Glazing heat weld seams?

Discussion in 'Vinyl & Rubber Flooring Sales and Installations' started by Steve Olson, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member Senior Member

    Do you guys that do heat welding, glaze your seams after the last pass with the skive knife? I remember Mannington recommending it when we installed so much of the Magna fleck, but I was watching a variety of YouTube video's, from the UK, and even South Africa, (I think) and only in one video, did they mention and show glazing.
    I think the welds stay much cleaner, based on what I see, and in some cases really helps with the visual appearance as well. On the Uniform room job I posted pics of the other day, I glazed the seams. The Armstron Connection Corlon, has a tendency, when you make the final skive on the seam, to lose the shine on the edges of the chips, leaving a visable line. Glazing greatly reduces the appearance of the line, and shines the rod up, making the seams almost vanish. I took before and after pic's, hope you can see what I saw.
     

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  2. In my opinion, glazing is always a good practice. When weld rods are made they are extruded (think play dough fun factory). The outside of that rod is closer to the extrusion machine so it's somewhat "glazed" as it is made, but the inside is much more soft and porous compared to the outside of the rod. When you skive you're opening up that softer more porous part of the rod and that is now what becomes a wear surface. That becomes a perfect surface for dirt to immediately build up. Glazing helps to close that porosity and keep the dirt from taking hold.

    Additionally, the additives such as aluminum oxide, ceramic bead, and quartzite in today's no-wax wearlayers, cause a bit of a white edge when cut. This is because the additives are literally harder than the blades you're using to cut the material. (This is also why you go through way more blades than you used to) So, rather than cut cleanly it "micro-fractures" the edge of the wearlayer. These micro-fractures refract the light differently than the intact wearlayer and cause it to appear white. The glazing helps to warm and re-solidify those micro-fractures to remove that white edge.

    This is also the reason why Turbo came out with their tip that has the humongous "manifold" on the back of it. These modified urethane wear layers also take a little bit more heat to weld correctly. With the old tips without a manifold or heat focus that heat would wash out over the edge of the vinyl and cause tiny "crazing" or crinkling along that welded edge. Then when you'd skive the rod, you inadvertently remove that crazing or crinkling and cause the same micro-fracturing or whitening of that seam. Focusing the heat with the manifold directly over where you are welding helps prevent heat damage and minimizes the micro-fracturing. Other vendors have also changed their tips to try and minimize that heat wash as well. If you've got older tips look at how wide the "pre-heat nozzle" (that narrowing at the back of the tip) is compared to newer one.

    There's also an additional step that even takes that to the next level though. Mannington and I believe Armstrong now have a product called a seam coater pen. This pen has a liquefied version of the wearlayer in it. After you glaze the rod, you just dap this over the rod coating it with this liquid temporary wearlayer. It works very well in preventing that dirt build-up from catching along the rod the first time they go over the floor with a swing machine or auto-scrubber. In fact it works so well that I have people going back and cleaning those seams and coating them on floors that are several years old.

    Steve your weld look great by the way!
     
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  3. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member Senior Member

    Yes, that's what I was trying to say, thanks for that! I used to do a fair amount of Forbo Linoleum, they had those applicators, that applied about a 3/4" wide path of sealer, or polish, not sure what they called it. The problem I had with that, was an obviously higher shine along the weld, and actually got a few complaints but it was more of them wanted that level of shine on the entire floor.
    As a side note, today I was up at one of our local schools, where I installed connection Corlon in the schools commercial kitchen. I used the Forbo sealer on those seams, as I knew that once completed, they were going to polish those floors every year, as part of routine maintenance. I was very happy to see those seams still looked GREAT, after 8-9 years. I knew I would of caught Hell if they didn't hold up, my wife is the Kitchen site supervisor for the school district, lol.
    Something else, the last day there, at the casino uniform room, I spent 5.5 hours, welding, glazing and hanging the 4" topset base. 152 ln ft of base, 137 ln ft of weld. I don't think I'm particularly fast, compared to what most other guys here do; that bit of base took 2 hours.
    But, I see a lot of shoddy work, and I can't help but wonder, do they have the skills to do it well or are they skilled, and just not willing to take the time?
     
  4. For what it's worth, I can't speak too intelligently on the Armstrong pens, but the Mannington pens have bit of de-glossing agent in them to match the more satin finishes in the line. I've also used them in a pinch to diminish the scratch whitening of an actual scratch in the floor. Not a perfect fix but it will help lighten it and make it less noticeable. For the real bad ones, I have to teach people how to make hoofer-doover. :) Then after I get it looking good I'll coat it with the pen to protect the fix. I've got a few other tricks for fixing scratches in commercial sheet and LVT but I can't tell you all of them or they won't need me anymore!
     
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  5. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member Senior Member

    Thats funny. I attended the week long, beginning Armstrong Installation school, ( I think thats what the called it) in Oakland in I think 1979 or 1980. Anyway, the instructor was a great guy named Gordon, who took over for Woody, and he had this guy with him, named Ray Thompson, who was coming aboard the great ship Armstrong. He mentioned the Hoofer Doofer ( maybe a regional dialect thing, lol).
    Gordon mentioned it, btw. I remember reading articles written by Ray Thompson in FCI magazine, in the years to follow.
     
