Fabricators and installers have access to online forums, blogs, social media pages and industry groups for questions about adhesives. However, a single question may get dozens of different answers and dozens of incorrect answers. These “sponsor driven” outlets are driven by sales, self promotion and are opinion based. Do you want opinions or facts? We are the experts in adhesive technology and we are well aware of what our competitors are offering. Even if another brand is better suited for an application, we will tell you. We are here to help you, not sell you.
Please look through these F.A.Q. replies to see if your question has already been answered. If not, please contact us. If it is after hours, we will do our best to get back to you early the next day. Your reputation, and our reputation, depends on correct answers.
Q: What are the different types of adhesives manufactured at Superior Stone Products?
A: Modified Acrylics, Vinyl Esters, Polyesters, Acrylics, Epoxies, Poly-Epoxies and Coloring Pastes are all manufactured at our location in Byron Center, Michigan. Made in the USA.
Q: Many companies make adhesives, what makes yours special?
A: Superior Adhesives are the industry benchmark by which all other adhesives are measured. Our products have a competitive advantage over our competitors products in categories such as bonding strength, gel time, cure time, shelf life, clarity and polish ability. Maximizing the adhesive performance allows fabricators to complete more jobs in less time which results in more profit. Also, no other company makes glue as pure as ours. While some of our competitors are content repackaging products made by their supplier, we control our formulas from beginning to end. This makes them ideal for invisible seams and allows for perfect color matching when adding our color paste.
Q: Why do you offer 3 different polyester formulas? Isn’t all glue the same?
A: Let’s start by addressing your second question first. NO, not all glue is the same. Our lower quality competitors want you to think so but it just isn’t true. We carefully select all of our raw materials and resins. Where our competitors purchase off-the-shelf items, we control the entire manufacturing process and add each component separately. This guarantees that you are receiving a one-of-a-kind adhesive that cannot be duplicated. The reason we offer 3 different formulas is to satisfy the needs of the end user. Factors such as climate, geography, cost of living and education all play a role in what adhesives are being used. Instead of making a one-size-fits-all product, we provide you with options.
Q: Which is the best adhesive to use for laminating stone?
A: For many years, polyester adhesives were the fabricators choice for lamination’s. However, the market shifted to dense natural and engineered stone including quartz, quartzite, porcelain and sintered ultra-compact stone. As a result, polyesters struggle with these demanding applications so the industry has shifted to advanced adhesive technology such as GOLD, FUSION, V-MAX and PEARL.
Q: Can polyester adhesives be used outdoors?
A: Superior Polyesters should only be used indoors. In fact, ALL adhesives that contain Styrene should NOT be used outdoors. For UV stability in outdoor applications, we suggest using GOLD, Epoxies or Acrylics.
Q: What should I use for filling porous stones such as Travertine or Limestone?
A: Our Polyester Filled products are excellent for filling porous stones for indoor applications. These adhesives have been pre-colored and contain calcium carbonate so the adhesive cures harder and polishes to the same finish as the stone. We offer Buff, White, Black and Travertine and our coloring paste is available to help match other colors.
Q: What is your Water Clear Polyester used for?
A: Seaming and laminating. A common use of this product is bonding light colored stone. By adding a few drops of white color paste, you get a translucent effect that picks up the stone color for a perfect color match. Cure time is 2-4 hours. If you need something faster, you have options. GOLD, FUSION, V-MAX and PEARL, which are also clear/translucent, cure in less than 30 minutes and provide much stronger bonding.
Q: I heard some people discussing “thin film”. What is that?
A: The layer of adhesive between two pieces of stone is the “thin film”. All of our products cure to a very hard “thin film” which allows the cured adhesive to polish with the stone. Most of our competitor’s products are very flexible in “thin film” cure which means some never fully cure. This will cause your grinding and polishing tools to gum up which results in a poor polish that leaves a dull, visible line. In addition, the bonding strength is greater in thin film as compared to a bond joint of 1/8″-1/4″.
Q: What makes Superior Acrylic adhesives a good choice for laminating?
A: Superior Acrylics “mechanically” and “chemically” bond with the stone. This means a chemical reaction occurs between the adhesive resin and the stone creating a permanent bond. This is also true with GOLD, FUSION and our Epoxies.
Q: Can Superior Acrylic Adhesives be used outdoors?
A: Yes, Superior Acrylics are UV stable. Superior GOLD and Superior Epoxies are also ideal for these applications.
Q: Can Superior Acrylics bond strong enough to run stone through a CNC or edge polishing machine?
