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The Language of Flooring Installation, Part 1

By Seth Gladden
Director of Marketing, Meridian Adhesives Group Flooring Division and Taylor Adhesives

For several articles going forward, we’ll examine many common yet sometimes misunderstood terms. Getting them wrong can cause installers heartache, heartburn, and money. That’s because it’s not enough to speak the language of flooring installation. You’ve got to know what it means, too.

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite topic: moisture. Test your knowledge against these eight terms. If you ace all eight, that’s great! If you miss a few, this has been a worthwhile review!

  1. RH = Relative Humidity – This is not to be confused with atmospheric relative humidity, although that does play an important part as well (temperature, humidity, air pollutants, dew point, barometric pressure, sunlight, airflow). In the flooring industry, RH testing refers to the process of drilling and placing a test probe in a concrete slab. It measures how much moisture is present in relationship with how much moisture could be present, or in other words, a percentage of saturation. The higher the number, the closer to standing water you get. It is important to remember that this depends on atmospheric conditions and that RH is only a snapshot in time and can change with time and seasons. Remember high-school chemistry? Whether you are a fan of it or not, one of the easiest ways to think of RH is that it is like potential energy (stored), whereas MVER is like kinetic energy (moving).
  • MVER = Moisture Vapor Emissions Rate – also known as the Calcium Chloride test (CaCl)- a measurement of how much moisture vapor emits from a concrete slab (ASTM F1869). The higher the MVER number, the more moisture is emitting from the slab, which can lead to flooring failures, mold, mildew, and a host of other problems. An MVER of 8 lbs means that eight pounds of water vapor is emitting from every 1000 square feet every 24 hours. Water weighs in at just over eight pounds per gallon, meaning that almost a gallon of water comes out of that 1000 square foot daily.
  • pH = A measurement of the acidity, or alkalinity of a substance. As it relates to flooring, this applies primarily to concrete slabs. Newly placed concrete holds a pH of 12-13 on the inside and often 10-11 on the surface. If concrete drops below this healthy internal pH level, the rebar will begin to corrode and the concrete will lose strength and durability, exhibit spalling/cracking, and can lead to complete structural failure. However, higher levels of pH can attack adhesives and even floor covering materials. Be sure the products chosen can withstand or even block unwanted alkalinity. NOTE: pH is measured on a logarithmic scale, meaning that for every number the pH increases, it is ten times more alkaline (ex. pH of 12 is ten times more alkaline than a pH of 11).
  • Waterproof Bond = This means that once fully cured, an adhesive will achieve a bond that cannot be broken down or re-emulsified by water alone. However, this does not mean the adhesive provides any protection against moisture. Always check for moisture barrier products vs. moisture tolerant products. Water is a great carrier and can bring high alkalinity (pH) to the surface along with it, so if an adhesive that forms a waterproof bond does re-emulsify, it is typically indicative of a high pH environment.
  • Water-Resistant Bond = This is referring to an adhesive that once fully cured, will be resistant to its listed levels of water vapor. However, if exposed to higher levels of water vapor or standing water, these products can lose their tack and lead to a loss of proper bond, likely resulting in a flooring failure.
  • ASTM E1745 = This is the “Standard Specification for Plastic Water Vapor Retarders Used in Contact with Soil or Granular Fill under Concrete Slabs,” or as most in the flooring world know it, the requirement of having an intact, sub-slab moisture vapor retarder. Even though it’s considered standard practice in new construction to install sub-slab vapor retarders, older concrete slabs may not have one, especially for 20+ years. Even if an older slab has one, it is likely not intact due to disintegration and time, making it vital to verify if one is present and in good condition. Typically, this requires drilling a core sample and can still give inconclusive results. It is essential to know that most products designed to go over concrete, including patch/level products, adhesives, coatings and primers require an intact, sub-slab vapor retarder be present in order for their warranty to be valid.
  • Hydrostatic Pressure = According to, this is defined as “the pressure exerted by a fluid at equilibrium at a given point within the fluid, due to the force of gravity. Hydrostatic pressure increases proportionately to depth measured from the surface because of the increasing weight of fluid exerting downward force from above”. Despite how scary hydrostatic pressure sounds (and can be), it is actually a very rare problem, although many moisture issues are mistakenly given this label. Essentially, it is pressure in the capillaries and pores of the concrete, being driven through the concrete slab by some external force. The most common culprits leading to hydrostatic pressure are improper drainage or a high-water table. Often, leaky, or broken water pipes are lumped into hydrostatic pressure, however, they are technically considered hydraulic pressure but result in similar issues.
  • Moisture Barrier vs Moisture Tolerant Adhesives = This is one of the most widely misunderstood concepts regarding flooring adhesives today. When adhesive manufacturers assign RH, pH, and MVER data points (numbers) to their products, the adhesive can withstand or “tolerate” those levels. However, just because an adhesive can tolerate high moisture (ex. 99% RH, 12 lbs MVER, 12 pH) does not mean the adhesive will offer any moisture protection for the floor covering material being installed. If you are looking for a product that can withstand and block moisture, you need to look for moisture barrier adhesives.

