Plasticizer migration out of sheet vinyl is something that is all too common in the flooring industry. The consequence of plasticizer migration is a range of floor compatibility issues and that can lead to both short-term and long-term problems. Flooring installers need to know about the causes and solutions for this probem so they can make sure the risk of problems are minimized.
Plasticizer migration occurs when adhesive, new or leftover, creates a chemical reaction with the PVC in the new sheet vinyl. Plasticizer is a key part of the vinyl that keeps it from being brittle. When plasticizer migration happens, sheet vinyl can soften, discolor, loosen, crack or turn brittle.
The best way to avoid this in sheet vinyl is to prime and seal the sub floor. There are many non-reactive floor sealants available that can minimize the effects of a reaction and cover up old adhesive that may trigger them as well. An additional method to reduce the risk is to select sheet vinyl with non-reactive backing. This is less likely to cause that chemical reaction as well. When using these two methods together, flooring installers are doing everything they can to eliminate the problems associated with plasticizer migration.