More on Spray-Applying Contact Cement

      An extended discussion of pressurized tanks, spray equipment, application techniques, and adhesive performance. June 10, 2006

I currently use 3M SF-40 or the Wilsonart H2O, both water based. The Wilsonart is quite a bit cheaper so we use it more often. I recently heard you can get adhesives in a pressurized pot from the factory. Are these available? Is that the best way to go if I start to spray versus roll? What about the overspray - doesn't it get the floor all sticky?

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor A:
I am not sure what you mean by a pressurized pot. There is a pressurized canister system. I use Sta-Put brand and I love it. You will get a little bit on the floor, just as you will by using rollers. However, while you are waiting 20 minutes for the rolled adhesive to flash off, I will have put on my laminate and trimmed it It is a bit more pricey, however again -the time saved is hard to believe. Flash time is about 1 to 2 minutes. The hose and gun is setup to move from empty to full canister so no need to replace that with each canister. Also the gun can adjust down to spray 3/4" edges and smaller right up to 8" or more in width. The canisters run from 37 lbs up to several hundred pounds.

From the original questioner:
To contributor A: It sounds like you are talking about the same stuff I am. I just wanted an adhesive that came in a canister ready for the hose and gun. Do I need to hook a compressor up to the canister to provide pressure or does it come pressurized? Can I get it in a waterbased adhesive? I had no idea that it reduced the flash time by that much.

From contributor A:
No compressor - the canisters are all pre-pressurized, and are completely portable - as in take it to the jobsite if you want. I use the 37# cylinder, same size as your 20# propane tank for the barbecue. I think my initial cost was close to $300 - that is hose, gun, and tank. The most important thing is never turn the tank off once you start it. As long as the hose stays pressurized the glue never sets! Yes it is true - mine will sit for months between uses and no problems. Once the tank is empty, just close valve, unscrew hose and put it on a new tank and open the new one, and the hose will be fine. Do not wait to pressurize that hose or you will lose it. Your laminate supplier should carry the system.

From contributor B:
I have used a paint pressure pot 2.5 gallons for years to spray contact cement. You can buy it at Sears for about $125 on sale, and then buy a cheap cup spray gun, $29. Remove the cup and attach the spray head to the fluid hose. Replace the existing fluid hose with a solvent resistant hose, 10 feet or whatever length you like. It has all of the spray characteristics of the pre-pressurized sprayer, .75" -8", as far as the spray pattern goes. The flash time is also a few minutes, and there is also much higher yield per gallon of cement versus rolling. Because the glue is almost dry when it hits the surface, I find that fumes clear much faster and are less in volume when spraying.

I like the sprayable contact cement in red, so you can see how much is being applied. 5 gallon cans cost about $60 - very economical. The downside is that a compressor is required. I never have to clean the spray unit, other than clean the exterior of the gun with thinner and a brush if any cement builds up on the tip. When any one used to ask me about my sprayer, and if it was hard to clean, I used to tell them it was very hard, what with having to clean it after every use. I didn't want any body to catch on how easy it was. I'm a little older now and don't mind sharing a little knowledge.

From the original questioner:
I could have used that information 24 hours ago. I just bought the canister and gun yesterday. I spent today trying it out. I spent $250 on the gun alone and it took a little while to get over that. How do you guys do edges with out getting adhesive all over? I can adjust my tip way down to almost 1" and up to 6"-8". If it is a laminate edge top, how do you spray the top without getting it on the edge and the other way around? Also, when I am spraying I seem to get dead spots in the tank, as though the adhesive is not being propelled evenly. Then I go back and respray that spot making it even heavier around the spot. Nice tip on the spray rig from Sears. Do you just leave the pot pressurized so you don't have to clean?

From contributor A:
Yes, I just adjust down for edges and way up for the wide flat areas. As far as skipping, it does but very little. One thing that may help is to shake the container a bit - if it sits for a while it helps to shake things up.

From contributor B:
It isn't necessary to keep the pot pressurized. Just unplug the air, coil the hose and set aside. The only problem I ever had was that every few years someone would try to take the gun apart to clean it - what a mess. When I spray, and I need to watch overspray, I cut a cardboard piece, hold the cardboard with one hand and spray with the other. When the cardboard gets too much overspray, throw it away and use a new piece.