A: Yes. Superior Acrylics have very strong bonding strength and can withstand the pressure of CNC and edge polishing machines. GOLD, FUSION, V-MAX, PEARL and Superior Epoxies are ideal for this too.
Q: Does Superior make a product that solidifies stone that may be softer or have fine cracks and fissures?
A: Yes, Superior Acrylic Penetrating is water-thin in consistency which enables it to penetrate deep into the stone before curing. When cured, it consolidates and strengthens stone with fine cracks and fissures. Superior Acrylic Penetrating can be used for indoor and outdoor applications.
Q: What makes Superior Epoxies different than Vinyl Esters, Acrylics and Polyesters?
A: Bonding strength! Superior Epoxies “mechanically & chemically” bond with stone and are excellent for outdoor applications. Superior Epoxies can be used with structural anchoring and supporting systems. Superior Epoxies have flex and toughness that is ideal for adhering two dissimilar items together (example: Granite to Steel* or Marble to Wood).
*Always TEST prior to application when working with metal due to the number of variables
Q: How do I avoid confusion as to what ratio to mix my Superior Epoxies?
A: Superior manufactures both 1:1 and 2:1 Epoxies. Superior Epoxies are shipped in matching quantities. Our Distributors should also provide them in matching quantities. Our 1:1 Epoxy is (1) can of Part A and (1) can of Part B and mixed accordingly. Our 2:1 Epoxy is (2) cans of Part A and (1) can of Part B and mixed accordingly. The labels are clearly marked to make it even easier to mix. If you have a scale, it is recommended for accuracy.
Q: Why do you make Epoxies that have two different mixing ratios?
A: We offer both 1:1 and 2:1 in an effort to satisfy the needs of our customers. For decades, fabricators were using 2:1 ratio epoxies but there were always people wishing it could be easier so we introduced the 1:1 ratio. Whether it is 1:1 or 2:1, never add more of either Part A or Part B than instructed.
Q: I heard from a supplier that you offer a Poly-Epoxy. What is that?
A: Superior Stone Products has perfected Poly-Epoxy which is a blend of our premium polyester resin and premium vinyl ester resin. Superior Poly-Epoxy provides the strongest bonds of any glue in the Polyester family.
Q: Is Superior Poly-Epoxy mixed using a standard 2:1 ratio?
A: NO. Superior Poly-Epoxy requires the use of BPO (white paste hardener) which is the same catalyst used with all of our adhesives (excluding Epoxies). Poly-Epoxy has a 4-5 minute gel time and cures in 20-30 minutes.
Q: What is Superior GOLD? Is it a polyester, acrylic or epoxy?
A: Not an easy question to answer. GOLD is a truly unique adhesive that shares some characteristics of our acrylics. It also has an epoxy backbone which provides strength and toughness. GOLD gives you the same strength and toughness of an amine epoxy but has a curing time of a polyester/vinyl-ester (tack-free under 20 minutes at room temperature) Using standard BPO as the catalyst, GOLD is the preferred adhesive to use when you have a demanding bonding application. This includes dense stones, engineered stones, sintered stones, freeze/thaw situations or running your stone through CNC/edge polishing machines. This single adhesive can be used for seaming, mitering, laminating, rodding, repairing and more.
Q: Is Superior GOLD mixed using a standard 2:1 ratio?
A: No, Superior GOLD requires the use of BPO which is the same catalyst used with our Polyesters, Vinyl Esters and Acrylics. GOLD has a 3-5 minute gel time and cures in less than 20 minutes. Do NOT add more hardener than instructed!
Q: Where should I use Superior GOLD?
A: Almost everywhere! With its unique chemistry, GOLD can be used with quartz surface, solid surface, sintered, porcelain, natural stone, engineered stone and other ultra-compact surfaces. Best of all, it is UV stable so it can be used outdoors and indoors. With its toughness, it can withstand freeze/thaw conditions without cracking.
Q: What is different about a Vinyl Ester glue?
A: Vinyl Ester glue is one of the newer adhesive technologies to the stone industry. Vinyl Ester is appealing to fabricators due to its lack of color (whitish / translucent). This allows you to use the adhesive “as-is” to match thousands of stone colors and it also makes it easier to color when you need a specific color match.
Vinyl Ester adhesives are stronger than polyester adhesives but there are important things to know that are different than polyesters…
Hardener: Vinyl Ester adhesives are more reactive than polyesters so you need to make sure you do not use more hardener than instructed. Vinyl Esters can easily discolor and you will lose bonding strength if you use too much hardener.
