When installing LVTs, it’s useful to have the advantages of pressure sensitive adhesives, which afford high initial tack and a long open time. Stephen Boulton provides a guide to high-performance formulations with a range of additional features.
Pressure sensitive adhesives are ideal for the installation of LVTs because they form an instant grab upon contact, so, once positioned, tiles or planks won’t move about as contractors work. They also offer an extended open time, reducing the risk of late placement and making them ideal for installations where more complex designs or patterns are being created. Such products are typically allowed to dry to a permanent tack before placing floorcoverings, and are designed to produce a high bond strength, which increases as it is trafficked.
Temperature tolerant requirements
There are instances where it will be more important to have the advantages of other solutions. For example, when installing floorcoverings in areas subject to extreme temperatures and temperature fluctuations, it is advisable to use a temperature tolerant adhesive.
High temperatures or extreme temperature fluctuations can cause floorcoverings to expand and contract significantly. This can be the case in conservatories or rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, which are subject to ‘solar gain’, and may lead to unsightly tenting in floorcoverings and gapping at the edges of LVTs over time.
Temperature tolerant adhesives develop the high bond strength required to hold floorcoverings securely in place in such environments, ensuring a long-lasting flooring finish. However, these have traditionally been ‘wet-lay’, and contractors requiring this type of adhesive have had to forgo pressure sensitive benefits.
In recent years, advancements in hybrid polymer adhesives have enabled the development of high performance vinyl adhesives with revolutionary combinations of properties, including temperature tolerance and pressure sensitive characteristics.
For example, F Ball’s Styccobond F49 Hybrid PS is a water-based, pressure sensitive vinyl adhesive that develops the extremely high bond strength and dimensional stability required to hold vinyl floorcoverings firmly in place in areas exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations (from -20°C to +60°C). Whilst providing high initial tack, the adhesive allows contractors to lift and reposition floorcoverings in the initial stages of drying, making it a great choice for installing tiles and planks, intricate patterns and bespoke designs that need precise alignment.
The pressure sensitive nature of Styccobond F49 and excellent resistance to plasticiser migration also make it suitable for installing vertical PVC flooring accessories, such as skirting, capping and coving. Unlike contact adhesives, the hybrid adhesive only needs to be applied to one surface, and the same properties that make it ideal for creating intricate designs allow for vertical flooring accessories to be repositioned during the early stages of drying. Styccobond F49 is also resistant to water, meaning it is suitable for use in areas subject to water and high humidity, including kitchens and bathrooms.
Another way that innovations in pressure sensitive adhesives are helping flooring contractors reach new levels of professional standards is by shortening the time it takes to install floorcoverings, allowing them to meet challenges surrounding pressures to complete projects to ever more exacting time constraints.
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.
While not suitable for use in high temperature locations, 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 to 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.
Checking floorcovering compatibility
Apart from letting the specifics of a particular project determine adhesive selection, I would always advise checking the compatibility of particular floorcoverings and adhesives. For these purposes, F. Ball produces its industry-leading Recommended Adhesives Guide (RAG). It’s available on the F Ball website and as a free app, as well as a printed booklet. Alternatively, F Ball’s technical service department are on hand Monday to Friday, 8.30am-5pm, to answer your questions about F Ball products and how to use them. Contractors can also consult floorcovering manufacturers for advice.