Epoxy flooring combines superior performance characteristics with decorative design, creating a beautifully durable finish. When putting together epoxy floor coating specifications, however, there are many factors to consider. A professional concrete flooring installer can help in deciding which systems will best work for a particular facility by considering the following:
To what chemicals, solvents, acids or caustics will the floor be exposed – and in what concentrations? Is the environment one of occasional “splash and spill” or are the floors completely immersed in corrosive liquids on a daily basis?
Based on chemical exposure, a special epoxy topcoat or other high performance finish coat may be specified to protect against harsh substances that would otherwise damage the floor and concrete slab.
For example, many floors in medical or food processing facilities may require coatings that protect against chemicals, like dropped acidic, greasy or salty liquids, vegetable oils or medical solutions, which can eat away at the floor surface.
Depending upon facility temperatures, the epoxy coating may need to have higher heat resistance or be capable of installation in cooler temps. The floor system might even need to withstand temperature extremes. For example, if flooring experiences rapid temperature shifts, as found in cold storage warehouses that get cleaned with hot water, it may need a thermal shock-resistant floor coating to resist the stresses.
Today’s epoxy top coating materials are nearly all solvent-free, containing zero V.O.C. Many are considered to be low odor during installation, while others can be more noticeable. Because even slight odor can affect sensitive individuals, concrete flooring experts recommend removing personnel from the immediate installation area during floor installation. Once cured, resinous flooring is inert, with absolutely no emissions.
Epoxy and other polymer flooring products need not contain formaldehyde, such as is typically found in commercial carpeting and vinyl floor coverings. Florock Polymer Flooring, for example, is formaldehyde-free. Products made from renewable soy-based resins, as well as recycled-content aggregate blends, are also part of the line.
Thanks in part to these features, as well as their long-lived durability and use in repairing existing structures, epoxy floor coatings and other resinous flooring can contribute to USGBC LEED points and other sustainable building programs.
These environmental concerns are useful to consider, when creating a flooring specification.
Selection of a floor’s epoxy coating also depends on the type and frequency of traffic the flooring system will receive. When writing a facility floor specification, know whether foot, rubber wheeled or steel wheeled traffic is the norm. What types of carts, vehicles or loads will travel through the space and how often? Special high wear finishes are available for steel wheels; heavy duty flooring is needed when high point loads are involved. Consider, too, the types of shoes worn. Spiked athletic shoes require different floor surfaces than do rubber soled work boots.
When creating facility floor specifications, it’s useful to consider slip-resistance needs together with typical cleaning regimes, as these two factors often go hand-in-hand. For example, greasy areas like restaurant kitchen fry lanes may require a heavy-duty non-slip finish. Since these floors are often power washed, there is little concern for string or sponge mops getting “hung up” on the more aggressive slip-resistant profile. On the other hand, a research facility clean room requires a completely smooth floor or one with exceedingly mild slip-resistance. The finish helps keep dust and impurities at bay, and supports strict clean room sanitation protocols.
While commercial and industrial floors do need to be highly functional, sometimes the aesthetics are just as important. A decorative high performance epoxy floor coating can give a building an air of professionalism that will impress anyone in the room. A facility manager or floor coating expert may consider the serviceability of epoxy flooring before its looks, but both can be deciding factors when specifying facility flooring.
Need more information about compiling facility epoxy floor coating specifications? Local and regional Florock professionals are available to help.