Advancing Flooring Reuse with Adhesive-Free Tab Installation
It is estimated that buildings have 30-40 fit outs during their lifecycle with around 300 tonnes of fit out waste going to landfill every day, including used flooring materials. This article highlights the crucial role that adhesive-free flooring installation can play - from facilitating flooring reuse, to offering increased design flexibility and lifetime value.
 Adhesive-free tab installation
Adhesive-free tab-based installations using magnetic or other tabs addresses circularity issues by keeping floor coverings securely fixed throughout the life of the installation yet enabling them to be cleanly and easily uplifted and reused elsewhere.
Little squares which are magnetic on one side and self-adhesive on the other, are ideal for installation onto magnetically receptive sub-floors such as metal raised access flooring, using dry-tack adhesion with magnetism for phenomenal grab, even in high footfall areas. Some products can used on most common prepared sub-floors, including non-metal raised access floors, concrete, wood and ceramic.
The use of reusable tabs might be equated to significant landfill savings, one example gives 200,000m2 flooring to date. That equates to 600 tonnes waste diverted from landfill or 0.3 tonnes of waste for every 100m2.
Reversible fixing mechanisms enable flooring to have a second life, vastly improving flooring circularity and making flooring manufacturers’ take-back schemes easier to implement. Plus, the sub-floor, typically metal raised access flooring, requires little remediation or cleaning before being reused. And by reusing materials and reducing waste in this way, we reduce associated embodied carbon.
Clean and easy uplift means that flooring is no longer permanently fixed, making designs easy to deconstruct and repurpose. This gives flooring a new agility, able to adapt quickly to today’s flexible space requirements, whether that’s rental properties, flexible work environments or pop-up retail spaces.
Using traditional adhesives such as tackifiers to install floor covering can result in costly damage to the sub-floor and expensive disposal costs for the contaminated floor covering. Taking a 1,000sqm project, assets worth approximately £55,000 (the metal raised access floor and flooring) are contaminated by using just £1,000 worth of adhesive! Plus repairing the damage, and disposing of contaminated flooring, will cost at least £15,000.
Using tab-based installation results in zero mess, cleaning or dilapidation costs on uplift, and the floor covering can be reused, rather than disposed of. Installation time can be typically up to 3 times faster than traditional methods, reducing down-time and disruption to business operations. And as the VOCs associated with adhesives are eliminated, there is no odour to trouble occupants.
Ian Spreadborough, Co-founder and Director of IOBAC explains: ”When it comes to specifying commercial interiors, floor finishes naturally take centre stage over the installation method as it’s a major part of the aesthetics. The decision as to how flooring is fixed to the sub-floor is often left to contractors, who may decide on traditional adhesive-based methods such as tackifiers, spray and contact adhesives. However, when the floor covering is uplifted, it’s likely to be contaminated by not only adhesive residue but also some of the sub-floor to which it was adhered, meaning it’s not suitable for recovery or reuse and can’t easily be recycled.This can result in contaminated floor coverings being sent for landfill after just one use.Plus the sub-floor asset is also contaminated, and has to be made good before the next installation, adding remedial costs for landlords and tenants.”
"reversible fixing mechanisms enable flooring to have a second life, vastly improving flooring circularity and making flooring manufacturers’ take-back schemes easier to implement. Plus, the sub-floor, typically metal raised access flooring, requires little remediation or cleaning before being reused. And by reusing materials and reducing waste in this way, we reduce associated embodied carbon."
“We call this “flex-agility”. Designers can combine different flooring types, be creative with intricate designs, switch designs quickly and easily repurpose and demarcate spaces, all whilst knowing disassembly will be easy and sustainable.”
Ian concludes: “We wanted to find a better way to solve the issue of single-use flooring. With our tab-based installation products, architects, designers and clients have peace of mind that the flooring system being specified today can go on to have a second, third, or even fourth life.
Adhesive-free installation represents a different way to approach flooring – transforming it from a single-use material to a flexible design element that can be reused, and repurposed multiple times before eventually being recycled. It represents the sustainable choice, with design flexibility and operational cost benefits added in - a win-win for all concerned.”
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