It’s probably the last thing installers consider on a job, but it can be a common cause of installation failure. In case you’re wondering, I’m talking about adhesives. Every day, there are numerous installation failures resulting from improperly installed or specified adhesives, and this problem is compounded by the enormous amount of new products being introduced every year. In this rapidly changing business environment, it is vital to stay on top of the latest installation products and techniques. With this in mind, we’ve developed this issue of Floor Covering Installer around the subject of adhesives.

A few years back, the late Joe Grady, one of FCI’s longest-running columnists, kicked off one of his columns about adhesives by asking the question, “When was the last time you actually read the label on a bucket of adhesives?” This question is just as timely today as it was then; some things never change. Reading the manufacturer’s instructions should always be the first thing an installer does, particularly when using a new or unfamiliar product. Yet, how often do you, the installer, actually take the time to read product labels or materials sheets? But, you reply, there’s no time for that on a busy job site. Perhaps there is not, but that excuse will not protect you from liability in a court of law, which is where you could end up in the event of litigation over an installation failure. If you think this example is a bit extreme, think again. Every day, I hear about installation failures in all types of installations, and unfortunately, most of them end up being blamed upon improper installation techniques.

Of course, not all of the problems were caused by the installer. Sometimes the wrong materials are specified, and something as seemingly minor as using the wrong size of trowel or the wrong type of adhesive for a particular substrate can result in the failure of an installation. While these problems might not be the installer’s fault, they definitely ARE the installer’s responsibility; if the materials are not correctly specified, the time to bring this up is before beginning work. It is better to have a slight delay in starting a job than having to re-do it later after the installation fails.

In order to prevent adhesives failures, the first step is to educate yourself on the latest installation products and techniques, and that’s where Floor Covering Installer comes in. In this issue, our expert columnists take on a variety of adhesive-related subjects, and we’ve also included an adhesive product guide with information on all the major adhesive manufacturers and their products. With this information, we hope to help you avoid the sticky situation of adhesive-related failures.