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Different Types of Flooring Adhesive & Which to Use

Sometimes, to achieve the best fit, a good quality flooring adhesive is required. However, choosing one to match your floor isn’t always easy given how many different types there are to choose from. 

To help make it easier, below we’ll reveal the different types of adhesive available and how to select the best one for your needs.

Which Types of Floors Require Adhesive?

First, it’s a good idea to look at the types of floors which generally require an adhesive to be used during installation. The main types that need it include:

  • Glue down luxury vinyl tiles
  • Glue down vinyl roll
  • Engineered wood flooring
  • Tiled flooring
  • Carpet tiles
  • Carpet rolls
  • Rubber commercial flooring

Glue down vinyl is the most obvious type of floor that requires an adhesive. They are specifically designed to be secured to the floor to enhance their longevity. You can also apply it to loose lay and luxury vinyl flooring, but it isn’t necessarily required. Most luxury vinyl floors come with a click system, eliminating the need for adhesive completely. With loose lay vinyl, you can use adhesive around the perimeter of the room to ensure it stays in place. 

Engineered floors can also sometimes require a glue down approach. However, it isn’t a strict requirement as most feature a tongue and groove installation system. The glue down method is recommended to those who don’t plan on changing their floor during its lifespan. 

Always check with your fitter and always read the instructions prior to use.

These are the main types which do require adhesive, though you should always check the specific installation advice provided by the manufacturer.

What Different Types of Adhesive Are There?

If your new floor does need an adhesive to be used, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the right type. The main types of adhesive include:

Water based – Water based adhesives tend to be the most popular choice due to their low VOC emissions. They are the most eco-friendly option and the safest to use in the home and business. 

However, they don’t tend to be as strong as other types of adhesive. This means you may have trouble getting it to stick with some types of wooden floors. They can also become damaged due to moisture so you should avoid installing them in moisture prone areas. 

Polyurethane based – If you are installing wooden flooring, Polyurethane based adhesives are a great option. They develop a chemical bond with both concrete and wood, creating a strong yet flexible hold. Once cured, this type of adhesive is also moisture resistant. 

Acrylic – Largely used for luxury vinyl flooring and tiles and stone, acrylic based adhesives are extremely tough. They are resistant to the sun, as well as moisture resistant and they can withstand changes within temperature.

These are the most common types of adhesive on the market. So, how can you ensure you’re choosing the best one to match your floor?

How to Choose the Best Adhesive for your Floor

There are a number of factors you’ll need to consider when choosing the right adhesive for your floor. These include:

  • The type of floor you’re installing
  • The installation environment
  • Dry time
  • Cleaning
  • Toxicity
  • Shelf life

The type of floor you’re installing will make a big difference to which adhesive you should invest in. The water-based varieties are better suited to non-wood floors for example. Some types of adhesive have also been specifically designed to be used alongside luxury vinyl. It is always best to choose an adhesive that has been specifically designed for the type of flooring you’re working with. 

Similarly, paying attention to the installation environment will also help. Does it have a high moisture rate? If so, you’re going to want to work with a Polyurethane or acrylic based adhesive. Look out for ones which clearly state they can be used to protect against moisture. 

All adhesives have a different drying rate. This means the time you have available to work with the adhesive before it dries out. It will also give you an indication of how long it will take to set once the floor has been installed. The quicker the dry time, the faster you’ll to work during installation, but you’ll also be able to walk over the floor quicker too. 

While there are tools out there to minimise mess when working with adhesive, it’s likely you’ll be left with some level of clean up. So, you’ll want to make sure the adhesive you choose provides easy clean up capabilities. You’ll find the water-based adhesives are the easiest to clean after they’ve been used.

All flooring adhesives are considered safe to use in the home or business. However, some do produce more toxins than others. If this is a concern for you, choosing a water-based adhesive would be the best option. These contain very low emissions and toxins compared to other types of adhesive.

Finally, you’ll also want to take into account the shelf life of the adhesive. While most should be able to be stored for years after use, some will have a much shorter life span. Generally, the chemical-based adhesives can offer a lower lifespan so do check before you buy.

There are many different adhesives on the market, and each is designed with a specific type of installation in mind. Always take the time to research the different types on offer to ensure you’re choosing the bets one for you.

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