When an installer is asked, “What adhesive should I use for my carpet installation?” he or she needs to ask the customer the right questions before giving an answer. Following are the main questions to ask. 1. What type of carpet are you installing? Specifically, what is the carpet backing (i.e. jute, woven polypropylene, or attached urethane)? What is the carpet construction (woven or tufted; patterned)? 2. Over what substrate or surface will this carpet be installed (wood, concrete, tile, vinyl, cutback)? 3. Is the area of installation currently occupied or under construction? 4. Where will the carpet be installed (home, school, hotel, etc)? 5. How long will the customer keep the new carpeting (3 years, 5 years, lifetime)? Having asked these questions, your most important decision is to recommend the adhesive that is compatible with the carpet backing and the substrate. One must keep in mind that multi-purpose adhesives cannot be used in all carpet installations. This is why adhesive manufacturers such as APAC have introduced specialty adhesives to cover specfic needs (e.g. extended open time; wet set).

Next, recommend the adhesive grade that satisfies all the customer’s expectations regarding the expected life of carpet usage and traffic conditions. Installing a vinyl backed carpet over existing resilient floor covering requires a totally different adhesive selection than installing base grade carpet over wood underlayment in a residential application. Meeting the customer’s expectations should be the most important criteria, not price.

Choosing the cheapest adhesive without soliciting answers to your questions will only result in problems later. Anyone recommending an adhesive without asking their customers all these questions is not serving the customer or our industry’s continued growth.

It is important to note that in the past, most adhesive manufacturers provided an adhesive selector chart that directed an installer’s adhesive recommendations according to carpet backings and traffic conditions. However, these selection guidelines do not address all the questions for which you need answers. New backings, concerns regarding indoor air quality, mold and mildew problems, moisture emissions, the increase in renovation projects, toxicity concerns, etc. all require the correct adhesive recommendation.

With today’s complexities of materials and issues regarding the selection of correct adhesives, this is not as simple as it would appear. It is important that installers become more knowledgeable regarding the ongoing changes in the marketplace and industry, and develop strong relationships with reliable and innovative adhesive manufacturers.