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Installation: Self-levelers solve subfloor prep issues

April 30/May 7, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 23

By Lindsay Baillie

Retailers, installers and contractors know that what’s underneath a floor is just as critical to a consumer’s long-term happiness as the floor’s overall look and feel. For the consumer to get the most out of her floor over the life of the product, installers need to properly prep the substrate.

To assist installers with this crucial step, manufacturers are developing new self-levelers to help shorten prep time and create a better working environment for workers on the job site. Following are some of the recent entries to the market.


Ardex K 22 F and Ardex K 60 are designed to accelerate even the tightest construction schedule. Ardex K 22 F is a high-flow, self-leveling underlayment that is reinforced with microfibers to increase product flexibility. This installation can be done as thin as 1⁄8 inch without the need for a liquid admixture or any sort of mesh fastened to a wooden subfloor. The product eliminates the need for putting down lathe. It is also fiber reinforced and low tension allowing it to go over challenging substrates with less floor preparation than the most common self-levelers.

Ardex K 60 Arditex—a rapid-setting, self-leveling latex underlayment—is mixed only with a latex additive and can be installed over a wide variety of substrates without the use of a primer. Ardex K 60 is a versatile product that eliminates the need for sourcing water. It also saves significant time by reducing the need for floor preparation.


The Laticrete SuperCap ready-mix delivery service is a new turnkey service that delivers blended self-leveling underlayment (SLU) through the company’s patented pump truck technology directly to the job site. According to the manufacturer, this service significantly saves both time and cost while providing a safer, cleaner work environment.

With the ability to blend and pump up to 30,000 pounds per hour—the equivalent of 600 small bags per hour—the SuperCap ready-mix delivery service benefits the entire project from design to completion by providing predictable results, according to Clint Schramm, director of marketing, Laticrete SuperCap. “Thanks to its computer-control system, a consistent, quality blend is ensured every time, shaving weeks off a project schedule while delivering a flat floor for subsequent trades to build out on within 24 hours.”


Schönox will soon take the wraps off its latest cement-based, self-leveling compounds, S1500 and XM. Schönox S1500 is a cement self-leveling compound designed for a multitude of projects with a depth of ¼ inch to 1½ inches. Schönox S1500 is noted for its very low shrinkage and PSI of 4900.

Schönox XM offers a self-leveling, cementitious smoothing as a leveling compound with very low VOC, good working properties, standard preparation and cost-effective applications. This high-flow self-leveler is designed for layers from 1⁄6 inch up to ½ inch with a PSI of 4300.

Both of these new compounds feature high hardness and strength, underfloor heating and a Schönox quality smooth subfloor.


Sika recently launched two innovative self-leveler systems: Sika Level-425 and Sika Level-525. Sika Level-425, a low-dust solution, offers innovative dust reduction technology preventing excess dust from spreading around the job site during the mixing of the product. Sika Level-525, which is designed to work quickly, rapid cures in 90 minutes, offering installers the opportunity to cover the underlayment with a floor in the same day.

The new products round out Sika’s total system of moisture-mitigation products. “The Sika Secure System helps installers to find what they are looking for,” said Marlene Morin, marketing manager, interior finishing. “We offer solutions that can provide great flow, high compressive strength, fast drying time and varying thicknesses.”


Sahara is one of Taylor’s most aggressive moisture vapor barrier (MVB) products on the market. The product, which is engineered to withstand the most extreme moisture installations, is designed to control concrete substrate vapor emissions. For glue-down applications, it is designed to be paired with the company’s all new Enhance bond promoter. Sahara can be applied directly to a clean and porous concrete substrate, meaning installers can eliminate expensive and time-consuming bead blasting or scarifying, also making it easier for the flooring contractor to comply with the new OSHA regulations on crystalline silica dust.

As a self-leveling, one-part trowel applied product, Sahara is ready to use straight out of the pail. It creates a smooth, solid surface for excellent flooring installations and is ready for next steps in approximately eight hours. Floating floors can be installed directly over Sahara and hardwood can be glued directly to it using the Taylor Signature Series line of wood flooring adhesives.


Uzin Fast System features three products: Uzin PE 414, a turbo surface strengthener/ primer; Uzin PE 280, a fast primer; and Uzin NC 172, a bi-turbo self-leveling compound. This system allows flooring to be installed in as little as four to six hours from initial application, which makes it ideal for time-sensitive projects. The Fast System also reduces mixing time from three minutes to one minute and meets strict Emicode EC1 Plus environmental criteria.

