As a facilities manager, you must balance business needs, useful life, and cost-effectiveness to find the best solution for every aspect of maintaining your building.
Although devoting time and attention to your facility floors may not seem like a high priority, overlooking your floors can lead to costly repairs that are easily avoidable with minimal planning.
Read on to learn more about the best ways to effectively manage flooring issues in your industrial facility.
For facilities with concrete flooring, protective floor coatings can add life and beauty to your building and minimize maintenance and cleaning costs. A variety of floor coatings are available to meet various industrial needs.
Epoxy floors are the most common type of concrete coating in many industrial facilities. After preparing the floor, your installer will add a protective epoxy coating that will add years to the life of your concrete floors. Epoxy flooring also offers these benefits:
• Easy to clean - If you manage a facility in an industry where cleanliness is vital (such as healthcare or food production), epoxy coated floors can make daily cleaning a quick and easy process. No harsh chemicals are required to maintain epoxy floors.
• More durable than polyurethane - Epoxy is naturally resistant to heat, chemicals, and large impacts, making them a natural choice for facilities where durability is key.
• Quick and easy to install - When installing epoxy flooring, you can choose from a variety of colors and styles that will add personality and appeal to otherwise mundane concrete floors.
• Greater flexibility than epoxy floors - Polyurethane is more elastic, which helps to better withstand scratches, abrasions, and direct impacts.
• Color Retention - Epoxy coatings have been known to yellow over time, especially when in direct sunlight. With polyurethane, you don't have to worry about discoloration, even after years of use.
• Tolerates extreme temperature and humidity changes - For facilities where temperature fluctuations are the norm, polyurethane can withstand the expanding and contracting that happens in freezing chambers or other extreme conditions.
Novolac flooring is a newer version of epoxy flooring made with low-weight polymers. These slight changes in the chemical structure make this option more durable than original epoxy floors. Novolac flooring offers these benefits:
• Highly chemical resistant - Due in part to its low molecular weight, novolac epoxy is resistant to chemicals, acids, and solvents, making it ideal for many industrial facilities where these products are used during production.
• Double-layer protection for high-traffic areas - From paper mills to parking garages, novolac floors can withstand daily abuse from both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Flooring For facilities where bacteria control is critical, urethane mortar creates an impervious barrier that inhibits microbial growth. Once installed, it is easy to keep clean and prevents cracks where bacteria can live. Urethane mortar flooring offers these benefits:
• No odors or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - Safe for use around animals and humans, urethane mortar is ideal in food processing plants, medical equipment warehouses, and other facilities where health is a concern.
• Rapid setup - Urethane mortar cures and hardens quickly, minimizing downtime during the installation process.
Concrete coatings are widely chosen in commercial and industrial facilities for their low maintenance and ease of cleaning. However, some routine cleaning will still be needed to keep your flooring in optimal condition. To extend the life of your floor and minimize issues, you should:
• Use a pH-neutral cleaner - If you aren't sure which cleaners to use, ask your installer for recommendations.
• Use microfiber cleaning pads - Cotton pads can leave unsightly pilling on the floor, while more abrasive pads or sponges can damage the floor's surface.
• Clean spills quickly to avoid staining - Concrete floor coatings are designed to withstand a variety of spills but to minimize issues and long-term damage, you should always remove spills as soon as possible.
• Use floor mats near entrances and high-traffic areas - Floor mats can catch dirt brought in by foot traffic and also protect high-traffic areas to give a more even wear as your floors age.
• Follow the recommended maintenance schedule - Overcleaning or under cleaning can both be harmful and reduce the natural life of your floors.
Even with high-quality installation and regular maintenance, you could still experience issues with your floors, including cracking, peeling, or discoloration. Flooring issues can be caused by water damage from below the concrete base, extreme temperature fluctuations, or normal age.
Fortunately, not every flooring issue results in a complete replacement of your floors. To best assess an issue and determine the next steps, you should:
• Be proactive - Small cracks are easier to fix than big ones, and water damage can be minimized if caught early. To minimize any problems with your floors (and the associated costs), be proactive by checking your floors for signs of damage regularly.
• Call in the professionals - It may be tempting to try and fix your floors yourself to save on repair bills. But taking a DIY approach can cost you more in the long run. Call in professionals who can get to the root cause of any flooring issues and identify the best fix to avoid more problems in the future.
• Think long term - The cheapest fix isn't always the best one. To avoid a complete replacement of your floors prematurely, choose the best long-term repair options when floor issues arise.
As a facilities manager, you likely have many more important things on your mind than managing your floors. At Concrete Coatings of the Carolinas, we understand the demands placed on industrial facilities managers, and we're happy to help answer questions or resolve problems with your existing flooring.
Schedule a free consultation today and learn how we can work as your flooring partner.