Epoxy Flooring

A brief definition of epoxy flooring

is a popular flooring option that is commonly used for commercial spaces, such as warehouses, commercial kitchens, and retail stores. Commercial has many attributes that make it appealing to business owners, such as its ability to be easily cleaned and maintained, and due to the fact that epoxy is durable, abrasion-resistant, and slip-resistant.

These attributes place this type of flooring in high demand, but before you install it in your commercial facility you might want to know more about concrete epoxy flooring, and what it is actually made of.

What Is Epoxy Resin Made Of?

Epoxy is a polymer that possesses a unique set of resistance and mechanical properties, making it especially suitable for commercial facilities.

An epoxy resin floor is made up of a combination of a resin and a chemical hardener, which are mixed together prior to installation. This mixture begins as a liquid and eventually turns into a solid after it fully cures.

Within the flooring industry, epoxy is one of the best adhesives on the market for industrial usage. Most of the adhesive epoxy mixtures also include modifiers that can increase toughness and flexibility, and many provide high levels of chemical and environmental resistance, making them highly sought-after for commercial kitchens and warehouses.

Depending on the type of urethane cement flooring you are installing, and the location, it may be necessary to include other ingredients into the epoxy mixture, such as decorative flake, silica mesh, or aluminum oxide. Discuss your options with your resinous flooring expert, as they will determine the best epoxy mixture for your space.

How Is The Epoxy Applied?

Once properly mixed, the epoxy compound is then poured onto a concrete substrate, in liquid form, and it is moved around the floor by using a squeegee or paint roller to smooth

out the surface.

The surface is complete when all cracks and crevices are filled or covered by the epoxy resin. Most epoxies are self-leveling, so this process does not take long to achieve.

In order for the installation to be successful, and depending on how thick the floor needs to be, a resinous flooring expert may apply several coats of epoxy to the substrate. Your resinous flooring specialist will determine the proper thickness of your epoxy floor based on a variety of factors, such as the amount of anticipated foot traffic and machinery that will be used within the space.

How Quickly Does Epoxy Cure?

After the epoxy compound has been designed, mixed, and poured, it quickly turns from a liquid to a solid. This process may take a few days, depending on how many coats have been applied.

While it may take several days for the epoxy to fully cure, the process begins rather quickly. The thickness of the epoxy plays a major role in how fast it cures, and heat can be used to increase cure speed when needed.

Why Is Epoxy Used On Commercial Floors?

Epoxy is commonly used on commercial floors because of its easy application process, quick cure time, and durability.

An epoxy flooring contractor, such as High Performance Systems, recommend that epoxy flooring be installed inside warehouses, commercial kitchens, industrial spaces, and retail facilities. This is due to the fact that can be tailored to fit each individual space, and can be made abrasion and slip-resistant on request.

Epoxy floors can also be personalized to fit your specific commercial needs, and custom colors, flakes, and logos can be added to increase brand awareness within your space.

For best results, It is important that a commercial epoxy flooring contractor install your epoxy floor. This will lead to the longest lifespan possible for your floor, and ensure that your facility has safe and effective flooring for years to come.

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Exploring various types of epoxy coatings

When designing a commercial facility, people often decide to customize or brighten up their space by installing decorative .

Decorative floors are very popular in retail stores, hotels, universities, and facilities that desire custom logos or colors to extend their brand image.

There are many varieties when it comes to decorative epoxy, such as a metallic epoxy floor option, epoxy flake flooring, and quartz epoxy flooring, and each comes with its own unique benefits. This blog will help you to determine which flooring style would best suit your commercial needs.

Bright Colors And Custom Flake

The decorative epoxy flake flooring option is the most popular, as it offers business owners the opportunity to draw customers into their facilities and make a statement with their flooring system.

Brightly colored floors are the perfect addition to retail spaces because they provide a unique design element that can complete the aesthetic of the store. Addition

ally, decorative can be made slip-resistant and abrasion-resistant, which helps to keep customers and employees safe and protect against slip-and-fall accidents.

Custom flake floors are also popular for the same reasons. When commercial spaces require custom colors and flakes, their needs can be met with this type of flooring system.

A decorative epoxy resin flooring expert can use color swatches from your brand’s logo in order to get an exact match for the epoxy dye and flake color.

Having a flooring system that exactly matches your brand’s colors helps to create a streamlined look throughout your space and it becomes an extension of your brand image.

