Flooring in transport - F Ball & Co

WHEN installing floorcoverings in marine environments, contractors are faced with particular considerations, chief of which is the legal requirement to ensure products used in such installations comply with the Marine Equipment Directive (MED).

The MED is an EU regulation that sets out performance and testing standards to be met by all products and equipment used on board marine vessels. It stipulates such products must comply with International Maritime Organization (IMO) standards, which ensures they meet appropriate fire safety standards for ships at sea, including low flame spread standards and low smoke toxicity.

IMO-certified flooring products display the IMO ‘wheelmark’ logo (it looks like a little ship’s helm) so flooring contractors need only look for this to ensure products are compliant.

Leading manufacturers of subfloor preparation products and adhesives for floorcoverings produce a range of levelling compounds and adhesives that are tested in accordance with IMO standards.

Apart from ensuring any products used in marine flooring installations carry the ‘wheelmark’, contractors’ choice of product should be determined by the specifics of a particular project.

For example, steel decking is a common subfloor-type in crew and passenger areas on-board ships, such as cruise liners. Steel will ‘flex’ under normal foot traffic and as the result of temperature fluctuations, so any levelling compound selected for a project with this type of subfloor should be able to cope with these demands.

For these areas, levelling compounds are available that are reinforced with fibres, allowing the underlayment to accommodate any subfloor movement while providing a strong, stable base for the installation of floorcoverings.

When choosing an adhesive for marine flooring installations, contractors may consider if areas of the installation will be exposed to water, extreme temperatures or temperature fluctuations. Water resistant adhesives suitable for use with a wide range of floorcoverings that have been tested to IMO standards are available from leading manufacturers.

For areas where floorcoverings will be exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations, contractors should choose an adhesive that develops a strong enough bond to hold floorcoverings firmly in place as they expand and contract, which could otherwise lead to tenting and gaping over time.

Again, leading manufacturers produce MED-certified temperature-tolerant adhesives for these purposes.

Case study
Marine-certified floor preparation products from F Ball & Co have been used to deliver a high-performance refurbishment for several deck areas on one of P&O’s passenger and cargo ships. The work was carried out while the ship was in dry dock in Gdansk, Poland by Hull-based Total Flooring.

Having prepared the deck floors, where necessary, with Stopgap 1200 Pro floor levelling compound, contractors installed a combination of Tarkett iQ Granit vinyl, Polyflor Voyager vinyl planks, and heavy contract broadloom carpet.

Stopgap 1200 Pro is designed for use over old adhesive residues, without the need for mechanical removal of the residue or priming. It’s said to be low-odour, self-smoothing and fast drying. When applied at a thickness of 2-5mm, the compound is dry enough to receive floorcoverings from as little as four hours.

Styccobond F46 pressure-sensitive adhesive was used to install the vinyl floorcoverings. Tarkett iQ Granit vinyl was installed in the main corridors of the drivers’ deck, as well as in the crew’s mess. Polyflor Voyager vinyl planks were installed in one of the ship’s restaurants, which features a floor area of 220sq m on each side of a central buffet.

Styccobond F46 is a solvent-free adhesive that dries to a permanent tacky film. It’s used to reduce the incidence of trowel serrations shadowing through thin vinyl flooring and is designed to give strong initial tack and a high bond strength, which continues to build as the area is trafficked.

The carpet was installed in the ship’s brasserie restaurant and the crew and drivers’ bars using Styccobond F3 water-based rubber/resin flooring adhesive and Styccobond F40 High Tack adhesive as part of a dual bond system.

Styccobond F40 is a synthetic polymer emulsion, which can be used to create a permanent or removable bond. Solvent-free and water-based, the adhesive is said to dry to form a transparent, permanently tacky coating.

A permanent bond is achieved by laying the floorcovering into the wet adhesive, while a peelable bond is achieved by allowing the adhesive to completely dry before laying the floorcovering or underlay.
In this application it was used to create a peelable bond between the underlay and the subfloor, so the underlay can be removed in the future without damaging the subfloor.

Styccobond F3 was then used to adhere the carpet to the underlay. This adhesive has excellent wet grab with an early build-up of strength. It can be used for securing fibre bonded carpets, hessian, felt, secondary latex and rubber foam backed carpets and cork tiles up to 3.2mm thick.

Commenting on the project, Neil Polson managing director of Total Flooring said: ‘F Ball products worked a treat on this refurbishment, which is important when you’re working so far away from home. It’s also good the F Ball range includes so many products certified for marine applications.’
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