How to get the sticky stuff right

THE basic requirement of any flooring adhesive is that it sticks the floorcovering down, but beyond this, the question of which adhesive to use can be a tricky one. Not only is there a range of flooring types available, each with their own requirements, but it’s also vital to consider the conditions you are working in and the conditions the finished floor will be subjected to.

Many building jobs today involve a wide range of flooring types, with the demand that these are installed speedily – so it’s no surprise multi-functional flooring adhesives, such as Bostik’s BEST, are the most attractive option.

Bostik’s BEST is a high-specification adhesive that offers best-in-class handling characteristics, has a good open time range, and delivers high bond strength and pressure-sensitivity – all for various floorcoverings from LVTs, to rubber, to thermo-acoustic underlays.

When it comes to skirting, capping strips, cove formers and other floor or wall-mounted accessories, a good solution is a fast-acting adhesive tape. Our solvent-free Bostik Roll is supplied in ready-to-use, dry adhesive rolls of various widths, and provides an easy, clean installation that resists plasticiser migration.
Owing to its dryness, there’s no curing time required, meaning no waiting around and no likelihood of overspill in the installation area.

Some flooring types have their own specific requirements – so a specialist adhesive may therefore be the preferred option. When laying vinyl floors, for instance, there’s the risk of plasticiser migration, or plasticiser from the vinyl sheets infiltrating the adhesive and making it weaker.

To protect against this, consider an adhesive such as our Bostik Laybond Vinyl. This has been formulated to provide extra tack, ensuring a fast and permanent bond for most sheet and vinyl tiles.

In the same way, some flooring adhesives are designed for working with carpet, which requires a fast, powerful bond to ensure the corners don’t curl up on larger projects – and also wood, which demands a more heavy-duty, rigid adhesive.

Another key consideration should be the conditions the completed floor will experience. Even the normal fluctuations of room temperature can affect the performance of a flooring adhesive – but when it comes to areas particularly likely to warm up, such as conservatories, this should be at the forefront of your thinking.

In such cases, the best option may be an adhesive that has been deliberately formulated to perform well over a large temperature range. Our Bostik Laybond HT, for example, is a non-staining, high-strength flooring adhesive for use in areas of high solar gain. This means it’s less likely to compromise the bond when subjected to heat.

You need to consider the conditions the finished floor will experience – but also the immediate conditions around you as you work. If it’s a particularly hot or cold day, for instance, this could affect the adhesive’s performance and should be considered before the floor is laid.

Another common mistake is to leave the adhesive open for too long before laying the floorcovering – this too will undermine bond strength. While it may be easier to lay a patterned design LVT if the adhesive is nice and sticky, this is no good if the floorcoverings move once they’ve been applied as the job will only need redoing.

Finally, today’s water-based flooring adhesives take longer to bond than solvent-based ones and require a clean environment to perform at their best. This makes it necessary to ensure the temperature of the adhesive is well-regulated, but also to keep your working area clean and decluttered to avoid contamination or disruption while the bond is in progress.
Martin Cummins is UK technical support manager, Bostik