Metallic Epoxy

Metallic epoxy is a very popular option for clients who are looking for their commercial floor to make a statement. Oftentimes, upscale restaurants and retail spaces will install a metallic epoxy floor in order to make their facility appear more appealing to customers. This is an easy way to make your establishment feel more high-end, while saving money on the affordable amount that most decorative epoxy flooring cost.

Despite its name, this type of epoxy flooring does not contain any metal components at all. Instead, the metallic look is achieved by using a pearlescent, light-reflective aggregate blend that is coated with pigments to produce an iridescent effect.

Custom Logos

Epoxy floors that feature custom logos are very prevalent inside facilities that are well known or which are looking to create a brand that is easily recognizable.

For example, Universities that are known for their football teams might want to display the team’s logo inside the gymnasium or inside a locker room.

In cases such as these, the customized logo, which is applied as a base sticker insert with a clear topcoat overlay, can be specifically matched in terms of color and font. Epoxy floor flakes can also be personalized to match the university team’s colors.

If you desire a custom logo on your new epoxy flooring system, discuss it with your resinous flooring expert, as they will be able to provide you with the perfect logo and custom flooring for your facility.

Color Matching

Color Matching is a different process than the ones mentioned above, as this process aims to exactly match the existing floor color.

This type of decorative flooring option would be used in cases where clients are happy with their overall flooring, but there are some areas that need to be patched or fixed.

The color matching technique would be used to duplicate the color of the existing floor so that these areas could be seamlessly fixed.

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epoxy flooring can help with workspace

There are many benefits to installing a commercial in your workspace. This flooring system is dynamic, and it works well in a variety of spaces.

Additionally, are easy to install and they don’t require a lot of downtime, which has caused them to become very popular over the past few years.

If you’re deciding whether or not to install an flooring system in your commercial space, here are the top five reasons why it’s a good idea.

  1. Seamless Floors Are Easy To Clean and Maintain

Concrete epoxy flooring is one of the easiest flooring systems to clean, as they are seamless and do not have cracks and crevices that other floors may have.

This makes epoxy floors ideal for restaurants or food and beverage processing facilities, where bacteria may oftentimes be found on hard surfaces or in hard to reach places.

Bacteria such as Listeria can not thrive on epoxy floors, therefore making it more sanitary than other options such as tile or laminate. Spills and other messes can easily be cleaned on an epoxy floor, which keeps workers and customers safe in the long run.

  1. Epoxy Floors Are Antimicrobial, Anti-slip, and Scratch Resistant

One of the best features of an epoxy resin floor is that it can be made antimicrobial, anti-slip, and scratch-resistant.

Antimicrobial epoxy floors are perfect for food and beverage facilities, because, as mentioned above, this keeps bacteria from thriving on these surfaces. While epoxy flooring

isn’t inherently antimicrobial, you can request your epoxy flooring contractor to install a floor with an antimicrobial additive. This will give an added boost to preventing the growth and spread of harmful bacteria.

Anti-slip and scratch-resistant epoxy floors are beneficial for any commercial workspace, especially those with high amounts of foot traffic. Your epoxy flooring contractor can add silica or mesh into the flooring that will create an anti-slip texture.

Epoxy floors that are anti-slip provide an extra layer of protection against slip and fall accidents, which keeps customers and employees safe, while also protecting your facility against unwanted legal claims.

In areas that see a lot of customer traffic, the scratch-resistant properties of epoxy floors keep them looking fresh and new while ensuring your ability to keep your flooring system for a long time without worrying about wear and tear.

  1. Epoxy Floors Can Be Customized With Logos And Colors

In terms of branding, epoxy floors are the best of the best. Urethane cement flooring offers a wide range of colors and styles, which can be easily matched to your logo colors.

When working with a resinous flooring expert, they will be able to design a logo that can

be installed on your epoxy floor. This logo can be placed almost anywhere, as it is applied as a base sticker insert with a clear topcoat overlay.

This type of flooring option is popular with sports teams and companies who are well known for their logos, colors, or fonts. For example, Rutgers University recently had an epoxy floor installed in their locker room, complete with custom colored epoxy, flakes, and a personalized logo.

Custom logos and colors create a unique space and make your brand a prominent feature inside your workspace.

  1. Environmentally Friendly

Due to the way in which epoxy floors are installed and removed, they are significantly more environmentally friendly than plank, vinyl, and other flooring options.

