White Chalky Seam?

Discussion in 'Vinyl Flooring Q&A' started by Benjamin65, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. Benjamin65

    Benjamin65 Pro Member

    Question for the experts: We’ve installed vinyl flooring in a home over new sub-floor. This home has several seams (same product). The installers used the same seam sealer kit over all these seams, but one seam has turned “white” Installer says it looks like the customer rubbed chalk over top. He wiped it off, looked fine, but customers called again today saying that this ‘chalky’ white line has come back. Phone the company who supplies us the seam sealer and they have never heard of this either (they of course checked the lot number and nothing has been reported with the lot numbers either). Has anyone heard of this?
  2. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    What brand? Is it two part mix? Is the white cleaner paste used prior to seaming?
  3. Jon Scanlan

    Jon Scanlan That Kiwi Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Do not know about your seam sealers but the one we get here in an orange tube will go kinda white, murky when there is a lot of humidity/rain in the air or the join had been wipe down with a damp rag before applying The sealer does come right though when the humidity level drops
  4. Benjamin65

    Benjamin65 Pro Member

    Hi, we live in Manitoba and right now the humidity is very low outdoors and indoors and the seam sealer we use is a two part Tarkett DT-65 low gloss. Both parts of this sealer is clear. I’ve not confirmed with the installers about wiping the seams. We’ve been (the installers) have done thousands, and thousands of seams and we’ve never encounter anything like this.
  5. Benjamin65

    Benjamin65 Pro Member

    Finally had a chance to talk with the installers this morning. This is the third last seam of the day - all the other seams are fine. We are simply at a loss for this one... any ideas?

    Attached Files:

  6. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Did anyone spray cleaner on it? Get wet?

    Looks like the chair scooted through it.
  7. Benjamin65

    Benjamin65 Pro Member

    No, there's been nothing... It goes through almost a 20' length. This seam is in front of a window. We're wondering if this is the problem... We've never had a problem with windows before, now we are in our winter months so temps are hovering around -8 C (inside temps are 15-20 (normal house hold temps)
  8. I've seen something similar before with our (Mannington) low-gloss two-part sealer. There's a de-glossing agent in the part B that sometimes doesn't disperse correctly. It flows out too concentrated in some spots and not enough in others. This happens especially if the seam sealer got frozen by accidentally leaving it in a van overnight, (wink-wink nudge nudge). Given the temps you just described, I'm sure that couldn't have possibly happened (wink-wink, nudge nudge). The de-glosser gets clumpy and makes for a soft seam where it's too concentrated. With traffic (that's why I think it's showing up worse where the chair is) the result is this white powdery effect. I've had some success cleaning them up with a pink rubber pencil eraser.

    I can't say this will work 100% so proceed with EXTREME CAUTION from this point forward. Try a small test area first, as out of the way as possible. You can try cleaning a small section of it with a pencil eraser. Once you get rid of all the white residue wipe it down with some denatured alcohol. Let that dry completely. Take a new seam kit and VERY, VERY carefully apply a small bead topically over the seam. You can use a Q-tip, but this can result in an uneven application. The idea here is to get the old sealer to reactivate slightly and bond to the new sealer to form a "cap" with the right amount of de-glossing agent in it. Again, please be very careful attempting this as it is a "repair" (read no guarantee)!

    Another thing that you can try if the first suggestion doesn't work is to get your hands on a Mannington Commercial seam coater pen or a Mohawk Accessories urethane coater pen. You can remove the white with the eraser as described above. Rub it down good and let it dry. Apply a coat with the coater pen and let it dry. Be very cautious though as the gloss level of the pen may not be the same as the gloss level of the floor resulting in a slightly shinier seam. Again, the idea here is that the seam coater would encapsulate the poorly dispersed de-glosser and keep it from rubbing off.

    Hope this helps and if it doesn't work - my name is Mike Antonetti (Sorry Mikey). ;)
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  9. Benjamin65

    Benjamin65 Pro Member

    Going to give it a try- thanks for all the help. So very glad I was able to find this community... wish I knew about your guy sooner!
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  10. Mike Antonetti

    Mike Antonetti I Support TFP Senior Member

    Thought I was hacked. Off topic but how come my erasers wore out way faster than everyone else’s in school? Hot book bag?
  11. I'll give you an addendum to my first post so that if you ever get one of these that freezes that you HAVE to use cause your just in the middle of nowhere and you can't come back.

    First, let it thaw out all the way. DON'T try to heat it, this stuff is very flammable. Pour as much of part B as you can into the empty applicator bottle. Take part A and pour it into the part B bottle with the sludge and gently swirl it to get it to go back into solution. Once you get it all back into solution pour that into the applicator bottle with the first batch. Then gently swirl that until it's all thoroughly mixed. (Don't shake it up, you'll put too many air bubbles into the sealer). That should keep it from having this problem and get the silicate dispersed correctly back into the mix.

    If given the option always try and use one that's not been frozen, but in case you just absolutely have to this should keep you out of trouble.

    I should also mention that this can happen with extremely old sealer kits as well. When they seal those bottles they have a little nitrogen bubble in them. Over time this can leak off a bit and allow air into the bottle. This air can cause the solution to start to thicken a bit which causes the de-glossing agent (silica) to settle out and not to disperse evenly.

    At any rate, I hope that this helped you and keeps you from having to replace the floor.
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