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Lowering Overhead with What’s Underfoot – Informed Flooring Selection

In seeking to lower operating costs and overhead, when was the last time you looked to facility flooring for help? The fact is, depending on the type of business and facility, the right flooring can significantly help reduce expenditures and increase overall profitability.

Facility flooring renovation typically includes the cost of labor and materials per square foot/yard to remove and replace the old floor covering. Depending on local regulations, the fees to haul and dispose of the old flooring, as well as the cut-off waste that remains after laying of new floor tile, sheet or roll-goods, can significantly add to the bottom line. Yet, even as managers evaluate these costs, they may miss some important “hidden” factors in facility flooring selection that can have far-reaching budgetary implications.

Read on to discover how flooring selection can affect these aspects of your facility budget.

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Frequency of Flooring Replacement

restaurant-floorsEach commercial, industrial or institutional facility has its own set of unique flooring needs, ranging from decorative high traffic reception areas and offices to heavier duty work areas and storage spaces. For floors exposed to ongoing traffic, heavy loads or impact, extreme temperatures or temperature cycling, wet processing, oils or grease, harsh chemicals, acids or caustics, or a combination of these factors, a hit-or-miss approach to flooring selection can be a recipe for disaster. The “usual suspects” of the flooring world, that is, bare or sealed concrete, tile and grout, vinyl flooring, carpeting and a variety of other surfaces, are often poor choices for these applications.

Less-than-optimal flooring means more frequent repair and replacement. With this comes not only the obvious financial expenditure of new flooring, but also the inconvenience and expense of rearranging work flow and potential shut downs to accommodate installation.

Increasing the time between flooring replacement is an obvious benefit to any facility budget. For many challenging environments, innovative fluid-applied resinous flooring comprised of epoxy, urethane, methyl methacrylate (MMA) and polyaspartic resins does just that, providing:

  • Exceptionally high performance
  • Outstanding endurance in extreme conditions
  • Dramatically less frequent replacement
  • Significant savings in both renovation and work shut-down costs

Furthermore, should a facility opt for a different floor covering in the future, it can usually be applied directly over the resinous floor, eliminating the cost of old flooring removal and disposal.

Reducing Flooring Maintenance Costs

reduce-maintenanc-costAll commercial floors need regular sweeping/vacuuming and most benefit from occasional cleaning with a mop or soft-bristle scrubbing machine. However, compare the typical long-term maintenance requirements of various flooring types below:

  • Sealed concrete—Semi-annual or annual recoating
  • Polished and/or stained concrete—Semi-annual or annual professional re-polishing
  • Terrazzo—Regular professional buffing
  • Linoleum and other varieties of tile—Monthly chemical stripping and waxing
  • Commercial carpeting—Monthly or quarterly shampooing with 1-3 day dry times
  • Resinous fluid-applied flooring—No special maintenance

Many of these procedures demand special skills of custodial staff or alternatively, the hiring of outside services. In nearly all cases, maintenance is frequent, time-consuming, inconvenient and costly.

The exception? Resinous flooring requires no waxing, buffing, special staff or services. The savings in reduced maintenance continues to add up, year after year.

Improving Safety and Minimizing Liability

mechanic-floorsWhen it comes to employee safety and facility liability, not all flooring is created equal. Consider the ways in which flooring selection can influence the following:

  • Slip-and-Fall Events—One type of slip-resistant surface rarely suits all areas of a given room. Only resinous flooring can be installed with different levels of skid-resistance throughout a single space, helping to reduce the incidence and cost of accidents.
  • Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)—Many floors made of vinyl, carpeting and laminate materials release formaldehyde, phthalates and other toxins into the indoor environment throughout their useable life, potentially compromising IAQ. In contrast, most resinous, fluid-applied flooring has zero to very low VOC, is completely inert after full cure and, depending upon manufacturer, is formaldehyde and phthalate-free.
  • Hygiene and Sanitation—Porous floor surfaces like concrete and carpet can easily absorb not only spilled fluids, but also microbes; vinyl and laminate sheet goods often enable mold growth between the floor backing and the concrete substrate; tile floors’ porous grout lines are a haven for microbes to proliferate. Only fluid-applied resinous flooring is completed bonded to the concrete slab, has a seamless, grout-line-free design, integral cove base and extra antimicrobial options. Resinous floors lead the way in helping to keep employees and facilities healthy.
  • USDA, ADA and Other Agency Inspections—It’s hard to find one flooring type that can assist nearly every organization in passing government inspections, regardless of industry. Only resinous flooring, when properly selected and installed, can help so many facilities avoid the damage to reputation and budget that failed inspections can bring.
  • Daily and Emergency Facility Traffic—Whether to meet OSHA regulations, support first responders in an emergency or simply help facility visitors find their way, adhesive floor safety lines, markings and directional tape can degrade quickly in high traffic areas. In contrast, floor markings comprised of high performance resinous coatings are exceptionally long-lasting and low maintenance, helping to keep facility inhabitants safe, while minimizing expenditure of time and budget.

There is no shortage of health and safety hazards in the workplace and organizations’ legal and financial exposure can be formidable. Among flooring options, resinous finishes are the informed manager’s choice in helping to minimize these risks.

Other Operating Cost Reductions

In addition to the above, flooring selection can influence many other facility costs, such as:

  • Air Filtration Systems—In high traffic areas, “sealed”, polished or stained concrete can quickly wear down to bare concrete, releasing what is known as “concrete dust” into the environment. This fine particulate can stress facility HVAC systems and can compromise the health of sensitive individuals. Durable resinous-coated floors can help safeguard employee health and air filtration systems.
  • Lighting Systems—Many flooring surfaces visually “absorb” light, rendering a space dimmer than illumination measurements would warrant. Resinous flooring is the only surface that is completely customizable in terms of light reflectivity. Depending upon the facility, highly reflective floor surfaces can improve visibility and eliminate the need for additional lighting fixtures, reducing electrical costs.
  • Absenteeism and Productivity—Absenteeism can be a costly drain on an organization’s productivity, as can poor employee morale. Floor surfaces, present in every facility space, can influence employee health, safety and ability to be on the job, whereas a dark, dingy space can be a drain on workers’ mood and enthusiasm. As seen above, resinous flooring is unique in its ability to meet a variety of challenges, while contributing to facility cost reduction measures.

When the mission is lowering facility overhead, a surprising number of options can be found underfoot, in flooring selection. Among the many commercial floor covering options on the market, resinous flooring systems offer organizations some of the best lifecycle value and facility-wide operating cost benefits available.

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