These other floors would typically need to be removed and placed in a landfill once they have exceeded their lifespan, or once the floors have become damaged in any major way.

However, epoxy floors do not need to be removed, as they weld to the existing concrete slab that is already in place. This eliminates the need for products to be placed in landfills

and is better for the environment.

Some epoxy flooring products are also LEED-certified, and it is important to discuss LEED certification properties with your resinous flooring company prior to installation, especially if environmentally friendly products are important to you.

  1. Long Lasting

Epoxy floors are one of the longest-lasting flooring options because they are durable and made to withstand heavy machinery and a lot of foot traffic.

Additionally, if cracks and crevices arise, epoxy is simple to fix, and a resinous flooring expert can simply seal the cracks and have it looking like new in no time.

The durability of epoxy flooring systems is one of its most important qualities because commercial facilities rely on floors that can withstand a lot of stress.

If you’re interested in a dynamic flooring system that will provide long-lasting support, while also providing an aesthetically appealing design, then we highly recommend calling a resinous flooring expert and installing an epoxy floor today.

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Why your flooring system might fail

One of the most common concerns of customers who are looking to have a floor installed in their facility is whether or not it will fail once the commercial flooring project is completed.

Flooring failure is quite common in the commercial epoxy resin industry, since heavy wear and tear can cause flooring systems to break down faster than usual. However, there are steps your commercial contractor can take in order to ensure that your floor lasts for a long time and that it does not fail.

Prior to hiring a contractor, it is important to understand why floors fail, and how you can prevent that from happening in your facility. Keep reading to find out the most common reasons for flooring system failures and how to overcome them.

Poor Surface Preparation

Preparing the concrete substrate is probably the most important thing you can do in order to ensure your epoxy floor properly adheres to the surface.

Oftentimes, many DIY installers attempt to skip this step in order to save time, or they simply

clean the surface prior to installation, and think that is enough. This is a vital mistake, because cleaning a concrete epoxy floor is in no way comparable to proper surface preparation.

In order to properly prepare the surface, you must hire a resinous flooring expert to grind or shot-blast the concrete substrate prior to installing your epoxy floor.

Incorrect Installation

When it comes to installing floors, it is imperative that you hire an expert to complete the process. It may seem more economical to try to install the floor yourself, however, in the long run you will be better off with an expert.

When inexperienced people attempt to install , things can go bad quickly. Without proper substrate preparation, and without the knowledge of chemical adhesions properties, you run the risk of installing a floor that will immediately fail.

In commercial settings, this can be catastrophic, as more downtime means less revenue. If you install a floor that immediately fails, you will have to remove that floor entirely and hire a resinous flooring expert to install one properly.

Improper Maintenance

Many times, flooring systems can fail quickly due to improper maintenance and cleaning techniques. This happens a lot of times because facility managers are unaware of the

harmful effect some cleaning solutions have on their floors.

Some chemicals found in cleaning solutions can have detrimental effects on epoxy floors, concrete, and as other flooring systems. These chemicals can lessen the adhesive properties of these floors

Common culprits that can damage floors are acidic cleaners, high-PH chemicals, and soiled water. Soiled water, which is oftentimes used during mopping, can penetrate the adhesive floors and can cause mold to grow underneath.

Over time, this can produce mold growth, which can rapidly cause flooring failure. It is vital to discuss proper cleaning and maintenance procedures with your resinous flooring expert prior to installation.

Moisture In The Concrete Substrate

Moisture in the concrete substrate upon which your flooring system is installed can be a huge problem.

Once again, this issue is fairly common, and unless you are properly versed in the mechanical workings of concrete it can be hard to tell if you will encounter this issue. That is why a resinous flooring installer should be contacted, in order to assess your substrate prior to installation.

Having a substrate that contains too much moisture can lead to a variety of issues, and can ultimately lead to system failure.

Normal Wear And Tear

Most of the previously mentioned reasons for system failure can be prevented by taking preparative steps. However, epoxy floors can still fail, even if you’ve taken the necessary steps to stop it.

One of the things that can cause failure, which is not preventable, is normal wear and tear.

All of these things combined can cause your epoxy floor to crack, peel, or delaminate more quickly than usual.

Unfortunately, this type of flooring failure is not preventable, however, it can be stopped before it gets to an ultimate failure.

If you notice any small bubbles forming, or any slight peeling, it is imperative that you contact a resinous flooring expert, such as High Performance Systems Corporation, immediately.

