Entrances and Front of House

Making an Entrance

Floorcoverings in building entrances regularly battle with water and dirt being brought in under foot from the outside. Some floorcoverings, such as barrier matting, are specially designed to attract water and dirt to prevent it being walked further into a building. Entrance flooring also needs to be robust enough to be able to withstand a considerable amount of foot traffic. Following best practice in subfloor preparation in addition to using suitably heavy-duty subfloor products and adhesives will help to ensure that floorcoverings at entranceways are able to withstand such hostile treatment and maintain their aesthetic appearance throughout their lifetime.


Entrances in schools, event venues and busy retail and office environments may be pounded by hundreds, if not thousands, of pairs of feet a day. Airport terminals and hospitals are also likely to be subject to wheeled trolleys full of luggage or heavy medical equipment. Therefore, when preparing a subfloor for the installation of floorcoverings, the application of a heavy-duty smoothing compound is recommended.


Smoothing compound selection

Heavy-duty smoothing compounds, such as Stopgap 300, are formulated to have the high compressive strength required to maintain their integrity throughout the lifetime of a flooring installation, even when subjected to heavy daily usage.

For transitional areas, including entranceways, which are likely to be exposed to rain, snow, and frost, an exterior smoothing compound should be selected. Such products are frost and water resistant when set and dried.


Entrance adhesives

Once the smoothing compound has fully cured, contractors can proceed to installing chosen floorcoverings using a suitable adhesive. It is important to select an adhesive with properties that allow it to withstand similarly harsh weather conditions.

Epoxy or polyurethane-based adhesives are the usual choice for installing floorcoverings in such areas. Once cured, they are resistant to water as well as oil and grease.

The latest advancements in adhesive technology have also enabled the development of one-part adhesives for internal and external heavy-duty applications, such as Styccobond F73 PLUS. This solvent-free, moisture-curing adhesive provides the high bond strength required to firmly hold in place a wide range of textile and resilient floorcoverings, including rubber, vinyl, linoleum and synthetic grass, in areas that will be subject to heavy loads and high foot traffic, as well as surface water.


Compatibility check

As always, it is recommended that contractors check the compatibility of particular floorcoverings and adhesives. For these purposes, F. Ball produces its industry-leading Recommended Adhesives Guide (RAG®), which lists adhesives recommended for use with over 6,000 floorcoverings, produced by over 200 floorcovering manufacturers. It is available on the F. Ball website and as a free app, as well as a printed booklet. Contractors can also consult floorcovering manufacturers for advice.


Initial preparations

Before proceeding with any flooring installation, contractors should take the time to thoroughly assess the composition and condition of the subfloor to ensure a suitably sound, dry base for the application of a smoothing compound and final floorcovering. If excess moisture is detected in the subfloor, a waterproof surface membrane should be installed prior to the application of a smoothing compound.

With few exceptions, it is essential to prime the subfloor beforehand. When used over non-absorbent surfaces, priming promotes the application characteristics of subsequently applied subfloor preparation products. Priming also serves to prevent the unacceptably rapid drying of smoothing compounds applied over absorbent subfloors, such as concrete, sand/cement screeds or plywood, maintaining its working time. It also prevents ‘pinholing’: small holes, which have the appearance of tiny craters, caused by the slow escape of air from absorbent surfaces as the smoothing compound cures.


The take-away

Ensuring the precautions highlighted above are taken into consideration and suitable heavy-duty subfloor preparation products are used, flooring installed in an entranceway will maintain its appearance for the duration of its lifetime, even when exposed to severe weather conditions, dirt and debris.