F Ball & J&S Flooring

TROWEL serrations showing through floorcoverings, usually referred to as ‘grin-through’, is a surprisingly common problem that occurs when installing thin vinyl floorcoverings, including sheets and tiles.

When the contractor steps back to check the final appearance of his or her work, ridges in the adhesive below show through the floorcovering, spoiling the result. These ridges can be particularly visible in areas exposed to lots of natural light.

The solution to stop the problem of trowel serrations shadowing through thin vinyl floorcoverings depends on what type of adhesive the flooring contractor is using. Pressure sensitive adhesives, which are suitable for preventing tiles and planks from moving when positioning, should be treated differently from wet lay vinyl adhesives.

Subfloor preparation product and flooring adhesives manufacturer F Ball & Co recommends its adhesives with pressure sensitive characteristics and its wet lay vinyl adhesives are applied with a notched trowel, held at a 60deg angle to the floor.

This ensures the optimum amount of adhesive is deposited onto the subfloor, but creates ridges in the adhesive that can be visible through thin floorcoverings if precautions aren’t taken.

Pressure sensitive adhesives need to be allowed to dry to a tacky film before floorcoverings are installed. F Ball recommends these adhesives are rolled while still wet to flatten the ridges formed when applying the adhesive with a trowel.

This reduces the instance of trowel serrations showing through thin vinyl floorcoverings and provides a uniform coverage that gives better contact between the adhesive and floorcovering.

When using a wet lay adhesive, vinyl sheets or tiles are laid while the adhesive is still wet, forcing the adhesive to spread under the weight of the floorcovering, meaning shadowing is less frequently a problem. The contractor then goes over the floorcoverings with a roller afterwards.

Styccobond F49 Hybrid PS, F Ball’s ‘revolutionary, temperature tolerant, water-based vinyl adhesive with pressure sensitive characteristics’, is said to be one of the company’s adhesives specially formulated to reduce the instance of trowel serrations showing through floorcoverings.

Additionally, when fully cured, the adhesive develops the ultra-high bond strength required to hold vinyl floorcoverings firmly in place where exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations (as low as -20deg C and up to +60deg C), such as heavily glazed areas exposed to solar gain.

In a recent project undertaken at a residential property by contractors from J&S Flooring of Leicester, Styccobond F49 was used to install 30sq m of wood-effect LVTs in an upstairs extension with floor-to-ceiling windows (pictured).

The high initial tack of Styccobond F49 reportedly allowed contractors to quickly and easily install the vinyl tiles to create a ‘professional finish’ without any incidence of ‘grin-through’.
The high bond strength formed by the adhesive will be sure to hold the floorcoverings in place despite the significant temperature changes the room will be subject to, says F Ball.
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