They will be able to assess the damage that has been caused and they can help to save your epoxy floor before it fails.

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Epoxy Vs Urethane; Pros and Cons Explained

One of the questions we get most often from facility managers is whether they should install an or aliphatic urethane floor coating.

Both of these floor coatings work in different ways, perform different functions, and have advantages in different areas.

Both provide protection against chemical corrosion, impact, and scratches/scuffs. They also are long-lasting and simple to maintain, while providing slip resistant qualities to increase safety.

Epoxy is More Economical

Epoxy is an ideal, economical product for resurfacing concrete surfaces. An epoxy floor coating is a two-part system that results in an extremely hard and durable surface. These flooring systems can be applied in as little as 2 MLs and up to 80 MLs thick, depending on the application, product being used, and the underlying floor surface.

Epoxy is More Durable

If your work space needs to support heavy traffic, an epoxy coating is shock resistant and helps to protect your facility’s floors both from the long-term impacts of heavy floor traffic as well as driving or even dropping heavy loads.

Epoxies come in a variety of colors and textures that can brighten up a facility and define different work areas. In fact, can increase a floor’s light reflectivity by as much as 300% which, can lower utility bills and brighten up the work space.

Epoxy is Resistant to Water & Chemicals

Additionally, epoxy is amazingly resistant to both water and chemical exposure. If your establishment uses a significant amount of liquids in day-to-day activities, this floor coating stops moisture from leaking into the floor itself, making cleanup easier and protecting the concrete beneath from damage.

Epoxy floors are often used in retail, industrial, and public facilities such as: labs, manufacturing plants, hospitals, schools, malls, and markets. With proper preparation of the underlying concrete, which usually means diamond grinding rather than shot blasting, and expert installation for proper curing and bonding, an epoxy floor is a fantastic choice for most facilities.

Certain formulations of epoxy concrete floor coatings meet LEED requirements for VOC limits, making this a “green” approach to creating a new floor.

manufacturing epoxy flooringmanufacturing
Manufacturing Epoxy Flooring
Epoxy Drawbacks

The biggest drawback to epoxy coatings is the installation time required.

The most important step in installing an epoxy floor coating is the surface preparation, and the surface of the concrete has to be thoroughly prepared before the coating can be installed.

This is because the epoxy cannot adhere properly to marginally prepared surfaces, resulting in potential floor coating failure. Additionally, while an epoxy coating is strong, it is not permanent.

Though the floor can withstand heavy impacts, cracking or chipping can occur if an object is too heavy or dropped at certain angles. Epoxies also have little to no UV protection. so if your floor is outside, or even gets sunlight from windows, an aliphatic urethane should be used.

Urethane Can Protect Against UV Light

Abrasion resistant and more color-retentive than epoxy coatings, urethane floor coatings can last longer and retain their color longer. Urethane is also available in a wide array of colors but can also be applied clear so that existing colors and textures of the floor can show through.

This type of flooring is designed to protect against ultraviolet light and abrasions. If you have an industrial facility that gets a lot of daily use, this floor coating would be a good choice for you. Urethane is not an adjustable thin film floor coating.

Urethane is rolled out at 350 – 500 sf per gallon, which translates to about 2 – 3 mils in thickness — and there is no way to adjust that. Furthermore, urethane does not bond well to concrete, so it is not an ideal coating to apply directly to an existing concrete floor.

Urethane Is An Excellent Topcoat

However, urethane is an outstanding top coat and sealer for most kinds of epoxy applied over concrete floor coatings. Urethane mortars are ideal for the food and beverage industry because it provides and seamless and smooth floor coating that is moisture and heat resistant.

Urethane Is Great for Labs or Industrial Settings

To learn more about the utility of urethane coatings in the food and beverage processing industry check out my blog post on What resin flooring options are available for the food and beverage industry?

Urethane is also great in a lab or industrial setting because it can be chemical resistant. For facilities seeking an ecological floor solution, there are VOC-compliant and odor-free urethanes for many applications.

machine shop epoxy flooringmachine shop epoxy flooring
Machine Shop Epoxy Flooring
While the surface preparation process for urethane coatings, in some instances, may not have to be as extensive as for epoxy, the process of installation can still take some time. However, what you are left with is a durable, practically indestructible, long-lasting industrial facility floor.

Urethane coats are considered “wear coats” because they cannot be applied in a thick layer so they wear down quickly and need to be replaced. Typically, you can expect a longer lifespan on an epoxy floor as it can be applied much thicker.

