Posted on

How premium adhesives add value to installations

August 4/11, 2014; Volume 28/Number 4

For many its ‘pay now or pay later’

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 2.30.10 PMBy Louis Iannaco

The importance of a professional installation is inarguable. Everyone suffers from a poor installation—from the consumer and mechanic to the retailer, all the way up to the mill.

When it comes to adhesives, exactly how do premium products add value to installations? What are the specific attributes that make these adhesives better than others? What functions should or shouldn’t they perform?

As industry veteran and International Certified Flooring Installers Association (CFI) Master Installer Roland Thompson, a manager at Kehne’s Carpet One in Frederick, Md., noted, with so many installers and companies looking only at price when bidding on a job, they don’t understand that, in the long run, a premium adhesive is going to save them money. “I find most premium adhesives will spread better, set up better and perform at a higher standard than the lower quality adhesive,” he explained. “This alone adds value to my job and gives me the confidence I won’t have a failure down the road.” His preferred adhesive products are from Taylor, Roberts and Mapei, among others.

Like Thompson, Jim Walker, CEO, CFI, believes premium adhesives provide both the installer and dealer with a sense of security. “In these recent economic times, it appeared too many found a way to cut costs by purchasing the ‘multi-purpose’ adhesives that really are not what the name signifies. The word is misleading; there is no such thing. The job must be analyzed, the type of product considered, the substrate—the list goes on before an adhesive can be selected.”

According to Walker, adhesives are designed to work with various products, different types of carpet backings, substrates and problems that surface in regard to the environment and job locations. “The top-of-the-line adhesives address specific problems and are true to their names. Manufacturers continually take measures to upgrade these products and provide what is needed for the job.”

Another CFI Master Installer, Scott Terryberry of Rocky Mountain Floor Design in Winter Park, Colo., has always used premium adhesives. “I feel they will give the flooring the best chance to perform the wayScreen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.39.16 PM the manufacturer intended. It gives me peace of mind knowing I won’t have any issue with the adhesive.”

What makes premium adhesives better than the rest? According to Terryberry, it’s their consistency, “being able to get an even spread and more consistent cure times, and knowing that bond strength will be high.” Before becoming a retailer, Terryberry used adhesives primarily from Roberts and Henry. Now he uses the manufacturers’ glues or their recommended adhesives.

Duey Johnson, CFI installer, commercial contractor and owner of The Rug Rat in Bismarck, N.D., does many patterned installations and believes that while working in high-traffic areas, a premium adhesive is a must. “I don’t want to have any failures because I used the wrong or cheap adhesive. Most of my installs are hospitality jobs, so a callback means big money. If a ballroom has to be shut down because the carpet has speed bumps, it costs me big time.

“You need quality adhesives not only for longevity but because they’re typically lower in VOCs, which are not only better for the surroundings but the smell is easier to dissipate,” he explained. “You also want to work with a premium adhesive for its capabilities; it’s easier to spread and creates much better tensile strength. An inexpensive adhesive will smell worse and be difficult to work with.”

In all of his commercial glue down installations, Johnson requires the end user to furnish all adhesives. “It not only protects me from a failure,” he explained, “but whoever is selling the carpet, in most cases, will not sell a cheap adhesive because manufacturers know what happens when a cheap adhesive is used.” Johnson uses Parabond adhesives as well as thinset products from Mapei for ceramic tile installations.

Nate Hall, CFI Master Installer and owner of The Enchanted Floorist, New Holstein, Wis., also believes “top shelf” adhesives handle better. “They trowel easier and excess adhesive can be troweled off the floor with greater ease. In a double-stick installation, where a 1⁄8 x 1⁄8 x 1⁄8-inch U-notch trowel is required, a high-solids adhesive can mean the difference between success and failure. Many installers don’t wait for the adhesive to achieve proper tack, and when using a watery adhesive you can’t blame them.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-13 at 3.39.37 PMJerry Coon of Jerry Coon Wood Floors in Orlando, Fla., believes if installers use a cheap or inexpensive adhesive, they’ll never have the security of knowing the floor is going to stay down, especially in Florida “where we have nine months of humidity. With a product like Dri-Tac—and I’ve been using it for over 20 years—I’ve never once had an issue with a floor popping up due to moisture or humidity.”

As he explained, using a premium adhesive is a good insurance policy not only for the installer, but for the end user as well.

