Epoxy Flooring

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.

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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.

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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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Warehouse Epoxy Floors

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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Epoxy Flooring

Epoxy Flooring Is not UV Resistant, How To Fix It?

Although resin is durable in other ways, unfortunately, it will break down in direct sunlight because its chemical structure becomes unstable when exposed to UV light.

Due to this, epoxy resin is better suited for indoor coatings, and should only be used in facilities such as factories, warehouses, commercial kitchen, offices, and homes.

Indoor Epoxy And UV Lights

However, being installed indoors does not protect the epoxy from all UV light, and they can still become damaged if windows are not laminated with a UV blocker.

Indoor epoxy can also become damaged by UV light from fluorescent lights and heat lamps.

Although UV exposure leads to film issues, there is not much of a risk of chalking or cracking on indoor , as they do not need to contend with rain or extreme temperature fluctuations.

Delaying The Damage Caused By UV Lights

Even though UV light can cause damage to epoxy over time, there are some formulations that can delay this damage.

One approach is using a combination of UV absorber with HLAS (Hindered Amine Light Stabilizer). This will delay the effects of the UV light, however, eventually in outdoor applications the UV stabilizers will have maxed out their ability to absorb and will no longer be effective. Nevertheless, the UV stabilizer approach is sufficient to enhance color stability of epoxy in indoor applications, especially when there is minimal lighting from windows.

How Long Do UV Stabilizers Remain Effective?

How long these UV stabilizers are effective is difficult to evaluate. Typically, they can be made to be UV resistant for a few months or even a year.

Additionally, there are UV blocking zinc nano additives available, but these additives prevent the epoxy from curing properly, which causes it to have inadequate mechanical strength.

The effectiveness of these nano additives is not proven in all formulations, and even with the additives it will still not make the epoxy as UV stable as aliphatic polyurethanes, polyaspartics, or acrylics.

Will Aliphatic Urethane Protect Epoxy From UV Damage?

One misconception a lot of resinous installers have is that a clear coat of aliphatic urethane will protect the floor from discoloring. While it is true that aliphatic urethane will not discolor, it will not protect the epoxy base coat because the UV light will actually penetrate the aliphatic topcoat.

However, colored aliphatic urethane can protect the floor from UV damage.

With all of this in mind, the best way to have a long lasting epoxy floor is to get an industrial flooring expert with substantial experience to evaluate the condition of your epoxy floor.

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EPA Regulations for Secondary Containment Systems

Chemical spills can wreak havoc on facility equipment and the environment, as well as present dangers for both worker and product safety. Secondary containment is a method which supports a primary containment system, and it safeguards against the spread of such dangers.

For reference, we have compiled a list of secondary containment systems on our Case Studies page.

By having an effective secondary containment system, you can better prevent the unauthorized release of toxic or hazardous materials into work areas and the environment.

What EPA regulations are there for secondary containment systems?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) addresses containment and secondary containment systems in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), found in Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 264.

The EPA refers to the need for containment and secondary containment in two different areas. First in Subpart I, Use and Management of Containers (40 CFR 264.175), which covers portable storage containers for hazardous waste, and the second in Subpart J, Tank Systems (40 CFR 264.193), which covers large stationary containers for hazardous waste.

EPA: Portable Containers

The EPA refers to secondary containment under 40 CFR 264.175(b), which says that a containment system must be designed and operated as follows:

A base must underlie the containers until the collected material is detected and removed.

The base must be sloped or the containment system must be otherwise designed and operated to drain and remove liquids resulting from leaks, spills or precipitation, unless the containers are elevated or are otherwise protected from contact with accumulated liquids.

The containment system must have sufficient capacity to contain 10% of the volume of containers or the volume of the largest container, whichever is greater.

Run-on into the containment system must be prevented unless the collection system has sufficient excess capacity to contain any run-on which might enter the system.

Spilled or leaked waste and accumulated precipitation must be removed from the sump or collection area in as timely a manner as is necessary to prevent overflow of the collection system.

Under 40 CFR 264.175(c), the EPA addresses storage areas that store containers holding only wastes that do not contain free liquids, and sets the following provisions for the storage areas:

The storage area must be sloped or otherwise designed and operated to drain and remove liquid resulting from precipitation.

