Wood flooring adhesives are available in many different formulations, and the array of choices can be confusing. Some might think all adhesives are more or less the same thing – when it comes down to it, it’s just glue in a bucket, right? – and so they select the cheapest adhesive available for the job. However, that one-size-fits-all mentality can lead to costly failures.

First, you must know whether the products you have selected for the job are in fact designated for the wood flooring being installed. It may sound like a no-brainer, but it can be easily overlooked.

According to David Clarkson, DriTac’s vp marketing, the right adhesives are specifically formulated to offer a range of benefits to contractors and installers. “The adhesive technologies can provide the installation professional with not only the right adhesive for each type of installation, but can also provide a choice of products that meet their specific requirements for ease of use, cleaning up, quality, cost and so on,” he said.

One thing to keep in mind before choosing the adhesive is whether it is environmentally friendly. Choosing one adhesive over another (and the price tag associated with it) may come down to whether higher green content means anything to your client. For many people this is a very important consideration. They want the peace of mind of knowing that what they are putting into their home, store or company is not potentially harmful to them or the environment. No one wants to receive a callback because the client is unhappy with an adhesive, whether on the grounds of performance or environmental sustainability.

Jeff Johnson, MAPEI’s business marketing manager for Floor Covering Installation Systems, suggests selecting a company with a solid track record to reduce the number of potential callbacks and to make sure there is a support system in place if calls do come in. “Selecting an adhesive with the right performance attributes and performance history can help ensure the project is installed right the first time,” he noted.


New adhesive products

We asked several manufacturers to share information on their latest wood flooring adhesive products and technologies. Advanced Adhesive Technologies’ AAT-535C Professional Wood Flooring Adhesive contains no chlorinated solvents, no isocyanates and is ozone safe. The adhesive is recommended for bamboo, solid wood and all types of engineered wood flooring over commonly encountered subfloors.

Gregory P. Wood, president of AAT, noted, “The contractor should be ultimately familiar with the recommended dwell, drying and curing times for the adhesive when installing wood flooring. Only use the specific trowel recommended by the adhesive manufacturer.”

DriTacrecently introduced several new products to the market that are environmentally friendly, including an MS Polymer product for sound and moisture control called DriTac 7700 Easy Clean 4-In-1. “It was created with the installer in mind and offers one-step installations, saving time and money,” Clarkson noted. Additionally, the new DriTac 9500 Ultra – Acrylic Urethane is designed to offer rebondability and be easy to spread as well as clean up.

Franklin International’s Titebond 991 PROvantage Wood Flooring Adhesive is a new solvent-based wood flooring adhesive that allows contractors to easily spread the adhesive and proceed with an installation quickly, according to the company. It also offers resistance to moisture and can help reduce the risk of subsequent moisture or water damage to the wood flooring.

TEC Multi-Powered Wood Flooring Adhesive, from H.B. Fuller Construction Products, is a one-step moisture control with a strong initial grab that also features sound deadening and crack bridging capabilities. “Our new wood flooring adhesive is a great example of a product innovation that was driven by listening to installers’ needs for high performance and ease of use,” said Grant Huffine, senior market manager for H.B. Fuller Construction Products.

MAPEI’s Ultrabond ECO 995 utilizes green technology and naturally renewable resources to offer an odor-free and phthalate-free installation that can also contributes additional points toward LEED-certified projects. Ultrabond ECO 995 is a multifunction adhesive, and Johnson believes it is a good choice for wood flooring because “protecting wood flooring from moisture coming from the subfloor is almost a necessity and having this characteristic built into the adhesive saves time and labor costs.”

Manufacturers note that when installing a wood floor, the best advice is to read the instructions carefully and more than once. The instructions will tell you all you need to know, but making sure you have the right product for the right job is key. Never assume all adhesives are the same. Keep pace with the newest technologies, and you will already have a leg up on your competition.