We’ve been asked about the difference in heat welding vinyl and linoleum. On occasion, installers attempt to use the same tools and techniques on linoleum as they do on vinyl – it ends up as a frustrating disaster. It’s happened to the best of us.
To make your next linoleum project a success we want to give you an overview of how to properly heat weld linoleum from start to finish. With proper heat welding, your seams will look better and last longer. Most importantly, you will not burn the material or need to come back for any repairs. The first and a very important step in this process is using the right tools. For this demonstration, we’ll be using the tools below. You can swap out the Chiquita for a non-automatic welding gun but we strongly recommend using the rest of the tools on this list.
Tools used in this review:
4. Turbo Plane
As for the material, we’re going to be using Forbo Marmoleum. In the Linoleum category, Forbo has distinguished itself with their designs and patterns in their Marmoleum and Linoleum collections. It’s the type of flooring that you will encounter in the future and we thought it would work well for this demonstration.
NOTE: Before starting with instructions on the actual heat welding – we want to point out that it’s very important to use the Marmo Groovers during this type of heat welding. The Master Turbo Groover is a great, versatile tool – but if you use it on Marmoleum or Linoleum – it’s going to make your life a lot more difficult. It’s possible to get the job done without them but Turbo strongly recommends you use the Marmo Groover with this material. It’s the only way we can guarantee top-notch results.
STEP 1: The 1st Pass
Start with the first pass of your Marmo Groovers. Place the Marmo groover over the seam with the front wheel secured into the seam. As you push the groover forward you will feel the back wheel and blade snap into place for a straight groove. Push the 1st pass Marmo Groover forward with ease by placing both hands over the groover and crawling forward over the groover at all times.
Do not let the Marmo Groover get too far ahead of you to prevent losing control. As you push the groover forward the 1st pass is holding the front blade at an optimal angle to cut the seam without chipping or breaking the walls of the seam. The 1st pass of the Marmo Groover is going to groove down approximately 50% of the way into the seam to ensure that you get to the jute (mesh backing) of the linoleum.
**Heat welding linoleum is different front heat welding vinyl or PVC sheet flooring. When heat welding vinyl, you are fusing the welding rod to the walls of the groove to make it all one solid piece. When heat welding linoleum, you are in essence filling in the seam/gap between the sheets. The welding rod you are using will melt as soon as it goes through your welding tip and will need something to “hold on to.” Without something for the melted rod to attach to – the cold welding rod can easily come out of the seam when skiving. The jute backing is the best source for the welding rod to attach to. For the strongest welds possible, groove down to the jute evenly.
STEP 2: The 2nd Pass
Now take your second Marmo Groover (conveniently labeled 2nd pass) and place it into the seam. Use the same grooving technique as the 1st pass. The 2nd pass of the Marmo Groovers will take you down to the jute backing for the entire seam.
You may notice that each pass of the Marmo Groovers has a different design and blade despite their similarities in appearance. These design differences are to ensure that you get clean walls for your seam and an optimal shape in the seam for your welding rod to melt in. With a consistent jute backing and strong groove shape your welding rod will have a strong and durable hold.
STEP 3: Heat Welding
Once you have grooved the linoleum you are working with it’s time to start heat welding the seam. Since we know that we have grooved down to the jute consistently during the first 2 steps – we now have a bit more freedom when it comes to heat welding. We’ll start by using the Super Turbo Nozzle attached to a Leister Heat Welding Gun.
Attach the nozzle and align it to the seam in the beginning while it is cold. Then attach the Turbo Roller Guide to the Leister gun and you are ready to go. The Super Turbo Nozzle will help you regulate the hot air coming from the Leister gun so you have greater control. The Turbo Roller Guide is going to hold the Leister gun straight along the seam as you weld. It is also going to hold the Leister gun upright at the best angle for heat welding. Your primary job from here is to pull the heat welding gun back over the seam at a steady pace.
