Industrial Flooring Types – Which Is Right For Your Facility?

Industrial Flooring Types – Which Is Right For Your Facility?

August 23, 2020

Industrial floors are some of the most abused assets in every facility.  They are exposed to caustic and acid cleaners, forklift traffic, pallets, equipment, hydraulic fluid, heavy inventory, corrosive ingredients, and much more.  These hazards may sound uncommon to a regular homeowner, but for an industrial flooring contractor, these are common obstacles that every epoxy floor expert needs to consider.

  • Does the area get washed down?
  • Does the area get foot traffic or forklift traffic?
  • Is the area exposed to battery acid, caustic cleaners, or corrosive solvents? 
  • Does the area require a cove base?
  • Does the industrial floor need to be pitched towards a drain?
  • Is the owner looking for aesthetics or functionality?
  • Does the area need a slip-resistant texture?
  • Is the customer looking for warehouse striping, logos, or floor markings?

These are questions that every epoxy floor expert will need to consider when surveying an industrial or commercial project.  

But the everyday homeowner may be wondering “where on earth do these hazards happen?”  Food, beverage, and pharmaceutical plants are some of the cleanest industrial facilities in the world.  They are frequently FDA inspected and need to maintain a high level of sanitation and cleanliness in order to pass these unannounced inspections.  This may be a nuisance for these industries, but it is very important for consumers. 

Areas like Lancaster, Aberdeen, York, Hazleton, and Hershey are some of the most popular destinations for food manufacturing facilities.  This means these areas are some of the popular places to find epoxy flooring experts like Capital Coating.

Industrial Coatings in Wash Down Areas

Wash-down areas can be found in every industrial facility.  There are parts, kettles, equipment, carts, piping, tools, and other equipment that needs to be washed regularly.  These parts and equipment are often covered in grease, corrosive ingredients, and oils, which require caustic cleaners to properly clean.  The issue is that these cleaners will erode the concrete floor.  Slowly, the concrete resins in the concrete will begin to erode, exposing the aggregate.  The exposed aggregate is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, such as listeria.

Since industrial floors in these wash-down areas are some of the most vulnerable areas in food plants, it’s critical that facility managers hire epoxy flooring experts to install an industrial coating over the concrete in these areas.  

But It’s not as simple as rolling paint on the concrete.  First, the coating system has to offer high chemical resistance.  Novalac epoxies, aliphatic urethanes, and urethane cements are common industrial floor solutions, because of their high chemical resistance.

But the epoxy expert also needs to assess how much slip resistance these floors require.  With wash-down areas being constantly wet, it’s likely they are slippery.  Slippery floors are some of the biggest reasons why people get hurt at work.  So the epoxy flooring company needs to assess which type of aggregate needs to be broadcasted into the epoxy or urethane cement.  

Concrete Grinding in Industrial Facilities

Every true epoxy flooring company will properly prepare the floor.  Pressure washing and acid etching are not proper ways to profile concrete.  Shot blasting is a common method.  But using a diamond grinder is a great way to prepare the concrete.  A walk-behind diamond grinder will prepare the concrete and give it an excellent profile for the epoxy or urethane cement to bond to.  

But concrete grinding isn’t as simple as it sounds.  When working in clean industrial facilities, like food and beverage plants, it’s important that the epoxy flooring expert identify if there is any sensitive product or equipment in the area.  If there is, the epoxy flooring contractor needs to propose a containment strategy to protect the equipment and product.  Concrete grinding is effective, but it will create airborne concrete dust.  This dust can infiltrate sensitive equipment, and damage the expensive product.  So if your industrial flooring contractor isn’t discussing containment 

Industrial Floor Coatings or Urethane Cement

Epoxy is a catch-all phrase for resinous floors.  But there are actually many products that can coat industrial floors: epoxy, urethane, polyaspartic, polyureas, MMA, acrylics, and more.  These industrial floor coatings cannot be used interchangeably.  And each one should only be applied in their own situations.  

But clarification these industrial floor coatings need is that they are thin-film.  This means what it says – they are just a thin coat of material going over the concrete.  This may be all the area requires.  However, sometimes a floor needs to be resurfaced.  If this is the case, then a ¼” of urethane cement may be the best option.  When floors are gauged, scared, and filled with divots, then a coat of industrial epoxy will not be enough to infill those holes.  In these situations, a ¼” of urethane cement will be the best option.

But urethane cement offers another benefit: they have a higher tolerance to vapor transmission.  Concrete is breathable.  And vapor will frequently come through the floor.  Epoxy will fail if the the vapor transmission exceeds 3 pounds of vapor pressure per 1000 square feet.  However, urethane cement will tolerate up to 25 pounds of vapor pressure per 1000 square feet. So if your industrial floor has high vapor transmission, or if it requires a resurfacing, then a ¼” urethane cement overlayment will be a better option than epoxy.  

Polished Concrete or Epoxy Coatings

Polished concrete is quickly becoming a very popular floor in commercial and industrial settings.  These maintenance-free flooring systems offer many advantages over industrial coatings.  But like every resinous floor, they are not the end-all-be-all floor solution for industrial floors.

The benefit of polished concrete is that they don’t require any thin-film coating.  This means that there is no thin-film coating to fail and delaminate.  Industrial epoxy floors, at some point, will fail and delaminate due to excessive wear and tear or vapor transmission.  But polished concrete has no coatings to peel.  It is a breathable industrial floor solution that is easy to clean, dust-free, and does a great job reflecting light.

However, polished concrete can be stained, and does not have any chemical resistance.  So if your facility involves industrial cleaning, wash down areas, and manufacturing equipment, then its polished concrete will not be a good solution.  And instead, an industrial epoxy floor system will be a much better option.

Capital Coating is a Polished Concrete contractor who provides service in Lancaster, York, Aberdeen, and many other counties in Pennsylvania and Maryland.  We have premium equipment and experience and can turn any existing concrete slab into a beautiful polished floor with high gloss sheen and durability.  Contact Capital Coating if you’d like to add polished concrete to your facility.  

Line Striping in Industrial Warehouses and Distribution Centers

Central Pennsylvania is a distribution powerhouse due to its proximity to Philadelphia, New York, and Washington DC.  So it’s no surprise that places like York, Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Hazleton are common locations for distribution centers.  

These warehouses and distribution centers may not require the industrial floor coatings that food and beverage manufacturing plants require.  But what they do commonly have a need for is floor stripping and line painting.  

Line striping can be used to organize pallet slot lines.  And to create pedestrian walkway lines.  Warehouses in York and Harrisburg are constantly moving pallets of product in and out of their facility.  This is great for business but needs some organizing.  So these industrial slot lines can help operation managers keep their warehouse organized and operating efficiently.

But industrial line striping also creates pedestrian walkway lines.  These lines create an allusion for where pedestrian and foot traffic needs to remain.  But staying in these areas, plant managers are decreasing the chance for pedestrians to get hit by forklifts or carts.  Which will ultimately increase the plant’s safety record.  

Overall, it’s critical to find an industrial flooring contractor with experience and equipment to assess and specify the proper application for your project.  With more than 20 years of experience serving commercial clients in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, we have the expertise and skill to find you the right flooring solutions. Contact Capital Coating to review your epoxy and floor striping projects today.