The containers must be elevated or otherwise protected from contact with accumulated liquid.

There are certain wastes for which a storage area alone will not suffice. These waste streams are listed under 40 CFR 264.175(d) and require a containment system in addition to the storage area.

EPA: Tank Systems

The EPA specifies under 40 CFR 264.193(b) that secondary containment systems are required to prevent any migration of wastes or accumulated liquid out of the system to the soil, groundwater or surface water during the use of the tank system. Minimum requirements of how the system must be constructed are listed in 40 CFR 264.193(c) and include:

Constructed materials that are compatible with the wastes to be placed in the tank system and must have sufficient strength and thickness to prevent failure.

Placed on a foundation or base capable of providing support to the secondary containment system, resistance to pressure gradients above and below the system.

Provided with a leak-detection system that is designed and operated so that it will detect the failure of either the primary or secondary containment structure or the presence of any release of hazardous waste or accumulated liquid in the secondary containment system within 24 hours.

Sloped or otherwise designed or operated to drain and remove liquids resulting from leaks, spills or precipitation. Spilled or leaked waste and accumulated precipitation must be removed from the secondary containment system within 24 hours, or in as timely a manner as possible to prevent harm to human health and the environment.

Secondary Containment SystemSecondary Containment System
Secondary Containment System
Uniform Fire Code and International Fire Code

Facilities that store hazardous materials may also be required to meet either the Uniform Fire Code (UFC) or International Fire Code (IFC).

If you have questions regarding compliance with either the UFC or IFC standards, consult with your Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) – normally your local fire marshal. When referring to the UFC you need to clarify with the AHJ, which fire code release needs to be applied to achieve compliance.

Choosing a Containment System

When selecting a containment system for an application, many issues need to be considered. A list of issues and some things to contemplate are listed below.

Is the system chemically compatible with the products being stored?

How will the system be monitored and cleaned?

What volume and weight of the containers will be stored?

How often will the containment system be moved? How will it be moved?

How will the containers be loaded onto the system?

How many containers will be loaded on the system?

Are any of the products being stored considered flammable?

What are the state and local codes for secondary containment in your area?

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Ultimate Guide On Thermal Shock Resistant Flooring?

Thermal shock resistant flooring is most commonly found in food and beverage manufacturing plants and agricultural facilities, where refrigerated rooms are cleaned with hot water or steam. This is because, in facilities where floors are steam cleaned or exposed to rapid temperature changes, not just any industrial resinous floor coating will do.

When there is a significant temperature change between the resinous coating and the concrete substrate the material can disbond, delaminate, crack, bubble, or deteriorate.

Standard floor covering materials typically cannot withstand exposure to excessive swings in temperature, without exhibiting signs of severe damage.

With thermal shock resistant flooring, these and other harsh environments are significantly less susceptible to the damage caused by dramatic changes in temperature. Fortunately, there are several resinous flooring options to deal with thermal shock.

Thermal Shock Resistant Flooring Options

is the most common floor coating used in both commercial and industrial settings, as it typically has excellent adhesion properties and good abrasion resistance.

Flexibilized, high-temperature can be poured over a concrete subfloor to serve as a protective layer against thermal shock.

Polyurethane floor coatings are not as permanent as epoxy floor coating options, but they do provide more elasticity. Similar to facilities with an epoxy floor, polyurethane coatings are a great option to provide both thermal shock resistance and antimicrobial characteristics, which are a must in medical and food-related facilities.

Polyurethane floor coatings are also fast-setting and can have a non-skid or decorative surface.

Urethane concrete systems are a highly recommended product because they have a similar thermal expansion to concrete.

Urethane concrete is available in thicknesses ranging from 3/16” specifications, which are fully serviceable to constant temperatures of 150 degrees Fahrenheit and intermittent temperatures of 200 degrees Fahrenheit, through ⅜” specifications, which are suitable for extreme environments with constant temperatures of 220 degrees Fahrenheit and occasional spillage up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Advanced Methods of Concrete Testing

Concrete Surface Profile & Material Bonding Testing

The International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) provides a variety of concrete testing methods. Below you will find an explanation of the purpose and summary of the procedure for performing each test. Resinous flooring tests can be put into 4 basic categories: Surface Profile, Material Bonding, Moisture, and Hardness. For the purposes of this article only surface profile and material bonding are discussed. If you would like to learn more about moisture testing check out my blog post “Hydrostatic Pressure.”

