Contract Flooring Journal (CFJ) the latest news for flooring contractors

Home> F Ball <Adhesives and levelling compounds specified for their help in infection control

Adhesives and levelling compounds specified for their help in infection control

WITH flooring installations in healthcare settings, there’s often a particular need for speed to enable areas to be brought into use as quickly as possible. Long-term value is another consideration for public sector projects, and floors in a poor state of repair can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, causing a contamination risk. Products used to install floorcoverings can also have an influence on safety, with some adhesives and levelling compounds presenting health and safety concerns, while others are specified for their help in infection control.

Achieving a long-lasting, professional flooring finish in healthcare settings requires following best practice in subfloor preparation. In areas subject to high levels of foot traffic and heavy wheeled loads, the use of suitably heavy-duty products is recommended. Nowadays, several floor preparation products, including waterproof surface membranes, levelling compounds and adhesives are available that, when used together and applied correctly, allow floorcoverings to be installed quickly, easily and safely.

Moisture management
Before installing new floorcoverings, it’s important to check for the presence of moisture in the subfloor. Unchecked subfloor moisture, whether residual construction moisture or rising damp, can attack floorcoverings and adhesives. Not only can this ruin the appearance of installations, or even cause complete floor failure, it can present a health and safety risk by creating a tripping hazard and space for mould and bacteria to grow.

A moisture measurement test should, therefore, be carried out to determine the relative humidity (RH) levels of the subfloor. Where the RH levels are above 75%, some form of moisture management solution will be required to prevent the possibility of floor failure (in areas where bonded wood floorcoverings will be installed, the RH limit is reduced to 65%).

The usual method for controlling excess subfloor moisture is the application of a liquid waterproof surface membrane. Advanced products are now available that will isolate excess subfloor moisture where RH values are up to 98% with a single coat application and will fully cure in as little as three hours. Contractors will also find even quicker, two-coat systems.

The first coat cures in 15-20 minutes, and a further 30 minutes curing time is required for the second coat, creating a barrier against residual construction moisture where RH values are up to 95% in less than two hours.

Creating a base
The fastest-drying levelling compound on the market is walk-on hard from 30 minutes and allows floorcoverings to be installed from as little as 45 minutes after application, without compromising on quality or finish.

When selecting a levelling compound for use in biologically sensitive settings, contractors should look for protein-free formulations, which do not promote the growth of bacteria. Many healthcare facilities will not permit the use of products that contain latex because of the prevalence of allergies to the material.

A time-saving solution also exists for situations where floorcovering installations are part of refurbishments where old adhesive residues, including bitumen and carpet tile tackifiers, are present.
For these situations, smoothing compounds are available that can be applied over existing residues, without the need to prime beforehand, saving valuable time. The latest advancements in technology have enabled F Ball and Co to create a water-mix version, Stopgap 1500 AquaPro, which is also protein-free, says the company.

For preparing subfloors in areas that are subject to heavy loads and high foot traffic, such as hospital wards and corridors, the application of a heavy-duty levelling compound will ensure the long-term performance of the installation. Low odour, latex- and protein-free formulations can be used to prepare subfloors while nearby areas remain in use.

Floorcovering installation
Vinyl sheet and safety flooring are common floorcovering choices in hospitals and other healthcare settings. For this purpose, acrylic adhesives are available that are moisture-resistant and protected against biodegradation, allowing them to effectively withstand deep cleaning procedures.

Solvent-free vinyl adhesives, with a range of additional features, are now available that can also be used to install both floorcoverings and PVC flooring accessories, such as skirting, capping and coving, which are frequently installed in hospitals to make cleaning of floors easier.

Continues F Ball: ‘Some rapid-drying, flexible cartridge adhesives are also suitable for adhering vertical flooring accessories. The strong bond formed by F Ball’s Stycco Flex, for example, restricts the movement of PVC accessories that occurs over the lifetime of an installation or with temperature changes. This gives the advantage of eradicating gapping at joints – a benefit in healthcare environments, ensuring there is no breeding ground for bacteria. Its solvent-free and hazard-free properties mean it is an excellent alternative to traditional contact adhesives in such environments, and its resistance to water means it’ll tolerate wet cleaning techniques.’

Compatibility check
Concludes F Ball: ‘To prevent a substandard finish or even complete floor failure, it’s always recommended to check the compatibility of particular floorcoverings and adhesives. To do this, contractors can consult the adhesive manufacturer’s Recommended Adhesives Guide or floorcovering manufacturer’s guidance.’

Please click to view more articles about

Stay Connected




Popular articles