Find out more …

Moisture leads to more flooring-related claims every year than any other source. Check out “The Billion Dollar Question” (TAYLOR TIME LIVE – S1 E1) for straight talk from the experts. And for more information and great advice on a range of adhesives issues, visit or our YouTube channel.

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Steps to a Greener Future

TAYLOR is an avid supporter of promoting sustainable products and manufacturing processes and has led the flooring adhesives industry with a long list of sustainability firsts:

  • Green Label® Plus
  • Greenguard®
  • FloorScore®
  • Cradle to Cradle®
  • Mindful Materials listing

So, it came as no surprise when we invited a leader in sustainability to join host Seth Gladden on the April 2023 TAYLOR TIME LIVE episode to teach viewers on the importance of a green knowledge base when it comes to selling flooring adhesives such as Taylor’s Signature Line® or Essentials Line.

Our expert guest was Kimberly A. Lombardozzi, Sustainability Manager, with W.R. Meadows, Inc. On TAYLOR TIME LIVE, she advised retailers, contractors, and distributors on how to sell more adhesives … in other words, to have a greener future in more ways than one!

There is a growing awareness among consumers about the environmental and social impact of the products they use, and many are willing to pay a premium for products that are sustainably produced. According to a 2021 survey by Accenture, 60% of consumers globally said they will prioritize purchasing from companies that are eco-friendly or sustainable.

Consumers also look for transparency in the production process, such as ethical sourcing of materials, fair labor practices, and reduction of waste and carbon footprint. Certification programs like Fair Trade, Organic, and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) also help consumers identify sustainable products.

Overall, consumer preference for sustainable flooring products is driven by a desire to make responsible choices that have a positive impact on the environment and society, and to support companies that share these values.

According to Lombardozzi, steps to a greener future are understanding the importance of indoor air quality, being familiar with the certifications and declarations associated with sustainable flooring products, and what to look for in green flooring products.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a prominent concern regarding flooring and are in practically every manufactured thing. Kim pointed out that we spend 93% of our time indoors on average, so it’s wise to be aware of that. Surprising to most is that indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air, with the off gassing of formaldehyde and isocyanates from many products in the home among the biggest offenders. Isocyanates are the #1 contributor to work-related asthma. Greenguard, Certified Green, CRI Green Label Plus, and FloorScore are essential certifications to look for regarding VOC emissions.

Flooring sales associates should be familiar with Health Product Declarations (HPDs), which bring transparency to the ingredients in a product, and Red Listed ingredients which are chemical compounds hazardous to humans. They should also be aware of sustainability in terms of Material Health, Material Reutilization, Renewable Energy, Water Stewardship, and Social Fairness. 

“It really behooves us to use the best products in our indoor space. We only have one set of lungs,” observed Lombardozzi. “The burden on the body gets pretty high.”

Watch “Steps to a Greener Future” on the Taylor YouTube Channel:

Seth Gladden is the host of TAYLOR TIME LIVE and is Marketing Director for the Meridian Industrial Flooring Division, including Taylor Adhesives

More about Kim Lombardozzi: LEED IDC and Construction Accredited, Fitwel Ambassador, Founder: KAL Sustainability Marketing, USGBC Board Member, Health Product Declaration Advisory Group, Design for Freedom Roundtable, Mindful Materials Outreach

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Would you like fries with that?

We make the world’s best flooring adhesives at Taylor, so naturally, we and our customers would like to sell more of them. One way to do that is with the assumptive close.

The art of the assumptive close was born the day after McDonalds restaurants opened April 15, 1955. “Would you like fries with that?” was probably first asked for the first time and has been alive and well ever sense. So, it begs the question, why not use this technique with flooring adhesives, like Taylor’s Resolute®, Pinnacle®, Ironwood® or a host of others?

Seth Gladden and Shelley Ackerman of Taylor Adhesives asked and answered that on the TAYLOR TIME LIVE episode entitled “Would you like fries with that?” (March 21, 2023). Shelley coined the name of the show, because as she pointed out, “It’s called an effective, assumptive close.”