Surface Profile Tests
Surface Profile—ICRI 310.2R

The surface preparation specification may include a CSP required profile, which can be compared with the CSP molded replicas available from ICRI. These replicas provide a visual comparison with the actual profile created during the surface preparation. Place CSP replicas on the prepared surface and visually compare the profile with the replicas. The profile of the surface should be in the range specified.

To learn more about this subject check out my blog post “ICRI Guidelines for CSP.”

Replica Putty—ASTM D7682 & Replica Tape—ASTM D4417

Visual observation of the surface profile may not provide a satisfactory determination of the surface profile. More qualitative/quantitative methods, including the Replica Putty and Sand Method, are available to further define the surface profile. The measurement of roughness can lead to the optimization of bonding strength.

Ensuring that the correct surface profile has been achieved can best be done with the use of replica putty. A permanent replication of the surface may be viewed and/or measured to form a permanent record of the surface preparation. To create this replication, replica putty is applied to the surface and allowed to cure. Once removed from the surface, the putty represents a reverse image of the surface. The peaks and valleys of the surface can be measured using a specially modified thickness gauge to accurately compare to CSP replicas.

The replica tape method uses a special tape containing compressible foam attached to a noncompressible uniform plastic film. A burnishing tool is used to impress the foam face of the tape into the surface to create a reverse replica of the profile that is measured using a spring-loaded micrometer. This method is designed for relatively smooth surfaces (CSP 1-and is not applicable for rougher surfaces.

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Laser Profilometry

The digital surface roughness meter (DSRM) measures the surface roughness of a prepared surface using a line laser. The DSRM is placed flush with the surface to be measured. An image of the profile is transmitted to a computer, where the image is digitized; the profiles are automatically isolated and measured for roughness. This method is rarely used on site and is more often used in laboratory conditions.

Sand Method—ASTM E965

The technical name for the sand method is the “Standard Test Method for Measuring Pavement Macrotexture Depth Using a Volumetric Technique.” This testing method measures the average surface texture by using a known volume of sand and spreading it uniformly over the surface and measuring the area covered. Using the standard formula for volume (L x W x D), the appropriate amplitude of the surface may be determined. This method will assist in determining the amount of material that is necessary to cover the surface.

The first step is to apply a known volume of sand to the surface. Carefully spread the sand in a circular motion using a large flat spreading tool, slowly increasing the diameter of the circular motion until all the sand has been spread. Measure the diameter of the circle and calculate the average depth. AD = (V sand/A area of the circle).

Petrographic Analysis—ASTM C856

While petrography can be used to detect a variety of flaws within concrete, it can also be used following surface preparation to determine if the method used to prepare the surface caused microcracking in the substrate. The test is made by extracting a sample of the concrete and observing it under a microscope. Microcracks weaken the substrate and should be removed by further surface preparation prior to installation of any materials. This test is never done on site and is exceptionally rare outside of a research setting.

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Material Bonding Tests

Tensile Bond Strength Test— ICRI 210.3 and ASTM C1583/C1583M

The tensile bond test is used to assess the adequacy of the substrate prior to or following the installation of resinous material. The advantage of evaluating the substrate, prior to installation, is that additional surface preparation may be performed if necessary without additional costs of removing applied material after the installation. Performance of the test allows a resinous flooring expert to determine whether the resinous material will properly bond to the substrate.

This test is conducted by coring the substrate, attaching a metal disc to the core, and applying a load perpendicular to the surface and measuring the force required to cause failure in PSI. Additionally, if the cored sample is done after resinous material application it can indicate whether proper surface preparation was undertaken to ensure material bonded to the substrate.

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Adhesion Test—ASTM D7234

This test method evaluates the pulloff adhesion adhesion strength of a coating on concrete. The test determines the greatest perpendicular force in tension that a surface area can bear before a plug of material is detached. Failure will occur along the weakest plane within the system.