Use Epoxy To Build & Urethane To Seal

In general, the best approach is to use an epoxy to build up floors and then urethane to seal and protect them. With urethane as a topcoat over epoxy, the floor will outlast unsealed epoxy 3:1 and you will get excellent wear and abrasion results.

However every facility’s needs are unique, depending upon the particular use and desired outcomes. The best way to determine the right floor coating for your facility is to consult with an experienced resinous flooring expert.

Case Study – Urethane Topcoat

To see an epoxy floor installation with a urethane top coat completed in a packaging facility, check out this exceptional Case Study

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Ultimate Guide on The Right Surface Profile

How do you determine whether a surface is the proper roughness to allow the coating to soak in? To answer that question, you must have a thorough understanding of concrete surface profiles (CSP).

The surface profile is the measure of the average distance from the peaks of the surface to the valleys, as seen through a cross-sectional view of the surface of the concrete.

Surface Profile Selection

Selection of a surface profile is dependent upon the type of surface being prepared, the type of system process, and the type of service the structure will be subjected to, as well as the type of the resinous flooring system

In particular, the type of use the floor will get will also determine the degree of profile required. Having the proper profile will ensure that the surface will accept the application of polymer-based products and allow the polymer flooring to mechanically bond to the concrete.

How do you know whether you have the correct surface profile?

The ICRI Technical Guideline No. 03732 CSP numbers range from CSP 1 (nearly flat) through CSP 10 (very rough) and correspond to the method used in the preparation of the surface, for optimal bonding of your new concrete floor coating

To achieve each grade progressively, more aggressive methods and equipment are used to produce more rough and textured profiles for applying one or more layers of the sealer, coating, or polymer overlay systems.

To accurately replicate each grade, The International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) designates the CSP’s and produces a set of 10 pictorial and physical samples. These samples are used to evaluate whether the surface profile is in accordance with the project specifications.

CSP’s greatly aid in the communication of project objectives and requirements. Molded replicas profiles provide clear visual standards for purposes of specification, execution, and verification.

These benchmark profiles may be referenced in specifications, material data sheets, application guidelines, and contract documents to effectively communicate the required surface profile for your flooring system

Based on the material provider’s datasheet, a CSP can be identified that will determine the method of surface preparation needed for the project. The ICRI provides charts that relate CSP’s to materials to be applied and surface preparation method.

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Do You Think Epoxy Coating Can Be Applied To ANY Surface? Wrong!

floors have properties that have a lot of great advantages for a variety of industries, including food processing, commercial kitchens, chemical processing, and warehousing.

Their smooth and seamless flooring make them ideal for enduring heavy vehicle traffic and for cleaning that does not allow the accumulation of dirt and bacteria.

They also come in different varieties each with their own special properties and aesthetic qualities.

How Do You Know If An Epoxy System Will Work In Your Facility?

One of the first things you should consider is whether your substrate is in proper condition to allow the epoxy to adhere to it.

work best when the substrate is hard, typically 3500 psi or greater, and properly leveled concrete, but often epoxy can be used in restoration projects when that is not the case.

If the concrete is rough and uneven it will not bind to the epoxy, which causes immediate failures in the flooring system such as bubbles and pinholes. When epoxy is applied on rough and uneven concrete it takes a lot of material for the surface to become even. In the long term this will cause the epoxy to chip and come up in chunks.

Depending on your concrete placement, whether it is slab-on-grade or an elevated slab, you may also need a vapor barrier to prevent hydrostatic pressure problems (to learn more about hydrostatic pressure check out our blog post).

The age of the concrete will also be a major factor to consider as fresh or “green” concrete, less than 30 days old, will need a primer prior to installation.

No matter the age of the concrete, the flooring installation expert will want to check the moisture and strength of the concrete (to learn more about concrete testing methods check out our blog post).

What Flooring Is Not Compatible With Epoxy?

Sometimes flooring experts will try and apply epoxy onto wood floors. At first it will look great however, that will not last long. Wood is a flexible material that has a tendency to expand and contract with differences in temperature and humidity.

Epoxy cannot contract and expand with the wood so it splits and cracks very quickly. If your facility has a wood floor it is highly recommended that you either replace it with concrete or you use an elastomer as a base coat to increase the floor’s expansion coefficient.

By using an elastomer as the base coat you will create a transition between the wood and epoxy thereby, decreasing the rate of expansion the epoxy endures.

