Compatibility Counts by Tremco Illbruck

By Steve Wild, Business Development Manager for Windows and Facades

On every day on every construction site, a multitude of materials designed for all types of applications are being used.

Hopefully they all work as intended and are all fit for purpose. Potential problems can occur however when certain different products with conflicting properties are used in conjunction, particularly those which are chemically reactive.

In the areas of roofing and flooring, many types of membranes are used, principally for ensuring a weathertight seal and these can be liquid applied and laid next to or in actual contact with other membranes used for similar purposes, perhaps as an interface between separate elements. Typically the requirement for these materials are identified at specification stage, whether by actual product name or generically. If sourced from the same manufacturer, the properties and formulation of any separate products will therefore be known and assurances can be provided that they are all compatible or options proposed in the event that they are not.

An area of increasing concern is where products are specified and/or sourced from completely separate manufacturers and the compatibility of the different materials is not known and hasn’t been considered until one or more are about to be applied.

As a supplier of a wide range of membranes and adhesives, tremco illbruck are frequently consulted, typically at a late stage in the site programming where our products are about to be used and asked whether for example, our adhesive used for bonding an EPDM or ‘intelligent’ membrane is compatible with a 3rd party membrane already applied. In such situations, an immediate confirmation of compatibility is usually difficult to achieve as we may not have encountered the 3rd party material previously and in order to offer a qualified response, we would in all likelihood have to carry out laboratory testing.

The incidences of these potential issues has greatly increased during the last year or so and we are compiling an on-going list of testing to enable potential confirmation of compatibility.

Whilst as a responsible manufacturer, we are pleased to offer such evaluation as part of our technical service and in conjunction with site ‘tool box talks’, the need to consider the interaction between different products in such circumstances does need to be identified as soon as possible in the programming. This will avoid delays and the use of incompatible products and benefits all parties concerned.

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