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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.

concrete testing methodsconcrete testing methods
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.

concrete testing methodsconcrete testing methods
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.

concrete testing methodsconcrete testing methods

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.

concrete testing methodsconcrete testing methods

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.

control joint for concretecontrol joint for concrete

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.

expansion joint detailexpansion joint detail
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

urethane cement floorurethane cement floor
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.

Plumbing

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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What is FSM (Food Safety Modernization Act) and Why It Is Important

g number of Americans, 48 million to be exact, become ill every year due to contaminated food.

The contaminated food has also contributed to a $75 billion loss to the food and beverage industry.

This law is the first significant food safety regulation that has been passed in the last 70 years in the United States. The law included a statute that gives the FDA authority to recall food products and requires frequent inspections at food and beverage facilities. Prior to the passing of this law, the FDA only had authority to ask, but not demand, that foods be recalled.

These inspections apply to the manufacturing process, procedures, equipment, and infrastructure – including floor and wall systems.

Additional Regulations

In addition to the FSMA, state and local authorities have their own schedules and changing regulations, such as the banning of new installation of quarry tile, because it’s mortar joints are a natural incubator for bacteria and other contaminants.

Even if polished, chipped and cracked concrete floors intensify this hazard. This is because concrete acts like a sponge and absorbs moisture deep into its pores where bacteria can propagate.

For food and beverage facilities, the only solution to keeping a hygienic plant is to install a seamless flooring system. Depending on the conditions of the plant area, urethane cement, epoxy, or MMA flooring may be appropriate.

To learn more about the right type of floor for your facility check out our blog post, What resin flooring options are available for the food and beverage industry?”

FSMA Food IndustryFSMA Food Industry

What Will Inspectors Check For?

First, inspectors will be making sure your floor cannot harbor bacteria.

Resinous floors have a topcoat that fills in the pores and imperfections, which makes it impervious to moisture. For additional protection, antimicrobial additives can be added in case the topcoat is scratched.

These antimicrobial additives can be natural silver ion-based that are mixed into the resin before it is installed. However, merely adding an antimicrobial additive to the resin does not necessarily mean that it is effective, and in some cases they are not independently tested.

That is why it is important to get antimicrobial flooring systems directly from the manufacturer instead of using “field manufactured” antimicrobial flooring systems.

This coating system prevents microbe growth through the final cured floor coating, not just the antimicrobial additive component.

Additional Antimicrobial Flooring Systems

Effective antimicrobial flooring systems can also be a colloidal product that is sprayed onto the concrete substrate. This product both densifies and gives the floor antimicrobial properties.

This type of pretreatment also helps keep the concrete from absorbing chemicals and contamination with the added benefit of making replacement of the floor simpler because there is no need to extract contamination or to sterilize the concrete.

Even with a seamless, antimicrobial flooring system, sanitizing operations will still need to regularly occur to eliminate production byproducts and contaminants.

To do this, a radial cove base should be installed to create a seamless transition from the wall to the floor. This prevents standing liquids, contaminants, and pathogens from being able to hide in corners and streamlines the cleaning process.

To learn more about coving check out our blog, “Importance of Cove Base in The Food and Beverage Industry.”

The Importance Of Adequate Sloping

Another crucial element of passing inspection is having adequate sloping to trench drains. This helps to eliminate standing water, which will absolutely catch the eye of an inspector, and can lead to a plant shutdown or a Listeria outbreak.

It’s imperative that a resinous flooring expert correctly slopes or pitches the floor to about a 1-2% grade. If the floor is under pitched you will end up with standing water, and if it is over pitched you will have solids runoff.

Every floor drain should be equipped with a deep seal trap, and a check valve should be installed to prevent sewage from backing up and flooding the floor. Drains without a deep seal trap must be regularly washed down.

Cleaning The Trench Drains

One of the most overlooked sanitation procedures is cleaning the trench drains. It is also one of the leading causes of bacteria spreading throughout a facility.

Having a seamless, resinous floor is imperative for addressing potential hazards that could affect food safety.

A food and beverage facility floor is a crucial part of the environment of the production unit, and it may include significant amounts of pathogenic microorganisms.

