We all want the things we buy to be durable, right?
Durable products last a long time. They are not purely decorative; durable products withstand the wear and tear of everyday use.
In the realm of industrial flooring, durability is paramount. An industrial building is a pricey investment, and you want all parts of it to last a good long time. The floor, in particular, supports expensive equipment and provides a walking surface for customers and employees. Replacing a floor often means moving that equipment and taking an area out of production.
CHOOSING A DURABLE FLOOR
With all the flooring types out there, how can you tell if you’re getting the most durable option?
Consider what will be happening on the floor.
Is this an area with equipment and some foot traffic? An area with heavy foot traffic? An area with vehicle traffic?
If people will be walking on the floor, you need some degree of slip resistance to keep them safe.
A thick floor with low abrasion resistance is fine for supporting equipment, but if trucks, forklifts or other vehicles will be driving on the surface, or if items are regularly slid or dragged across the floor, you’re going to want abrasion resistance to prevent scratches.
You also want to defend against chipping and cracking. If there is a possibility that heavy items – tools, machine parts, storage containers – might fall to the floor, you want a hard surface and thick layer protecting the subfloor beneath.
Consider the temperature of the room.
Is it very hot? Very cold? Are there areas prone to temperature swings or extremes?
Not all durable flooring is equal to a wide variety of temperatures. Some floor coatings soften under high heat, making them unsuitable for areas around commercial ovens or furnaces. Some hard floors lack the resiliency to handle extreme cold, making them prone to cracking in a walk-in freezer. And keep thresholds in mind – when you open the door to a walk-in freezer, the room outside gets a blast of icy air. Make sure the floor near the doorway can handle the sudden drop in temperature.
While we’re talking weather, is the environment wet or dry?
Water is the natural enemy of many building materials. It can speed the natural degradation of material not designed to withstand it. In an area with heavy or frequent water exposure, durability depends on low absorption.
Water’s not the only thing that ends up on the floor; what else will fall?
Most industrial businesses work with some kind of chemical agents that eventually end up on the floor. These might be ingredients, machine fluids, cleaning solvents, or myriad other things. Chemical resistance is a very specific trait. Exposing your floor to chemicals it is not designed to withstand is a surefire way to shorten its life.
MAINTAINING YOUR FLOOR
Once you’ve selected the most durable floor for your facility, make it last as long as possible with proper routine maintenance.
Have the floor professionally installed by a reputable installer.
The best product in the world will fail if it is poorly installed. This is not the place to cut corners or make do.
Establish a cleaning routine.
A weekly scrub might suffice to clean the floors in some facilities; others may need to break out the scrubber several times a day. The point is, don’t let dirt or other substances sit on the floor.
Clean according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If the manufacturer says to use hot water, don’t make do with cold. If they say to rinse the floor after mopping, rinse the floor after mopping. Manufacturers know how to get the best performance out of their product. Trust their recommendations.
The same goes for cleaning products.
Select cleaning solutions specifically formulated for the type of soil and type of floor you are cleaning. And remember that more soap does not equal more clean – dilute the solution according to the cleanser manufacturer’s directions.
Keeping your business operating at peak productivity has a lot of moving parts. Choose durable building materials and take care to maintain them, and you can protect your investment and minimize maintenance downtimes.