Advancements in technology keep raising the bar for products in the flooring industry. Ceramic tile manufacturers can now create the look and texture of real slate floors (and others) with porcelain, while the finished product in the laminate category sometimes fools the most experienced industry veteran into thinking he or she is walking on the real thing. The same holds true for the glue that holds the flooring industry products together.
Whether it is a highly specialized product or something more environmentally friendly than ever before, state-of-the-art is no longer a term reserved only for the industry’s flooring products as the adhesives available to the installers and mechanics today become more effective, easier and safer to use.
The company’s pride and joy is its line of Problem Solver Triton Ultimate Adhesives, which com- bat the flooring industry’s toughest challenge: wet slabs and high alkalinity. “The Triton Ultimate adhesives are one-step, high performance adhesives,” said Greg Wood, president. “Each product is specifically formulated for specific applications, including VCT, carpet tile, vinyl sheet, rubber tile, rubber sheet, vinyl plank and broadloom over porous subfloors.
The Triton adhesives bring to the flooring contractor advanced technology to handle concrete substrates with a high moisture vapor emission rate (MVER) and sub-floor relative humidity (RH) without the need for moisture mitigation coatings.”
Along with green building, the hottest trend in the wood flooring adhesive market is a move toward multi-functional adhesives that bring value to the trade in the form of labor savings and efficiency, noted Phil Pitts, Bostik’s hardwood installation products market manager. To that end, the company introduced two adhesives in 2010 that function not only as a glue but also as moisture vapor retarders and acoustical membranes.
These two products, UltraSet Single Step, which use patent-pending thickness control spacers and Vapor-Lock, save time and money, he explained. “Rather than installing a trowel-applied urethane membrane, roller-applied epoxy or 1⁄4-inch cork underlayment one day before installation of flooring, contractors can now install hardwood immediately and often complete what would have been a two- or three-day project in a single day.”
The company recently announced a complete family of adhesives and concrete sealers have been certified by the Carpet & Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label Plus program for indoor air quality (IAQ). “Indoor air quality has become a main focus in further defining green and environmentally friendly products,” said John Lio, marketing manager. “According to the CRI, as a society we spend over 90% of our time indoors and the Green Label Plus program ensures customers are purchasing the very lowest-emitting products on the market.”
DriTac’s 7500 Eco-Urethane, 1001 All-In-One, 7700 Easy Clean, 9200 FasTac and 8000 Eco-Moisture Guard have all been certified by CRI’s Green Label Plus Pro- gram for IAQ. “Containing zero VOCs and zero solvents,” he explained, “these offerings are now the undisputed products of choice for all green wood flooring building projects.”
At Surfaces 2011, Mapei will be launching numerous products. According to Jeff Johnson, product manager for Mapei’s floor covering installation systems (FCIS), perhaps two of the most exciting are Ultrabond ECO 885 and 985. Ultrabond ECO 885 has been specifically designed as an adhesive for the new set of carpet products now being crafted from totally recyclable materials, he said. “These products offer unique challenges in terms of installation, and 885 meets those challenges head on by offering the perfect solution for both broadloom and carpet tile.”
Ultrabond ECO 985 is the company’s latest addition to its wood floor installation line and is unique in many ways, Johnson said. “It’s based on a totally new polymer structure that is still 100% solids and cures exposure to moisture vapor, but it cures by means of a different functional group, making it isocyanate-free.” It’s also manufactured with renewable raw materials, which helps contribute to a total of four LEED points.
This year, W.F. Taylor continued its innovation for the wood flooring industry and commitment to the environment with the development of Taylor MS Plus Advance wood flooring adhesive. “MS Plus Advance features the same patented Meta-Tec technology as Taylor MS Plus but added several user-friendly enhancements by improving trowel ridge retention, troweling ease and lengthening the open/working time,” said Gary Liddington, business manager, manufacturing brands. “MS Plus Advance incorporates moisture curing modified silane polymer with the cross-linking Meta-Tec chemistry to create a high performance 100% solids, solvent-free, water-free and isocyanate-free glue.”
The dual-curing systems of the Meta-Tec cross-linking chemistry and the moisture-curing modified silane polymer create a unique product that has excellent green grab, rapidly builds into a high-strength elastic waterproof bond, and cleans up easily, he added.
Liddington said a significant development in the wood flooring adhesive market is occurring in the European Union with regard to international restriction of isocyanate-bearing products, which may spread to the U.S. “This involves the recognition of the health risks of exposure to isocyanates and the requirement that protective gloves must be included with those products under the EU’s chemical restriction requirements. This, of course, won’t affect Taylor as isocyanates aren’t present in any of our products.”
In 2010, XL Brands was awarded the ISO 14001-2004 certification for environmental management from the British Standard Institute. “This proves XL Brands takes the environment seriously in everything we do,” said Dave Doherty, technical sales. “We believe we’re the only domestic flooring adhesives producer that has achieved this.”
Also in 2010, XL finished outfitting its EcoBox packaging system, the first successful change from traditional plastic pails to a sturdy cardboard packaging system. “We eliminate about one ton of HDPE plastic per truckload, which eventually reduces that amount from our landfills. With over 100,000 EcoBoxes shipped to date, we believe this environmentally friendly packaging system has been successful.”
XL this year also rounded out its DynaMix line of high-moisture, high-pH-resistant adhesives. “We were the first to launch a successful line of flooring adhesives resistant to excessive moisture and pH—with tens of millions of feet of flooring successfully installed,” he explained. XL also recently launched Encore 8900 vinyl adhesive, a high-solids adhesive for vinyl sheet, tile and plank. “Our technology allows the installer to install flooring materials after approximately two hours.”