A Carpet Installer's Notebook: A Sticky Situation
August 21, 2008
I walk into my hotel room for the night and the first thing I notice is that the pad seam has separated. (Photo 1) Yeah, I know I’m a rug rat like all of us; I look at the carpet first. It’s like the other night, when Jon and I were watching a movie on TV; a guy is sneaking down the stairs with a gun and Jon said, “Geez Pops, did you see the staple marks under the nose of the stairs?” We all do it.
So, I started thinking about pad glue and how I don’t like the flammable type for a couple of reasons; FIRE being a big one, but also I can’t abide by the fumes and the way they make me feel. Customers don’t like the fumes either. Besides, I figure since August 24, 1970 when I started in this trade and now, I have been exposed to enough bad stuff on the job site. What to do? Latex pad glue is practically impossible to find, so I make my own. Here’s how I do it.
What you will need: multi-purpose adhesive, mixing bucket, water, and an empty rinsed-out gallon milk jug. (Photo 1a) Mix the latex and water one part water to one part multi-purpose adhesive (half-gallon water to a half-gallon adhesive).
I have found it best to add the water to the adhesive a little at a time; it seems to make for easier mixing. Of course it is even easier if you are using an electric mixer rather than a paint stirring stick. (Photo 2) You will also notice in Photo 2 that I am using a half of a water bottle as a funnel to avoid making a mess.
Oh well, that’s why there is newspaper underneath; I’ve done this before. (Photo 3)
No worries; wipe up the excess with a paper towel followed by a damp one and presto, problem solved. (Photo 4)
Next poke a hole in the lid with an awl, as shown in Photos 5 and 6.
Next, rinse out your empty mixing bucket (Photo 7) and…what’s that? What’s to stop the glue from spilling out of the hole in the top? A piece of plastic under the lid to seal it, as shown in Photo 8.
Shake before using and before removing the plastic from under the lid. Squeeze out a stream of adhesive along the seam line and the room edges. (Photo 9)
Smear it around with a pad scrap (Photo 10), so it sets up faster, fold the pad back down and you are done. There are no bad fumes and it does a good job holding down the pad. It will take a little bit longer to set than the flammable type, but not much longer; in my mind it’s a fair tradeoff.