The best way to pass an inspection is to have an experienced resinous flooring expert install a floor that is impervious to moisture, sloped to drains, durable enough to withstand hard cleaning procedures, and seamless from wall to floor.

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The Method Selection Process for Any Surface Preparation

The International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) revised and updated technical guidelines No. 310.2R-2013, “Selecting and Specifying Concrete Surface Preparation for Sealers, Coatings, Polymer Overlays, and Concrete Repair” in 2013 and yet many architects and

resinous flooring experts have still not modernized their practices.

These guidelines outline what equipment is needed to achieve each concrete surface profile (CSP) grade and the correct CSP for the protective flooring system chosen.

This is very helpful for an installer as flooring product manufacturers specify the type and quality of the surface preparation that is required to ensure the success of their product.

While it would be difficult, if not impossible, to explain all of the various techniques used to perform a complete survey of existing conditions this blog post will explain the basic criteria that are assessed.

So how do these guidelines aid the selection of the proper concrete surface preparation method that adheres to the manufacturer’s specifications? One of the best tools provided is a checklist for assisting in specifying surface preparation, including:

  1. Evaluation of:

Substrate condition

Material to be installed

Job-site conditions

  1. Review of surface preparation method(s)
  2. Selection of surface preparation method(s)

4.Surface preparation requirements

Profile (CSP)

QC testing criteria.

Before you even start evaluating the condition of the substrate you will want to consult with the manufacturer’s specifications to determine what special properties or characteristics the flooring system material may have.

The next step is determining the condition of the substrate. You will want to evaluate the substrate for qualities such as strength, deterioration, existing coatings, and many other factors to help determine the type and amount of surface preparation needed.

The ICRI provides a checklist for a thorough substrate evaluation to help visualize the general to specific qualities to assess.

Substrate Conditions Evaluation Checklist

  • Surface Conditions

Efflorescence, Encrustations, Solid

Surface Imperfections

Previous Patches

Bond Breaking Contaminants

  • Soundness

Delaminated concrete depth

Cause of deterioration

Pull-off tests

Chloride content and penetration depth

Carbonation depth and pH

  • Hazardous Materials

PCB

Frangible Asbestos

Chemicals

Lead

Heavy Metals

  • Finish

Formed Wood Float

Metal Trowel

Power Trowel

Broom Finish

Sacking

Storing

Block

Shotcrete

  • Moisture

Concrete Maturity (Fresh/Green Concrete)

Hydrostatic Pressure

Substrate Moisture

Vapor Barrier Present

No Vapor Barrier

Drainage

  • Joints and Cracking

Cold Joints

Construction Joints

Expansion

Dynamic

Static

Crazing

Leaking

  • General Observation

Permeability (inhibit penetration)

Section thickness

Required depth of removal

There is no way to select the surface preparation method without first knowing the properties and application requirements of the flooring system to be installed. The repair material and/or flooring system will strongly influence the surface profile and surface preparation needed.

Speaking generally, the protective system and repair material should be analyzed by its substrate strength, profile, application thickness, moisture tolerance, and alkali tolerance. Again there is a checklist provided for a thorough substrate evaluation.

Material Requirements Evaluation Checklist

  • Substrate Strength

Tensile Bond Strength

  • Profile

Sealers 0-3 mils (0-0.075 mm) CSP 1-2

Thin Film Coatings 4-10 mils (0.01-0.25 mm) CSP 1-3

High Build Coatings 10-40 mils (0.025-1.0 mm) CSP 3-5

Self-Leveling 50 mils-1/8 inch (1.2-3.0 mm) CSP 4-6

Polymer Overlays 1/8-1/4 inch (3-6 mm) CSP 5-9

Concrete overlays, toppings and repairs >1/4 inch (>6 mm) CSP 5-10

  • Other

Application Thickness

Moisture Tolerance

Cleanliness (dust)

The most difficult and lengthy factor to evaluate is the job-site conditions as there are so many variables to assess such as noise, vibration, dust, and water.

There are also many concerns the facility owner may raise such as uninterrupted use of the facility, concerns about the operating environment, or property damage potential may limit the choice of surface preparation method.

