Cold caution: Adhesive care for freezing weather

Winter has finally arrived in the UK – and if the drop in temperature doesn’t give it away, then you’ll know by the green-eyed looks you’re getting from colleagues on site who have to work outdoors!

But just because you’re working out of the elements laying flooring, doesn’t mean you won’t be affected by the cold.  Winter weather – specifically low temperatures – can wreak havoc on the application and effectiveness of your Gekko flooring adhesive, which is why it’s important to remember some canister care tips at this time of year.

 

So what happens to my adhesive in cold weather?

Excessively cold temperatures – as a rule of thumb, anything less than six degrees celsius – causes the adhesive inside your canister to become thicker and more viscous.  As well as making it hard to spray, this can reduce the tackiness of the adhesive and prevent a strong bond from forming.  Canister propellants may also shrink in the cold, reducing canister pressure and causing erratic spray performance.

 

How will I know if my adhesive has been affected?

Signs that your adhesive is feeling the chill are pretty easy to spot.  The main things to look out for are a leaky nozzle on your Gekko spray gun, and an adhesive that looks wetter than usual when applied.  These are both clear signs that the texture of the adhesive has changed, but you may also notice:

  • Longer flash-off times
  • A foamy adhesive
  • Adhesive that looks ‘split’ or separated
  • Adhesive spitting or sputtering from the spray nozzle
  • Erratic spray pattern
  • Adhesive that looks thicker than normal

 

How can I stop this from happening?

Keeping your adhesives protected from the cold is all about smart storage.  Cold temperatures are much more of a factor when the adhesive is ‘resting’ or not in active use – when you’re moving the canister around, internal friction will naturally keep your adhesive warmer.

Storing your adhesive canisters in a heated and insulated place is an obvious solution – but it’s not always financially or practically possible.  The good news is, there are steps you can take to protect your canisters from cold no matter where you store them:

  1. Elevate stored canisters off the floor.  Air temperatures are coldest at ground level, so try to store your adhesives somewhere higher up, like a sturdy shelf or rack.

 

  1. Take care of your spray gun.  Your spray gun and nozzle will be first to show the effects of cold, viscous adhesive.  Keep your spray nozzle clean between uses to avoid permanent damage.

 

  1. You can use specially-designed canister blankets or belts to ensure your adhesives stay warm in storage.  These are essentially like an electric blanket or ‘coat’ for your canister, shaped to fit and connected to a power source in order to maintain a steady temperature. 

 

Help!  I think my adhesive is too cold.  What now?

First – don’t panic.  Most adhesives affected by the cold will be fine to use as long as you restore them to the correct temperature.  It’s important that you do this slowly and carefully, and never place a pressurised canister close to a direct heat source.

For 22-litre canisters, the easiest way to warm your adhesives up is to immerse the canister, hose and gun in a bucket of hot (not boiling) water for around 15 minutes.  Remove and gently agitate the canister before use.  If your adhesive still isn’t performing as expected, repeat this process before seeking further advice.

You can do the same for water-based adhesives as long as they are not actually frozen.  If your water-based adhesives freeze solid inside the canister, then they should be discarded even after defrosting due to the risk of bond failure.

 

For more information on winter canister care or if you’ve got a specific concern, contact customer services on 01738 494919 or email sales@gekkoadhesives.com.

Add Comment