Sunday, September 6, 2009

Old Versus New Construction Adhesives

When I first started building in 1978 as a young carpenter and an apprentice to my father. I had the grand illusions of becoming what they call on the east coast a master carpenter and on the West Coast a journeyman carpenter.

Part of my training in construction was learning to use the proper adhesive and caulking for different parts of the building project. We used to use a standard solvent-based construction adhesive when we were building our stairs and they would also use this adhesive on the floors to eliminate squeaks.

This glue dried extremely hard and everyone thought the harder the better. This construction adhesive was great when I started using it in 1978. There wasn't the polyethylene super elastic expandable multi-use glue and caulking construction adhesives at that time.

We used this brittle glue and it always seemed like a waste of time. As the wood dried and started to shrink the brittle hard glue would crack and break away from the wood it was glued to. Normally the glue was breaking away from plywood floor sheeting. I have seen 2 x 12 shrink 3/8 of an inch before in as little as a few months during the summer.

Now as time went on the old construction adhesives were replaced with a new window sealant made by a company called TOPS. This stuff was the hottest and best product of the decade to me. I used this stuff for everything.

This new urethane glue was now being used for sub floors, stair treads, sealing the windows flashing and siding. This stuff is still in use today and is a great choice for all of the uses I mentioned above. The price for this sealant is about double that of most water-based or solvent-based glues. But it's worth it.

So there you have it I like the urethane glues because of their flexibility, elasticity, their ability to adhere to wood concrete or metal and their performance in the years ahead.

There is one thing to keep in mind when using construction adhesives. Most construction workers seem to ignore the fact that the wood needs to be dry and clean before applying the construction adhesive. There have been quite a few times I have witnessed carpenters working with me and ignoring my advice.

Don't put yourself into this category. Doing quality work and following the manufacturers recommended installation instructions for their product will decrease your liability if there is ever a problem. Read the instructions carefully on all of the building products you use.

The manufacturers of these construction adhesives have thoroughly tested them. So use them properly and follow all safety warnings.

Greg Vanden Berge is working on the internet to promote the education for creating simple to follow guides and home building books to help professional building contractors as well as the weekend warriors. He is currently working on more Building and Remodeling Library and adding useful content to help solve problems created by the lack of construction knowledge in the building industry.

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