How to Use Adhesives on Carpet Installation?

Carpet adhesives must be resilient enough to deal with the demands of constant trampling, scuffing and pulling from footfall that the carpet itself must endure. What is more, they need to be flexible and easy enough to use in order to make installation quick and simple.

Nowadays, the carpeting and carpet installation industry is a massive market around the world. Despite booming business in the industry, however, there are not many safe or efficient ways in order to install the carpet. In fact, most carpeting installed today uses a wet adhesive or glue to secure carpeting to the floor.

There are two methods that you can use adhesives on carpet installation they are glue down or double glue down method. These methods are similar to stretching methods. This method is a good choice for areas which is exposed to excessive humidity, such as boat docks, ramps or outdoor patios, inclines or ramps and offices or commercial areas with heavy foot traffic or modular furniture.

When the time comes to purchase flooring adhesives, the main products on the market are either wet glues or dry adhesives like Lok-Lift. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the customer’s needs and budget. When making the decision about which will provide the best value, the overall cost of the project and required completion time should be considered first.

While the cost of adhesive will vary depending on the size of the carpet installation, there are industry standards of pricing for both wet glue and dry adhesives. A wet adhesive offers the lowest price point, which is why it is often the go-to product for people whose highest priority is maintaining a low cost only. On the other hand, the cost of a dry adhesive like Lok-Lift will vary depending on the size roll purchasing.

It is important to think about the total amount of complete installation time when evaluating the overall cost. For instance, wet adhesives offer relatively low initial costs, however, it also requires longer setup and curing times. So, in those kinds of situations, it is not ideal for carpet installation when people cannot afford downtime.

In addition, wet adhesives often come with odors. And these odors are not ideal in settings where people will be walking. In other respects, a dry adhesive does not require any time for setup and it allows for immediate foot traffic post installation significantly during installation process compared to wet adhesives.

VOC: Volatile Organic Compound

VOCs are gases that emit from a wide variety of materials that can cause short-term or long-term health effects. They include carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, and ammonium carbonate, as well as many other compounds. The wet, chemical-based adhesives often contain high levels of VOCs and those type of adhesive have traditionally been used in order to install carpets.

VOCs can lead to serious adverse health effects. The symptoms and effects vary by person, the length subjection and the level of exposure. These health effects could be irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, loss of coordination and nausea, damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, and also some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

Besides those health effects, there are some key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs. They could be conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea which is problems in the respiratory system, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, and dizziness. The ability of organic chemicals in order to cause health effects varies greatly from those that are highly toxic to those with no known health effect.

It is vital that people working on indoor carpet installations should take precautions to lessen exposure because VOCs are far more concentrated indoors than outdoors. It is up to 10 minutes. There are some steps to follow as taking precautions.

Those steps for precautions could be storing VOC-containing materials off-site, increasing ventilation during the carpet installation process, using products according to manufacturer’s’ instructions, meeting label recommendations and keeping all VOC-containing materials out of reach of children and pets.

How to Use Carpet Adhesive?

The main reason to use carpet adhesives in carpet installation is to keep it in place. This method of fastening the carpet to the floor works extremely well in a number of situations and unlike using tack strips it is quite easy. First of all, you should clean the area by using a vacuum or broom. Make sure that there is no dust left. Then, allow the floor in order to dry for a few hours before continuing. As the second step, you should take the carpet, roll it out on the floor and cut the carpet in order to fit the area properly.

After that, it is time to use adhesives. You should start on one side of the room and pull the carpet back about half the distance of the area. Pull the carpet back into position and smooth it out until there are no wrinkles. Press the carpet down into the adhesive. After one side, apply the same process to the remaining side of the carpet.

Lastly, you should smooth the carpet out using your foot or with a roller. Make sure you have removed any wrinkles or creases which formed in the carpet during the process. Stand in each corner where the adhesive was placed for several minutes. When this step is performed, allow the adhesive to cure for at least 24 hours before anyone walks on it. That is all there is to glue down carpet.

Direct Glue down Carpet Installation

This way is the most popular carpet installation in commercial settings. In this type of installation, the carpet is glued directly to the floor. In order to do this, the floor needs to be very smooth. Any imperfections in the floor will telegraph through the carpet and be visible. Imperfections on the floor may also cause wear spots.

There are some advantages of using glue in order to install the carpet. The carpet is solidly supported and it has minimal movement. It provides a good solid base which is better for rolling traffic. It is suitable for ramps areas and rolling traffic. It has a low profile which means it is the safest transition. It minimizes buckling in buildings that have climate control, which is an HVAC system, turned off for extended periods of time. Seams of it do not peak, and they are more durable due to lack of flexing, which means seams are more durable since there is no vertical flexing. Also, this way is more suitable for large areas and there are no restretch situations.

