By Megan Salzano
Like most sundry products, adhesives can be considered the backbone of any flooring installation. They are a necessary part of a successful project both in the short term and to secure the longevity of an installation. As such, the performance of those adhesives is key.
Adhesives provide a range of performance attributes dependent on need, and these value-added features remain the drivers of innovation in the category. Several adhesive suppliers agree, moisture mitigation remains the No. 1 performance attribute for this segment of the sundry category. “One of the most value-added adhesive performance attributes in today’s flooring market is unlimited moisture protection with no testing required,” David Jackson, vice president, field technical services, DriTac, told FCNews. “Adhesives with this feature allow for the greatest possible peace of mind if the manufacturer’s instructions are followed throughout the installation.”
For Sonny Callaham of Divergent Adhesives and chairman of the board of the newly formed National Association of Floor Covering Technicians (NAFCT), moisture resistance is also the key performance feature driving today’s market. “Over the last decade technologies in adhesives have allowed moisture tolerances to rise,” he explained. “Thus, allowing installers to get on the job earlier and not have to get a change order for a moisture mitigation system.”
Trends in the marketplace have also driven demand for moisture protection. “With the switch from solvent-borne adhesives and asphalt adhesives to waterborne adhesives the need for higher-moisture and PH resistance has become crucial to overall success,” said Shane Jenkins, senior technical coordinator, Schönox HPS North America.
Moreover, new trends in flooring itself have also impacted the need for moisture control. “Consumers’ preferences have changed from soft surface to hard surface flooring types such as LVT, LVP and hardwood for a variety of reasons,” Gary Scheidker, director of technical services, Taylor Adhesives, told FCNews. “These products do not breathe and will trap moisture under the flooring instead of allowing it to escape as it would with soft surface products. Because of this change, moisture issues for flooring over concrete slabs have exploded and is costing the industry millions of dollars a year.”
DriTac’s Jackson agreed, noting that more than $1 billion is lost to claims related to moisture damage each year in the U.S. “Opting for a flooring adhesive that offers unlimited moisture control without any testing required could save you a great deal of time and money—as long as a simple series of steps are followed,” he explained.
For some, today’s environment calls for speed to be a top performance attribute. “Speed has always been an important factor in choosing a flooring adhesive; ‘time is money,’ as the old saying goes,” said David Fabyonic, marketing manager, adhesives, Ardex Americas, parent company of the Henry brand. “And with 2020’s strict requirements on construction job sites, speed has rapidly become even more critical to the overall success of a project.”
For others, a total solution is a consumer’s—and dealer’s—best bet. Jeff Johnson, business manager, floor covering installation systems, Mapei Corporation, noted the best adhesive choice depends on the requirement. “For example, for the flooring contractors’ project estimator they might be looking for an adhesive that provides the best cost,” he explained. “Installers might be looking for ease of installation, dry and working times. Flooring manufacturers are more interested in bond performance.”
Following is a curated selection of top performance-based adhesives on the market today.
Ardex’s Henry branded 647 PlumPro Fast-Track vinyl flooring adhesive is quickly applied from a standing position using a short-nap paint roller pole and reaches a dry-to-the-touch state (ready to receive flooring) in about 10 minutes. When installed with Henry 647 PlumPro, a new floor covering may be put into service immediately, even in heavy traffic commercial environments.
“Henry 647 PlumPro’s speedy features, along with ease of product application, provide a great value for not only the professional installer but DIY customers as well.”—David Fabyonic, marketing manager, adhesives, Ardex Americas
Bostik’s GreenForce offers a high moisture rating and life-time warranty for unlimited moisture protection. GreenForce eliminates the need for moisture testing of properly prepared concrete. For resilient floor coverings, Bostik offers 99% RH moisture resistance with Uni-Lock—a pressure-sensitive adhesive specifically formulated for the installation of a wide variety of resilient floor coverings.
“Flooring retailers should carry these and other Bostik products because they offer innovation, premium adhesive performance and, most of all, because they are backed by Bostik’s full system warranty. This warranty covers surface preparation, tile and stone, hardwood and resilient installations.”—Jake Stadler, market manager, hardwood and resilient installation systems, Bostik
Divergent Adhesives’ Modified Pressure Sensitive Adhesive can be used with all types of vinyl flooring; tile, plank or sheet. Its high solid content and polymeric structure allow it to be used on slabs up to 95% RH or 10 lbs. MVER. Modified Pressure Sensitive Adhesive can be used either wet or dry, so it can handle any resilient installation. When using this as a pressure- sensitive adhesive, the adhesive will turn clear in 30-45 minutes and has a working time of up to six hours.
“For the retailer or contractor, having Modified Pressure Sensitive Adhesive eliminates having to carry multiple adhesives and hoping the correct one is chosen each day.”—Sonny Callaham, Divergent Adhesives
DriTac 7800 Supreme Green provides unlimited subfloor moisture control with no testing required and a lifetime warranty. It is a single-component, 5-in-1, premium “green” sound and moisture control hybrid polymer wood flooring adhesive that also acts as a crack suppressant. It does not contain any isocyanates, VOCs or solvents, and has been independently tested and certified by CRI for Indoor Air Quality.
“Considering how much money is lost due to moisture claims and how great of a concern unwanted noise is in today’s industry, all retailers should strive to carry adhesives with the critical performance features of unlimited moisture protection and sound control.”—David Jackson, vice president, field technical services, DriTac
Ultrabond ECO 373 is a super aggressive, pressure-sensitive adhesive that is designed for the installation of a wide variety of resilient flooring types. It has been specifically formulated to provide extended working time and can be applied using a trowel or roller, depending on the level of tack that is required for the flooring that is being installed.
“A retailer would carry Ultrabond for several reasons including the fact that this single adhesive can install a wide variety of flooring types and brands. Another reason why a retailer might want to carry this product is to include it in the sale of the flooring and capture the profit margin on the sale of the installation products.”—Jeff Johnson, business manager, floor covering installation systems, Mapei Corporation
Schönox Protect is a SMP-based adhesive with moisture resistance up to 95% RH and PH irrelevant.
“Retailers should have an adhesive that can be used as the go-to product for resilient
flooring. Schönox Protect is approved to bond VCT, LVT, sheet vinyl, rubber, cork, linoleum and artificial turf. Schönox Protect can be used in both interior and exterior applications. Schönox Protect is also temperature resistant after curing.”—Shane Jenkins, senior technical coordinator, Schönox HPS North America
Taylor Resolute is a moisture barrier and adhesive in one. It provides moisture protection for the flooring by creating a moisture blocking membrane between the substrate and the flooring. Taylor Dynamic is ideal for applications where high substrate moisture is an issue but is within tolerance for the flooring being installed. It is warrantied to 12 lbs. MVER per ASTM F1869 or 99% RH per ASTM F2170 with an acceptable pH range of 5-12.
“Taylor Resolute is a proven product with nearly 10 years of success in the field. We are so confident in its ability, we warranty the system for 10 years and do not require moisture or PH testing. Taylor Dynamic is a proven product with nearly five years of successful installations and is one of the most versatile adhesives on the market. It can be used with most resilient flooring, carpet and underlayments, making it the logical choice for flooring contractors to inventory.”—Gary Scheidker, director of technical services, Taylor Adhesives