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How to Solve the Biggest Floor Compatibility Problem: Plasticizer Migration

Posted on Jan 13, 2016, by Michael Eckert

Floor compatibility problems can be costly and time-consuming to fix, and often mean expensive replacement and reinstallation costs. Today, I’m looking at how you can solve one of the biggest floor compatibility problems facing your next flooring install: plasticizer migration.

You can prevent plasticizer migration & many other durability issues

Click here to learn how to choose carpet tiles that will last in your office(s)

What Causes Plasticizer Migration?

Many floor compatibility issues are caused by a problem known as plasticizer migration. Plasticizers are a chemical compound added to flooring tiles as a flexing agent (without it, the tiles would be brittle and inflexible). Plasticizer migration happens when the PVC found in some flooring tiles or backings reacts with adhesive left over from previous installations.

Plasticizer migration can cause flooring tiles to discolor, soften, or in the worst-case scenario, slide around as the adhesives dissolve into an oozing mess and stop holding the floor tiles in place.

solution 1: Priming and Sealing

Many organizations solve the problems of floor compatibility by priming and sealing the sub-floor before their flooring installation. This involves applying a non-reactive floor sealant to the sub-floor which will prevent any leftover traces of old adhesives from reacting with the PVC-based backing on your new flooring.

While this will solve the problem of floor compatibility, it adds an extra step into your flooring installation process.

Sealants require time to dry, which drags out the installation process, and are an additional cost to purchase and apply, bumping up the cost of the project. Additionally, some sealants use volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can be detrimental to Indoor Air Quality.This means that your space requires extensive airing prior to use, necessitating more down-time for your organization.

Learn more: How to Avoid the Hidden Costs of Carpet Installation

solution 2: Choosing Flooring with a Non-Reactive Backing

The most effective option, however, is to choose flooring which has a non-reactive backing. Certain types of cushion backing (like open cell cushion backing) don’t contain any PVC or plasticizers. No plasticizer means no plasticizer migration.

Choosing flooring with a non-reactive backing can greatly speed-up the installation process, as it reduces the need to remove all traces of old adhesives, prime and seal the floor, and allow for drying time. When paired with an adhesive-less installation method (like TractionBack) you will further reduce the time and cost of your installation. Labor costs will be lower as it is quick to install, with no need to apply wet adhesives and wait for them to dry, and equipment costs will be lower as you won’t need to purchase adhesives or sealants.

An added bonus: choosing an adhesive-less installation method means that you won’t leave traces of adhesives on the sub-floor to cause flooring compatibility problems for your next flooring install.

Free Tip Sheet: 7 Ways to Prevent Mold & Mildew in Your Facility

Make Sure You’re Covered

One final consideration relating to floor compatibility is your flooring warranty. Some warranties will require certain pre-installation procedures to be carried out to validate the warranty, so it’s important to explicitly ask about essential preparation work when selecting your carpet tiles.

Different manufacturers will offer different warranty options, and it’s important to understand exactly what you’re covered for, and the steps you need to follow to be eligible for them.

Learn how to avoid some of the biggest flooring problems by choosing long-lasting carpet tiles, and download our whitepaper below.

how to choose carpet tiles that last [free whitepaper]

Topics: Installation

Michael Eckert

Written by Michael Eckert