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The importance of adhesive selection

Neil Sanders on the importance of carefully considering adhesive selection when installing LVTs, including checking the compatibility with chosen floorcoverings.

THE development of high-performance adhesives for applications and types of floorcoverings means it’s always advisable to consider products with specialist properties when it comes to selecting an adhesive for an installation.

When installing LVTs, this frequently means pressure sensitive adhesives, which 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.

There are also instances where it will be important to have the advantages of other solutions, and it’s strongly recommended to check the compatibility of adhesives and chosen floorcoverings to ensure against floor failure.

Temperature tolerant requirements
Apart from the properties required for ease of installation, adhesive selection should also be based on the conditions to which the adhesive will be exposed.

For example, when installing floorcoverings in areas subject to extreme temperatures and temperature fluctuations, it’s 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.

Hybrid solutions
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 strength and dimensional stability required to hold vinyl floorcoverings firmly in place in areas exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations from -20deg C to 60deg C. While 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.
Styccobond F49 also has water resistant properties, meaning it’s suitable for use in areas subject to water and high humidity, including kitchens and bathrooms.

Water resistance
For extremely wet conditions, where floorcoverings will be subject to standing water, such as entranceways, or even external environments, a fully water-resistant adhesive 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 have long been the only option for such installations. These adhesives are highly effective at making areas impermeable to water, so they’re also suitable for installing vinyl floorcoverings outdoors where surface water may collect. Nowadays, F. Ball offers a one-part, moisture-curing alternative in Styccobond F73 PLUS.

Fast-track formulations
Another way innovations in pressure sensitive adhesives are helping flooring contractors in particular situations 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.

The fast-drying formulation of Styccobond F58 PLUS enables LVT tiles and planks to be secured from 5mins, while fibres in the adhesive provide resistance to lateral movement, preventing vinyl tiles and planks from moving around when working. An extended open time of around three hours (depending on ambient conditions), allows large areas of adhesive to be applied at once without risking late placement of the floorcovering.

Checking floorcovering compatibility
Apart from letting the specifics of a project determine adhesive selection, I’d 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, a free app, as well as a printed booklet. Alternatively, F. Ball’s technical service department are on hand to answer your questions about F. Ball products and how to use them. Contractors can also consult floorcovering manufacturers for advice.
Neil Sanders is technical service manager at F. Ball and Co. Ltd.

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