The general pulloff adhesion test is performed by scoring through the coating down to the surface of the concrete substrate at a diameter equal to the diameter of the loading fixture and securing the loading fixture perpendicular to the surface of the coating with an adhesive. After the adhesive is cured a testing apparatus is attached to the loading fixture and aligned to apply tension to the test surface. The force applied to the loading fixture is then increased, and monitored, until a plug of material is detached. When this happens, the exposed surface represents the plane of limiting strength within the system. The nature of the failure is qualified in accordance with the percent of adhesive and cohesive failures, and the actual interfaces and layers involved. The pull off adhesion strength is computed based on the maximum indicated load and the fracture surface area.

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Knife Adhesion Test—ASTM D6677

This test method assesses adhesion of the coating to the substrate using a utility knife. It is used to establish whether the adhesion of a coating to a substrate is at a generally adequate level. Using a utility knife and straightedge, two cuts are made into the coating with a 30-45 degree angle between them and down to the substrate which, intersects to form an “X.” At this intersection, the point of the knife is used to attempt to peel the coating from the substrate or from the coating below. This is a highly subjective test and its value depends on the experience of the resinous flooring expert.

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Explained: Fill And Maintain Control and Expansion Joints

Filling joints in a concrete slab before installing a resinous floor can be complicated. There are many ways to fill a joint, and some contractors do not fill them at all, which leads to many problems and dramatically reduces the longevity of the floor.

Additionally, concrete floor slabs contain several different types of joints, which require different treatment with respect to the installation of resinous flooring.

Expansion and Control Joints

There are two main types of joints: expansion joints and control joints. The main difference between them is that control joints are essentially non-moving once the concrete has reached full cure, while expansion joints need to be able to expand and contract.

Due to this, sealants used in expansion joints should be able to move with the joint, while sealants used to seal construction and control joints are typically rigid.

Expansion joints are usually at least ½” thick and are used to separate slabs and concrete from other parts of the structure such as areas, rooms, or slabs poured at different times.

To fill expansion joints, a flexible or polyurea with high elongation is an ideal material to use because when the joints diverge, the material in the joint needs to be able to expand.

If the joints are improperly sealed, the resinous material on top of the joint can crack and disbond from the walls of the joint.

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Filling The Joints

Prior to applying a resinous coating on concrete, the joints need to be filled. However, before doing this the joints need to be sawcut and vacuumed in order to remove debris.

Next, the joints should be filled with an epoxy mortar mixture, typically consisting of epoxy primer and sil-co-sil for control joints. After that, the joints need to be primed and a chopped strand fiberglass mat should be placed on it to bridge the gap between the two floors.

The fiberglass mat is then saturated with primer and rolled out to remove air bubbles. Once all of the control joints have been treated this way, the floor is ready to be primed and coated with resinous material.

Using A Backer Rod For Material Support

When the joints converge, the material in the joints needs to be able to squeeze together, and cracking and crumbling should be avoided. It is important to note that use of backer rod can be necessary when the joints are larger than ½”.

A backer rod is a flexible, soft rod that is compacted into the base of the joint. When the joint contracts, the joint filler has two directions to squeeze, up or down.

Without a backer rod, when the joint squeezes it pushes the material upward, creating a lump in the floor where a crack will likely form. However, the use of a backer rod moves the path of least resistance downward, so the material is pushed down instead.

How To Prevent Cracking Joints

Control joints can mirror through epoxy floor toppings, causing cracks to form in the topping over the joints. Using a combination of epoxy-based joint filler and crack-bridging reinforcing fabrics can help to prevent reflective cracking.

Proper Filling Of The Joints

An illustration of this can be seen below. If done right, filling the joints of a floor can be very aesthetically pleasing and leave no areas for dirt to be trapped.

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Expansion Joint Detail

The most important thing you can do to prevent your floor from failing due to poorly filled joints is to contact a trusted expert resinous flooring expert.

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Adequate Trench Drainage and How to Get It Right

Food safety, hygiene, and cost control are all dependent on adequate drainage systems, and having floors pitched to drains is imperative to maintaining a sanitary food and beverage facility.

Oftentimes, poor drainage can lead to food contamination or the closure of a facility. At a minimum, inadequate drainage will lead to inefficiencies and a higher lifetime cost for facility maintenance.

