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Adhesives advancements

Stephen Boulton talks through some of the latest innovations regarding continuous advancements in adhesives technology.

CONTINUOUS advancements in adhesives technology are facilitating the manufacture of new products with revolutionary combinations of properties. These are helping contractors to meet ever-greater customer expectations surrounding speed of installation and finished appearance.

Each year, F Ball invests significantly in research and development, which is managed by a committee of specialists from sales, marketing and technical departments and supported by dedicated on-site laboratories and testing facilities at its Staffordshire headquarters.
The aim is ultimately to make life easier for flooring contractors, who face increasing customer demands and pressure to complete projects to ever-shorter timescales, by helping them work with greater speed and efficiency.

Adhesives have seen particular enhancements in recent years, with advancements in technology allowing the formulation of adhesives that combine previously unheard of combinations of properties, as well as enabling manufacturers to add new properties to adhesives already on the market. Contractors are better equipped to meet ever-changing customer expectations and retain a competitive advantage by keeping abreast of these developments.

Combinations of properties
For example, advancements in hybrid polymer adhesives enabled F Ball to create Styccobond F49 Hybrid PS, the first in a generation of high-performance vinyl adhesives that combines both pressure sensitive and temperature tolerant characteristics.

Traditionally, temperature tolerant adhesives have been ‘wet-lay’, and flooring contractors installing floorcoverings in areas where they will be exposed to extreme temperatures have had to forgo the advantages of pressure sensitive alternatives – normally a popular choice for the installation of vinyl tiles and planks because of the high initial grab afforded by them.

Widening applications
Knowledge of plasticiser resistance has been key to making this and other adhesives suitable for installing PVC flooring accessories, such as skirting, capping and coving. Plasticisers are chemicals added to PVC materials during their manufacture which are released by the material over time and can cause delamination of the flooring accessory from the substrate.
This makes Styccobond F49 Hybrid PS an alternative to traditional contact adhesives. It also means flooring contractors only need one adhesive when working over the floor as well as up the wall.

Excellent plasticiser resistance is also a feature of F Ball’s market-leading, rapid-curing, flexible tube adhesive Stycco Flex, which along with excellent dimensional stability, make it 100% compatible with PVC flooring accessories.

Recent developments
Most recently, F Ball has launched Styccobond F58 PLUS, a fast-drying, fibre-reinforced adhesive that enables LVTs to be installed from just five minutes. Fibres in the adhesive provide resistance to lateral movement, thereby preventing vinyl tiles and planks from moving around when working.

Developed as a ‘transitional’ adhesive, Styccobond F58 PLUS can be used as a wet-lay or pressure sensitive adhesive – it transitions from a wet-lay adhesive when initially applied to a subfloor, through a semi-wet stage to become fully pressure sensitive. When used as a wet-lay adhesive, it is also suitable for installing rubber floorcoverings up to 2.5mm thick.

As well as helping reduce movement during installation, the adhesive’s high bond strength and strong initial tack prevents excess adhesive oozing between joints, facilitating easier application. When used as a pressure-sensitive adhesive, it has an extended open time of around three hours (depending on ambient conditions), allowing large areas of adhesive to be applied in one application without risking late placement of the floorcovering.

Compatibility check
Another goal of research and development is to ensure compatibility of adhesives and floorcoverings, new versions of which are constantly entering the market.

It is always recommended that contractors check the compatibility of particular adhesives and floorcoverings as part of any flooring installation. For this purpose, F Ball produces its industry-leading Recommended Adhesives Guide (RAG), which lists adhesives recommended for use with over 6,000 floorcoverings produced by over 200 manufacturers.

Recommendations are included in the guide only after the completion of a rigorous seven-week testing programme at F Ball’s state-of-the-art testing facilities and subject to endorsement by the relevant floorcovering manufacturer.

The 2024 version of the guide, which has just launched, includes adhesive recommendations for floorcoverings introduced by manufacturers during the last year.

Free copies of the A5 printed guide can be requested by e-mailing mail@f-ball.co.uk or calling 01538 361633. A constantly updated version is also available on the F Ball website and as a mobile app, which is free to download.

Alternatively, F Ball’s technical service department are on hand throughout the working week to answer your questions about floorcovering-adhesive compatibility, and contractors can also consult floorcovering manufacturers for advice.
Stephen Boulton is technical service manager at F Ball and Co

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