Follow these tips and advice for welding vinyl versus linoleum sheet flooring for the best results.
Before welding, first take note of the differences between vinyl and linoleum sheet flooring. While vinyl sheet flooring is comprised mostly of synthetic materials, linoleum in turn is made of natural ingredients such as linseed, cork dust or wood flour, backed with jute fibre.
Here we offer brief tips and advice when welding with these materials:
First thing is to identify which type of material you are welding. To do this, break a small piece off and crumple it in your hands. If it’s brittle and breaks, it is most likely an organic material such as linoleum. Also, take a look at the back of the material; if there is a jute backing, it is most likely an organic material. However, if it simply bends when it is crumpled or has a felt, fiberglass, or no backing, it is probably vinyl or a similar product.
Not all rods are meant for both materials. Think of vinyl welding rods as strips of the same material you are installing. When welding with vinyl rods they will become one solid sheet on the floor. In turn, linoleum welding rods are similar to hot glue – when welding with linoleum welding rods the groove is being filled to seal the gap. That is why it’s extremely important to have something for the filler to grab on to, such as the juke backing. To tell the two rods apart, pull on opposite ends of the rod you wish to identify. If it breaks easily it is likely a marmoweld rod (pictured below), and if it’s difficult to break it is a vinyl welding rod.
When grooving vinyl it should be remembered that you want to weld two-thirds in depth and not the whole way through. The welding rod will weld into the groove and fuse with its surroundings. It is recommended to use Master Turbo Groover when grooving. This enables you to groove the perfect depth and get the ideal groove for the rod to fuse effectively. Linoleum is a very unforgiving material when it comes to grooving. Since the filler doesn’t fuse with the material it needs to hold onto something such as the jute backing that serves as a net for the filler to wrap around to secure itself in position. The way you groove is the trick here. Grooving by hand is possible, however you will end up going over the same section 3-4 times just to break through and go deep enough. Once you do go deep enough, you have to ensure that you are not too far above the juke backing so you can access it. At the same time you have to ensure you are not too deep past the jute backing so that you break through it, because then the filler won’t hold on to it. If you don’t weld to the jute backing the welding rod will slip right out, resulting in a repair job. Below is an image of a proper groove to the jute backing with the patented Marmo Groovers.
Another caution: Linoleum is an organic material that breaks and brittles very easily which is why aggressive hand grooving could be a problem.
Welding on vinyl can be done well if you keep the following in mind: the angle, the speed and the heat of the welding gun. When welding vinyl, simply keep feeding the rod through the welding nozzle and it will fuse to the gap as it welds. Ensure that you are moving at the same speed and height, and that you are not burning the ground. You should see a bead or “wash” on the sides of the welding rod as you weld. This means that the rod is fusing well. Welding on vinyl also requires a nozzle appropriate for the job. If you are welding on heat-sensitive material then using a generic speed tip might scorch the flooring material around the weld. Always make sure the heat is appropriate for the type of vinyl material and that you are welding straight into the weld as you go. Linoleum is different in that you are not fusing the gap closed; you are filling it with your welding rod. When welding organic materials the most important aspect to consider is if you didn’t groove properly down the jute backing, you won’t get a good weld. You should also see the “wash” on the side of your welding rod when welding this material. Remember to weld more slowly for better results.
Skiving vinyl is simple. Just wait until the welding rod has cooled off and skive in two passes; the first with the trim plate and the second without.
Skiving linoleum can be tricky. The first pass has to be skived off when it’s warm and the second when the rod has cooled down. If you did not groove properly and are now trying to skive don’t be surprised if the welding rod comes out. This is because the rod had nothing to hold onto when it was welded. This will mean that you have to go back and re-weld that spot.
Source: Article taken in part from http://turboheatweldingtools.com