The assumptive close is a sales technique where the salesperson assumes that the prospect has already made the decision to buy, and then proceeds to close the sale by asking for the details of the purchase. It works by taking advantage of the principle of commitment and consistency, which suggests that once a person has made a decision, they are more likely to follow through with that decision in the future.

For example, let’s say a salesperson is selling a car to a potential buyer. Instead of asking the buyer if they are interested in purchasing the car, the salesperson would assume that the buyer has already decided to buy and would ask them questions like “What color would you like?” or “How would you like to finance the car?” This approach assumes that the buyer has already made the decision to purchase the car, and it can be an effective way to close a sale.

It could as easily be “Would you like any adhesives with that?” when a flooring purchase is in the making.

“It’s about changing the mentality to sell more flooring adhesives,” observed Gladden. “It should be asked every time. If you’re selling a floor that needs to be glued down, you’re going to need the glue to put it down–it’s that simple.”

“You should ask the customer ‘What adhesives are we going with on this job?’ or ‘Is this the right adhesive for this project?’ and ‘Is the space ready for this project?’” advised Ackerman.

As a sales associate, your knowledge of adhesives and your assumptive close positions you as a subject matter expert, concerned with solving problems and making trustworthy relationships.

Adhesives have different attributes that are required for installation confidence. Selling the right one with the flooring order can also result in:

  • Eliminating callbacks
  • Contributing to LEEDS
  • Adding credibility and peace of mind

Distributors also need to train their reps to ask about adhesives. Product shipped with orders of glue down flooring need to aim for a 100% attachment rate, because they go hand-in-hand with the flooring. And don’t forget trowels to spread the adhesive, etc. These are additional sales dollars many will leave on the table, simply by not asking the assumptive close.

A word of caution: It is important to note that the assumptive close should only be used when the salesperson is confident that the prospect is genuinely interested in the product and is close to making a decision. If the salesperson uses this technique too early in the sales process or with a prospect who is not ready to buy, it can come across as pushy or aggressive and can ultimately harm the sales relationship.

Watch “Would you like fries with that?” on the Taylor YouTube Channel:

Seth Gladden is the host of TAYLOR TIME LIVE and is Marketing Director for the Meridian Industrial Flooring Division, including Taylor Adhesives

Shelley Ackerman is Director of OEM Sales + Commercial Groups–Taylor Adhesives

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A New Perspective on Adhesives

Even though we make the world’s best flooring adhesives, they won’t just sell themselves. It takes building trusted relationships with customers.

During the February 2023 TAYLOR TIME LIVE, host Seth Gladden, marketing director of the Meridian Adhesive Group Industrial Flooring Division and Taylor Adhesives, interviewed Shelley Ackerman, OEM Accounts + Commercial for Taylor, about her career-long perspective on adhesives and tips for selling more products, like Taylor Aspen®, Versatile®, or Elevate®.

“It’s really important for a specifier and designer to partner with a trusted flooring contractor or distributor salesperson to educate them and teach them about adhesives.” Her advice is to make friends with your adhesive salespeople, as well. “They can tell you more than you ever wanted to know,” says Ackerman.

Here are some reasons why building relationships with flooring customers is important:

  1. Customer loyalty: When customers feel that they have a personal connection with a business, they are more likely to remain loyal and continue to do business with them.
  2. Increased customer lifetime value: Building relationships with customers can lead to increased customer lifetime value, which is the total revenue a customer will generate over the course of their relationship with a business.
  3. Positive word-of-mouth marketing: Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend a business to others, which can lead to new customers and increased revenue.
  4. Feedback and improvement: Building relationships with flooring customers can provide businesses with valuable feedback about their products or services, which can help them improve and grow.
  5. Competitive advantage: Businesses that prioritize building relationships with their flooring customers are more likely to stand out from their competitors and gain a competitive advantage.

“As a flooring salesperson, you need to know the about the compatibility. Is this adhesive recommended for sheet products? Is it plank products? Is it carpet products? And not all adhesives are created equally. There are some that can do all things. But then again, it depends on the type of product and the space that you’re using it,” observed Ackerman.

As flooring professionals, we owe it to ourselves to continue learning, she observed.

“Walk a jobsite when you go to call on a designer or specifier, so that you’re both working on the same project together.”

“Knowing your partnerships, knowing what your design intents are, knowing the type of products and installations that you’re going for, and then just partnering with the right people is key. I think the partnership becomes important for a successful installation,” said Ackerman.

Product knowledge provides a shared understanding between you and your customer. When salespeople have a deep understanding of their products, they can answer questions, address concerns, and provide valuable insights that can help customers make informed purchasing decisions.

