ANSWERING THE CALL FOR SAFETY
By Louis Iannaco
When it comes to improving their products, wood glue manufacturers take great pains in developing adhesives that are not only effective and get the job done for installers, but are environmentally safe for both the professional and homeowner. Wood flooring adhesive producers agree on the importance of staying abreast of the latest rules and regulations and practicing industry environmental standards.. They acknowledge that adapting their products accordingly is an important part of keeping people safe, products effective and the environment protected.
According to Steve Lontchar, DriTac’s vice president of technology, the most well-known VOC regulation in the wood flooring adhesive industry is probably California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQMD) VOC Rule 1168 for Adhesive and Sealant applications, which has existed in its present form since 2005. “Some industry experts believe this rule is long overdue for both review and subsequent revision.”
Lontchar further explained, “This has long been the standard VOC rule for adhesive and sealant products and is referenced in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, as well as other green building systems and codes. Therefore, any revisions must and will be carefully be considered and deliberated, as they will undoubtedly have long-lasting impacts on how wood flooring adhesive systems are deigned and developed in the future.”
In addition, he believes revisions could influence VOC compliance rules and regulations derived by and with other regulatory bodies and agencies.
Jeff Johnson, Mapei’s product line manager for floor covering installation systems, stated SCAQMD Rule 1168 set the standard when it comes to regulations regarding VOCs for wood flooring adhesives. “It states the maximum allowable VOC for wood flooring adhesives is capped at 100 g/l. Mapei’s current portfolio of wood flooring installation products is already well below this limit.
“When it comes to new product development for wood flooring,” he explained, “low VOCs are always part of the development matrix. We also go a step further in requiring the use of recycled or rapidly renewable raw materials.”
Jack Raidy Jr., president and CEO of W.F. Taylor, said the company has long recognized the need for low VOC, environmentally favorable wood flooring adhesives, “especially with the historical acceptance of moisture cure urethanes, which have high VOC levels, as well as known hazardous ingredients, i.e. proven respiratory irritant isocyanate compounds.
“Taylor has always been the adhesive industry leader in voluntarily developing safer adhesives long before government regulations had taken a stand,” he said. “Continuing to anticipate the future needs of the flooring industry, Taylor introduced MS-Plus Advance wood flooring adhesive several years ago as a higher performance, much safer alternative to urethane wood adhesives.”
Raidy noted Taylor MS-Plus Advance is also a “highly effective moisture barrier, sound deadening and crack isolation membrane all rolled into one. This multiple performance product is a time, labor and money saver.”
Mapei has a full slate of wood adhesive offerings featuring Ultrabond ECO 995, the company’s premium, 100%-solids, one-component, moisture-curing urethane adhesive for all types of wood flooring and bamboo. “Ultra-bond ECO995 can be used in a single-coat application method that provides a superior bond and moisture vapor emission control on concrete slabs (up to 15 pounds. [6.80 kg] in MVER or 85% relative humidity),” Johnson said.
Ultrabond ECO 995 also provides sound-reduction properties, making it suitable for use in multi-unit housing projects, he noted. “The formulation of Ultrabond ECO 995 was developed using rapidly renewable raw materials and provides the ultimate in bonding environmentally sensitive wood flooring.”
According to Lontchar, DriTac has a family of adhesives and concrete sealers that have been independently tested and certified by the Carpet & Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label Plus Program for indoor air quality (IAQ).
The company offers a full line of VOC-compliant wood flooring adhesives, concrete sealers and repair kits, some of which were formulated with zero VOCs and zero solvents. “At DriTac, we understand the importance of indoor air quality and the tremendous value low emitting VOC products can provide to installers and homeowners,” he said. “Offering products that are certified by independent third-party laboratories has become a focal point in further defining green and environmentally friendly products.”
The company’s 7700 Easy Clean MS Polymer wood flooring adhesive is CRI certified and “offers an easy-to-clean technology that allows installers to clean the adhesive off the surface of hardwood flooring, wet or dry,” he said. “Solvent free with zero VOCs and zero isocyanates, DriTac 7700 Easy Clean is recommended as the adhesive of choice for all eco-friendly, hardwood flooring projects.
“It provides a water proofing membrane when cured,” he concluded, “is extremely low in odor and remains elastomeric, allowing for normal expansion and contraction of wood flooring.”