The Pressure Sensitive Tape Council (PSTC) was not really on my radar until I was contacted by Michelle Miller, PSTC executive vice president, and asked to speak at their tape summit in Baltimore this past May. I did a little research on their website and found this: “PSTC is a not-for-profit, 60-year-old North American trade association for tape manufacturers and affiliate suppliers, dedicated to helping the industry produce quality pressure sensitive adhesive tape product in the global marketplace.”

My presentation was part of the “Building & Construction Industry, Markets and Application” track. Michelle from PSTC, along with Dennis Schulmerich of Intertape Polymer Group, asked if I would speak about the potential uses for pressure sensitive tapes in the flooring industry and some of the challenges with tape.

So, why the draw for pressure sensitive tapes? How do they relate to the flooring industry, especially since we are all so used to adhesive in a bucket? For one, the pressure sensitive tape market is projected to exceed 50 billion square meters by 2022, according to Global Industry Analysts. Additionally, according to PSTC, “Double-sided tapes in particular are projected to see significant growth in upcoming years. They offer versatility in the transportation and construction markets especially.”

Pressure sensitive tapes have been around for years. Some of you carpet installers may remember, I believe in the ‘90s, when TacFast broadloom carpet with attached cushion—featuring hook and loop technology—came into the market. The backing of the carpet cushion had the loops and the tape had the hooks. A pressure sensitive tape was applied to the substrate around the perimeter and at the seams. Installers would place the carpet in the area to be installed and then lightly mist the carpet with a garden sprayer filled with water, to let the carpet “relax.” This was supposed to help minimize wrinkling of the carpet.

One thing installers found with the tape was that the substrate had to be extremely clean for the tape to adhere, to the point solvents were needed at times to remove all contaminants. The product didn’t take off as well as the manufacturer anticipated so you don’t see this type of installation as much with broadloom. However, you are seeing this same technology being used with carpet tiles nowadays.

Shaw has their LokDots system with their EcoWorx carpet tiles. An applicator tool is used to apply the “Dots” with pressure sensitive adhesive to the backing of the carpet tiles (Photo 1). Shaw states the use of their LokDot system has a 97% weight difference than the same amount of adhesive required from a bucket.

Mohawk offers Air.O broadloom carpet, which uses a pressure sensitive tape around the perimeter and at the seams but does not utilize the hook and loop technology. This type of carpet does not require the use of a power stretcher or a seaming iron for installation (Photo 2).

On the resilient side of the industry, pressure sensitive tapes have been used for years with sheet goods around the perimeter and at seams, such as Tarkett’s S875 floating floor tape. The manufacturer states that the tape is a high-tack, fast-grabbing acrylic pressure sensitive tape, used under seams when installing Tarkett FiberFloor sheet flooring.

A few years ago, I was involved with the introduction of a 2-in. wide pressure sensitive tape designed for the hardwood industry: Titebond Wood Flooring Tape (Photo 3). The company noted, “Based on proprietary adhesive technology, Titebond Tape provides a strong, permanent bond to nearly any subfloor material, including concrete, primed lightweight concrete, OSB and plywood. It is also compatible with Titebond 531 Moisture Control Systems. Titebond Tape should be used in conjunction with wood flooring starter rows, finish rows under toe kicks, baseboards, base shoes, board replacements, transition strips and all trim pieces. The double-sided foam tape is easy-to-use and saves time with engineered wood and solid wood flooring installations.”

I recently had a conversation with a claims manager for a manufacturer that recommends this type of tape for their “T” moldings, as it seems to be the best product for keeping these type of moldings in place and still allowing for products to expand and contract instead of having installers use construction adhesive.

While at the National Wood Flooring (NWFA) Expo earlier this year in Ft. Worth, I had the opportunity to meet up with one of our past students, Steve Suntup, who represents a company called Elastilon. The company offers pressure sensitive tape that bonds wood flooring to full sheets with a peel-and-stick type of installation (Photo 4). The manufacturer states, “Osbe Parket BV has developed a completely new, revolutionary and remarkable laying system called ‘Elastilon’ and has been given a worldwide patent for it. The idea: the wooden sections are pressed together on an elastic adhesive mat which has been previously rolled out and then the protective layer between the floor and the mat is removed.”

Also at the NWFA Expo, I had the opportunity to stop by the MAPEI booth and speak with Jeff Johnson, who showed me their newest products that have recently been introduced to the market: Mapecontact MRT & SRT, which are high-performance, moisture-resistant, double-sided tapes for the installation of LVT, LVP, vinyl sheet and prefinished wood flooring. MRT stands for Moisture Resistant Tape and SRT stands for Sound Reduction Tape. The moisture resistant tape has no moisture limits and the sound reduction tape comes with both IIC and STC ratings. The tapes are available in 3-in. 6-in., 1-ft., and 3-ft. widths, depending on the type of installation,

Bostik offers industrial pressure sensitive tapes for all types of different industries. Additionally, MP Global Products with their TileQuick mat and Custom Building Products with their SimpleMat are just two of several manufacturers marketing pressure sensitive mats for tile backsplash installations (Photo 5).

For more insights from Jon Namba, check out his blog!

So, do I see the industry moving to more pressure sensitive tape applications for flooring and tile? With so many technological advancements taking place within the adhesive industry, I do—and I’m seeing their presence in the market gaining momentum.

For more information about pressure sensitive tapes and the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council, visit www.pstc.org.