Industrial Floor Coatings – Are They Safe For Workers?

It’s important for factories and other manufacturing related facilities to provide for industrial floor coatings. Floor coatings provide surface stability, environmental cleanliness as well as aesthetics. Safety is also an important factor in the need to have industrial floor coatings. Companies that provide for industrial floor coatings reduce the risk of accidents due to excess or lack of traction however after several decades, the environmental safety of using these coatings are now in question.

Industrial floor coatings provide a stable, non-broken surface (given the substrate is also hole or crack- free) for staff and products to move on. The coating also serves to protect the substrate from the wear and tear of wheel and foot traffic. Also, the smoother the surface, the faster people and products move. Coatings also provide a sense of order and cleanliness. Brighter coatings also add to the ambient lighting of the workplace. Safety comes into play because industrial floor coatings made from polyurethane or like materials provide sufficient traction to avoid accidents as against ordinary rough concrete/soil floors or overly smooth concrete/tiled flooring. Aside from commercial uses, industrial coatings are also best for gymnasiums and facilities for indoor sports.

However, the use of conventional polyurethane coatings is not without its own hazards. The material, polyurethane, that we’ve used for decades for industrial floor coatings is not safe in itself. The manufacture of polyurethane, a prime ingredient for industrial coatings involves the use of toxic chemicals known as isocyanates. Normally and preferably, isocyanates lose their toxicity after bonding with the other chemicals that form the polyurethane. They become inert. However, recent studies have shown that not all of the applied isocyanates completely bond with the other ingredients leaving behind what is known as post-reactive isocyanates. These post-reactive isocyanates are present in the fumes the coating generates during application on floors and other surfaces of a building.

Application personnel that lack sufficient protective equipment become susceptible to these fumes. Employees are exposed to these chemicals in minute amounts during their day-to-day interactions with the workplace and the facility’s products can become tainted as well. These chemicals also leech into the environment when the coating is disposed for replacement. The effects of isocyanates of the human body include asthma, vomiting, as well as chest and throat irritation. Exposure to large amounts is fatal.

Such dangers then contradict the premise of safety on the use of polyurethane coatings. The risk was not known until recently but floor coatings have remained essential in the industry. Fortunately, new advances in technology has given rise to the manufacture of a non-toxic polyurethane alternative known as green polyurethane. Non-toxic or green polyurethane does not make use of chemically-bonded isocyanates but instead binds its ingredients at the ‘nano’ or atomic level. The ingredients lock together or intertwine to form an impermeable substance with the same properties as polyurethane.

Modern manufacturing techniques, also ensure that excess toxic chemicals are filtered out from the finished product. Thus choosing green polyurethane over conventional polyurethane renders the premise of safety of using industrial floor coatings complete. As green polyurethane continues to grow in popularity, floor coatings as well as other materials that use polyurethane become safer and the industries that use them can breathe safely.

Which Concrete Floor Coatings are Right For Your Facility?

Concrete is a unique product that results from combining cement, sand, water and aggregates. It solidifies into a hard, stone-like slab with amazing strength and durability. Because of this, concrete is popularly used in a variety of applications.

Facility floors in decks, garages, basements, warehouses, storage rooms, manufacturing floors and other facility areas need the application of high-performance industrial concrete floor coatings to endure the stress brought by daily operations. Although concrete floors can withstand the operational load for long periods of time, industrial concrete floor coatings can bolster resistance to chemical and physical damages for much longer.

Criteria for Selection of Floor Coatings

With many kinds of floor coatings products out in the market today, choosing the right one for the facility can be difficult. But when facility managers keep in mind the actual requirement of the facility, the choice is made easier. Below are some requirements that may come up for the facility, and for which various industrial floor coatings can be used:

1. Repair and protection of damaged floors

2. Quality performance of facility floors

3. Transforming dull floors into beautiful surfaces

4. Cost-efficiency and practicality

5. Ease of installation

6. Time constraints and service uptime

The choice of coating product may be based on one or a combination of requirements, and there are as many equivalent products suitable for each. From cement-based toppings, coatings, and curing materials, not to mention choices in epoxy mixes, urethane-based coats, polyureas or acrylics.