Marble works as a substrate but it is imperative that your expert understands how to prepare it. If the surface is not properly ground, to remove the polish and seal, than the epoxy will have nothing to bind to.

In addition to the mechanical bonding, a primer should be used to chemically penetrate the marble.

warehouse epoxy floorwarehouse epoxy floor
Warehouse Epoxy Floor

Terrazzo presents similar problems to marble in that surface preparation is key. The surface needs to be ground so that the surface is scratched up enough to allow the epoxy to mechanically bond.

Also, any existing sealers will want to be removed so that the epoxy bonds to the substrate instead of sitting on top of it. Terrazzo is a composite material made up of various materials such as cement, stone, and limestone so you will want to consult your flooring expert to make sure the epoxy is strong enough to bond with all of the materials.

In particular, stone is notorious for being a difficult material to bond. Any cracks or pores in the terrazzo will need to be filled and if you have an old, worn-down floor you will want to make sure your flooring expert has the attention to detail necessary to adequately prepare it.

It is not recommended to apply epoxy directly on ceramic or quarry tile, as it is very brittle, however, it can readily be applied as long as you first put down a urethane cement base coat and perform proper surface preparation.

The first thing that needs to be done is to make sure the ceramic or quarry tile is still bonded to the substrate underneath. The epoxy will only last as long as the tile is bonded to the substrate underneath so any loose or cracked tiles should be removed.

It is also important to use an adequate cement urethane product to aid in bonding and prevent the joints from coming through on the finished epoxy.

Do not forget that the epoxy topcoat will only be as level as the cement urethane topcoat is so make sure the substrate has all joints and seams filled.

decorative epoxy flooringdecorative epoxy flooring
Decorative Epoxy Flooring
Vinyl tile presents its own unique set of challenges. While old or loose tile should be removed, depending on the adhesive used it can be dangerous. Older installations may have been completed using cutback adhesive which, usually contains asbestos or crystalline silica.

If that is the case, it will need to be professionally removed, possibly using a wet removal technique. In this situation, applying epoxy over vinyl tiles rather than removing them first may be the preferred option or you may just want to install a subfloor over the tiles rather than sanding the adhesive.

This decision is best left up to a resinous flooring expert.

Vinyl asbestos tiling (VAT) can present a major health hazard due to the asbestos contained within it. To safely remove VAT tile you will need a professional who will use respirators and hazard suits to observe Department of Environmental Quality procedures.

The other option is using epoxy to encapsulate the harmful asbestos particles from being released. This is a much more cost-effective way of protecting your floor and your health.

The first step in this process is to carefully remove and properly dispose of any loose tiles. You will want to use a thickened epoxy to make sure that the floor levels out and can withstand abrasion and puncturing so the VAT cannot be damaged and release particulates.

If you are planning on installing an epoxy system over VAT it is absolutely imperative you get a resinous flooring expert.

Depending on the substrate and needs of your facility, epoxy may not be the right choice. To learn about other flooring systems check out our blogs “Urethane Flooring For Tiles” and “What resin flooring options are available for the food and beverage industry?”

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Using Poly Urethane Cement Over Tile In Commercial Kitchens

Tile is one of the most common flooring options used in commercial kitchens. This is simply because it is easily accessible and cheap.

However, seamless resinous floors are becoming more popular than tile due to their anti-microbial and stain resistance qualities, as well as their slip-resistance and durability.

Tile Flooring Issues

The problem with tile floors is that they tend to crack and become loose over time. Additionally, grout lines are almost impossible to keep clean, they are very slippery when wet, and grout lines can harbor mold, mildew, and harmful bacteria.

These and other problems can be avoided by installing a urethane cement flooring system in place of quarry tile.

The Benefits of Urethane Cement

Urethane floors are steam-cleanable, moisture tolerant, and thermal shock resistant. As this flooring system becomes more popular, people have been wondering if it is possible to install urethane flooring over tile.

The good news is that it is possible to install urethane cement over tile, if done by an experienced resinous flooring expert.

How Is Urethane Cement Applied Over Tile?

Before doing any prep work, the contractor will first evaluate the tiles and determine if some tiles are coming loose or if they are shattered.

If this is the case, the tiles will need to be removed to reach the concrete substrate, as tiles not bonded to the concrete will cause the urethane topcoat to break apart.

