Industrial Floor Coatings – Concretes Best Friend?

Even though industries spend large amounts of money on concrete floors, they aren’t exactly trouble free after completion. Companies must anticipate the spillage of substances such as oils and chemicals among others. This necessitates the use of floor coating materials, which are vital in the prevention of damage and cracking of floors due to abuse and natural wear. Without proper coatings, spaces and cracks appear through which liquids may pass and cause ugly discolored patches.

Additionally, grime and dirt, which characterize most concrete floors, are difficult to clean and necessitate the use of toxic cleaners. But this problem is usually easy overcome with the use of industrial floor coatings, which allow one to clean the surface with soap and water.

In regards to appearance, a concrete floor alone is boring and dull. With the use of floor coatings, appearance can be turned into any color or variety of pattern, which adds to the beauty and shine of the floors.

Coatings to Consider

The most common, though not the strongest commercial floor coating is epoxy. Epoxy covers hard surfaces, like concrete floors and is made of resins, which are plastic-based. Epoxy is created from a liquid mixture, which is then spread over the floor to dry. Decorative versions can be stamped and painted, though industrial versions need hard coatings to withstand wear and tear.

Ceramic coatings, which are made of stabilizers combined with clay are fired into tile or brick shapes. These materials are then linked across the floor with cement. Ceramics are best at providing heat resistance and are long lasting. They are often placed over resins which help to enhance impact resistance. Ceramics are now slowly being replaced by newer carbon materials.

What to Avoid

Regarding more inexpensive options, there is a tendency in factories to make floors by use of simple concrete and basic sealers. These sealers protect concrete from long term wear and prevent seepage of moisture, but to keep sealants viable, they must be reapplied frequently.

It is highly advised to research the contents of coatings as well. This is because many floor coatings have substances, such as isocyanates, which are hazardous in nature. There are also coatings, which contain large quantities of solvents making them toxic and highly volatile. So inhabitants must take major precautions during application and many hours after application.

Several other precautions should be kept in mind to avoid dangers associated with these materials. Traditional types of coatings are always hazardous and must be handled with care. During application of such coatings, inhalation of toxic vapors can precipitate vomiting, headaches, drowsiness and vomiting. This is always a danger to customers; but is usually a greater danger to the workers who handle the substance directly and are in close contact with the materials during application and installation. Safety procedures should be strictly adhered to. Exposure to isocyanates for prolonged periods has been proven to result in lung problems including inflammation and asthma and at times even death.

The most contemporary industrial floor coatings to date are Hybrid polymers, which are more sophisticated and provide more direct benefits for industrial use including cost savings and increased durability. These coatings are easily installed and are highly resistant to harsh conditions in warehouses and factories; for example UV radiation and chemical spills.

Mary J. Gibson

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