Understanding and Preventing Floor Failure
More than its aesthetic, floors need to be well-designed in such a way that it will serve its specific purpose. Generally, floorings have to be beautiful and durable. In industrial applications, however, other specifications are to be satisfied depending on the needs of the end-users based on the processes of their production.
In manufacturing plants, where time and productivity are of important issues, floor failure is detrimental. Preventing floor failures involves understanding and considering the main factors from which the problem may arise. The improper selection of the type of floor to be used and the incorrect application and installation of the flooring are the two general reasons from which these factors can be categorized.
Selecting the right type of floor for the right application
Factor ONE: Thermal Shock
In manufacturing plants, temperature may vary from process to process. Continuous exposure on changes in temperature may cause cracks and delamination on floorings due to its poor thermal shock resistance. Floorings composed of conventional epoxy, vinyl esters, or polyester type of materials are more susceptible to damages upon being subjected to drastic temperature changes while concrete polyurethane and high temperature epoxies can withstand such extreme thermal conditions.
Factor TWO: Chemical Exposure
Epoxy systems are frequently chosen over other floorings when chemical resistance is an important aspect. It is important to know whether the floor material chosen would be resistant to the chemicals being used in the production to which it will be exposed. It is also important to note the temperature and the degree of exposure to which the floor will be resistant.
Factor THREE: Growth of Bacteria
In food manufacturing and pharmaceutical plants, eliminating bacteria, molds and fungi is one of the main concerns of operation. Cracks, floor seams, and grout lines can be the breeding ground for these organisms. Thus, the use of seamless floorings that provide hygienic surfaces are strongly recommended.
Factor FOUR: Slipping Hazards
Wet areas should be installed with flooring that is slip resistant. Insufficient skid resistance can result to higher risk of injuries and accidents. Very rough surfaces however, would be harder to clean and thus may trigger bacterial and mold growth. Thus, accurate specifications must be employed to ensure that right flooring will be installed.
Factor FIVE: Chemical composition of Flooring Material
Food processing industries require floor products that are free of solvents, reactive styrene monomer and other toxic chemicals. Floor materials like polyester and vinyl ester with high VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) content can contaminate food products and is therefore not recommended especially when production is going on. Due to the strong odor of Methyl methacrylates (MMA) may not be also allowed to be applied during production.
Factor SIX: Low Cost Solution
Sometimes, due to budget constraints, companies limit their choice and tend to settle for low cost flooring materials. However, oftentimes, this low cost solution turns out to be expensive due to quality issues it may encounter. It is best to examine the cost-effectiveness of the product including its expected service life and the warranties