Selecting Coatings for Repair and Protection

Floors decay in time and due to daily wear and tear. Floor surfaces may show cracks and holes, or become slippery and more dangerous to walk on as their resistant abilities are lessened. Floor damages can result to:

1. Uneven surfaces that pose safety threats or potential accidents.

2. Ugly- and dirty-looking floors.

3. Growth of harmful microorganisms that pose health threats.

4. More severe floor damage.

Industrial concrete floor coatings with excellent repair and protective abilities should be chosen for the project. Epoxy fillers are poured on cracks and holes to level the surface prior to application. With deep cracks, sand or quartz mixed with epoxy can be poured on the hole to fill it up. In cases of hairline cracks, sanding can be done prior to industrial concrete floor coatings application to even the surface.

Selecting Coatings for Beautiful Floors

For facility floor make-overs, industrial concrete floor coatings bring back their original beautiful look. For floor beautification, some options for coating products are below:

1. Clear and glossy epoxies. The standard choice for enhancing the look of facility floors, colorless industrial concrete floor coatings hide the tiniest imperfections.

2. Shark-grip satiny coatings. Grips mixed with industrial concrete floor coatings provide an easy-to-clean and skid-resistant rough texture to floors. It also brings out a satin sheen to the top coat, hiding minor floor damages.

3. Multi-colored chips. Freshly-applied top coats are broadcasted with a measured amount of colored chips. The result is a beautiful floor finish.

Industrial concrete floor coatings bring facility floors back to their top condition and former beauty. They revive the floors from physical and chemical damages inflicted by daily operations and traffic. In choosing the coatings to use, facility managers must stick to the true requirements of the project. When it comes down to a choice between cost and performance, the latter should not be sacrificed at any cost.

Why We Use Industrial Floor Coating

Why is it that many buildings and homes opt to have their concrete floor coated? This is especially true for big and spacious buildings — offices, warehouses, schools, hospitals, etc. These establishments prefer to have floors that are sturdy and at the same time appealing to the eyes. This is where industrial floor coating comes in, to cover and protect the floor while at the same time making the floor look shiny and new.

A room becomes more attractive with a clean and shiny floor. The floor should not be overlooked when designing the office or room. As it covers the entire space of the room, it should be not be ignored when cleaning and cozying up the room. Industrial floor coating has really become an integral part in this regard.

Aside from the reason of aesthetics, industrial floor coating helps in keeping the floor compact and strong. It protects the concrete floor from the numerous people walking to and fro offices and rooms, and also from heavy equipment being dragged and set aside in a corner. Despite all the weight and the activity in the building, industrial floor coating will help keep the floor looking as if it was polished yesterday.

One of the popular floor coating being used today is the epoxy coating. Epoxy floor coating has the known purpose to improve the durability of the concrete floor. It also protects the floor from chemical spills and makes it slip-free. This is why it is popular among warehouses and factories where chemicals and heavy foot traffic is present. It is also inexpensive, and this reason makes it a great option for homeowners, too.

Another commonly used floor coating is acid stain. This coating is more popular for the decorative look it gives the floor rather than for adding strength and cover for the floor. Applying it on your own could be difficult because of the varying colors of the stain. It is recommended that a professional help with the coating to bring about perfect results.

As implied, industrial floor coatings come in different colors and finishes. People going for a unique and stylish look for their floor have many selections to choose from. There are also products nowadays that are featured as eco-friendly and safe for people. Floor coatings can also be either thick or thin. It all depends on the preference of the establishment or homeowner.

With the several manufacturers and sellers offering industrial floor coating products today, you will have no problem looking for protection for your concrete floor. There are also professionals around to help you in the application of the coating if you don’t know how to do it. This only shows how industrial floor coating has come to be popular among buildings and homes. Nowadays, having plain concrete floor is just not enough. As the floor receives the most workload out of all the planes of the building, the need to coat and protect it is not only unreasonable. It is also essential.