The adhesives industry has evolved over the years yet the new, innovative silane adhesives are a true game changer for floor installation. Not only are silane adhesives easier to use (less arm fatigue, easy to clean, will not etch the finish) it offers an added benefit of a more environmentally friendly product that supports a healthier workplace.

Over the years adhesives have adapted to make the floor installation process easier. In the 1940s, basic research in silanes was conducted that led to the eventual development of silicone sealants in the 1980s. Silane compounds were used as coupling agents between fiberglass and epoxies in the 1950s, resulting in white plastic boats that soon became more popular and affordable than wooden boats. In the 1970s a company named Kaneka filed a patent for silylated polyether (MS polymer), which was used to create silane-based sealants, primarily for outside applications. This led to silane use in Japan for stone and tile adhesives to prevent cracked walls during the regions frequent earthquakes. When using a rigid adhesive, the crack would penetrate through the tile or stone installed on the wall while with a softer elastic adhesive, the wall would still crack, but not the outside tile. Using MS polymer, researchers found there was great adhesion with some elasticity that allowed tiles to move with the earthquakes and not crack. 

In 2004, Bona introduced a proprietary silane-based formula adhesive. This silane-based product is not reliant on the MS polymer formula. In 2012, Bona began producing adhesives in Monroe, North Carolina. 

What is Silane Technology?

Silanes are considered the “glue within the glue” as well as “adhesion promoters.” It creates a mechanical bond with wood and penetrates into the cell structure of wood. A mechanical bond is when molecules interlock but do not change the chemical make-up of those molecules. With concrete, silanes form a chemical bond and are not affected by moisture when cured. 

Benefits of Silane Technology 

In Europe, silane-based adhesives are used on a majority of installations. Silane will not etch the finish of pre-finished hardwood flooring and for 72 hours, the product can easily be removed without damaging the boards. When contractors install flooring with adhesives, having great lighting makes it easier to see if any adhesives have accidentally gotten on the hardwood floors. 

With more and more homeowners asking for safe, sustainable products in their home, companies are working to create products that can provide healthier, safer work environments. Since flooring accounts for the most surface area in a building (with the exception of walls), having sustainable, healthy products is a priority. Greenguard Gold certification provides stringent criteria for indoor air quality and accounts for sensitive groups (such as children and the elderly) that can be used in areas such as schools and healthcare facilities. Greenguard Gold benefits commercial developers in obtaining LEED points, which is becoming more important to commercial building owners and tenants alike. 

When selecting an adhesive to use on a project, look carefully at the Safety Data (SDS/MSDS) and Technical Data Sheets (TDS) and follow manufacturers guidelines. This is where specifiers and installers will find valuable information about shear strength, permeability, IIC and STC ratings. This information will go a long way in determining if the adhesive meets the demands of the flooring material being installed. 

There are a wide variety of adhesives made with different materials and technologies, so doing the research to pick the best one for the job is crucial. Looking at important documents from the manufacturer will give contractors all the necessary information and pick the right adhesive for the job. Silane based adhesives provide a variety of benefits for homeowners, as well as the installer. Both will have peace of mind knowing the floor will last a lifetime.