Resin flooring is the flooring of choice for industrial applications, including manufacturing and warehousing due to the excellent performance characteristics and ability to provide a seamless, hygienic, durable and slip-resistant floor. Other industries such as the food processing sector, present a diverse range of industrial environments that can be aggressive to flooring and a damaged floor can reduce efficiency, cause personal injury and lead to unhygienic conditions. The high cost of re-installing a floor in terms of disruption, inconvenience and loss of production makes it important to get the floor right first time. This requires a thorough understanding of the environment, the best possible design and the choice of the most suitable product for the job. Even with the correct floor design and finish specified, the correct installer is needed to make the floor work.
If concrete is not sealed, especially in wet processing areas, spalling can occur where the trowelled layer wears away. Water containing high levels of chlorine, acids and food products will also attack unsealed or uncovered concrete. Exposed aggregate is a potential home for microbes where they will be extremely difficult to remove. A correctly specified resin floor appropriate for the conditions under which it will be used can provide a seamless surface with greatly enhanced performance compared to the concrete base on which it is applied by withstanding heavy mechanical loads over long periods, helping to prevent slips and trips, protecting the substrate from the ingress of liquids and remaining hygienic and easy to clean.
Resin flooring offers a number of advantages from a hygiene point of view:
Easy to clean and disinfect: As with all floors, good housekeeping and the correct cleaning regimes are important, but a dense, seamless, resin flooring will facilitate easier cleaning. Many resin floors are unaffected by abuse from the use of water, cleaners, sanitisers, acids and lubricants and some are designed to be regularly steam cleaned. Continuous impermeable surfaces allow the minimum of joints where dirt and bacteria can collect. An almost unlimited range of colours means that corporate identities can be maintained and separate zones and walkways easily identified within the factory.
Impervious and non-absorbent: Correctly specified resin flooring is effectively impermeable to water and non-absorbent, unlike concrete, which is inherently porous.
Washable: Many resin flooring systems can be pressure washed at 60°C (sufficient to disperse most contaminants), and some grades are fully steam cleanable up to 120°C.
Durable: With a strong, permanent bond to the concrete base and a minimum requirement for joints, resin flooring reduces the possibility of mechanical breakdown and facilitates maintenance. As a consequence, there are resin floors in arduous environments still giving good service after 15 to 20 years. Resin flooring types are available that are slip resistant, even when wet, and are resistant to abrasion, impact from dropped equipment and tools, fork-lift traffic and pallet trucks.
Versatile: A variety of different types of synthetic resins are available to form the binder of a flooring system. These include epoxy, polyurethane, methacrylate and polyaspartic resins. Different resin types give different combinations of application characteristics and in-service performance and the considerations which affect the selection of a particular type should be discussed with the specifier.
Sustainable: Synthetic resin flooring is extremely tough and durable and can have a life expectancy in excess of 20 years when specified and installed correctly. In such cases, the majority of the life cycle cost will be in regular cleaning and maintenance. However, resin flooring is easier to clean than most types of flooring and a wide range of high-performance, specially formulated cleaning products are available to help with the job. The choice of good cleaning chemicals is key to success. In addition, resin flooring can generally be refurbished by overcoating with a lower thickness than applied originally.