Every year as summer approaches, our flooring team starts to receive phone calls and emails from installers regarding the workability and setting times of subfloor preparation products. Hot weather affects liquids and powders, so you need to consider the right storage of your products in order to get the best possible performance from them.
Store your flooring products on site
Products should be stored on site wherever possible as you need to avoid exposing them to extreme heat within a vehicle.
Lorries and vans warm up in the sun due to the greenhouse effect: when sunlight comes through the windows, it is absorbed by interior surfaces, then radiated back into the air as heat. This heat does not pass back through the glass, so the temperature inside the vehicle can rise above the outside temperature.
Smoothing compound powders in particular can maintain an elevated temperature for days if they have been in a hot environment for long periods. The sun is up longer in summer, so even if you are ‘only leaving them overnight’, your flooring products will still be exposed to a hot environment with little air movement.
Simply placing your smoothing compounds and other products on site can reduce this issue and provide the correct workability for the installer.
Stay out of the sun
Any liquid products must be stored away from direct sunlight as much as possible.
When epoxy-based products are too warm, you risk speeding up the curing rate.
Both water-based DPMs and primers can become runny, making it difficult to achieve the required thickness when they are applied. The same issue will occur with adhesives – they won’t fill the ‘V’ notch on your trowel, so you won’t be able to apply enough adhesive to the floor to ensure a successful installation of the floor coverings. Water-based adhesives will also have a reduced open time as the water in them starts to evaporate much more quickly.
If you cannot keep liquids cool enough, place the sealed bottles in a large bucket of cold water, which will help to reduce the temperature.
Stir adhesives before you start
When exposed to high temperatures, acrylic adhesives can eject water on their surface within the sealed buckets. If this has occurred, you should stir the adhesive thoroughly before beginning any application.
You must always keep in mind that the open, curing and working times etc. of flooring products are based on ‘room temperature’, which typically means 20-23°C. Anything hotter than this will reduce these times. Working in smaller areas is one way to minimise these issues, but the best answer is to store your flooring products in the most optimal storage conditions.
Written by Darren Robinson, National Technical Manager (Professional & Trade)