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F Ball & Co points out the benefits of specialist vinyl adhesives

Bespoke flooring installations often mean reproducing complex designs from various interlocking shapes of vinyl, large and small. While general-purpose vinyl adhesives are available for such purposes, it’s often advantageous to have the benefits of specialist vinyl adhesives.

While wet-lay adhesives are suitable where vinyl sheet is being installed in relatively large sections, pressure sensitive adhesives are often the best choice when installations comprise many smaller pieces, including LVTs.

They form an instant grab upon contact so contractors don’t need to worry about tiles or planks moving about when they’re working, making them ideal for installations where intricate designs or patterns are being created. They also offer an extended open time, reducing the risk of late placement.

Nowadays, pressure sensitive adhesives are available with a range of additional features, such as temperature tolerant and moisture resistant characteristics, as well as fast-track properties.

Temperature tolerant requirements
When installing floorcoverings in areas subject to extreme temperatures and temperature fluctuations, for example, it is advisable to use a temperature-tolerant adhesive.

High temperatures or extreme temperature fluctuations can cause vinyl floorcoverings to expand and contract significantly, which may lead to unsightly tenting and gapping at the edges over time. This can be the case in conservatories and other rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that are subject to ‘solar gain’.

Temperature tolerant adhesives develop the high bond strength required to hold floorcoverings securely in place in such environments, ensuring a long-lasting flooring finish.

Moisture resistance
When installing flooring in an area that may be subject to surface water, an adhesive with water-resistant properties is essential. An adhesive that isn’t water-resistant may break down and soften when it comes into contact with water, potentially causing floorcoverings to bubble or de-bond.

Epoxy or polyurethane-based adhesives were once the only option for such installations. These adhesives are highly effective at making areas impermeable to water, so they are also suitable for installing vinyl floorcoverings outdoors where surface water may collect. Nowadays, solvent-free, one-part alternatives are available that are also reportedly easier to apply and faster curing, such as F Ball’s Styccobond F73 PLUS.

Says the company: ‘F Ball’s Styccobond F49 Hybrid PS is an example of a new breed of high-performance, hybrid adhesive, with revolutionary combinations of properties, including temperature tolerance, pressure sensitive characteristics and more. The water-based adhesive has the familiar characteristics of a pressure sensitive adhesive and develops the extremely high bond strength required to hold vinyl floorcoverings firmly in place in areas exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations (from -20deg C to +60deg C). The properties of this adhesive also make it moisture resistant, meaning it’s suitable for installing vinyl floorcoverings in areas exposed to surface water.’

Fast-track solutions
The company continues: ‘Options are also available where contractors face considerable time pressures and a moisture-resistant or temperature-tolerant adhesive isn’t required. F Ball has recently launched a fast-track, pressure-sensitive adhesive for LVTs, Styccobond F58 PLUS.
Developed as a ‘transitional’ adhesive, Styccobond F58 PLUS transitions from a wet-lay adhesive when initially applied to a subfloor to become fully pressure sensitive.’

F Ball adds: ‘The fast-drying formulation of Styccobond F58 PLUS enables LVT tiles and planks to be secured from just five minutes, while fibres in the adhesive provide resistance to lateral movement, preventing vinyl tiles and planks from moving around when working. 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.’

Available in 15L and 5L units, and with coverage rates of up to 6sq m per litre, the adhesive also reportedly offers over 20% more coverage than similarly packaged products sold by the same number of kilograms.

Compatibility check
It’s always recommended flooring contractors check the compatibility of a particular adhesive with a chosen floorcovering. For this purpose, F Ball produces its Recommended Adhesives Guide (RAG), which contains over 6,000 adhesive recommendations for floorcoverings from over 200 international manufacturers. The 2023 version of the guide is now available as a printed booklet. A continuously updated version of the RAG is available as a free app and on the F Ball website.
Alternatively, contractors can contact F Ball’s technical service department, from 8.30am–5.00pm, Monday to Friday, for advice on adhesive compatibility. Otherwise, they should consult manufacturers’ instructions.

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