Storage: Proper storage is critical! It is very important to store Vinyl Ester adhesives in a climate controlled area. Extended exposure to temperatures over 75°F (24°C) will drastically reduce the shelf life (this includes other brands too)
Q: Why do you have (2) Vinyl Ester adhesives? (PEARL and V-MAX)
A: Choices. Similar to cooking, you can use the same recipe to make a dish but, when you get the ingredients from different sources, the finished products will taste differently.
For PEARL and V-MAX, the “recipe” is very similar but we procure the resins from different sources. Where other manufacturers are using “off-the-shelf” resins, we have secured special formulations for our Vinyl Ester adhesives. Taking that one step further, we add our own “technology-twist” to each formula making them exclusive to our company.
PEARL – We use high quality resin for our PEARL formulations
V-MAX – We use premium, high quality resin for our V-MAX formulations
Although this results in two product lines with different price points, it was important for us to continue offering fabricators choices.
Q: What is Superior FUSION?
A: The easy answer is we combined GOLD and V-MAX. In reality, we blended the technology we use for GOLD with the technology we use with V-MAX. FUSION can be used with quartz surface, solid surface, sintered, porcelain, natural stone, engineered stone and other ultra-compact surfaces. With its toughness, it can handle the most demanding applications.
Q: What is Superior FUSION 250?
A: We packaged our FUSION in 250ml tubes. These tubes include the adhesive, hardener and a mixing tip so all you need to do is point-and-shoot. Our color selection covers over 80% of all natural and engineered stone colors. FUSION 250 can be used with quartz surface, solid surface, sintered, porcelain, natural stone, engineered stone and other ultra-compact surfaces. With its toughness, it can handle the most demanding applications.
WHAT MOST MANUFACTURERS DO NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW. Although tube adhesives may seem like the perfect solution, it is important to know they are far from perfect. There is a lot of waste with purging product and using new tips. However, the most important thing manufacturers do not want you to know is…..
It takes (65) tubes to equal the same amount of glue in a 5-gallon pail.
Average Retail Price of a 250ml tube (any brand) = $27.00 x 65 = $1,755.00
Average Retail Price of a 5-Gallon pail (any brand) = $280.00
Total “Bulk” Savings = $1,475.00
That is OVER 400% savings buying “bulk” over “tubes”. And, …it adds up quickly!
2-Pail Savings – $2,950.00 (vs. 130 tubes)
3-Pail Savings – $4,425.00 (vs. 195 tubes)
4-Pail Savings – $5,900.00 (vs. 260 tubes)
5-Pail Savings – $7,375.00 (vs. 325 tubes)
6-Pail Savings – $8,850.00 (vs. 390 tubes)
7-Pail Savings – $10,325.00 (vs. 455 tubes)
How many tubes do you purchase monthly/annually?
Q: What is Superior V-MAX?
A: V-MAX is a premium, 100% Vinyl Ester adhesive. V-MAX can be used with quartz surface, solid surface, sintered, porcelain, natural stone, engineered stone and other ultra-compact surfaces. With its toughness, it can handle the most demanding applications.
Q: What is Superior PEARL?
A: PEARL is a high quality, 100% Vinyl Ester adhesive. PEARL can be used with quartz surface, solid surface, sintered, porcelain, natural stone, engineered stone and other ultra-compact surfaces. With its toughness, it can handle the most demanding applications.
Q: What does it mean that 3 of your adhesives are "Neolith Approved"?
A: Superior GOLD, Superior FUSION and Superior V-MAX are all Neolith Approved. Neolith is the leading, premium, man-made surface material referred to as “sintered” (similar to porcelain). This material is very dense and requires adhesives with exceptional bonding characteristics. Through extensive testing, these (3) adhesives were approved by Neolith when bonding their material.
Certification is pending with other sintered material manufacturers but the choice is clear.
Q: Which of your products are UV stable?
A: Superior GOLD, Superior Epoxies and Superior Acrylics. However…there is a difference between “UV stable”, “UV resistant” and “UV colorfast”.
Stone adhesives are not 100% UV colorfast but NOTHING is 100% UV colorfast. Even stone slabs can change color over extended periods of time being exposed to sunlight and damaging UV rays. The keys to creating the best seams for outdoor applications is as follows…
- If you are using Superior Coloring Paste, it will impart some additional UV stability masking modest changes in color due to UV exposure
- Creating very tight seams also helps keep seams invisible or only slightly noticeable
- Geography and weather conditions affect UV exposure. South facing applications in the Arizona desert allows for more UV exposure than North facing applications in Minnesota. Southern exposure to seams should be minimized for maximum performance and reduced discoloration
Q: Can your adhesives be used in extreme heat or extreme cold conditions?
A: Yes and No. Sorry, the answer isn’t as easy as “yes” or “no” so please allow us to explain.