Start by placing the roller guide into the seam to align your heat welding gun to the floor. Then lower your heat welding gun and insert the welding rod through the Super Turbo Nozzle so that it begins welding as close as you can to the wall. Weld towards the center of the seam and about half way though cut the welding rod (if you haven’t already.) Once you reach the end of your welding rod lift the welding gun and slide the welding rod out as you lift up. Then switch the roller guide to the “rest” position.
Skive off the end with a trim plate and cut a v-ramp with your blade. Afterwards follow the same instructions and weld the seam from the opposite side. When the welding rods meet overlap them by about an inch and a half to fuse them both together.
The most common mistakes in heat welding happen over time. Heat welding is a very precise job and holding the heat welding gun steady, straight and at the exact angle over hundreds of feet is a challenge. One slip up and you can find yourself shooting 350 C. degrees of hot air at the material and be forced to come back for a repair job.
Getting tired after a long day or losing focus for a moment is nearly unavoidable. Working with the proper tools here can prevent any errors caused by fatigue. That’s why we strongly recommend using the Turbo Roller Guide and the Super Turbo Nozzle to prevent scorching the material.
Heat Welding – Automatic
**Protocol with any automatic heat welding gun is to test and adjust the speed and temperature of the machine on a small piece of material before you begin.
Heat welding with the Chiquita allows the installer to act as a manager over the job. To start, begin by placing the Chiquita over the grooved seam. Ensure that the back wheels are secured in the seam before you start. Place your spool of heat welding rod over the spool harness or cut a portion of the welding rod that suits the distance you are heat welding.
Grab the center of the Chiquita and lift the front to lock the front kickstand with your finger. Now take the end of the welding rod and place it through the Super Turbo Nozzle as you lower the Chiquita as close to the wall as possible. This may take some practice if you have never used an automatic machine. Once the Chiquita gets to approximately half of an inch – it will begin to move back automatically. For here on out – you are set. The Chiquita will control the angle, speed and precision of the welding gun automatically.
Once it gets to the center of the seam, cut the welding rod then lift the front of the Chiquita and take out the welding rod. Activate the kick stand and set the Chiquita aside.
Put the welding rod inside the Turbo Splicer and lay the Splicer flat over the welding rod. With one hand hold the Splicer down and with the other push the knob forward to create the splicing ramp.
Then start the Chiquita from the other end as you did before. When the two ends meet in the center the Chiquita will begin to ride over the welding rod. At the point where the welding rods begin to fuse hold the body of the Chiquita and remove it after about an inch of overlapping. Then lift the Chiquita, remove the welding rod from the Super Turbo Nozzle and activate the safety kickstand.
STEP 4: Skiving
Lastly, you have to skive the material. When skiving the welding rod there are two main practices to follow and we will cover both.
Quarter Moon Knife
Take your straight quarter moon knife and place it into a trim plate – push it over the seam to take off the first pass. Many recommend doing the first pass while the weld is still warm to prevent the welding rod from coming out. However you can choose to do it even if the welding rod is cold or after you have welded your entire seam – because the Marmo Groovers grooved down to the juke backing.
Next with the same straight quarter moon knife, hold the blade at an angle, at approximately 10 degrees and cut the welding rod at an angle throughout the seam. The final result should be a clean and even surface. Be careful not to lift the quarter moon knife too high off the floor because you might damage the material. Too low and you risk not getting an even finish. Angling the quarter moon knife takes practice to get the best results.
Using the Turbo Plane is simpler to operate. Once the material has cooled down (in approximately 30 minutes) begin by setting the Turbo Plane on a low cutting number and placing the Turbo Plane over the welding rod. Make your first pass over a small portion of the welding rod. Now increase the number of the Turbo Plane and continue this process until you get the desired cut you want for an even surface. At this point push the Turbo Plane through the whole seam in one pass. The Turbo Plane is cutting both the trim plate first pass and the finishing second pass at the same time. So your work time is cut in half.
We hope this guide helps you out. Transitioning from Vinyl to Linoleum/Marmoleum can be tricky if you’re unprepared. With the right tools and the right mindset – we’re confident that you’ll get the job done with no problems. As always if you have any questions, feel free to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or post on our Facebook page. Thanks for reading.
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