From contributor C:
When I spray edges, I lay a scrap board on edge right at the edge of the counter top, and then I hold a shield of scrap laminate or cardboard at the bottom. When I get to the end of the top, stick a small piece of laminate to the scrap board to make an L, and it will keep spray from going past the top. When spraying the top I just hold a shield up to the edge and spray the top, you can put 2 shields together in an L shape to go around corners. I also use some 3" self sticking masking paper to keep spray off walls when spraying tops in place. And when spraying tops that are installed, I replace the sink cut out to keep from spraying inside the cabinet. But if you do this, remember to take the cut out back out before laying up the top. Lastly, if you do get overspray on something you can clean it up with mineral sprits - just wet it good and give it a minute or two and you will be able to wipe it up. I do this on finished cabinets all the time with no problems.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for all your input. I am using Con-Bond C680. The rep told me today that the uneven spraying could be due to low temperature of the canister. The real problem I got into today was my radiused corners. In the past I would use water based adhesive. I would apply to the counter edge and the lam, then stick it and as I got to the corner, Iíd use a heat gun and bend it around. It worked great - sometimes a little clamping, no big deal. Using the Con-Bond C680 adhesive didn't work at all. I called the rep and she said that the adhesive will break down after 150 degrees. So, for the one corner I had already done which sat overnight, I put some gorilla glue in the gap where it had pulled back and clamped it. That worked, fortunately.

One installer told me he would post form the edge, cool it to give it a memory, and them spray and stick it. I tried that but the adhesive can't take even the slightest back pressure without just stretching and slowly letting go. So I called the rep again. She says you have to clamp it for 24 hrs till the adhesive gets full cure, just like any adhesive. I didn't I know that. Well, my install and fabrication are all in the field, so putting on the edge then clamping over night is not always an option. I may just stick to using water based adhesive on the radiuses. By the way it's a 1-1/2" radius. I know it can be done but with all the clamping itís no faster to spray and stick right away then clamp over night. I might as well roll, wait 20 minutes, stick, and I'm done.

From contributor A:
I have never had my Sta-Put not stick! Something sounds really wrong here. I normally do not make my radius smaller than 3". Also I pre-bend using the top or a pattern, heat gun as you do and slightly overbend it, tape it till cold, then glue it. Also, clamping contact for 24 hrs? I never heard of such a thing unless you are using Titebond or similar glue.

From the original questioner:
To contributor A: I agree with you about the contact cement. I spent $250 on the gun and $60 on a 12' hose. I definitely am thinking about switching brands with the same hose and gun. But I don't think I can get my money back on the canister. I may try a few more things to make sure it's not just me.

From contributor A:
If you opened the valve on the tank, I donít believe you can get a refund. Also, depending on the prices of your tops, you could go "V" grade for all your edges and bends. The price is not that much and they make it in every color of your horizontal grade. But pre-bending works pretty good for me.

From contributor D:
Sta-put failures are the norm, not the exception. You are not going to see the stuff in shops that do good quality work. It cost me thousands of dollars in rework - be very careful. It takes very little to stain a reputation for doing good work and standing behind your work usually means taking money out of pocket.

From the original questioner:
I actually have Con-Bond, but I think they are one in the same. I'm not sure what the difference is actually is. I have been working with the stuff for a couple of jobs now, and I'm still not very happy with the results. The contact cement just doesn't seem to have the same gripping or holding power as the water based I was using. This is even worse on small surface areas (end caps, top of splashes, etc.). I also am not impressed with the consistency of the spray pattern. It seems to be extremely sensitive to temperature. What do you use - canister or other? I am thinking of going to a pressure pot with the same gun and hose I have invested in already.

From contributor E:
In response to radiused corners, we use Wilsonart 860 red in a pressurized pot and Binks gun. For years we have been postforming with this setup with no problems. We have wrapped self edge down to 3/4" with no problems. You have to use a postformable glue, which this is. We are currently trying Starstuk HM pre-pressurized. It is not postformable and because of that and the cost I think we will probably stay with the Wilsonart. Also the Wilsonart is a Lockweld brand but Wilsonart is putting their name on it as a reputable product. You do have to heat the edge for self edge or a heat bar for a postform top.

From the original questioner:
To contributor E: I usually don't go under 1". On all my outside corners we go 1-1/2" instead of a 45 degree like you see a lot. This pressure pot, you leave it pressurized? No cleaning after every job? Use a compressor for pressure? Also, what make a post form adhesive different? Does it break down in heat, or can I heat and bend the corner with the adhesive already applied?