Uzin PE 414 dries in 60-90 minutes, saving time and labor costs. As a single component, it requires no mixing and is ready to use. Both water and solvent free, Uzin PE 414 meets strict criteria for healthy indoor air quality. Uzin PE 280 dries in approximately 45 minutes and has superior bonding strength. Uzin NC 172 is ready for covering in as little as one hour and provides a flat, level surface.

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W.F. Taylor names Williams CFO

Steve Williams - CFO of WF Taylor

Fontana, Calif.—W.F. Taylor, an industry leader in the adhesives and coatings markets, has added Steven Williams to the company’s leadership team as its new chief financial officer, effective immediately. In his role, Williams will direct all financial, accounting, mergers and acquisitions, and information technology functions for the company.

“We feel very fortunate to have someone of Steve’s caliber join the Taylor management team.” said Dan Pelton, CEO, W.F. Taylor. “His proven track record and extensive experience in leading the financial operations of high growth, industry-leading companies will be invaluable as we embark on the next phase of our growth strategy to expand our leadership position in the adhesives segment of the flooring industry.”

Williams is a seasoned financial executive who brings more than 30 years of experience in the textile and apparel industries, including senior leadership positions at Milliken & Company and Russell Corporation. Prior to joining W.F. Taylor, Williams was CFO of the floor covering division for Milliken.

“I cannot imagine a more exciting time to join W.F. Taylor,” Williams said. “Taylor is positioned well for future growth as the company continues to set the pace for driving innovation in the adhesive markets. I know Dan and his leadership team recognize the tremendous opportunity that is before them, and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”

In addition, Pelton announced the following promotions and appointments that will join Williams as part of his executive leadership team: Allan Preyer as vice president of commercial activities; Richard Schawe, vice president of manufacturing; and Robert Ddamulira as vice president of technology.

“This is an extremely important time for Taylor as we explore strategic opportunities to grow our company and expand into new markets,” Pelton said. “Our executive leadership team has the diversity of experience, proven leadership skills and the passion to lead a ‘renewed’ Taylor going forward.”

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Taylor introduces sound reducing liquid underlayment for floating floors

141003_AcousTec_Installation_Photo3Fontana, Calif.—W.F. Taylor Co. Inc. announced a unique industry breakthrough product—the patent pending Acous-Tec Sound Reducing Liquid Underlayment Patch and Leveler. Taylor Acous-Tec Sound Reducing Liquid Underlayment Patch and Leveler is designed for all floating floor systems including vinyl tile/plank, laminate and wood to reduce sound transmission.

Taylor Acous-Tec Technology is not a new science, it currently exists in Taylor MS-Plus Resilient Adhesive as a feature and benefit for the installer. Because of MS-Plus Resilient’s phenomenal success with lowering sound transmission, installers led Taylor to see the need for a liquid sound barrier product that doesn’t exist on the market. “By popular demand Taylor has announced our first underlayment, Acous-Tec, as its own stand-alone product,” said Jack Raidy, president and CEO of Taylor.

“It is a perfect product for both commercial installers and retail DIYers,” said Barry Wright, vice president of Taylor. “Simply trowel the low VOC and UL GREENGUARD certified liquid underlayment, watch it self-level and rapidly cure, then install the floating floor on top of the underlayment all in the same day. Whether it is used in a high rise apartment building or a consumers home, it will dramatically reduce sound and quiet your floor.”

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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.”

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Taylor introduces Meta-Tec MS-Plus Resilient MBA (Moisture Barrier Adhesive) for Resilient Flooring

Capitalizing on the success of Taylor’s Meta-Tec MS-Plus Advance Wood Flooring Adhesive in replacing archaic urethane adhesives, Taylor now introduces Meta-Tec MS-Plus Resilient MBA, a true environmentally safe 100% solids solvent & isocyanate free one component modified silane polymer moisture barrier adhesive to replace twopart urethanes and epoxies in the resilient flooring market. MS-Plus Resilient MBA is designed to install a broad range of vinyl, rubber, fiberglass and polyolefin backed resilient flooring products, as well as recycled content products, over both porous and non-porous surfaces. Continue reading Taylor introduces Meta-Tec MS-Plus Resilient MBA (Moisture Barrier Adhesive) for Resilient Flooring