Flooring Tips from Tony - Plasticizer Migration Failure


G-Floor vinyl flooring by BLT, is a product that falls in under the vinyl-backed adhesive category. It requires higher end vinyl adhesives. Using a VCT Adhesive or a Multi-Purpose Adhesive with these types of products will lead to plasticizer migration failures.

What is a Plasticizer Migration Failure?

Plasticizer migration, a term used when plasticizers leave a flooring product and enter an adhesive, turning it into a soft, gooey mess with no holding power. An example of this would be using a multi-purpose adhesive with a vinyl-backed sheet floor. The plasticizers in the vinyl-backed sheet floor leech into the multi-purpose adhesive, breaking it down leaving a mess. A plasticizer is a product that is used to soften and provide flexibility in various flooring products such as vinyl sheet goods and pvc flooring. Two examples of plasticizers are mineral oil and hydrocarbon oil. Plasticizers are also used in adhesive compositions since it improves tack, and develops "legs".

It is imperative that the sheet-goods backing (e.g., felt-backed vinyl, PVC-backed vinyl and solid PVC) dictate the choice of adhesive for the installation, thus avoiding the dreaded "plasticizer migration" syndrome and subsequent callback. When an incompatible adhesive is used to install solid vinyl sheet-goods products, the chances are high for experiencing bubbling, severe discoloration and installation failure. Avoid product incompatibility by checking the flooring manufacturer's recommendation for proper choice of adhesive. Be sure to consider the specific application criteria that the sheet-goods installation will be subjected to. For example, if the floor-covering product will be subject to heavy "point loads," as in healthcare facilities, a harder-setting adhesive such as an epoxy adhesive should be used. The reason for this is that the epoxy adhesive sets up hard and will not indent like most one-part latex based adhesives. While a higher-quality, more durable adhesive may cost a little more, the chances of installation failure now and later drop significantly.
-- Tony Spracklin, BLT Project and Installation Manager