Self-leveling compounds (SLC) are quick-drying and versatile flooring materials that are becoming increasingly popular due to their exceptional durability and smooth surface. They are widely used in residential and commercial applications to level concrete surfaces prior to laying carpet, vinyl, wood or tile floors. However, the performance of SLCs may be affected by various environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and substrate adhesion. To enhance the performance of self-leveling compounds, manufacturers have started adding hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC) and hydroxyethylmethylcellulose (HEMC) as thickeners.
HPMC is a water-soluble polymer that forms a stable gel when dispersed in water. It is commonly used in architectural applications due to its excellent water retention and adhesive properties. When added to self-leveling compounds, HPMC improves the flow and workability of the mixture. It also reduces the amount of water needed to achieve the desired consistency, preventing shrinkage and cracking during curing. In addition, HPMC can increase the cohesive strength of SLC, thereby improving its wear resistance.
HEMC is another water-soluble polymer widely used in the construction industry as a thickener and rheology control agent. It can improve the adhesion, cohesion and consistency of building materials, making it a popular additive in SLC. When added to SLC, HEMC increases the viscosity of the mixture, allowing it to spread more evenly and adhere better to the substrate. It also improves the self-leveling properties of the compound, reducing the possibility of surface defects such as pinholes and air bubbles. In addition, HEMC increases the overall mechanical strength of SLC, making it more durable and less prone to damage.
One of the main advantages of using HPMC and HEMC in self-leveling compounds is that they improve the workability of the mixture. This means contractors can pour and spread SLC more easily, reducing the amount of labor required for the job. Also, adding HPMC and HEMC to SLC helps to shorten the drying time of the mixture. This is because they prevent the water in the mixture from evaporating, resulting in a more even and consistent curing process.
Another benefit of using HPMC and HEMC in self-leveling compounds is that they improve the overall quality of the finished floor. When added to the mix, these polymers enhance the adhesion of the SLC to the substrate, reducing the chance of bond failure. This ensures that the floor will last longer and remain intact even in heavy traffic. Additionally, the use of HPMC and HEMC creates a smoother, leveler surface that makes it easier to lay other flooring materials on top.
In terms of cost, adding HPMC and HEMC to self-leveling compounds is relatively inexpensive. These polymers are readily available in the market and can be easily incorporated into SLC blends during production. Typically, only small amounts of HPMC and HEMC are needed to achieve the consistency and performance required for SLC, which helps keep production costs low.
Last but not least, the use of HPMC and HEMC in self-leveling compounds is an environmentally friendly solution. These polymers are biodegradable and do not contain any hazardous substances, meaning they pose no risk to human health or the environment. Their use in SLC helps promote sustainability in the construction industry, an important consideration in today’s world.
Adding HPMC and HEMC to self-leveling compounds has many advantages, making it an ideal solution for contractors and manufacturers. These polymers improve the processability of the mix, reduce drying time, improve the quality of the finished floor, keep production costs low and promote sustainability. As the construction industry continues to seek innovative solutions to improve the efficiency, quality and sustainability of its products, we are likely to see a wider use of HPMC and HEMC in SLC in the future.