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What are the Different Types of Sheet Vinyl Adhesive?

By Larry Ray Palmer
Updated May 17, 2024
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Sheet vinyl flooring is installed using several methods. While some types of vinyl flooring can be installed with no adhesive in a method called loose laying, the majority of vinyl flooring installations require the use of some type of sheet vinyl adhesive or glue. The actual adhesive product used is determined by the preferred method of installation. The two major categories of sheet vinyl adhesive are perimeter bond adhesive and fully bonded adhesive.

Fully bonded adhesive is the technical term for sheet vinyl glue that is applied to the entire sub-floor surface before installing the vinyl sheet. By applying the flooring adhesive in this manner, the entire vinyl sheet is permanently attached to the sub-floor. This method is commonly used in flooring installation because it allows for a wider margin of installer error and makes it possible to use lower priced, thinner vinyl sheet products in permanent installations.

Perimeter bonded adhesive is used for higher quality vinyl flooring products or for temporary installations. In perimeter bonding, only the outside edges of the area where the vinyl sheet is to be installed are covered with sheet vinyl glue. In some cases, the perimeter of the vinyl is also stapled close to the walls, where trim pieces will hide the staples. The added step of stapling the vinyl flooring product to the subfloor serves to ensure that the vinyl will not pull away from the glue as a result of thermal expansion.

Both fully bonded and perimeter bonded adhesive installations use a trowelable glue. Flooring manufacturers often recommend specific adhesive products and may even require vinyl sheet to be installed using a certain brand of sheet vinyl adhesive and a specific installation method for warranty coverage to be valid. In many cases, the adhesive used for both perimeter bonded and fully bonded installations may be the same.

Safety is a primary concern when applying sheet vinyl adhesive products to flooring installations. Sheet vinyl adhesive can take up to 24 hours to cure and bond properly. Before curing, sheet vinyl adhesive is very slippery and serious injury can occur from stepping on the exposed glue or vinyl flooring that has not yet bonded to the sub-floor. When using any sheet vinyl glue product, it is also important to remember that the chemicals in the adhesive can give off harmful fumes, cause skin irritation and may be flammable. To safely install vinyl flooring with these products, one must eliminate possible sources of ignition, including cigarettes, heaters and pilot lights, provide adequate ventilation and have appropriate protective gear.

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