A fantastic case study project involving a failing quarry tile that needed to be removed can be found here: Commercial Kitchen Floor Installation & Waterproofing. Assuming the tiles are mostly still in place, your contractor will then proceed with surface preparation.

Applying The Urethane Concrete

The primary concern with applying urethane concrete on top of tile is adhesion. In order to ensure proper adhesion, it is important to treat the surface and prepare the tiles.

There are two ways to prepare the tiles; micro-etching and grinding.

To micro-etch you will need an acid-based etcher. While micro-etching can be cheaper and easier to perform, the uniformity of the etching is suspect and the acid can actually slip underneath the tiles and loosen them.

If multiple areas of the surface are not tested for porosity and texture, the coating can potentially fail in those areas. Grinding may be the more labor intensive and expensive option, but the results are much more uniform and consistent.

Removing The Tiles

If the grinder shakes some of the tiles loose, it may be a sign that you will need to completely remove them. With some hard, non-porous tiles, grinding may not be enough and an additional specialty primer is needed.

If the tiles are glossy or have a sealer, then a grinder is a necessity, as hydrophobic properties of the tile coating will prevent adhesion.

If you want to learn more about the surface preparation methods discussed, and specifically the grinding process for tile floors, check out this resinous flooring installation case study of Kenilworth Hotel Kitchen.

Challenges Grout Can Present

Beside the tile itself, grout can also present its own set of challenges. Grout is a porous material, which over time can soak up many foreign substances, such as oil and grease, that can ruin the resin adhesion.

In most commercial kitchen flooring you will want to completely remove the grout, but if it is isolated to small areas you may just want to remove individual occurrences.

Once the tile and grout are treated, a flat substrate will need to be created by either grinding the tiles flat or applying a leveling compound. Typically a leveling compound is used, as it is quicker and easier, although it can be more expensive.

Choosing The Correct Leveling Compound

Not all leveling compounds are the same. Some are heavily diluted with water and can form a very porous surface that can lead to bubbles and variations in gloss. Other levelers can expand and contract at different rates than the tiled floor, which can lead to grout lines becoming visible.

These grout lines may not appear immediately after installation, so it is imperative you have an experienced resinous flooring expert evaluate the floors.

This is especially true if you are using metallic pigments, as they typically flow and settle freely in low-viscosity resins and are excellent at finding any low spots. Even if you can’t feel the grout lines anymore you can still end up with a visible grid pattern.

Premature Failure of Urethane Cement

Premature failure of some urethane cement floor installations has prompted many who initially saw the advantages of seamless flooring to return to tile. Despite this, commercial kitchens have more to benefit from resinous flooring than any other industry.

Urethane cement floors are designed to withstand the type of high traffic, high temperature, slippery, and messy conditions that commercial kitchens present. While applying it over tile is not always possible, it can be done in most cases.

It is important to find a trusted resinous flooring expert who can properly evaluate the condition of your tiles, prior to installing a urethane cement floor. To learn more about flooring options and regulations for the food and beverage industry, check out our blogs “What resin flooring options are available for the food and beverage industry?” and “FSMA Act – What you need to know”.

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Explained: OSHA Standards For Concrete Dust

Dust created from concrete surface preparation can present an immense short and long-term health issues for workers. In response, OSHA has adopted a new rule, (29 CFR 1926.1153), which is designed to protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica, or breathable dust.

Respirable crystalline silica is particularly hazardous, as workers who inhale very small crystalline silica particles are at increased risk of developing serious silica-related diseases.

These particles can penetrate deep into workers’ respiratory systems and cause silicosis, an incurable, and sometimes fatal lung disease.

It also puts workers’ at risk of developing lung cancer, and other debilitating respiratory diseases such as obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.

Approximately 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work. OSHA estimates these standards will save the lives of more than 600 workers each year, and prevent more than 900 cases of silicosis each year.

These rules went into effect on September 23, 2017. Under this rule, resinous floor installers are required to provide training, provide respiratory protection when controls are not enough to limit exposure, provide written exposure plans, and measure exposures in some cases.

The written exposure plan identifies tasks that involve exposure and methods to protect workers, designating a competent person to implement the plan, restricting housekeeping practices to limit exposure and to offer medical exam and chest x-ray to employees once every 3 years if they are required to wear a respirator for 30 or more days per year.

Workers who find out they have illnesses, such as lung disease, can use that information to make employment or lifestyle decisions to protect their health.