Another CFI Master Installer, Roy Lewis, owner of Eagle Interiors in Phenix City, Ala., said premium thinset adhesives usually mean “a higher percentage of Portland cement, and a higher percentage of Portland gives you a stronger bond, tile to substrate.”

Walker may have summed it up best, saying that purchasing a premium adhesive is like buying an insurance policy. “For the qualified installer who knows quality product contains more solids, which translates to the longevity of the adhesive; it will not crystallize or deteriorate. The adhesive will spread easier, does not roll on the trowel and will set up faster. Better chemicals are used in higher-end products.”

Posted on

Adhesives: Formulating a premium product

Suppliers dish on best of the best

June 9/16, 2014; Volume 27/Number 29

By Louis Iannaco

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 10.23.15 AMWhat constitutes a premium adhesive? What must it do? Are there actual industry standards for what is considered premium?

According to several adhesive producers, numerous factors must be taken into account when it comes to a product’s premium status, and, in certain segments, the industry is setting standards as stricter guidelines are being put into place.

The consensus among adhesives executives is the ingredients utilized during formulation usually determine the best products. There is also a meeting of the minds when it comes to the ability of a product to multi-task; to be considered premium, offerings must work to achieve more than one goal.

Top-notch products

According to David Ford, vice president of sales and marketing at Stauf USA, a premium-grade adhesive is usually comprised of the “best of the best” ingredients. As in grades of paint or lumber, there are better grades of raw materials used in the process. “Some resins are extremely clean while others will allow more impurities. The higher the quality of resins, the more solid content and less filler you have, meaning you’re getting more sticky stuff.”

Some adhesives have special qualities that help achieve very high shear strength, while others maintain high shear and allow for moisture protection and sound absorption, Ford noted. Premium products must maintain body “and not ‘slump.’ Ridge height is important in bridging the gap between subfloor and wood floor, or whatever the floor covering.”

Larry Scott, vice president of field technical services for Dri-Tac Flooring Products, agreed, saying the term “premium” has historically been synonymous with best-in-class. “In recent times, a sound argument could be made to redefine this term as ‘inherent best-in-class overall value.’”

In the realm of flooring adhesives, Scott added, “This value can be and is assessed through various categories, including but not limited to application properties (easy spreadability and clean-up), performance characteristics (rate of cure, mechanical property development, moisture and acoustical abatement), environmental considerations (eco-friendly, sustainability, regulatory compliance) and cost effectiveness.”

According to Scott, Dri-Tac’s 2008 introduction of its 1001 All-In-One offering—the very first urethane-based 4-in-1 green sound and moisture control wood flooring adhesive—is proof of the company’s Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 10.23.49 AMcommitment to premium product excellence.

Now Dri-Tac has another product it believes features the most innovative urethane-based adhesive technology on the market. The Golden Bullet, DriTac 4141, is a premium-grade, 100% green, 4-in-1 sound and moisture control wood flooring adhesive that does not require moisture testing and offers unlimited subfloor moisture control. With unlimited board thickness, width and length allowed, The Golden Bullet offers the very latest in premium-grade adhesive technology and product formula attributes. “This zero VOC, zero solvent product simplifies wood flooring installations when sound and moisture control is needed,” Scott explained.

Eric Kurtz, Bostik’s market manager, hardwood and resilient flooring systems, also believes premium products possess performance attributes and/or features that go above and beyond simple glues. For example, the company’s Ultra-Set SingleStep2 utilizes Axios Tri-Linking polymer technology to combine high-strength adhesive, moisture barrier and sound abatement technologies in one formulation, “making it easy to trowel and clean off prefinished hardwood even after cure.”

The product also contains Bostik’s patent-pending Thickness Control Spacer Technology, a proprietary feature ensuring the ideal membrane thickness between the substrate and hardwood flooring is maintained.

The ingredients used in W.F. Taylor adhesives are a major factor when it comes to producing premium products, while state-of-the-art technology plays a starring role. A basic adhesive offers a subpar bond between the subfloor and flooring of choice, but a premium adhesive provides advanced chemistry, top quality ingredients and incorporates multiple high-performing functions.

“Developing a premium adhesive takes advanced technology, research and development, as well as third-party testing to prove your product is of premium standards,” noted Kristine Elledge, marketing coordinator. A premium adhesive also provides functions such as moisture control, anti-microbial protection, sound reduction, crack isolation, thermal enhancement, etc.”

