With cold and wet weather inevitably on the way, here’s some top tips from Bostik for installing flooring during the winter months.
When laying floors, the weather is always an important factor to take into account – and never more so than during the winter months when cold and damp conditions are common.
Fail to adapt to your surroundings and your smoothing compounds won’t smooth, and your adhesives won’t stick – leaving the project behind schedule and in jeopardy. Here’s how to make sure you get it right.
Warmth is key
There are multiple processes involved in laying a floor, and all are vulnerable to cold and damp conditions. The first of these is the use of primers, such as our own Cempolay Universal Primer, which acts as a bonding agent for non-porous surfaces when applied undiluted, or a primer for porous surfaces when applied diluted.
The issue with primers, which are generally water-based, is ensuring the water can escape quickly enough to leave the primer film as desired – something that’s more difficult in the cold. The only reason products dry out is because the air above them is drier and can take the moisture away.
Similarly, cold, damp conditions with poor airflow will delay the curing of standard smoothing compounds, which require evaporation of the excess moisture in order to work. As a result, a good solution is to create a warmer temperature in the area where you are working.
The need to control the conditions equally applies to many flooring adhesives, so always refer to the technical data sheet before applying in order to get the product to perform as intended.
Once you get to the stage of installing the floorcoverings, ambient conditions are again critical for the flooring to be sufficiently flexible to cut, and to keep any end-curl to a minimum.
Also remember that, where there are high levels of moisture present in the subfloor, it’s best practice to use a moisture suppressant, such as a fast drying Cempolatex Moisture Suppressant. As the name suggests, these are designed to suppress the release of moisture from a subfloor and therefore protect the smoothing compounds, adhesives and floorcoverings above.
Finally, it’s important to be aware of how your flooring products are stored. Leaving them in cold vehicles overnight could result in poor performance the following day, or even permanent damage if they’re allowed to freeze, so we advise keeping them in heated warehouses or well-insulated lock ups instead.
The speedy solution
If the weather isn’t on your side, the single best way to beat the cold conditions is to use a rapid setting smoothing compound that is specially designed for fast turnaround projects, allowing the flooring to be done in a single day.
Cempolatex Rapid 30 has a different chemistry to standard smoothing compounds, enabling the moisture levels to reduce much more quickly and for the strength to build up much faster.
This enables a walk-on time of just 30 minutes, a loose lay time of 45 minutes, and allows floor coverings to be bonded in as little as three hours. Supplied in a 16kg bag, Rapid 30 can be laid over most common substrates, including cement, concrete, and other strong, rigid subfloors. It’s also compatible with underfloor heating systems, proving its ability to cope not just with cold, but with heat too.