Article Number: 4435
Improved adhesive products make life smoother for installers
By Louis Iannaco
Whether it’s reducing callbacks, eliminating extra work or just general stress reduction, keeping life or work problem-free, or at least as close to it as possible, is a goal shared by many. For mechanics across the nation, a quick and easy installation job usually starts with using the right tools and products to get the job done, including adhesives.

Over the last 10 years, technological advances made by adhesive producers have helped make life easier for installers. And with the green movement becoming so huge, being environmentally friendly and leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible has really gained steam with industry professionals, including manufacturers and installers.

“One of the things we’ve seen is there seems to be a smaller number of adhesives that we need to stock,” said Mike Roberts, owner of Bonitz Flooring Group in Knoxville, Tenn. “They are more versatile and cover more of the problems than they used to, which makes for fewer problems less inventory and easier solutions.

“We also feel like adhesives are generally easier to spread and work with, and have a shorter open time, which offers obvious time savings and makes installation a little easier for the installer,” he explained. “As a general rule, we’re having fewer problems with adhesives overall and, specifically, with carpet glues. I really can’t remember the last time we had a total failure with carpet adhesives. With wood glues, we had some problems after removal of volatile organic compounds, and for about two years after that, but they’re much better now and are much easier to spread.

“In addition,” Roberts continued, “the new spray adhesives are gaining acceptance and offer the possibility of really reducing the labor cost for applying adhesive. These spray adhesives do not appear to be useful for all products yet, but for carpet tile and VCT they seem to have some real promise.”

According to Marty Murdoch of M.E. Sabosik in Pt. Pleasant, N.J., by making the move to green products, manufacturers have made it easier to comply with the more stringent indoor air quality requirements of builders and consumers. “Due to the bad press of the past, the spotlight was focused on the flooring industry regarding sick buildings, and the stigma remains. But with the products available to us now, coupled with the ‘clean’ story put out by the manufacturers, we can tell our customers the good news about their installation.”

Many of the improvements have made the products more user friendly, he said. “In particular, today’s wood adhesives are much easier to spread. The older ones would set up too quickly and were real bears to spread, and the fumes were brutal.”

Like Roberts, Murdoch views the move to spray-on techniques as a huge plus for the industry. “The move toward new installation methods, such as the newer spray adhesives for carpet tile, vinyl and VCT flooring, are getting the installers off their knees more. These user-friendly trends are welcome. There is a learning curve to them, but the time is well worth the increases in productivity.”

Fred Acton, principal of Acton Flooring in Birmingham, Ala., agrees with Roberts and Murdoch. “We are in the process of installing 55,000 square feet of LG tile and using a spray adhesive in an aerosol can from Interlock Industries,” he added. “It is working very well, and it has gotten great reviews from our installers.”

Carl Embrey of Apollo Distributing Co. noted that moisture in concrete has, is and always will be an issue with installation. “Installers are often blamed when moisture causes product or adhesive failure. He is not responsible for environmental conditions but is often asked to look into a crystal ball to determine what nature will bring next. Armstrong has recently announced some enhancements to its S-515 Clear Thin Spread Adhesive. If by using an enhanced moisture-resistant adhesive you could reduce your exposure, why would you not?”

According to Roberts, “it’s very rewarding to be involved in an industry that has taken the green benefits and attributes so seriously. “There’ve been huge strides made by almost every manufacturer of product we,” he concluded, “as flooring dealers, do business with on a daily basis.”