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Offgassing from Solvent-Based Adhesive

Nadiasparham | Posted in General Questions on

I would like to lay some reclaimed parquet flooring. I don’t have the money or energy to take off the bitumen from the underside but heard that if  you use solvent based adhesive to lay it you don’t have to because it will melt the bitumen.

I have ME and am trying to limit off gassing in the house so my question is:

Would the solvent based adhesive be off gassing from under the parquet if used a low voc sealant?

Or can anybody recommend a safe adhesive which would do the same?


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  1. user-2310254 | | #1

    If this is reclaimed flooring, there is probably very little VOCs left in the original adhesive. One way to test is to put some of the flooring in a plastic bag for a day or two. (Even better, put the bag in a sunny spot.) Then open the bag and check for odor.

    For the adhesive, I recently had a bunch of engineered oak installed using Bostik Greengrip. You could check with the manufacturer to see if it is appropriate for your flooring and substrate.

  2. Expert Member
    PETER G ENGLE PE | | #2

    From the OP, it sounds like the original installation used some sort of bitumen-based adhesive, and that the residue is still on the back of the flooring. The Op is correct that a solvent-based adhesive would be the best choice, as it would partially dissolve and bond to the bitumen. But with solvent sensitivities, this is not a good choice as there would be no way to guarantee that all of the solvent evaporated during installation or to control offgassing after the install.

    I like the idea of using Greengrip or another low-VOC adhesive. The question will be whether it bonds with the old bitumen. Manufacturer's specs and/or a conversation with the sales department are always great resources. Worst case, do a sample panel. bond a few pieces to a plywood substrate using the chosen adhesive (s). Cure as specified in the instructions, then do a pull test. If the new adhesive pulls off of the wood, or if the new adhesive fails internally leaving residue on both the substrate and the flooring, that would be a success. If the adhesive separates from the bitumen, that's not so good, but depending on the force required to cause the failure, it might be good enough. There's not much stress on the adhesive in parquet flooring since the pieces are so small, so it won't take much to keep it down. A low-VOC adhesive that provides decent pull resistance and remains somewhat soft and rubbery after curing would be ideal.

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