- Proper storage is critical! ALWAYS store your adhesive in a climate controlled room
- Thermal cycling (cold nights/hot days) negatively affects adhesive performance and reduces shelf life
- Extreme Heat: Keep the adhesive cooled/refrigerated prior to using. Try to cool the stone prior to applying adhesive. Create a shade canopy if possible.
- Extreme Cold: Keep the adhesive warm prior to using. Try to warm the stone prior to applying adhesive.
- 1:1 and 2:1 epoxies require a minimum of 55°-60°F (10°-13°C) for the reaction to occur.
- When adding hardener, use the low end of the recommended amount in heat and the high end of the recommended amount in cold. DO NOT exceed the recommended amount of hardener in cold temps.
- Know your working time. Different adhesives have different gel times. If you are unfamiliar with the gel time, practice with a timer. This is critical as the two pieces of stone must be pulled/clamped together BEFORE the adhesive starts to gel. This is very important when temperatures are above 70°F (21°C)
- Extreme temperatures will cause the bond joint to expand and contract so you need an adhesive that can flex with that movement. We recommend Superior GOLD, Superior Epoxy, Superior FUSION, Superior V-MAX and Superior PEARL for these conditions.
Q: What is BPO and how is it used?
A: BPO (Benzoyl Peroxide), also known as White Hardening Paste, is the catalyst added to most adhesives to activate the adhesive. Normal usage is 1% – 4% by volume depending on the formula. NEVER use more or less BPO than instructed. Rule of thumb: A pea size application of BPO to a golf ball size amount of adhesive.
There is another type of catalyst MEKP (Methyl Ethyl Ketone Peroxide), also known as Clear Liquid Hardener, which is used with our Polyester Water Clear Flowing and Knife Grade.
Q: Sometimes I need extra hardener. Can I purchase hardener only?
A: Yes. Superior Stone Products includes the correct amount of hardener with each shipment of adhesives to our distributors. Therefore, they should include the correct amount of hardener when you purchase your adhesive. We STRONGLY urge you to adhere to the ratios listed on the containers when adding hardener as too much hardener will cause the adhesive to burn and become brittle which can cause bonding failures. Our adhesives are very reactive and do not require extra hardener even in cold temperatures. Our hardener is available in 1 oz. and 4 oz. tubes. Our Polyester Water Clear adhesives use a different catalyst called MEKP (clear liquid hardener) which is available in 1/2 oz. tubes.
Q: Does Superior offer coloring paste to tint your adhesives?
A: Yes, Superior Stone Products manufactures coloring paste utilizing our resin technology to stabilize the shelf life and allows it to blend better with our adhesives. We offer (1oz. tubes) (2oz. bottles) (8oz. bottles) in the following (10) colors: Black, White, Red, Red-Brown, Green, Blue, Brown, Ochre, Buff and Gray.
***Note: always add color paste before adding the hardener***
Q: What is the average shelf life of Superior Adhesives?
A: We warranty the shelf life for 1 year from the date of manufacture. The shelf life is dependent on storage in a controlled climate. Extreme heat or cold will have a negative effect on the quality, performance and shelf life of our adhesives.
Q: Why don't you put the E-Z Flow Lids on all of your "flowing" adhesives?
A: Great question, For our gallon size “Flowing” adhesives, we include E-Z Flow Lids on all cans. For our 1.25-gallon cans inside THE BIG BOX, those have a standard lid.
Due to the advanced engineering, there is a significant cost associated with the E-Z Flow Lids. Applying them to all 4 cans inside THE BIG BOX would add additional cost and we don’t want to do that. As the E-Z Flow Lids are reusable, those that want them can purchase them separately and apply them as needed.
If you have problems with messy glue from pouring out of a round can, the E-Z Flow Lids are a great solution. The best part is you only need to buy the number of lids you need which saves you money in the long run.
Q: ICE, FIRE, LIGHTNING. What are these all about?
A: Many years ago, quarries started treating the polished surfaces of stone with various types of resins to show off the characteristics of the stone. Unfortunately, after the slab is cut into smaller pieces, the cut edges do not have that same resin treatment. Even with proper polishing, it is very difficult to get the untreated edges to match the treated surface. This is where we come in.
ICE, FIRE & LIGHTNING enhance the natural color and characteristics of these untreated edges allowing the edges to match the surface.
Unlike some “agers” or “transformers”, ICE, FIRE and LIGHTNING provide permanent enhancement without wearing off.
3 unique products for maximum performance…..ICE – For natural stone…..FIRE – For exotic stone…..LIGHTNING – For engineered stone