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The rule includes special flexibility for the construction industry. For the most common tasks in construction, OSHA has spelled out exactly how to best protect workers. It also spells out how sealing the concrete substrate is important, typically .

If employers follow those specifications, they can be sure that they are providing their workers with the required with the required level of protection. OSHA even allows employers to not follow their guidelines, as long as their safety measures effectively reduce their workers’ exposure to silica dust.

As far as equipment regulations, like diamond grinders, the rule requires you to use shrouds on your grinders and vacuum systems that meet certain airflow and filter standards and potentially provide respirators for workers to use if vacuums are unavailable (Link to OSHA regulations for “Specified Exposure Control Methods When Working With Materials Containing Crystalline Silica”).

On the table, in the link to OSHA regulations, you will see section xii (handheld grinders for uses other than mortar removal) and section xiii (walk-behind milling machines and floor grinders).

The best way for facility managers to ensure that their resinous flooring installer is following the new OSHA regulations is to make sure you hire an expert with years of experience. To learn about making sure your floor is up to OSHA standards check out my blog post on “Importance of Dust Proofing Your Warehouse.”

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All About Grind And Seal Concrete Floors

“Grind and Seal” is the industry term for concrete which has a clear coating system installed onto a concrete floor. Grind and seal concrete systems finish your floors so their striking, natural-look can shine through. Unlike other flooring that are applied atop a subfloor, concrete is the substrate itself.

That means whether you’re starting from scratch or you’ve pulled up an old floor for a renovation, your concrete is the foundation of the room. Thus, it needs the utmost care in final sealing to ensure it can withstand wear and tear for years to come.

Preparing the Concrete

The process is simple and fast. Concrete surface is first ground with coarse grit and then with fine grit. The surface is cleaned and allowed to dry. A seal coat is then applied over the concrete.

The concrete sealant may be solvent polymer based, water based, or a reacting polymer that cures when two components are mixed together.

resin is tough and forms a clear, transparent coat or it may be modified with additives to form an opaque coat with a suitable color.

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Which Industries Can Use Grind & Seal Concrete Staining

It is a suitable floor option in a variety of industrial and commercial spaces such as warehouses, manufacturing, retail, animal care, and food service.

Grind And Seal VS Grind And Polish

Although this process is commonly referred to as “,” there is a slight difference between “grind and seal” and “grind and polish.”

Grind and polish is hardened with a densifier and refined to a much higher level to create a shine.

This densifier then reacts to the cement to harden the top layers. It’s then sealed with a polish guard sealer to avoid any water, bacteria, or stains. Grind and polish systems tend to be more expensive but slightly more durable.

Benefits Of Grind And Seal Concrete

One of the key benefits over other concrete processes is that this type of grinding works with any granite exposure. The exposure level is the amount of the concrete’s rocks and stones that are exposed.

There are three different types of exposure involved with grind and seal concrete: zero exposure, partial exposure, and full exposure.

Zero exposure takes off only the top layer for coating. This is what you might see in a warehouse or garage. Partial exposure takes off a deeper layer from the surface of the concrete, making it consistently flat and polished. Full exposure grinds away several layers so a maximum number of stones are exposed.

Grind and seal systems make the concrete resistant to high abrasion and wear and tear. You can also add a beading or grit to enhance slip resistance.

This makes the concrete non-porous, so it won’t harbor any bacteria or stain easily. Moreover, this makes the floor low maintenance and easier to care for than other types of flooring.

The seals can be matte or glossy, which can create a unique look for the room. Additionally, you can find “grind and seal” coats that have a UV-resistant finish for outdoor spaces.

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The Drawbacks of Grind and Seal

There are some drawbacks to grind and seal systems. For instance, the surface of this flooring system is very hard, so it won’t cushion or “give” at all, making it uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time.

To overcome this, you can add anti-fatigue mats to areas where employees face hours on their feet on a daily basis.

Another drawback of concrete floors is that they do not tend to retain heat very well. That means that in the winter the surface of the floor is going to feel chilled, much like ceramic tile or natural stone flooring.

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To overcome this, you can embed radiant heating cables in concrete floors to reduce heat loss.

Additionally, if concrete flooring is not properly finished and sealed, it will be very susceptible to penetration by moisture.

If liquid does manage to make its way into the pores of a concrete floor, it can sit there and lead to the growth of mold or mildew. If you have a trusted professional installing your polished concrete flooring, you shouldn’t have to worry about this.

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