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   Longevity and Performance of Construction Adhesives and Sealants
You may download the report here

Adhesives with Staying Power

The production-focused environment of a manufactured housing plant naturally lends itself to the incorporation of new techniques and methods aimed at significantly reducing construction labor and increasing building performance and durability.

New technologies that employ advanced adhesives may provide a way to streamline production processes, address environmental concerns and improve the quality of manufactured homes.

However, the industry has been slow to adopt these new products and strategies due to a lack of adequate testing and research and the capital investment required for new equipment.

The Sticking Point

SBRA organized an effort to evaluate the current adhesives and strategies used in the factory to determine if there was a need for improvement, and if so, what performance requirements were most requested by manufacturers.

The Advanced Adhesives and Sealants Committee surveyed manufacturers and adhesive suppliers to reveal these needs and identify existing adhesive products to address them. The committee is made up of home manufacturers, adhesives producers, suppliers, representatives from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and testing laboratories.

“It's a win-win situation,” says Ornella Atwell, chairwoman of the committee and engineering manager for Fleetwood Enterprises. “We can outline the properties we desire from advanced adhesives to improve quality and efficiency, and producers can create a new market by recommending and developing products that meet those needs.”

First, the committee evaluated how manufacturers currently use adhesives. A survey of manufactured home producers was conducted to identify the types of adhesives currently used and the satisfaction level with each method. Additionally, respondents were asked to identify their most serious manufacturing, performance and service issues related to adhesives and sealants.

Among the chief complaints by respondents were concerns that some adhesives were messy and difficult to clean up, had too-long cure times, had poor holding power and that the equipment used to apply them promoted waste and was too expensive. There were also concerns about environmental issues such as worker safety and disposal of unused or spent product.

The survey pinpointed several applications that provided the greatest opportunity and could be rapidly implemented. A few of the adhesive processes the respondents felt could use improvement included the fastening of wall panels to studs and the sheathing under exterior siding to studs, and the sealing of the bottom board and ducts.

Going to the Source

Next, SBRA talked with the adhesive and sealant manufacturers and distributors to find out if they could recommend advanced adhesives and sealants currently used in other industries that could be adapted for use in manufactured homes.

The suppliers of these products felt that the manufactured housing industry is often not responsive to innovation and noted that it was a challenge to think “outside the box.” They were also concerned that manufacturers looked only at adhesive product price and often ignored the total costs, such as production efficiency and quality enhancements that could impact customer satisfaction.

Additionally, adhesive suppliers found it difficult to get concise research and development direction from home manufacturers and admitted that the cost of obtaining certification limited the appetite of adhesive producers to introduce new products.

Putting it Together

The SBRA technical document summarizes the research methods and findings of this study. The report lists the range of available adhesive products, identifies the most important criteria for selecting new products, and assesses their applicability to the manufactured housing production process. The report identifies two adhesive applications where further research is promising.