From contributor E:
We leave our pots pressurized most of the time. The only time we have to worry about glue drying in the lines is when it sets for several months without any use. If you leave your pot pressurized and it leaks, your glue will dry out. The pot is pressurized by our air compressor. Our pot and gun are Binks but I know there are a lot of other systems out there. If your gun is in good shape you don't have to clean it after every use. The difference in postform glue is that it doesn't break down with heat. It actually makes the bond stronger. We consistently heat our glue up past 350 degrees.

From the original questioner:
To contributor E: What, specifically, brand and type of adhesive do you use? How bad are the fumes? Will it empty the house or shop, or does just the applicator need a respirator?

From contributor E:
We use Wilsonart 860 red spray grade - you should be able to get it from your Wilsonart supplier. I don't know about a website, but you possibly might find it on Wilsonartís website. The smell from the glue is about the same as the pre-pressurized system, which to me is tolerable. You should have a respirator when you spray it. We tried Con Bond spray glue a few years back and personally we did not care for it. We didn't have any problems - it was just the way the glue felt and sprayed. If you compare the smell to the old brushable glues, it doesn't smell anywhere close to as bad as those. If you want to spray it on a job site with the customers I would probably recommend 3m brushable waterbase because people will complain about the Wilsonart because it is solvent based.

From the original questioner:
To contributor E: I was using 3M waterbased adhesive before I went to the Con-Bond. I really liked it, but it took too long to roll and wait for it to dry. How long does your Wilsonart 860 take to flash before you can stick it? Today we were gluing end caps and they were just falling off under the pressure of the router as I trimmed them. The glue just seems to have way to much lateral movement, and it seems to stretch. We went to a piece of back splash that we laminated on Friday and had in the shop, and you can just peel up the corner! I called the Con-Bond rep and my distributor today and told them that I was totally unsatisfied with the product and wanted a full refund. I am going to insist that I get all my $550 back for the gun hose and canister. What system do you suggest that I go to? It is me and a helper and we do laminate dang near every day. Do I really need to go to a Binks system? Earlier in this thread someone said he used a cheap pressure pot and cheap canister gun. Should I spray Wilsonart 860, or should I spray Wilsonart H2O, or the 3M water based? I know some of you out there have done this - what system do you use? How fast does it dry?

From contributor D:
The good news for you is you caught the problems early on with those pre-pressure pots. We stuck with it for awhile because the rep kept telling us "no one else had a problem". Thatís the biggest lie in the business if you ask me and there are plenty here who feel your pain. Now, the bad news is they have heard hundreds of people before you ask for a refund on equipment and product. Maybe you have some leverage but mine sits in the spare bathroom unused in the last 4 years. The upside is you are not going back to a jobsite 3 months later and replacing 6 sheets of $10.00 sq ft Chemetal laminate like I did. If you can, stay with the 3M waterbase for use in occupied residential properties. Get a fan setup to move the air and you will cut your open time in half. The spray grade solvent based glues really need to stay in the shop, and even there some method of exhausting the fumes needs to be implemented.

From the original questioner:
To contributor D: You said pressure pots. Did you mean pressurized canisters? I hope there are far less problems with the pressure pot system, since that is what I hope to switch to.

From contributor E:
We have been using Wilsonart 860 for at least 15 years. You don't want to spray it in the field because of the fumes. We have never had an adhesion problem. If you stick with the manufacturerís recommendations you will not be able to remove it without solvent and it will not have any lateral movement. I have heard guys use cheap guns with glue and finishes and I tried a cheap gun with finish and I regretted it. If you spend the money on quality equipment you will be better off. You could buy a cheap cup gun just to try the glue then upgrade later.

The flash time on the Wilsonart glue is about 5 minutes and the 3M waterbase we only use in the field and on veneer in the shop. Any waterbase glue will take longer to dry than solvent based. Just a question - are you making sure your glue is dry enough? It should be tacky to the touch but none of the glue should come off on your fingers. If your glue is not dry enough the laminate can delaminate later - we did have this problem once in the past when one of our guys did not let it dry enough.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor F:
We used Sta-Put pressurized canisters for years with great results. We now use 3M 30-NF water base due to health concerns. You all might want to do a little research on Methylene Chloride. It's the propellant used in most brands of contact adhesives today. Be careful, the only way to use it safely is with an air fed respirator system.

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