When it comes to flooring, there are few materials that are as versatile as vinyl flooring. In order to make the vinyl sheets more flexible and softer, chemicals called plasticizers are added. However, these chemicals have the potential to cause some problems for clients due to plasticizer migration.
What is plasticizer migration? It’s when the plasticizer chemicals within vinyl, plastic or rubber migrates out and is absorbed by surrounding materials. For example, a rubber mat placed on a bathroom floor covered with vinyl may eventually leave a yellowish stain where the mat made contact with the vinyl. Another example is the plasticizer migrates down into the adhesive, which break it down and leave it ineffective. Plasticizer migration can happen over time, but pressure and heat can speed up the migration.
The best way to avoid this chemical reaction in sheet vinyl is to thoroughly prime and seal the sub flooring. It’s also a good idea to use a non-reactive floor sealant that will neutralize any kind of plasticizer migration. It’s also possible to select products that have non-reactive backing material that won’t trigger the chemical reaction that causes the migration. Installers should do everything possible to eliminate the potential for problems with plasticizer migration.