ATSM D7799: Carpet adhesives get national testing standard

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Hicksville, N.Y.—For the first time since glue was used to install carpet, a national testing standard has been developed by ASTM International.

Known as ASTM D7799, or the Specification for Tufted and Woven Broadloom Carpet Adhesives Without Homogenous PVC or Non-PVC Backings, it establishes minimum requirements for adhesives used when adhering carpet “directly, and permanently, to a structurally sound and recommended substrate.”

Larry Press, director of flooring for Helmitin and task group chair for the standard’s development, said up until now “no ASTM standard existed for any floor covering adhesives—carpet, resilient or wood—specific to standardized test protocols.”

He told FCNews “every company has its own testing methods, many of them proprietary, and nothing could truly be compared in an apples-to-apples manner.” As a result, there is no basis of comparison, so statements of how good a product is have been totally subjective relative to the company making the statement.

This standard, Press added, will help eliminate confusing, misleading claims by allowing the industry to get away from the good, better, best categories “which mean essentially nothing to the consumer or installer. Good, how good? Better, better than what and based on what? This will help to minimize marketing terms that have little meaning, such as premium. Up until now, I’ve never met an adhesive that wasn’t a premium product.”

In essence, D7799 is for the many products not private labeled and recommended by the specific manufacturer. “In many instances it becomes an economic choice left up to the contractor or installer,” Press explained. “This allows many products to be used that are not really designed for the conditions involved. D7799 will identify the specific performance criteria for the categories listed and the conditions to which it will be subjected.”

This is just the beginning, he added, as it will allow ASTM to develop other glue standards, such as for PVC-backed carpet and for resilient. “The hardest part was getting the proper test methods and realizing what was needed and what wasn’t to create a consensus-based standard. The intent is to expand, incorporate or establish standards for materials not covered in D7799.”

While D7799 is a voluntary standard, the fact it comes from ASTM carries a great deal of weight as the organization is recognized around the world for developing consensus-based standards.

“This is a big deal,” Press concluded. “It creates accountability for using the right product for the job and will pave the way for more reliable installations.”

For more on D7799, call 610.832.9740.

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