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Evaluating Flooring Options for Industrial & Commercial Facilities

Flooring options that can withstand heavy traffic

Beautiful Florotallic Flooring in “Brown Earth” awaiting it’s slip-resistant finish coat, by BranDev Coatings of AL.

In commercial and industrial facilities, it’s imperative to select flooring that is durable and made from high-performance materials. Standing up to heavy traffic (foot or otherwise) over the long-term is essential, as replacing sub-standard floors every couple of years is usually neither desirable nor in the budget. There are, of course, a variety of options to choose from when purchasing a commercial, industrial or institutional floor, so it’s important to learn more about each to determine the best option for your facility.

Carpeting

One of the most ubiquitous types of floor coverings, carpeting in commercial settings can nevertheless be difficult to maintain and costly to both the pocketbook and the environment. Various industry surveys reveal that worn-out carpeting sends an intensely negative message to patrons. Therefore, in busy operations, it is typical for facility managers to schedule the replacement of carpeting every two to three years. This short usable life can result in higher costs associated with installation downtime, plus the hauling and disposal fees involved in sending the old rugs to the landfill.

Carpeting can also be a high maintenance option in commercial locations. The cordoning off for regular shampooing and extended dry times is inconvenient and frustrating to both employees and customers. Spot cleaning is not only time-consuming, but also not guaranteed to be effective. Odors, stains and traffic patterns can become ingrained in the fabric of the carpet and remain stubborn or nearly impossible to remove. Additionally, carpeting does not meet the pathogen control requirements of many facilities, while the material’s releasing (“outgassing”) of formaldehyde or other toxins can compromise Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) standards for months after installation.

Quarry and Ceramic Tile Flooring

At first glance, quarry tile or ceramic tile can seem like a good idea for commercial or industrial settings. After all, tile provides a safe and easily cleanable surface, doesn’t it? “Not so fast,” say the experts. Grout lines in tiled floors can be extremely difficult to clean and sanitize. Some types of grout are porous and can absorb and hold moisture, harboring mold and other microbes. Other varieties of grout can shrink over time or when exposed to certain temperatures, creating dark gaps where pathogens like to hide.
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Tile flooring can also be very slippery when wet, presenting a significant risk of trip-and-fall events in commercial, industrial and institutional settings. Decision-makers in highly frequented operations would do well to explore other flooring options.

Vinyl Sheet and Tile Flooring

Vinyl flooring is a popular choice and can run the gamut in quality and pricing, from Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT) to high end Luxury Vinyl (LV). While an attractive option for a variety of settings, vinyl floors often lack the ability to perform over time in the high wear-and-tear environments of commercial, industrial and institutional locations. For example, in certain settings, gouges, punctures and cracks can develop in the vinyl floor surface rather quickly.

From a sanitation standpoint, vinyl floors present concerns similar to those of ceramic and quarry tile. Like these other tile varieties, gaps between vinyl tiles allow moisture and pathogens to enter and gather underneath. This can break down the water-based adhesive that holds the floor in place. In heat-sealed luxury vinyl sheet floors, a similar situation gets created when the seals begin to crack over time and water begins to seep in. During replacement of such flooring, extensive mold stains can often be seen on the underside of the vinyl tile or sheeting when it’s removed from the slab surface.

And, just like most carpeting, vinyl flooring typically outgasses undesirable chemicals into the indoor environment for an extended period of time after installation. These characteristics can make vinyl flooring a less than ideal choice for many commercial and institutional facilities.

Epoxy and Other Fluid-Applied Flooring

Fluid-applied flooring comprised of epoxy and/or other polymer resins offer some of the best solutions for many institutional, commercial and industrial facilities. For areas subjected to ongoing foot and equipment traffic, impact, heavy loads and the like, seamless, industrial-grade epoxy and other resinous floors offer outstanding safety, hygiene and aesthetics. Unlike many other flooring options, these floors are impervious, virtually seamless and completely bonded to the concrete slab, so there’s little chance for moisture and mold intrusion. With options like integral cove bases, antibacterial additive and customizable slip-resistance, these floors offer unparalleled protection.

Simple and inexpensive to clean and maintain, today’s resinous floors are easy on the eyes and the facility budget, offering some of the longest usable lives of any floor covering available. Epoxy flooring and other resinous concrete coating systems can be used in a wide variety of applications, including:

In addition to their versatile use, epoxy and other resinous floors are available in a nearly unlimited array of colors and blends, so it’s easy to customize per your facility’s existing décor. Incredibly resistant to harsh chemicals and abrasion, these high performance surfaces are completely inert after full cure, with no outgassing.

Better indoor air quality, beautiful long-lasting traffic surfaces that perform over time, plus inexpensive and easy maintenance all add up to commercial and industrial epoxy and resinous flooring demonstrating some of the best overall value on the market – with among the lowest lifecycle costs.

To learn more about the types of industrial and commercial flooring available, particularly epoxy and other resinous floor coatings, contact Florock today.