The areas of concern can be broken down into three main categories: Accessibility, environmental considerations, and mechanical data – utility supply (type, availability, access location, and cost). All concerns can be seen on the checklist below.

Jobsite Conditions Evaluation Checklist

-Accessibility

Physical Conditions

Surface Orientation

Obstacles

Exposure

  • Environmental Considerations

Recycling/Disposal

Airborne (i.e. abrasive blasting)

Liquid (i.e. hydrodemolition water)

Solid (i.e. shot blasting)

Debris (i.e. concrete)

Hazardous Waste (i.e. existing coatings)

Containment

Temperature Conditions

  • Mechanical Data – Utility Supply (type, availability, access location, and cost)

Electricity

Compressed Air

Ventilation

Water

Sanitary Facilities

Fuel

Performing a methodical, thoughtful system of evaluation, review, selection, and specification, the proper surface preparation method(s) can accurately and efficiently selected and verified.

While it is not possible to completely outline every step and consideration for undertaking a survey of existing conditions of a project, the guidelines, checklists, and charts provided in the “ICRI technical guidelines: Appendix B” is a great starting point and will greatly enhance the odds of a successful project.

Remember that there is no substitute for an experienced, knowledgeable resinous flooring expert. Armed with your evaluation and selected criteria the next step is to identify the method, or combination of methods, most likely to produce the desired results for the project.

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Introducing SQF Codes And Why Are They Important?

Safe Quality Food (SQF) codes are a process and product certification standard that address all sectors of the food industry, from primary production to transport and distribution.

The Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) offers an internationally recognized certification system, divided into three levels of certification, designed to meet the needs of all suppliers in the food industry.

The SQF 2000 Code is divided into these three levels:

Level 1, which covers food safety fundamentals

Level 2, which recognizes certified HACCP food safety plans

Level 3, which outlines a comprehensive food safety and quality management system

Food Safety for Flooring Food Safety for Flooring
The main feature of the SQF Code is its emphasis on the systematic application of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) for control of food quality hazards, as well as food safety.

The implementation of an SQF management system addresses a buyer’s food safety and quality requirements and provides a solution for businesses supplying local and global food markets.

This enables suppliers to help assure their customers that food has been produced, processed, prepared, and handled according to the highest possible standards, at all levels of the supply chain.

SQF code test at meat processing plantSQF code test at meat processing plant
Why Are SQF Codes Important In The Flooring Industry?

Companies that fall under the food and beverage processing industry are required to complete a selection of modules, which cover a series of steps pertaining to food processing, farming and distribution.

The modules are explained in a document called “Construction and Control of Product Handling and Storage Areas”, and there are several subsections that discuss flooring considerations.

The SQF codes that pertain to flooring are explained below.

2.2 Floors, Drains and Waste Traps

2.2.1 Floors shall be constructed of smooth, dense, impact resistant material that can be effectively graded, drained, impervious to liquid and easily cleaned.

This code states that the plant floor must be a resinous floor. The recommended flooring type for processing areas is either MMA or Urethane Concrete. may be sufficient in areas of little thermal shock or heavy traffic.

2.2.2 When water is used, floors shall be sloped to floor drains at gradients suitable to allow the effective removal of all overflow or waste water under normal working conditions.

This code explains that a proper slope must be present in order to effectively drain water. The statement, “when water is used” is applicable to all processing areas, as sanitation procedures typically require high pressure, high temperature water/steam cleaning.

Trench Drain SystemTrench Drain System
2.2.3 Drains shall be constructed and located so they can be easily cleaned and not present a hazard.

Drains are the most common harborer of harmful pathogens such as listeria, and the importance of drain cleaning cannot be overstated. Custom pitched trench drains, point drains, and custom formatted drainage systems may need to be installed to ensure worker safety.

2.3 Walls, Partitions, Doors and Ceilings

2.3.2 Wall to wall and wall to floor junctions shall be designed to be cleaned and sealed to prevent the accumulation of debris.

2.3.3 Ducting, conduit and pipes that convey services such as steam or water shall be designed and constructed so as to allow ease of cleaning.

These two codes can be fulfilled using proper coving. Coving eases cleaning operations and eliminates crevices for bacteria and mold to proliferate.

