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Solid Surfaces: Hot Melt Adhesives and Vertical Applications

Solid Surfaces: Hot Melt Adhesives and Vertical Applications

If your business is installing countertops, shower walls or any other material in the solid surfaces industry, it is likely that you work with hot melt adhesive on a regular basis. With that in mind, we thought we would put together a little primer for those of you that specialize in wall cladding, wainscoting and other vertical applications.

When do you need glue, and when do nails or other bonding methods make sense? When should you use silicone, and when is a different adhesive appropriate? We've got you covered.

Adhesives and wet locations.

If you are fastening solid surface sheets in a wet environment, such as a basement, you already know you are going to need a silicone sealant, such as Multi-Purpose Commercial Silicone by American Sealants. However, silicone takes a long time to cure – so how do you hold the sheets in place in the meantime? Hot melt glue is perfect for this task, and you should already have some on hand if you are in the solid surfaces industry, but if you don't, you can peruse our giant selection of all-purpose hot melt glue sticks here. We recommend the Infinity Tough Guy, because it sticks to just about anything.

Hard seaming flat wall treatments.

When you are working with flat wall treatments like wainscoting or wall cladding, many installers choose sealing flat seams where panels join with silicone. However, you can also create a "hard seam" with hot melt by gluing sheets together with a high-quality solid surface adhesive, with excellent results! For this application, we recommend Infinity Templator, which features a long open time (to be sure you get it right every time) and the ability to bond to nearly any surface or material.

Soft seaming corners.

Unlike flat wall treatments, using a hot melt hard seam on corners will require either thermoforming or special tools. If you don't have the time or equipment, it's best to use silicone to soft seam corners on inside corners where sheets join.

Bathroom installations.

When you are working with bathtub and shower walls, you are working with materials that are designed to get wet again and again without losing their hold or quality. In this case, silicone is the only adhesive that is appropriate.

Wall cladding and wainscoting.

If you are using solid surfaces to clad walls or for wainscoting, it is crucial to remember that they will expand a bit, so you should apply silicone around the edges. Similarly, if you are using solid surfaces for baseboards or molding, you will want to apply silicone on the edges to allow a little room for the material to settle in and loosen its belt (so to speak.) Like wet locations, hot melt glue is indispensable here to help hold molding and baseboards in place while the silicone cures. 

    That wraps our official guide to vertical applications! Let us know how we did or contact us with questions about your application.