Setting standards

In 2012, the tile installation industry finalized the new category, Improved Modified Dry-Set Cement Mortars, that is designated A118.15. This new standard joins A118.1 (unmodified mortars), A118.4 (modified standard mortars) and A118.11 (mortars for use over plywood) as an additional tool in differentiating products.

According to Dan Marvin, Mapei’s director of technical services, A118.15 details the requirements for high-performance mortars that can be used in freeze/thaw environments, submerged applications, areas with elevated expansion and deflection, hot environments and more. Additionally, mortars can now be categorized as extended working time (E), slip-resistant (T) and fast-setting (F).

Mapei has pushed for this new standard for many years as the U.S. market has been slow to adopt Europe’s ISO criteria for mortars that already include the ‘E,’ ‘T’ and ‘F’ categories, he explained. The new standard allows specifiers to call out the performance requirements they need on the job without fear the installer will substitute a less robust product due to last-minute value engineering, Marvin noted.

Posted on

Adhesives: Focus on fast installation, healthier indoor environment

Feb. 17/24 2014, Volume 27/number 21

By Jenna Lippin

State-of-the-art technology not only takes floor covering products to the next level, it also advances installation methods, devices and products. With that said, adhesive companies represent a particularly important niche within the industry with new, progressive formulas that translate into faster, easier installations and also lend themselves to healthier indoor environments with low VOCs and various “green” certifications.


Advanced Adhesive Technology’s (AAT) most recent innovation is a new, thin-spread adhesive for VCT. The reformulated AAT-370 Ultra Premium Thin Spread offers a much faster drying adhesive, resulting in time saving of up to 25%. But, the most important feature of the new acrylic-enhanced formula is its ability to be used over slabs with an in situ RH of 95%. This enhancement will add a margin of safety for flooring contractors that choose AAT-370, without increasing their cost.

AAT-370 dries to a transparent film allowing layout lines to remain visible. It is also installer friendly—AAT-370 spreads easily, has an extended working time (up to 24 hours), and is water resistant and nonflammable. Furthermore, AAT-370 is protected by CleanGuard, a specifically formulated broad-spectrum, antimicrobial agent that protects AAT’s adhesives from microorganisms, such as mold or mildew, in both the wet and dry state.

The CRI Green Label Plus Adhesive Certification Program has certified AAT-370 as a low-VOC adhesive.


New from Anderson is Bear Hug, a wood flooring adhesive offered in three formulas: Green Grab, Premium Urethane and 3X Triple Option.

With low odor/low VOCs, Green Grab’s new formula provides easy troweling and is proven to be a non-slumping formula. Further, it has a spread rate of up to 70 square feet per gallon and offers up to 15% more coverage per container than other brands.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 4.43.32 PMPremium Urethane is a one-part, one-day system with permanent bond for on-, above- or below-grade installations. It is warrantied for up to 8 pounds of moisture vapor transmission with proper trowel. Premium Urethane can be applied to multi-ply engineered plank, acrylic impregnated plank and parquet, and plain-back parquet. It offers up to 20% more coverage per container than other brands, the company claims, and has a spread rate of up to 60 square feet per gallon.

Anderson’s third new formula, 3X Triple Option, is a 3-1 application made with 100% solids, has minimal odor and a spread rate of up to 60 square feet per gallon. It  has an early quick grab and rapid strength technology in order to make the surface a true “work on” installation. Additionally, it meets the IIC and STC building code requirements for sound reduction. Triple Option is the only offering that is reusable once opened and provides up to 15% more coverage per container than other brands.

All Bear Hug adhesives can be used with any engineered or Envirocore Anderson product. The company also authorizes the use of Bear Hug on applicable engineered products from competitors.


Bostik’s adhesive introductions include Ultra-Set SingleStep2 and GreenForce, both with the company’s AXIOUS Tri-Linking Polymer Technology for exceptional long-term durability and moisture protection.

SingleStep2 contains 1% recycled rubber material, contains zero VOCs  and no water. It can be used to adhere all engineered, solid, bamboo, cork and parquet products designed and recommended by hardwood flooring manufacturers for gluedown applications. There is no restriction on plank width or length and may be used over all properly prepared substrates common to hardwood flooring installations. SingleStep2 can also be used to install plywood, ceramic tile, marble and stone inlays for light commercial or residential applications.

