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Epoxy Flooring

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 project is completed.

Flooring failure is quite common in the commercial 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 epoxy flooring 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 Flooring

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.

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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.

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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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Epoxy Flooring

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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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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Epoxy Flooring

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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Epoxy Flooring

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.

Concrete PolishConcrete Polish

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.

Concrete Polish Floor SystemConcrete Polish Floor System

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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Epoxy Flooring

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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Epoxy Flooring

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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