May 6, 2015

TYTAN High Yield Subfloor Adhesive - Review

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When it comes to gluing down subfloor, I usually go with PL Premium. I've used a whole lot of the other brands out there like Lumber Lock and Liquid Nails, but I've never found anything that is as tenacious and fail safe as PL Premium. Just don't get it on your hands, oh Lord, don't get it on your hands.

But anyway, I got word that TYTAN has just come out with a High Yield Subfloor Adhesive ($18). It comes in a 29 oz can and attaches to a gun, like a spray foam set-up. According to TYTAN, one can can do the work of 12 28 oz tubes of traditional adhesive. Sounds intriguing, eh? Well, they were kind enough to send a sample so that I could try it out.

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After attaching a can to the gun nozzle and spraying out a line my first thought was, "well, this is going to take a little getting used to." I had figured that it was going to be a lot like spray foam, and it is, but it's also sorta opposite too. Spray foam comes out and immediately starts to expand while TYTAN comes out and immediately starts to dissolve. Or rather, it looks like it's dissolving. It's actually just reducing. And it happens quickly too, so my first inclination was to keep piling the stuff on, which is totally unnecessary. According to TYTAN, you only need a 3/8 to 1/2-inch bead on the joist. That said, it's easy to see that a 29 oz can of this stuff is going to far outlast 29 ounces of PL Premium.

There are a couple other items of note in the TYTAN instructions. They say that it's best to lay down the adhesive and wait three minutes before slapping on the plywood. I can pretty much say that this has about a 25% chance of actually happening on a construction site. Maybe if a couple guys get into a pattern of gluing, then cutting, then placing. But for the most part, I have a hard time imagining two dudes standing around holding a sheet of plywood with one of them checking the stopwatch on their iPhone. But I'm not sure how much it matters if the three minutes is a little truncated. I did a test with a bead immediately smooshed between two pieces of wood and once it dried, the bond was intense. Way stronger than I thought it would be and certainly strong enough for subfloor.

[Update: TYTAN just let me know that the three minute wait time doesn't affect the final bond strength or the gap filling properties of the adhesive. So you really can just bead it on a joist and immediately drop a sheet of ply. The three minute recommendation stems from the fact that it gives the TYTAN adhesive a little time to set up, so it's not so "liquidy." With the adhesive slightly stiffer, any excess is less likely to drip down the side of a joist. So it's more of an aesthetic concern than anything else.]

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"Ripley, do you know what it is?"

The second thing is that they say the nozzle should be cleaned off if the can sits for more than 10 minutes unused. I used it off an on for a two hour long project and didn't clean the gun until the end. There were definitely points when it sat for 10, 15, maybe 20 minutes at a time. What happened was that as the day went on and the gun nose got crusty, it started to partially clog and direct the bead a little off to the side. It got a little annoying and I was about to clean off the nozzle, but realized that I only needed it for a few more runs, so I held off. My point here is that the nozzle is something to watch, but it's not like all hell breaks loose at the 11 minute mark.

TYTAN also supplied me with a can of their foam cleaner ($7) and it works like a charm. It really dissolves the adhesive quickly (but only if it's uncured). I went through the entire gun cleaning process and it was very easy and effective. My experience has never been that good with spray foam clean-up, so it was nice to see this cleaner work so well.

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As for strength, the TYTAN goo is really strong. I glued a bunch of scraps together and they might as well now be a single piece of wood. The bond is total.

So what's the final verdict? Well, it's a good product and in certain situations it's going to be a winner. For me, I'd have to be looking at a decent sized project in order to reach for the TYTAN. Using a traditional tube of PL Premium is going to win out for small amounts of work and things like stair treads. Even though it's easy to do, the extra steps of cleaning the gun would keep me away. Also because TYTAN is basically a liquid, it dribbles down vertical surfaces, so it's not about to replace PL as an all-around adhesive.

But, like I said, it's a great fit for a large project. You'll save a lot of time by not having to reach for, cut open, and install 20 10-oz tubes of adhesive in a caulking gun. And by all accounts, the TYTAN bond is excellent.

At TYTAN.com

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at May 6, 2015 8:17 AM
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