06/13/2002

Tackling Sticky Tile

What to do when vinyl composition tile starts popping off the floor

 

The Right Temperature

 

Dew point may well be the least understood and least appreciated influence in adhesive failures. Dew point effects can strongly resemble vapor emission, but are caused mainly by natural hydrological cycles. Dew point can occur as concrete temperatures cool. Moisture, though invisible to the eye, may condense in and on the concrete surface. If the surface is cool enough to reach dew point, the concrete can become wet on and below the surface. This is detrimental to the integrity of newly applied adhesive.

 

Check out (www.wunderground.com) to find the temperature, humidity, and dew point for cities in the United States.

When vinyl composition tile pops off the floor, it not only mars the look of a facility but can become a slip/fall hazard as well. In fact, the problem crops up often enough that, in my role as a troubleshooter with Johnson Wax Professional, I am called to facilities across the country to help them solve the problem.

What makes this issue such a sticky subject is that there are several issues regarding tile adhesion failure to the concrete surface to which the tile is installed. Some of the most common reasons for tile adhesion failure include:

  • Adhesive used is not the one recommended by the tile manufacturer.
  • Improper trowel or cheater trowels being used in spreading adhesive. A contractor should at this point use a new trowel. Usually, a contractor will use a file to sharpen it again. If this filing takes place, then the space between the notches becomes larger, allowing more adhesive to be applied than what is recommended. This also shortens the distance between the beads of adhesive. The ability of the adhesive to dry properly can be compromised.
  • Solvent residues. Another variable for the adhesion failure of tile adhesives would be involving solvent residue left on the concrete when the adhesive is applied. Concrete is very porous. When solvent is used, there is a good possibility that it is absorbed into the concrete and, if it is not thoroughly rinsed, the solvent will wick back up through the concrete and attack the tile adhesive. The tile may not “pop” right off the floor, but the integrity of the adhesive has been affected and the adhesive will never properly cure.
  • Alkaline salts. Another variable exists when alkaline salts, which are in the ground and even sometimes found in the concrete, come to the surface. They expand and slowly destroy the adhesive.
  • Vapor emissions. Moisture is always present in concrete. If there is too much moisture passing through the concrete (as a vapor), tile failure could result. Before tile is installed, a moisture test is required to determine if the tile and adhesive are going to be compatible with the concrete. The most common test is an Anhydrous Calcium Chloride test. After this test is run, the result will reflect the amount of moisture in pounds that is emitted from a 1,000-square-foot area of concrete over a 24-hour period.

Certainly, there are other variables that exist and each failure would have to be examined thoroughly on an individual basis to determine the cause of the failure.

Chris Warner is a senior technical consultant at Sturtevant, WI-based Johnson Wax Professional.

 


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
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