Achieving Proper Drainage

First, an SQF specialist or resinous flooring expert should be contacted in order to figure out the floor drain layout, elevation calculations, and to handle related issues. The layout and type of drains will be dictated by the amount and properties of liquid runoff in your facility.

Standing water is an absolute breeding ground for pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms. To prevent this, the floor needs to be adequately pitched at 1-2% grade towards drains.

If the floor is under pitched, you will end up with standing water. If the floor is overpitched, you will have solids run-off. An over-pitched floor will also increase the height of the floor around the perimeter of the room.

A proper pitch to achieve is estimated at ¼ inch height per linear foot, plus an additional 2.5 inches to the perimeter height of the room for every 10 feet from the drain.

Cleaning The Drains

According to data from the USDA, nearly 40% of pathogens, including Listeria, are found in floor drains inside food and beverage processing facilities. To prevent this, food processing drainage systems require thorough cleaning every day.

Proper cleaning methods include scrubbing the surface of the drain and implementing a pre-operational ATP or other swabbing program to ensure the drains are clean prior to start-up.

Choosing The Proper Drainage System

Choosing a drainage system that can minimize your cleaning and labor costs is one of the best ways to ensure your facility will be sanitary. In most cases, stainless steel trench drains are recommended, as they can handle extreme temperatures and resist bacteria.

You will also want to make sure the drains are labeled as food grade, have built-in slopes to prevent standing water, have smoothed edges and rounded corners, and have sealed connections or full welded joints to prevent the growth of Listeria in non-accessible areas of the drain.

Proper drainage is also necessary for passing strict FDA and USDA guidelines. Listed below are the FDA and USDA guidelines for drainage systems.

FDA Guidelines

You should take steps to prevent the accumulation of standing water in or around drains, because standing water in your plant can be conducive to contamination with L. monocytogenes.

Examples of such steps include:

Designing and constructing the plant in a way that will make drains function adequately

Designing and constructing the plant in a way that will make drains adequately accessible for cleaning

Not installing trench drains in areas where RTE foods are processed or exposed and, where practical, replacing existing trench drains with enclosed plumbing to a floor drain

Designing and constructing drains so that the drains do not flow from areas where raw foods are processed or exposed to areas where RTE foods are processed or exposed

Designing and constructing drains so that restroom drains are not connected to drains serving areas where RTE foods are processed or exposed

Designing and constructing the slope of floors to drains so that floors drain freely and water does not accumulate

Not locating sewer lines above areas where RTE foods, FCSs, or food packaging materials are processed or exposed

USDA Guidelines

6-202.19 Outdoor Walking and Driving Surfaces, Graded to Drain.

Exterior walking and driving surfaces shall be graded to drain

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Urethane Cement Floor

6-201.13 Floor and Wall Junctures, Covered, and Enclosed or Sealed.

In food establishments in which cleaning methods other than water flushing are used for cleaning floors, the floor and wall junctures shall be covered and closed to no larger than 1 mm.

The floors in food establishments in which water flush cleaning methods are used shall be provided with drains and be graded to drain, and the floor and wall junctures shall be covered and sealed.


4-204.120 Equipment Compartments, Drainage.

Equipment compartments that are subject to accumulation of moisture due to conditions such as condensation, food or beverage drip, or water from melting ice shall be sloped to an outlet that allows complete draining.

4-202.12 CIP (Clean-in Place) Equipment.

CIP equipment shall meet the characteristics specified under 4-202.11 and shall be designed and constructed so that:

Cleaning and sanitizing solutions circulate throughout a fixed system and contact all interior food-contact surfaces

The system is self-draining or capable of being completely drained of cleaning and sanitizing solutions

CIP equipment that is not designed to be disassembled for cleaning shall be designed with inspection access points to ensure that all interior food-contact surfaces throughout the fixed system are being effectively cleaned

4-202.16 Nonfood-Contact Surfaces.

Nonfood-contact surfaces shall be free of unnecessary ledges, projections, and crevices, and designed and constructed to allow easy cleaning and to facilitate maintenance.

Maintaining proper drainage adherent to USDA and FDA guidelines is essential to ensuring a hygienic facility and avoiding a plant shutdown.

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