Project of the month: Cardiff Castle visitor centre

Styccobond F49 Hybrid PS temperature tolerant, pressure sensitive vinyl adhesive, has been used to create a temperature tolerant flooring installation as part of the refurbishment of Cardiff Castle visitor centre.

Tourists besieging the medieval fortification now find it a walkover thanks to contractors from Marcus Howells Flooring Services Ltd., based in Penarth, who prepared subfloors prior to installing luxury vinyl tiles over a total area of approximately 200m2at the information hub.

Temperature tolerance requirement

When planning the project, it was noted that the large windows in the visitor centre had the potential to result in solar gain, with high temperatures and extreme temperature fluctuations causing floorcoverings to expand and contract, possibly leading to tenting and gapping over time. Therefore, F. Ball’s Styccobond F49 Hybrid PS temperature tolerant, water-based, pressure sensitive vinyl adhesive was chosen to install Gerflor Creation 70 stone-effect luxury vinyl tiles over the prepared subfloor. The hybrid adhesive develops the extremely high bond strength required to hold floorcoverings firmly in place in areas exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations (as low as -20°C and up to +60°C).

Unlike wet-lay high temperature adhesives, Styccobond F49 offers the high grab properties of pressure sensitive adhesives, an advantage for the contractors using it to install the vinyl tiles. Once the tiles were positioned, it meant that they stayed firmly in place as they continued to work, allowing them to create a flawless finish.

Subfloor preparation

Before this could take place, old carpet and ceramic tiles had to be uplifted. Contractors then mechanically prepared the subfloor to reduce the amount of adhesive residue remaining, and dust and debris left behind were cleaned off.

A moisture check found that subfloor relative humidity levels were well below the 75%. Above this maximum threshold, a moisture management solution would be required.

Contractors could therefore proceed to the next stage of subfloor preparation: applying F. Ball’s Stopgap P131 general-purpose primer to the subfloor. Priming absorbent surfaces, such as concrete or sand/cement screeds, with Stopgap P131 serves to promote the application characteristics and stop the unacceptably rapid drying of subsequently applied levelling compounds. Priming also prevents pinholing – tiny bubbles formed by the slow escape of air from the subfloor, which burst on reaching the surface of the levelling compound as it cures and can affect the appearance of a finished installation.

A sturdy base

F. Ball’s Stopgap 1200 Pro, a fast-setting, fast-drying, two-component levelling compound, was then applied at a thickness of 4-5mm over the entire subfloor to create a perfectly smooth base for the receipt of new floorcoverings.

Suitable for use over old adhesive residues, Stopgap 1200 Pro is able to accept foot traffic in as little as one hour after application and ready to receive new floorcoverings from three hours later. In many cases when applied over old adhesive residues, there is no need to apply a primer beforehand, saving further time and expense. It also means contractors can use the same product in situations where newly installed subfloors and areas with old adhesive residues present are next to each other.

Familiar reliability

Commenting on the project, Marcus Howells, managing director at Marcus Howells Flooring, said: “We used Stopgap 1200 Pro because it’s a product we’re familiar with and can always rely on, and we wanted the subfloor prep to be absolutely perfect. This is reflected in the finished result; it looks great!

“We were conscious that the temperatures in the visitor centre may get quite high because of its large windows, so we planned to use Styccobond F49 to install the vinyl tiles because we wanted to be sure that the finished result would look perfect for many years to come. Our F. Ball representative assured us that this was the right choice.

“The work was a bit fast track. It had to be completed from start to finish within a week because the castle was being used as a concert venue at the weekend. The speed with which the F. Ball products allowed us to work meant that it took just a few days.”