Sticky situations: When do you need a temperature tolerant adhesive?

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F. Ball’s technical service officer Chris McQuade explains when and why you need a temperature tolerant adhesive and provides advice on choosing the right one.

The availability of temperature tolerant adhesives raises questions about exactly when and where they need to be used. There is confusion amongst some contractors about why a temperature tolerant adhesive is required to install LVTs in conservatories, for example, but not over underfloor heating. We sometimes answer calls from contractors who believe it is necessary to use a temperature tolerant adhesive to install floorcoverings where underfloor heating is present when, in fact, it is not usually required.

Why and where?

Extreme temperatures or temperature fluctuations can cause floorcoverings to expand and contract significantly. This is frequently the case in heavily glazed areas that are subject to solar gain during the day, such as conservatories, which then rapidly cool at night. Over time, this can lead to unsightly tenting and gapping at the edges of floorcoverings, particularly between adjacent vinyl tiles or planks. Once fully cured, temperature tolerant adhesives hold floorcoverings firmly in place, restricting these movements and ensuring the long-lasting performance of installations.

However, temperature fluctuations as a result of underfloor heating systems are much more gradual and less extreme than changes in temperature resulting from solar gain, which can be much more sudden and range up to +60°C. To meet British Standard guidelines of resilient and textile floor coverings, underfloor heating systems should not exceed 27°C at the bond line. Temperature tolerant adhesives are therefore only necessary where there are heavily glazed areas, including conservatories and areas with floor-to-ceiling windows. F. Ball’s full range of adhesives can be used over all kinds of underfloor heating.

Where a temperature tolerant adhesive is required, there are a number to choose from, including ones with extra features, such as pressure sensitive characteristics, and F. Ball’s technical service department often receive questions about which product they should use for a particular project.

Wet-lay adhesives

Wet-lay temperature tolerant adhesives are available for contractors who are installing vinyl floorcoverings in areas that will be exposed to high temperatures. After applying the adhesive evenly over the subfloor with a trowel, the contractor simply allows the adhesive to paste off before placing the floorcoverings and then rolling to ensure overall transfer of the adhesive is achieved.

Nowadays, wet-lay temperature tolerant adhesives are available with a range of additional properties.

F. Ball’s Styccobond F48 PLUS, for example, is a fibre-reinforced, high temperature grade adhesive for installing a range of vinyl floorcoverings. Fibres in Styccobond F48 PLUS allow it to offer high initial grab to hold floorcoverings securely in place while contractors are working. It is also fast drying, and as a one-part solution, there’s no mixing required before application.

Hybrid adhesives

The latest adhesive innovation has enabled the development of high-performance, hybrid adhesives, which combine temperature tolerance with pressure sensitive properties. Ongoing innovation has enabled manufacturers to add new features to these products to make them increasingly versatile.

F. Ball’s Styccobond F49 Hybrid PS is a water-based vinyl adhesive with the familiar characteristics of a pressure sensitive adhesive, which develops the extremely high bond strength and dimensional stability required to hold vinyl floorcoverings firmly in place in areas exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations (from -20°C to +60°C). The pressure sensitive characteristics of Styccobond F49 make it a great choice for installing vinyl tiles and planks as well as creating intricate patterns and bespoke designs that need precise alignment. Whilst providing high initial tack, the adhesive allows contractors to lift and reposition floorcoverings in the initial stages of drying.

Styccobond F49 has also been approved for installing vertical flooring accessories, such as PVC skirting, capping and coving, meaning it offers an alternative to traditional contact adhesives. However, unlike contact adhesives, the hybrid adhesive only needs to be applied to one surface. Styccobond F49 is also resistant to water, allowing it to be used in areas subject to water and high humidity, including wet rooms.

Floorcovering compatibility

Flooring contractors should always check that an adhesive is suitable for use with a particular floorcovering. For these purposes F. Ball produces its industry-leading Recommended Adhesives Guide (RAG®). The 2022 edition of the guide lists adhesives recommended for use with over 6,000 floorcoverings, produced by over 200 manufacturers. A continually updated version can be found on F. Ball’s website and as a free app. It is also available as an A5 printed booklet. Alternatively, F. Ball’s technical service department are on hand Monday to Friday, 8.30am – 5.00pm, to answer your questions about F. Ball products and how to use them.