Preparing the subfloor in a retail environment

Martin Cummins

UK Technical Support Manager at Bostik

Your first consideration should be the type of flooring you are working with. Various floors are common in retail buildings, all with their own preparation requirements.

Due to high footfall, a popular type of flooring in retail environments is carpet tiles. When installing these, it’s a good idea to use a tackifier adhesive that will provide a permanently tacky film when dry. This facilitates the easy removal and replacement of individual tiles once they become worn, and allows designs to be changed over time.

Similarly, vinyl often requires a specialist adhesive to protect against plasticiser migration, which occurs when the plasticisers in the flooring react with the adhesive. Plasticiser migration can cause the flooring to discolour, soften or in the worst-case scenario, slide around as the adhesives dissolve and stop holding the floor in place.

The specific area where the floorcovering is being installed should also be considered. If it’s subject to constant sunlight or heat, you may need to use an adhesive that performs well in areas of high solar gain, without losing strength.

Along with choosing the correct adhesive, there may be specific performance characteristics required from your choice of smoothing compound too. For example, with thin sheet vinyl and luxury vinyl tiles (LVT), a high flow smoothing compound is recommended, as this will ensure a smoother finish without any undulations in the completed floor.

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