Epoxy floor for food processing plantEpoxy floor for food processing plant
How To Ensure Your Floor Adheres to SQF Codes

Having your facility be SQF certified allows food safety and quality systems to be verified and validated throughout the food chain, increasing brand protection, consumer confidence, and loyalty.

The SQF codes outlined in this blog are helpful for getting a general understanding of the guidelines your facility must abide by, however, each plant floor has its own unique needs.

To ensure your floor adheres to the SQF codes, it is important to find a flooring expert who is experienced with resinous flooring in the food and beverage industry.

This professional must also be knowledgeable of all government regulations, including USDA, HACCP, and FDA regulations.

Luckily, our experienced staff can help you fill this need. Contact us now for a free consultation and quote.

To learn more about regulations and guidelines for food and beverage industry flooring, read our other blogs, “FSMA ACT – What you need to know” and “Importance of Proper Drainage for Food and Beverage Facilities.”

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Discover Best Flooring Options For Your Food Processing Facility

Food and beverage processing facilities present a unique set of flooring challenges, due to their intense operational environments, so it is very important to select the correct resin flooring option. The floors must be able to endure extreme temperatures, thermal shock, animal fats, hot oils, caustic cleaners, and strong acids.

So, what resinous floor is right for your food and beverage processing facility? Keep reading to find out.

Resin Flooring Options

Resin flooring systems are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and they have been designed to properly meet the operational requirements of each working area within a food and beverage facility.

There are many different products to choose from, but this blog will explain the three main categories of resinous flooring options: Urethane Cement, Methyl Methacrylate (MMA), and .

Urethane Cement

Urethane cement products are a very popular choice within the food industry, as they contain many beneficial properties.

MMA Floor InstallationMMA Floor Installation

One of the most desirable properties of Urethane floors is that they offer chemical, thermal shock, heat, and impact resistance. The chemical makeup of Urethane resin systems is very similar to that of concrete, and it prevents the material from cracking when subject to large temperature swings.

Urethane cement resin flooring solutions are also non-porous, which can prevent bacteria and mold spores from developing. Also, Urethane resin flooring produces a low odor, it’s non-toxic, and it can be made slip-resistant for worker safety.

Drawbacks of Urethane

The drawbacks of Urethane cement products mostly derive from the installation process. Urethane cement has a very fast cure rate, which is typically around 6 hours, as opposed to an epoxy which can be 24-48 hours.

This fast cure rate makes it more difficult to install, due to its exceptionally short pot life. A typical installation requires highly skilled laborers who are capable of more complex surface preparation.

However, the good news is that this obstacle can be resolved by hiring a knowledgeable and experienced resinous flooring expert.

Methyl Methacrylate (MMA)

Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) systems offer certain performance advantages to the food and beverage industry when compared to other resin flooring options.

decorative epoxy flooringdecorative
decorative epoxy flooring

The main benefit of Methyl Methacrylate resin is its quick curing speed and its ability to be installed at extremely low temperatures. MMA greatly reduces production downtime, as it fully cures in just one to two hours. MMA is also beneficial because it contains high levels of resistance to most acids and alkalis.

MMA systems are ideal for non-processing areas because they can include attractive flakes or aggregates, which are aesthetically pleasing and slip-resistant.

Methyl Methacrylate Drawbacks

The major drawbacks to MMA systems are that they are highly flammable, they have a very strong odor, and it can be difficult to install due to its fast cure time.

While the odor is quite strong, it is harmless and it can be minimized during installation with proper ventilation. It is also important to note that MMA should not be used in environments that are exposed to high heat or live steam.

Due to these factors, MMA systems are categorized as a specialty product installation, which requires specialized contractor training.

Epoxy

The greatest advantage of Epoxy systems is that it is extremely affordable. Additionally, Epoxies offer attractive, chemical resistant, and slip-resistant flooring options.

Drawbacks of Epoxy

There are many downsides to using Epoxies in a food and beverage facility, including a limited resistance to organic acids, which are found in a large number of natural foodstuffs.

