Volume 26/number 28 June 10/17, 2013
By David Clarkson Vice president of marketing, DriTac Flooring Products
Flooring adhesives manufacturers regularly update and improve the testing and diagnostic procedures for both production and installation recommendations across a broad spectrum of products and procedures. Continual improvement of testing ensures success by further developing the technology to make installations not only more efficient, but also innovative, practical and sustainable.
Evaluating and enhancing existing technologies to accommodate new adhesives while ensuring quality installation and performance is one of the most important aspects of assesment. Developing new technologies for the latest requirements is another crucial component of the process. Furthermore, formulating the next generation of adhesives that will impact ease of installation, safety and/or gains for the installer, consumer and environment is always on the research and development bench.
Today, most adhesives manufacturers have a 3-in-1 or 4-in-1 product that provides not only adhesive capabilties but also moisture control, sound control and crack suppression. The testing and evaluation of single-component formulas to accommodate the requirements for sound and moisture mitigation challenged the industry in its development processes.
The test and evaluation of moisture in concrete is a prime example of recent procedural changes within the flooring industry. For many years the calcium chloride test along with wood moisture content meters were the industry standards for moisture testing within any installation. Although the calcium chloride test remains an industry-testing staple, the relative humidity (RH) test has become a requirement for many wood flooring manufacturers.
The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has written a standard for the use of the calcium chloride test when evaluating dryness of a concrete substrate. The calcium chloride testing method is also known as ASTM F 1869-11.
ASTM has also published a standard test method for the use of in-situ RH probes. The RH testing method, also known as ASTM F 2170-11, involves measuring RH levels from inside the concrete substrate.
Yet another area of testing that has been particularly rigorous is the demand for improved environmental standards. Various agencies now offer compliance-testing programs to certify adhesives meet stringent testing requirements for VOC emissions. Several examples include, but are not limited to, the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) GreenLabel Plus; the GreenGuard Environmental Institute’s GreenGuard; Scientific Certification Systems’ Indoor Advantage Gold, and the Resilient Floor Covering Institute’s FloorScore.
According to information published by the CRI, people spend in excess of 90% of their time indoors. This is essential data for ensuring the air quality generated and maintained indoors promotes healthy conditions for homeowners and employees, and subsequently that flooring adhesive installation products utilized do not negatively impact these environments. Many activists promote indoor air quality as the true measure of sustainability and environmental friendliness of products. Thus, it is no surprise in recent years indoor air quality has become a top focus in further defining green products.
Through testing procudures, manufacturers strive to enhance their product offerings to meet the demands of what has become a consistent and expected consumer requirement. With the advent of green products that are not only environmentally friendly but also of the highest quality, it no longer seems plausible to settle for anything other than the best in all categories—overall end-user and homeowner health, quality and sustainability.
Due to stringent evaluations, professional installers can be confident there is almost always a premium green product accessible in any flooring application. These products do not sacrifice quality and offer features and benefits of the highest caliber. This makes the transition to environmentally friendly products an easy and obvious choice.
The industry demands constant improvement and innovation of all relevant products. Stringent testing procedures in research, development and production as well as installations are the keys to success. They create trust and confidence in products, allow advancement in product improvement and, most importantly, pushes forward to the next innovation.