Adhesives: Formulating a premium product

July 10, 2014

Suppliers dish on best of the best

June 9/16, 2014; Volume 27/Number 29

By Louis Iannaco

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 10.23.15 AMWhat constitutes a premium adhesive? What must it do? Are there actual industry standards for what is considered premium?

According to several adhesive producers, numerous factors must be taken into account when it comes to a product’s premium status, and, in certain segments, the industry is setting standards as stricter guidelines are being put into place.

The consensus among adhesives executives is the ingredients utilized during formulation usually determine the best products. There is also a meeting of the minds when it comes to the ability of a product to multi-task; to be considered premium, offerings must work to achieve more than one goal.

Top-notch products

According to David Ford, vice president of sales and marketing at Stauf USA, a premium-grade adhesive is usually comprised of the “best of the best” ingredients. As in grades of paint or lumber, there are better grades of raw materials used in the process. “Some resins are extremely clean while others will allow more impurities. The higher the quality of resins, the more solid content and less filler you have, meaning you’re getting more sticky stuff.”

Some adhesives have special qualities that help achieve very high shear strength, while others maintain high shear and allow for moisture protection and sound absorption, Ford noted. Premium products must maintain body “and not ‘slump.’ Ridge height is important in bridging the gap between subfloor and wood floor, or whatever the floor covering.”

Larry Scott, vice president of field technical services for Dri-Tac Flooring Products, agreed, saying the term “premium” has historically been synonymous with best-in-class. “In recent times, a sound argument could be made to redefine this term as ‘inherent best-in-class overall value.’”

In the realm of flooring adhesives, Scott added, “This value can be and is assessed through various categories, including but not limited to application properties (easy spreadability and clean-up), performance characteristics (rate of cure, mechanical property development, moisture and acoustical abatement), environmental considerations (eco-friendly, sustainability, regulatory compliance) and cost effectiveness.”

According to Scott, Dri-Tac’s 2008 introduction of its 1001 All-In-One offering—the very first urethane-based 4-in-1 green sound and moisture control wood flooring adhesive—is proof of the company’s Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 10.23.49 AMcommitment to premium product excellence.

Now Dri-Tac has another product it believes features the most innovative urethane-based adhesive technology on the market. The Golden Bullet, DriTac 4141, is a premium-grade, 100% green, 4-in-1 sound and moisture control wood flooring adhesive that does not require moisture testing and offers unlimited subfloor moisture control. With unlimited board thickness, width and length allowed, The Golden Bullet offers the very latest in premium-grade adhesive technology and product formula attributes. “This zero VOC, zero solvent product simplifies wood flooring installations when sound and moisture control is needed,” Scott explained.

Eric Kurtz, Bostik’s market manager, hardwood and resilient flooring systems, also believes premium products possess performance attributes and/or features that go above and beyond simple glues. For example, the company’s Ultra-Set SingleStep2 utilizes Axios Tri-Linking polymer technology to combine high-strength adhesive, moisture barrier and sound abatement technologies in one formulation, “making it easy to trowel and clean off prefinished hardwood even after cure.”

The product also contains Bostik’s patent-pending Thickness Control Spacer Technology, a proprietary feature ensuring the ideal membrane thickness between the substrate and hardwood flooring is maintained.

The ingredients used in W.F. Taylor adhesives are a major factor when it comes to producing premium products, while state-of-the-art technology plays a starring role. A basic adhesive offers a subpar bond between the subfloor and flooring of choice, but a premium adhesive provides advanced chemistry, top quality ingredients and incorporates multiple high-performing functions.

“Developing a premium adhesive takes advanced technology, research and development, as well as third-party testing to prove your product is of premium standards,” noted Kristine Elledge, marketing coordinator. A premium adhesive also provides functions such as moisture control, anti-microbial protection, sound reduction, crack isolation, thermal enhancement, etc.”

Setting standards

In 2012, the tile installation industry finalized the new category, Improved Modified Dry-Set Cement Mortars, that is designated A118.15. This new standard joins A118.1 (unmodified mortars), A118.4 (modified standard mortars) and A118.11 (mortars for use over plywood) as an additional tool in differentiating products.

According to Dan Marvin, Mapei’s director of technical services, A118.15 details the requirements for high-performance mortars that can be used in freeze/thaw environments, submerged applications, areas with elevated expansion and deflection, hot environments and more. Additionally, mortars can now be categorized as extended working time (E), slip-resistant (T) and fast-setting (F).

Mapei has pushed for this new standard for many years as the U.S. market has been slow to adopt Europe’s ISO criteria for mortars that already include the ‘E,’ ‘T’ and ‘F’ categories, he explained. The new standard allows specifiers to call out the performance requirements they need on the job without fear the installer will substitute a less robust product due to last-minute value engineering, Marvin noted.

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