Epoxies also offer no resistance to thermal shock, making them unsuitable for rigorous food and beverage environments. Many Epoxy systems are advertised for their high compressive strength to food and beverage processing facilities. However, while this is true, it has little relevance in this setting.

For most food and beverage manufacturing facilities, Epoxy is only suitable for non-processing zones such as packaging and staff break areas, which are not subject to the same high protection demands.

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Should You Replace Your Epoxy Floors? 4 Reasons Given

are often referred to by professionals as a “floor coating for a lifetime”, due to their exceptional resiliency. If installed properly, is impact and abrasion-

resistant, and they rarely peel or crack. Additionally, they can last for more than a decade, even while undergoing tremendous abuse from equipment, production, and cleaning operations.

floors are known for their durability and longevity, however, occasional accidents, aggressive cleaning methods, and constant traffic from employees and equipment can denigrate the floors to the point of replacement. Every situation is different, but proper maintenance and minimal use can warrant a lifespan of more than 10 years. However, if the floor is not properly maintained, the lifespan can be shortened to as little as 5 years.

So, when is it time to replace your epoxy floors? What are the warning signs and red flags that let you know your floors are reaching end of life? This blog post will detail everything you should look out for so you can tell when it’s time to upgrade your flooring.

When To Replace Your Epoxy Floor

The best way to tell if you need to replace your epoxy floor is to do routine checks. It is important to monitor your flooring to see if the topcoat is wearing away, if there are any chips, or if cracks have developed in high traffic areas.

damaged epoxy floordamaged epoxy floor
Many people ignore chips in the flooring because they can seem insignificant. However, these small chips can eventually cause large portions of the floor coating to peel off. Also, heavy vehicle and equipment wheels can oftentimes cause harm to the chipped areas, creating a significant safety hazard and further damage to the floor.

When chips or cracks are caught in the very early stages, a cost-effective solution to repairing the epoxy floor is to apply a topcoat. However, if the damage is widespread, or if it is not caught in time, the best solution is to replace the flooring to ensure the safety of employees.

Enhancing the Lifetime of Your Epoxy Floor

The best way to enhance the lifetime of your epoxy floor is to get an experienced resinous flooring expert to complete a proper installation. Before installation, make sure the installer ensures that the concrete floor has a strength of at least 3,000 PSI. Surface preparation is the most important step and it is very easily overlooked by some installers.

Additionally, the surface needs to be meticulously prepared so that the surface is dust, oil, and debris free. The installer must follow the manufacturer’s data sheets to confirm the appropriate SSPC preparation method.

Epoxy Flooring Preparation Mistakes

The worst surface preparation mistake an installer can make is to allow moisture to become caught beneath the epoxy. This can cause adherence issues within the flooring and can lead to additional problems.

Cracked Epoxy FloorCracked Epoxy Floor
The epoxy creates a moisture barrier that protects your floor from water damage, but it will not allow water trapped beneath it to escape. This can cause puckering in the surface and can ultimately shorten the lifespan of the floor to a fraction of what it should be.

Epoxy Flooring Thickness

The thickness of the epoxy floor coating can range from 400 to 1,000 microns. The thicker the floor is, the more durable it will be, so you should always discuss the thickness of the floor coating with your flooring expert.

When deciding the thickness of the coating, you should also consider the extent of foot and heavy vehicular traffic. A final clear topcoat of polyurethane should also be applied since it dramatically increases the durability of the floor, which would benefit facilities with high traffic. These high traffic areas also wear down more quickly, and a textured surface is highly recommended to counter this problem.

With all of this in mind, the best way to maintain a long-lasting epoxy floor is to have an industrial flooring expert with substantial experience evaluate the condition of your epoxy floor. This, combined with proper maintenance and care, will ensure that your epoxy floor produces the longest lifespan possible.

So when Should I Replace my Epoxy Floors?

At the end of the day, epoxy floors are replaced when they need it. While they’re fairly easy to repair and, when installed properly, they last a long time, they will show cracks, delamination, chips, and other damages. When it gets too much to repair, it’s worth it to refresh the entire flooring system.

Each floor will have different life spans, different issues, different damages. But with proper maintenance, proper repairs, and proper installation, the floors can last a long time.

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