In other respect, there are some disadvantages of glued down carpet. There is a lack of pad and it becomes less comfortable. Because lack of pad means less insulation. Carpet is less durable without pad. Pad plays an important role in acting as a shock absorber and it can greatly improve the carpet life. When replacement becomes necessary, removal is more difficult that stretch in installations.

Double Glue down Carpet Installation

Double glue down is generally called double stick installation. It is similar to direct glue down installation with one exception. The exception is that a pad is first glued to the floor and then glue the carpet to the pad. The carpet pad should be a densified pad which is made specifically for double glue down carpet installation. Because it cannot be any carpet pad, it has to be densified pad.

This method combines the stability of direct glue-down carpet with the cushioning benefits of a separate cushion and stretch-in installation. This method improves carpet appearance retention, underfoot comfort and overall performance. It simplifies carpet bordering and inlaying.

If you are using the glue down method, you do not need to install padding below the carpet. In other respect, if you want to use padding, you should use the double glue method. You should glue the padding to the subfloor then glue the carpet to the padding. It should be kept in mind that the glue down method is used only if it is recommended by the carpet manufacturer.

There are some advantages to use double glue down carpet installation over using direct glue down. It is more comfortable and more insulation. The pad that is using will extend the carpet life. It is suitable for wheeled traffic areas and there are no restrictions on the size of the area as well. On the other hand, there are disadvantages as well.

All disadvantages are connected with higher costs. Even more difficult to remove double glue down than direct glue down when there is replacement needed. Double glue pad which is densified double stick pad is more expensive than an ordinary pad. And also, pad costs more than no pad. During the process, firstly pad is being glued and then the carpet is being glued down. It is like doing the carpet installation twice. If it is done by a professional, it means customers should pay twice.

Problems with Wet Adhesives in Carpet Installation

It is important to look at carpet installation area as a whole in order to decide which adhesive is best. Wet adhesives are typically best for areas where a low cost is the highest priority. Wet adhesives can also be useful when quick turnaround time is not essential since you should not walk on a new floor set with wet glue for 24 hours.

There are some problems with wet adhesives and they fall into 3 categories which are health hazards, long installation times and flooring damage.

Health Hazards

It is the most important problem with the carpet installation. Because it includes VOC which is a volatile organic compound and it is the main danger of using wet adhesive. Basically, a volatile organic compound is natural by-products of most glues, but it is especially prevalent in wet adhesives.

There is some dangerous chemical in VOCs which are carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, and ammonium carbonate, as well as many other compounds. The glue will release these dangerous compounds in the form of gases during the installation process and for months afterward into the places that you used for and buildings.

Because of the chemicals in it, we can say that these wet adhesives have been linked to several chronic health issues. For example, neurological damage, impaired cognitive abilities, and, in some cases, even cancer. You can multiply these examples.

These gasses are so dangerous that the carpet industry has something known as an off-gassing period. Off-gassing takes place directly after a carpet is installed when the area of installation or the entire building in which the carpet has been installed has to be vacated for 72 hours in order to allow the most dangerous gases to vent. Unfortunately for consumers and installers, this off-gassing period is often not enough to remove all VOCs.

Long Installation Times

Problems with installation times can vary depending on what type of wet adhesive used in carpeting. Nevertheless, there are some common issues which include cohesive failure, freeze-thaw stability, and balling-up.

Installation times when carpeting is done with wet adhesive take longer than when done with dry adhesives for obvious reasons. There are very strict dry times for wet adhesives. It is not followed the strict times, it can lead to improper installation and failure in the future.

In addition, wet carpet adhesives mostly need a 72-hour off-gassing period because of health hazards. While both curing and off-gassing are taking place, the carpet installation area becomes unusable. As a result, this issue becomes a financial burden for installers and homeowner that is getting the carpet installed.

Damaging to Floor

Compare to other types of adhesive, a wet adhesive is a permanent solution in carpet installation. Once a wet adhesive is used to install a carpet, it cannot come up or be removed easily. If people who want to replace their carpet for any reason, they will likely find that the wet adhesive is very difficult to remove.

It is necessary for a removal process which is putting down new carpet or other flooring. As we all know, unfortunately, this installation process often damages the flooring substrate. As a result, it needs additional repair costs and lengthened project completion times. 

Dry Adhesives as an Alternative to Wet Adhesives

If there is a situation where customers cannot afford downtime or do not want to risk harmful odors, like an installation at a hospital, school or kindergarten, a dry adhesive is recommended most of the time. This will allow for installation to occur overnight and then business, as usual, may resume the next morning.

