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MAPEI Tech Talk is a blog devoted to the flooring and construction industry. It is updated on a regular basis by the social media team at MAPEI Americas, and it will feature guest bloggers occasionally as we provide you with viewpoints from across the industry.
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January 21, 2016 - 14.46
#MAPEITechTip: Healthcare Facilities—why the right adhesive is key!
by MAPEI Product Support
Healthcare Facilities subject to heavy static and rolling loads
Healthcare facilities have higher expectations for new flooring these days. These installations demand slip-resistant, natural-looking, soft and easy-to-clean materials. With increasing interest in sustainable building practices, new ‘green’ products are entering the marketplace and making their way into healthcare settings. The solid vinyl sheet floor-covering industry has changed dramatically due in part to continued innovations along with more sustainable manufacturing processes—using less virgin materials, recycling, reducing hazardous materials and lowering or in some cases eliminating VOC off-gassing. 
Installing solid sheet vinyl in hospitals, health clinics, surgical centers and homecare facilities makes perfect sense given that it is extremely durable, impervious to liquids and body fluids and with a good maintenance routine can provide a hygienic surface suitable for the healthcare environment. Manufacturers are rising to the occasion with a host of moderately priced products that give hospitals more colorful choices than ever—to make hospitals as "homey" and comfortable as possible. Given these numerous options to create more intricate patterns and designs, installers need a low VOC adhesive that not only is easy to work with, but will also stand up to the 24/7 wear and tear of a healthcare environment.
In years past, flooring contractors typically used softer-setting adhesives that were user-friendly but allowed rippling of the floor under heavy rolling loads, or permanent indentation in the flooring under heavy static loads. With the introduction of two-part reactive adhesives (when two components are combined to produce a chemical reaction resulting in an adhesive that can be applied) designed for extreme indoor and outdoor flooring installations, like healthcare facilities with heavy rolling loads. While these two-component urethane products set hard (heavy rolling loads and static loading; ie: hospital beds) and aggressively ‘grab’ all types of floor coverings and difficult-to-bond-to substrates they can be more of a challenge to work with, and many still contain solvents, and subsequently higher VOCs—making them less desirable in enclosed environments.
MAPEI has responded to the need for water-based latex adhesives (since the 1980’s with our ECO line) that perform to the same level as two-component urethanes in the demanding healthcare environment. Ultrabond ECO 360 is a solvent-free homogeneous vinyl adhesive designed to withstand the high traffic and rolling loads that are typical in hospitals and institutions. This hard-setting, commercial grade, latex-based adhesive can achieve a moisture- and alkaline resistant bond while developing early strength and resisting indentation under rolling loads. Ultrabond ECO 360 is easy to spread and holds down the seams well due to its “high-grab” characteristics. With an excellent open time and the ability to receive light foot traffic in as little as 24 hours, straight from the bucket Ultrabond ECO 360 speeds up application. For these rooms with their heavy loading from the medical equipment, Ultrabond ECO 360 can be used in many environments where two-component urethane adhesives would normally be used. With its strong, durable, moisture-resistant and alkali-resistant bond, this adhesive is ideal for commercial and institutional applications.
Its low volatile organic content (34 g/L per California’s SCAQMD Rule #1168 for Adhesives) makes Ultrabond ECO 360 ideal for use in occupied buildings such as hospitals and medical centers.  MAPEI recognizes that with the introduction of LEEDv4 and other ‘green’ programs that VOC emission testing has become the preferred VOC test method, reflecting a ‘real world’ building environment. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Green Label Plus Program – provides VOC Emission Testing complying with California DPH Section 01350.  MAPEI currently has many of our adhesives, primers and coatings that are tested to these criteria under the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label Plus Program, such as our Ultrabond ECO 360 adhesive. Making this adhesive an excellent choice for healthcare facilities—combining low VOCs and performance!
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