Additionally, having strong product knowledge can help build trust and credibility with flooring customers. If a salesperson can demonstrate their expertise and knowledge, customers are more likely to view them as a trusted advisor and feel more confident in making a purchase.

Moreover, having a thorough understanding of the adhesive product allows salespeople to tailor their sales pitch to the specific needs and wants of the customer. By highlighting the product’s most relevant features and benefits, the salesperson can create a personalized and compelling pitch that resonates with the customer.

Overall, product knowledge is a critical component of sales success with flooring adhesives. It helps salespeople build trust, credibility, and rapport with customers while allowing them to effectively communicate the value of their products and services.

Watch “A New Perspective on Adhesives” on the Taylor YouTube Channel:

Seth Gladden is the host of TAYLOR TIME LIVE and is Marketing Director for the Meridian Industrial Flooring Division, including Taylor Adhesives

Shelley Ackerman is Director of OEM Sales + Commercial Groups–Taylor Adhesives

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Setting Strong Goals

“If you want to grow your business by at least 10%, you should do a better job of selling adhesives. What better goal to put out there,” said Murfin, attributing that valuable insight to Taylor’s director of Technical Services, Gary Scheidker.

“Going into 2023, people are going to have to get creative on how to sell more product and grow their business. The key to that is to sell more accessories,” observed Murfin. “We get repeated requests for information from our customers on how to increase their business, how to sell more product, and clearly the opportunity is on how to sell more accessories.”

The role of TAYLOR TIME is a reflection on the need to inspire and educate the sales channel, born out of necessity as a way of communicating to Taylor customers during the pandemic. “Every time we ask ourselves is there still value to TAYLOR TIME, the answer is ‘yes.’ It’s been a great journey. And we do add value to our customers. It’s even used as a teaching resource by them for their sales teams,” he said. Note: TAYLOR TIME LIVE episodes are archived on the TAYLOR TIME YouTube channel for viewing repeatedly and at any time.

The TAYLOR TIME communications platform created a means to stay connected during a time of travel restrictions and lockdowns. It includes TAYLOR TIME LIVE, NEWS, TIPS, PARTNER EXCLUSIVES, and BUZZ, the Blog of Taylor Adhesives. “Following the pandemic, there was a remarkable uptick in activity, then came supply chain challenges on how to keep pace with that incredible demand, then the ice storm in Texas that hit which impacted raw materials availability, and now entering 2023, we have an economy that is less than certain,” reflected Murfin. Throughout all of that, TAYLOR TIME has kept providing valuable insights from industry experts representing a variety of fields and product categories.

But achieving strong sales goals also requires an understanding of your product, which is part of the challenge in selling adhesives. “We hear from salespeople, manufacturers, flooring contractors and distributors that they don’t understand the adhesives category as well as they would like. Frankly, we tend to speak too technically about the product we sell. We are going to help the typical salesperson in the industry understand the category, and over time do a more effective job of selling it.” Continued Murfin, “Even if you are an expert installer, you may not necessarily understand all the terms. I’ve challenged our team on finding ways to simplify the category and bring more understanding for doing a more effective in the marketplace.”

The fourth year of TAYLOR TIME LIVE will do just that, by focusing on the goal of selling more adhesives. In so doing, you will grow your business and, in the process, become a more valuable partner to your customer. Watch for a new episode on the third Thursday of each month.

In addition to improved product knowledge and category sales technique, here is a framework to help you set strong goals for your business. Setting strong goals is an essential aspect of running a successful business, whether you are a flooring retailer, distributor, contractor, or OEM. Here are some steps that can help you set strong goals. TAYLOR TIME content can inform all these steps:

  1. Define your vision and mission: Before setting goals, you need to have a clear understanding of your business’s vision and mission. This will help you align your goals with the overall purpose of your business.
  2. Use the SMART framework: Use the SMART framework to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals. This will help you create goals that are realistic, achievable, and meaningful.
  3. Consider your resources: When setting goals, consider the resources you have available, such as time, money, and personnel. Set goals that are challenging but achievable based on your available resources.
  4. Get input from stakeholders: Consult with stakeholders, such as employees, customers, and investors, to ensure that your goals align with their expectations and needs.
  5. Monitor and adjust: Monitor your progress towards your goals regularly and adjust them if necessary. This will help you stay on track and make any necessary changes to ensure that you reach your goals.

Overall, setting strong goals requires careful consideration of your business’s vision and mission, using the SMART framework, considering available resources, and getting input from stakeholders. By following these steps, you can set goals that are challenging, meaningful, and achievable, and help your flooring business achieve success. Include TAYLOR TIME in your plan.

Watch “Setting Strong Goals” on the Taylor YouTube Channel: