Solid Surface Seam Kit Mixing Problems

Troubleshooting mixing problems in the seam adhesive applicators for solid surface countertops. February 14, 2010

In the past few months we have had problems with our solid surface seam kits not setting up at some spots in our seams. We end up with a ten foot seam and somewhere there would be a 10 to 14 " section that would never dry. This happens mostly with Integra seam kits with the "new" square tips. We tried a new gun which helps the mixing problem somewhat but did not totally fix the problem. The manufacturer said to apply two runs to every joint so that at least one should harden. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor Z:
Waste the first couple pumps on the gun, and check the date on the kit. Old kits take much longer to set up. The hardener in some kits evaporates with time ergo wrong mixing proportions and longer set times.

From contributor G:
You don't need to use those square mixing tips on the Integra adhesive. Go back to the MCX 08-18 mixing tip. Round with an orange spinner, it works just as well on Integra adhesive cartridges as it does on Dupontís.

From the original questioner:
The kits were not old, just got them from the supplier and I checked the dates, everything was good there. These are "new" Integra kits with a different type of tip, instead of being one supply hole on top of the other the hardener comes out of a hole in the center of the field hole so you can only use the new tip the old ones simply won't fit. Anyway even had the supplier rep do a conference call with the Integra rep and he said that it may be bubbles in the mix and to keep them stored upright so that when you purge them all the air is expelled, and to purge them in a upright position. My response was that at $30 plus a tube they should fill them up with no air in them what so ever, and I felt this was a manufacturing problem, not an application problem especially since I have been doing solid surface for over 20 years and have never had this problem before.

Needless to say that did not phase him in the least and in no way could it be a problem with the product. I then asked why did they change the canisters and the tips, the old ones worked just fine. We did multiple studies and found that this design mixes the product so many more times than the old one. Which means the tips and canisters are costing us less so our profits are higher. We switched to different type of gun and that helped some but didn't totally remove the problem. I still think it was just a bad mix and all they had to do was admit it say they were sorry and replace the bad canisters. We fought slow drying times, uncured joints, broken seams, etc. it was a nightmare. The next job was Corian and boy it was nice to get back to seam kits as usual. I of course documented everything so if there is a warranty issue it will be back on the manufacturer and the supplied seam kits.

From contributor Y:
I had that problem and agree with the supplier. Store the tube upright if possible or at least set it upright for several hours before using the adhesive. This should allow the air to slowly come to the top. At this point put the epoxy in the gun while keeping the tube upright and remove the cap and gently squeeze the trigger and watch for the fluid (glue and hardner) to come out of both holes. Then I put the mixing tube on and squirt the first teaspoon full on to a scrap and then immediately glue my seams. I use the scrap piece to monitor the glue curing.

From contributor C:
Wow that is rare in my experience with Integra. I got some once from a distributor that was two or three years old and was forever setting up, but it eventually did. After working with Integra, no way I would go back to "C" glue though. It takes too long to set up compared to a normal tube of Integra. By the way we use the old tips on our tubes. We bought a few hundred once and they are still here.

From the original questioner:
We did the "store upright thing", and of course did the ďpurge the tube upright thing as well" and even went as far as to have the supplier's rep bring us a kit from the warehouse (where it was upright) and placed upright here and still had the same problem. When we have a problem and something is not right we are man enough to admit our mistakes and fix it, this happens in business there are only two types those that make mistakes and those that lie. They should have said that we don't think it is our product but letís exchange a few kits from a different run and see what happens. Then if it is the product they can try to find out what caused it and prevent it in the future, and if it is not the kits then we know for sure it was something that we were doing. This is called customer service, improving your product, and educating your customer.

From contributor K:
The problem is the mechanics of the tips. One will try to squeeze adhesive out of the tube at the same rate as they did with the older tips. This tip being smaller, places more resistance on the adhesive, so when you pause or sit the gun down, adhesive without the catalyst will escape because of the built up back pressure. I have slowed the application rate down, with more of a gentle squeeze on the trigger. When the gun is placed down, very little adhesive escapes. I will still purge a little, after any pause. We have not had one problem since. I will go back to old style when inventory is depleted.

From contributor U:
All glue should be stored upright or else it risks getting air bubbles in it. Air bubbles cause the hardener and the glue to mix at incorrect ratios. To solve store the glue upright for a month, when dispensing watch for air bubbles and if they appear apply more mixed compound to this area.

From contributor W:
The square tips will create backpressure, so when you pause, the pressure in the cartridge will squeeze out adhesive, with no catalyst. To remedy, at any pause during application, you will need to purge the tip. What I did, I learned to slow way down applying the lines, and not to squeeze so hard, just a gentle pressure. You will like the new Integra round tips.

From contributor H:
If you stop pumping the handle the adhesive still comes out but not mixed properly. Always keep pumping the handle when running seams. Also when you are done try putting the original cap back on but make sure you after you take tip off the color is not mixed in the hardner of the kit sometimes color falls back in to the hardner part and doesn't allow proper flow of hardner.