While it often costs more to use a dry adhesive, there are specific carpet installation areas where it offers tremendous value to the customer because of its quick turnaround time and minimal environmental impact.

Dry adhesives can be the ideal solution for the carpet installation. As a dry adhesive, we can exemplify a product which is called Lok-Lift. Even it is not a fit for every installation, it is worth considering as an alternative in order to wet adhesives for flooring installation. Because it is free of VOCs and it does not need long curing or off-gassing times. It is safe for most flooring surfaces.

Lok-Lift is a fully releasable and recyclable dry adhesive mesh carpet installation system. It does not produce odors or VOC problems which are common in wet adhesive carpet installation. Lok-Lift is quick, clean and easy in order to install and remove. It can be installed over virtually any surface including carpet, concrete, and vinyl.

It is a perfect choice of adhesive for carpet installation as it allowed us in order to install quickly and easily, saving us time and money. It helps to create a healthier environment for the end users by producing no odor and VOC emissions.

When people need a simple solution to some common carpet installation challenges, they either need installation wall-to-wall carpet over the existing carpet or need to lay down temporary flooring over an existing surface quickly and without worrying about curing times or filling the air with fumes from adhesive. Dry adhesives can help address these needs.

Lok-Lift as a Dry Adhesive System

On the contrary to a wet adhesive system, Lok-Lift is a dry adhesive system which can be quickly applied and has no cure time. The most important advantage is it can be removed easily. Compared to other adhesive systems, Lok-Lift can be easily be taken up once installed making Lok-Lift perfect for both temporary carpet installation or permanent carpet installation needs.

In addition, it is a much faster and more efficient system compared to others. It can be installed very quickly and it can be used right away once the carpet installation is complete.

There are some steps to follow using Lok-Lift dry carpet adhesive. As step 1, Lok-Lift comes in a roll which is simply rolled out and pressed into the area over the floor. You should make sure about the area is clean and dry. A plastic liner covers the top surface of the Lok-Lift in order to allow walking and working on it. After the desired floor area is covered with Lok-Lift and before the plastic liner is removed, the Lok-Lift should be pressed down with a roller to help secure the pressure sensitive scrim to the floor.

Then as step 2, the carpet should be positioned on the Lok-Lift. Seam cuts are made without removing the plastic liner. There would be no need to rush in order to install the carpet as long as the plastic liner is in place. It does not matter the time when you do it. You can do it immediately, wait until tomorrow, and wait until next week or even next month.

As step 3, you should roll out the carpet. One side of the carpet is folded back and the plastic liner is then peeled off of the Lok-Lift. The carpet is then pressed to the exposed Lok-Lift and the procedure is repeated for the other side of the carpet. Just like with normal glue-down installations, a seam sealer must be used to secure the seams. Carpet seaming tape is also recommended.

Lastly, as step 4, it is time to apply pressure to the carpet. You should press the carpet to the Lok-Lift with a roller. You would need total coverage of Lok-Lift under the carpet or another flooring during the process for permanent carpet installation.

Greener Alternatives to Wet Carpet Adhesives

The wet glues and chemical-based adhesives traditionally used for carpet installations are very effective, but they are not earth-friendly because of the harmful VOCs they emit. Luckily, there are healthier, greener options that work just as well.

Two low VOC alternatives to chemical-based wet glues are pressure-sensitive dry adhesives and tile connectors.

Pressure-Sensitive Dry Adhesives

There is a pressure-sensitive dry adhesive that can be used in order to install carpet over any clean, dry, secure flooring surface, like concrete, wood, carpet, and more. Lok-Lift is one of them. It is always a green choice. It is an especially good idea for installations in buildings with heavy traffic and sensitive populations such as hospitals, schools, kindergartens or homes for elderlies.

The pressure-sensitive dry adhesive does not require the curing times and off-gassing periods which is required with wet adhesives and as a result, it helps save time during construction, in addition to being eco-friendliness. In fact, the pressure from immediate foot traffic actually strengthens the bond.

When the carpet installation process is done with Lok-Lift, it is easy to remove. Because the dry adhesive is releasable. So, when the time comes for a renovation or redesign, the original carpet can be easily removed and recycled, leaving minimal residue behind.

Tile Connectors

They are another green carpet installation method. It is a good option when people dealing with carpet installation have chosen in order to install carpet tiles. Tile connectors are a far more earth-friendly choice than wet glue with almost zero VOCs and a very small environmental footprint.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like history and reading about carpets. I like to play soccer too :)

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