When building, adhesives are often overlooked and considered at the last minute. However, adhesives are often more toxic than the flooring and other products they are made to adhere.
Most adhesives are still based on SB latex, which releases large quantities of toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The volatile solvents are used to emulsify (or liquefy) the resin that acts as the bonding agent.
However, water-based adhesives emit far less VOCs than their conventional solvent based counterparts.
There are also some starch-oil based adhesives on the horizon, such as ZBind which may be on the market soon.
A comprehesive list of low VOC adhesives can be found on the Carpet and Rug Institute web site.
Here is our overview of some of the products available:
AFM Sealant Line: AFM products are a low odor, non-toxic and water-based.
PhenoSeal “Does It All” vinyl adhesive caulk is an all purpose product. It will bond, caulk, or seal all common building materials, providing a tough-yet-flexible material for different jobs. Does It All is mildew and rust resistant, paintable, non-toxic, and non-flammable. It resists mild acids, alkalis, salt water, oil, gasoline, and many other solvents.
Titebond Construction Adhesive – by Franklin International, is a solvent free construction adhesive (no VOCs) for plywood, paneling, hardboard and wet or frozen lumber.
Timberline 2051 Wood Flooring Adhesive – by Timberline for laminated plank and parquet flooring
Elmer’s Carpenter’s Glue – a low odor, non toxic water based adhesive for porous materials.
100% Pure Silicone Caulk – by DAP/Dow Corning Products can be used as a sub floor adhesive. Specify aquarium grade caulk without additives. Available at many hardware chains including Home Depot, Ace Hardware.
NATURAL CORK AND LINOLEUM ADHESIVES
Safecoat 3 in 1 Adhesive – by AFM is a low odor, non-toxic, water-based adhesive designed for hard composition wall and floor tiles as well as carpeting. (ceramic, parquet, Formica and slate where a typical carpet adhesive would be used.
Auro No. 383 Natural Linoleum Glue – by Auro is suitable for unfinished cork tiles in a thin bed application, but not suitable for floors in humid areas.
BioShield cork adhesive – is a water-based elastic glue made from natural latex, plant oils and resins designed for use with cork and carpets. Can be used on finished concrete wood and plywood.
Dri-Tac – is a water-based low VOC adhesive that claims superior tack. This product is recommended by Dodge-Regopol natural cork flooring manufacturers.
CERAMIC TILE ADHESIVES
CT-12 by Capitol Adhesives is a solvent-free mastic for installing ceramic wall and floor tiles.
CARPET ADHESIVES AND SEAMING TAPES
Almighty Adhesive – by AFM is low odor, non-toxic, water based adhesive for gluing wood and wood laminates
Auro No. 385 Natural Carpet Glue – by Auro
BioShield cork adhesive – is a water-based elastic glue made from natural latex, plant oils and resins designed for use with cork and carpets. Can be used with sisal, coco, wool and jute backings.
Hendricksen Naturlich Manufacturer’s Adhesive
Envirotec Health Guard Adhesive #2027, 2045, 2054, 2055, 2060, 2070, 2080
Envirotec Health Guard seaming tapes #3070, 3080, 3090, 3093, 3094
Alternatives to utilizing adhesives with carpeting include, 3M’s Tac Fast system using a loop fabric on the carpet back that engages with hook tape applied to the floor surface (like Velcro). This system eliminates the IAQ issues involved with liquid adhesives. Another mechanical application method is tacking down carpeting on tack strips eliminating the need for large quantities of adhesives.
AFM makes a Caulking Compound as part of the “SafeCoat” line which is a non-toxic, water-based, elastic emulsion type caulking compound designed to replace oil caulk and putty. It will not dry out or crack and does not release any solvents or obnoxious odors. SafeCoat caulking compound provides a water resistant, flexible, easy to install, non-sag sealant with excellent initial and permanent adhesion. This caulking compound has properties, which enable the application to be made without stringiness, and yet maintains flexibility and toughness. It mat be applied to a variety of substrates and has high durability. High resin content affords maximum bond strength.
Another caulking option is 100% silicone caulk, or aquarium grade caulk. These caulks are available in either clear or white and can be found at most hardware stores.