Offering unlimited moisture vapor protection, SingleStep2 protects hardwood flooring from damage caused by subfloor moisture in concrete slabs. It also offers sound abatement performance equivalent to ¼-inch cork underlayment.

Similar to SingleStep2, GreenForce is easier to spread and clean off prefinished flooring before and after cure, contains zero VOCs and no water. Its high-performance formulation is appropriate for the same flooring products and installations as SingleStep2.


The current highlight from DriTac is 7700 Easy Clean 4-in-1, which is a completely green, premium MS polymer sound and moisture control wood flooring adhesive for use underneath engineered hardwood, solid plank and bamboo flooring installations.

By simply changing the trowel, 7700 Easy Clean can be utilized as a 4-in-1 sound and moisture control wood flooring adhesive or as anScreen Shot 2014-02-24 at 4.44.23 PM adhesive only. This type of product versatility and the exceptional green grab it offers help to set it apart from the competition.

Containing zero VOCs, zero solvents and zero isocyanates, 7700 Easy Clean is CRI certified for indoor air quality and has been specially formulated for easy clean up off hardwood surfaces when wet or dry.  The product also spreads easily and has minimal odor.

HPS Schönox

Schönox’s current focus is on Roll and Go adhesive, catering to the growing popularity of LVT.  According to Karen Bellinger, business development, the product has been approved by about 35 manufacturers for LVT installations. Because Schönox actually tests Roll and Go with each flooring product, the company can guarantee it will work with all approved LVT offerings.

When ready to install, a thin layer of Roll and Go is applied to a prepared substrate (Bellinger recommends a Schönox self-leveling product and primer) onto which tiles and/or planks can be installed immediately.

Roll and Go allows users to save time and money, and the overall process is easier on installers as they can remain upright when rolling on the product. The nature of Roll and Go also allows for a damaged plank or tile to be easily removed and repaired.




Posted on

Wood adhesive producers keeping it green and safe

By Louis Iannaco

Volume 26/Number 24; April 15/22, 2013

Taylor says its MS-Plus Advance wood flooring adhesive is a higher performance, safer alternative to urethane wood adhesives.

When it comes to developing the safest, most effective products possible, wood glue manufacturers have been meticulous in creating adhesives that are both effective and environmentally safe for both the installer and homeowner.

According to Dri-Tac’s vice president of technology, Steve Lontchar, the most well-known VOC regulation is California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District’s (SCAQ-MD) VOC Rule 1168 for Adhesive and Sealant applications, which some experts believe is “long overdue for both review and subsequent revision. Continue reading Wood adhesive producers keeping it green and safe

Posted on

Wood adhesive producers keeping it green


By Louis Iannaco

When it comes to improving their products, wood glue manufacturers take great pains in developing adhesives that are not only effective and get the job done for installers, but are environmentally safe for
 both the professional
 and homeowner. Wood flooring adhesive producers agree on the importance of staying abreast of the latest rules
and regulations and practicing industry environmental standards.. They acknowledge that adapting their products accordingly is an important part of keeping people safe, products effective and the environment protected. Continue reading Wood adhesive producers keeping it green

Posted on

Using adhesives in commercial spaces

by Louis Iannaco

What are the top aspects manufacturers have in mind when developing adhesives for high-traffic commercial areas? How are they different from residential adhesives? According to executives, those questions can only be answered by starting with the flooring type being installed as each requires a particular application. Continue reading Using adhesives in commercial spaces

Posted on

Adhesives manufacturers developing green practices save resources, time, money, keep hazardous gasses out of air

Do you remember when air pollution was the big, environmental concern? Legislation, electric cars and clean burning energy has helped narrow that focus to the quality of air in homes, or indoor air quality (IAQ). “IAQ is going to be a big deal, maybe even bigger than global warming,” predicted John Woolsey, vice president of sales for Anderson Hardwood. As homes get tighter to improve energy efficiency and die-hard activists move to metropolitan centers to reduce their carbon footprints, the quality of air indoors has become increasingly important.

Some of the main factors affecting IAQ are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and isocyanates, both of which are off-gasses commonly found in flooring adhesives. Today, companies can proudly advertise the absence of these compounds with third-party verifications from organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI), the GreenGuard Environmental Institute, and Scientific Certification Systems. With their help, adhesive companies are going to great lengths to improve the floors we walk on and the air we breathe. Continue reading Adhesives manufacturers developing green practices save resources, time, money, keep hazardous gasses out of air