  6. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    Once the floor finish goes on those scuff marks disappear. Yes, glazing the seams is a nice touch and CFR has well explained why. I just am not allowed that kind of time to detail out the welds in the very competitive environment I work in. Most of the guys who can weld in my shop are already substantially FASTER than I am at the entire heat welding process. Most of that is attributable to their..................sacrificing on some of the...........minor technical details.

    It's amazing how fast you can go with just a little bit of compromise here and there on quality. I can and do compromise but we all have different thresholds.

    Last time I saw one of those seam sealer pens I was already 11 hours into a long day. I was expected to finish the job in one day (8 hours). It's not that they are going to harass me about the overtime or argue about the time it took. It's about me not wanting to stay on the floor--------neither am I coming back the next day to dick around with something I don't think makes that big a difference when the floors are properly cared for.
     
  7. Elmer Fudd

    Elmer Fudd Administwative Asst. Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    The real issue on the pens is that nowdays they are selling the sheet floors with a urethane finish as not needing any additional coating (wax). So you have a urethane coated floor and a non coated welded seam. Of course it attracts and hold the soil (dirt).
    CFR...Armstrong does NOT have this pen, they recommend one made by Mohawk Finishing products, it is a waterborne urethane. Ultra® Bond Waterborne Clear Finish Marker - Mohawk Finishing
     
  8. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    So what does the average guy use to glaze seams? It's all new to me
     
  9. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member Senior Member

    I take off the weld tip, and use the pencil tip. I have 2 of the Leister's, so I keep the Turbo tip on one, and use the other as the "glazer".

    There it is!
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
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  10. Thanks for the heads up Elmer!
     
  11. kylenelson

    kylenelson You'll find me on the floor I Support TFP Senior Member

    So you reheat the weld,?
     
  12. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member Senior Member

    Yes. When you make the first portion of a seam, then make the first skive, then weld back towards, and then up and over? The first section gets shiny from the heat of the welder? Thats what glazing does.
     
  13. Barry Carlton

    Barry Carlton I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    Glazing vinyl welds....:cool:
     
  14. Joe c

    Joe c Pro Member

    I have a question what do you do when the company refuses to apply any finish to a certain area where the spider web effect happened to the seam it's dirty as shit so it sticks out like a sore thumb but all other areas look great where the put the finish, mind you it's the project managers first job and she's not very esikly to please she'll get a camera and zoom in on any weld looking for defects t he flooring supplier has since thrown us under the bus so to say
     
  15. I would need to see a picture to tell you what I'd recommend for sure. You might be able to use some heat, along with a pen.

    The spider webbing comes from the urethane fracturing. When the light passes through the irregular edges of the fracture it reflects much like a prism. Minimizing and reducing that light reflection is what you're trying to do. The key is to use something that has a low enough viscosity to actually get down into those fractures.

    There are some "micro-finishes" starting to come out on the market that have the potential to be used in these situations but they're pretty expensive and not real easy to find. It's a bit of an experiment, because they're so new the long term durability hasn't been determined yet.

    The urethane pen from Mohawk Finishing products that Elmer mentioned above might also be an option.

    When I clean up an existing "problem" seam like that I'll take a little bit of ammonia and water (1/2 cup of ammonia to a gallon of water) and a nylon bristle brush like you would use to scour a shower and clean the seam first. May have to do it a couple of times to get all the embedded dirt and stuff out and clean. Dry it really well with a clean terry cloth white towel. You can use a heat gun on real low temp to make sure you got it good and dry. Then use the pen and possibly some heat with the pen to dry it. A microfiber pad can be used to help coax it down into the fractures.

    Once it's clean and the spider webbing looks better then you can apply floor finish to it if needed.

    Hope that helps and good luck with it.
     
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  16. Mark Brown

    Mark Brown On The Surface Flooring I Support TFP

    Half inch gold flat bar!! Problem solved :)

    that will keep 'em from complaining next time!
     
  17. Incognito

    Incognito No more Mr. Nice Guy! I Support TFP Senior Member

    I prefer duct tape. It solves all the worlds problems.
     
  18. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    I’d like to know the term fracturing of urethane. Is it brittle? Has it shrunk? Was it stretched when applied?
     
  19. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member Senior Member

    I'd like to see a picture of "Spider Webbing" too. No idea what that looks like.
     
  20. The modified urethane wearlayers that have a mineral additive such as aluminum oxide or quartzite are very hard so as to hold up to the adverse environments they get installed in such as surgical suites, patient rooms, etc. If you were to look at them under a microscope when you cut them they don't cut cleanly, they have the appearance of tiny white "fractures" along the cut line. Another way to describe the problem would be stress whitening, sort of like what happens when you make an outside cove base corner. This can sometimes worsen when handling the material or putting stress (bending) the material to move it into position. It ends up looking like tiny little white spider webs along the seam edge. It's not real common but it happens from time to time. I'm not sure I have any pictures but I'll look through my archive and see. If I do I'll post back.
     
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