Adhesives and floor coverings go together like peanut butter and jelly, though flooring glue is considerably harder to spread. That was, until recent technological advances allowed for a viable spray application, making for a greener, safer product and installation process that contributes to healthy indoor air quality.
When one hears the term “spray adhesive” the old method of high pressure systems that distributed glue all over the floor, walls and installer comes to mind. Glue was showered with such force that, “Installers said your eyelids and hair would stick together,” mused Scott Davis, vice president of operations for Interlock Industries, maker of Spray-Lock.
With consideration for installer safety, product waste and clean up required for such a system, the initial spray products didn’t garner the industry backing desired, but that is changing with the times.
Today’s spraying methods are an improvement over not just older versions, but traditional glue applications as well. “We’re changing the industry for adhesives,” said Peter Crawford, vice president of sales and marketing, Spray-Lock. “We’re in a box because people think they know about adhesives, until they use this.”
Along with being safe and easy to use, many of the new spray products are much like spraying a can of deodorant or hairspray. Recyclable, aluminum cans utilize a lever to expel adhesives, keeping the installers hands away from the nozzle. With manageable container compression, spray back onto the installer is eliminated making it safe for him to work.
To further illustrate health and safety benefits for installers, the American Institute of Architects Continuing Education Systems is developing a course on water-based adhesive sprays (Editor’s note: At press time the course was still pending approval). One of the sections of the class features medical studies on the affects of work-related knee and musculoskeletal disorders for flooring installers in journals like Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene and the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Studies have found that the use of spray adhesives on a job can reduce stress and injury impact by 80%.
Spray adhesives from Spray-Lock, Mohawk and Azrock contain zero VOCs, with no off gassing or odors, making them ideal for applications in hospitals and nursing homes said Darrell Albright, Mohawk’s commercial director of buying groups. There is also never a need to disable the building’s HVAC system. A patient can occupy his room again immediately after the flooring has been updated, maintaining a sense of continuity and safety.
More bang for the buck
Spray adhesive has a longer shelf life, with no tricky lids to seal. “You use what you need and throw the bottle back in the truck,” Albright said. Using a container until the last drop is expelled stretches the cost of each 22-ounce can of adhesive, which Mohawk calls NuSpraylok.
Though it sounds like a small amount in comparison to the buckets of adhesive to which installers are accustomed, it is suitable for most applications. “The big kicker is we use 80% less adhesive because we spray such a fine film down,” Spray-Lock’s Crawford said. Without a thick layer on the back of flooring such as carpet, LVT and VCT, the floor can be peeled up at the end of its life cycle and recycled through typical channels. “You can’t achieve that kind of green story with a trowel or traditional application.”
Azrock’s Spray Smart offers a time savings that only spray adhesives can offer, reducing installation time by 70% and requires less tools, said Diane Martel, vice president of environmental planning and strategy for Tarkett in North America. “An added benefit is the less-is-more concept. Our Spray Smart adhesive allows installers to use less product for the same flooring installation, which conserves material and ultimately, reduces the cost of installation.”
Job time is drastically cut during this step because it allows for trade traffic instantly. “In 2004, one of the world’s largest global retailers found us and we brought its 23% flooring installation failure rate down to 1% in one year,” Crawford said. “[With Spray-Lock] it took the construction cycle, which was around 100 days on waiting for flooring to set, and reduced it to 28 days.” With the new spray technology, waiting time to move on with construction in the remainder of the store was drastically reduced, allowing more rapid project completion. Savings to the installer spill onto building owners with the use of spray adhesives.
Crawford added the retail giant has laid 200 million square feet in the most testing environments during this time.
“Retailers in the remodel business love this product because it shortens their down time,” Davis added. “They can wax the floor right away and customers can be there the next morning.”
Performance is another added benefit to the end user. “The adhesive provides moisture resistance of up to 10 pounds with a 12 pH,” Martel said. It also triples the warranty protection when used with Azrock flooring to a 10-year manufacturing, limited moisture/pH and wear guarantee.
“We make a premium product, and we know it is not a replacement for the adhesive market,” Crawford said. “We sell on features and benefits, saving the installers time so they can bank the benefits.”