Jim Kups, North America Technical Manager for Novalis, shares his thoughts and advice on a sticky subject …

Let’s talk adhesives today, specifically luxury vinyl adhesives, which seems like a good topic as I’m stuck here on a long flight and it gives me time to let my mind wander and write blogs!

Always keep in mind that luxury vinyl flooring has a couple of different installation methods that are available. “Direct glue down” is the kind that uses “glue” or adhesives that I want to address.

Today, we’ll look at:

  • Pressure Sensitive Adhesives
  • Transitional Adhesives
  • Aerosol Spray Adhesives
  • Epoxies and Urethane Adhesives

Note: For information on Novalis-branded Adhesives, check out information you’ll find on the Accessories page of NovaFloor.us.

Luxury vinyl adhesives are acrylic-based and come in two main types, Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSA) and full-spread Transitional. Other types of adhesives can be used such as aerosol sprays, epoxies and urethanes … and we’ll talk about them too.

PSAs have been used for solid vinyl flooring (SVF) for many years, and the flooring was traditionally installed in a wet-set application which “encapsulated” the flooring tiles, keeping them tight to the floor and extremely stable post-installation. SVF (or as most people use the marketing term “LVT”) was generally not installed in a dry-lay or tacky method as it is today. Dry-lay offers the ability to easily remove pieces of flooring in the event a repair is needed. (Actually, it’s the same method as used with PVC-backed carpet tiles.) However, if the SVF is unstable or reacting to the environment, PSAs used in a dry-lay method do not offer a good method of keeping the SVF in check after installation.

As you have read in previous articles, SVF is sensitive to temperature changes and will expand and contract as needed in the installed environment. This is not instability but a natural characteristic of vinyl flooring. The adhesive needs to be able to respond with the flooring and work to keep it in place.

Transitional Adhesives offer the best of everything that a luxury vinyl requires for a successful installation, although not very friendly for repairs and removal. TAs are full-spread, trowelable and have a shorter working time than a dry-lay PSA, but they have a higher bond strength. TAs install and act like traditional flooring adhesives, allowing the moisture in the adhesive to “flash-off” so you have a set time to install the flooring. This means that you’ll need to work in smaller areas of troweled adhesive and roll it as you go. This is a little slower of an installation method but the trade-off is longevity of the installation and the stability of the flooring.

Aerosol sprays have gone through several transformations during my career in the industry and are not well received overall by installers. I can say that the current products on the market are nothing like their predecessors and offer strength, quick installation, grouting right away and ability to receive traffic within a couple of hours. If you’re an installer, be sure to check out the current spray offered by Novalis, as I know you’ll like it.

Epoxies and urethane adhesives have come a long way too in the market. These are specialty adhesives that have their place for installing SVF. Metal substrates, harsh conditions, and cold environments are types of installation areas that these two adhesives will really shine. And with their universal compatibility, you can generally be safe with any of these types offered by any manufacturer. Urethanes offer an easier clean up in most cases, but once they both dry they’re almost impossible to work with, so be sure to take your time and keep messes to a minimum!

Novalis makes luxury vinyl flooring that installs with adhesives (“direct glue down”), loose lay, and clic. Consult with your installer or NovaFloor dealer for the type of NovaFloor LVT floor that’s right for you and your conditions. You’ll find details on all NovaFloor collections at http://novafloor.us/products/. All NovaFloor collections, with the exception of NovaCore, are available in direct glue down installation. NovaCore is an HPC floor and available only as a floating (clic) floor.

Happy trails!

Jim Kups, Technical Manager, North America, Novalis Innovative Flooring