is a notable health risk for educational settings where health and hygiene are of utmost importance.
F Ball recommends the use of a pre-calibrated digital hygrometer to measure the relative humidity (RH) levels within the subfloor. If RH levels exceed 75%, or 65% when working with wood, a number of timesaving options exist where a solution for damp is required.
Damp can be controlled with the application of a waterproof surface membrane. Advanced products are available that provide protection in a single coat application where RH levels are up to 98%, and will fully cure in as little as three hours.
Advances in cement technology have enabled levelling compounds to be developed that are efficient for contractors working under time constraints, without compromising on finish or quality. Levelling compounds like Stopgap Fast-Track 30 are walk-on hard from 30 minutes, and allow textile and resilient floorcoverings to be installed from as little as 45 minutes after application, F Ball says.
When carrying out refurbishments, adhesive residues are often present after removing old floorcoverings. Normally these residues must be removed before applying a levelling compound. However, specialist levelling compounds such as Stopgap 1200 Pro are available that can reportedly be applied directly over bitumen and adhesive residues, offering significant time saving benefits. F Ball says Stopgap 1200 takes as little as 60 minutes to set and is ready to receive floorcoverings from as little as four hours. The manufacturer adds, it does not usually require priming, allowing installations to proceed faster than ever before.
Often floors in educational settings will be expected to receive high levels of daily foot traffic. Use of a heavy-duty levelling compound will help to ensure the long-term durability of a floorcovering, even under heavy loads.
To deliver the perfect finish, contractors should always ensure that selected adhesives are compatible with the chosen floorcoverings and with the setting. Vinyl is said to be a popular choice among educational facilities for its easiness to clean and maintain. Heavily glazed corridors and classrooms are common in schools, but floors in such situations can be subject to significant solar gain leading to huge temperature fluctuations. As such, a temperature tolerant adhesive is required.
New hybrid adhesives, such as Styccobond F49 Hybrid PS from F Ball, are now available that reportedly combine temperature tolerance with pressure sensitive qualities. As such, Styccobond F49 is said to provide good initial tack and high bond strength, which holds vinyl sheet, tiles or planks firmly in place once positioned by the contractor and, when cured, the bond will hold vinyl floorcoverings in place from temperatures as low as -20°C up to 60°C. It is also reportedly water resistant, making the adhesive suitable for areas of high humidity or wet rooms.
Carpet tiles are another popular choice for areas such as libraries or common rooms, not least for their ability to be removed and replaced if individual tiles become worn or damaged. For this floorcovering, a carpet tile tackifier provides permanently tacky film that prevents the tiles from moving laterally under everyday traffic, while allowing individual sections of carpets to be lifted and replaced with ease.
For optimum results, contractors should consult manufacturers' adhesives guides, such as F Ball’s Recommended Adhesives Guide.
Whilst education environments often pose the challenge of tight deadlines and strict requirements for flooring contractors, careful selection of subfloor preparation products that can be applied quickly, withstand heavy loads, and dry speedily will deliver long-lasting, high quality floors in school or college settings.