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6 December 2014 Weekend Argus – With this process a concrete floor is more than meets the eye
When is a concrete floor not a concrete floor?
Modern building design has reinvented the aesthetic appeal of the commercial floor, taking into account durability and protection required. Flooring has evolved significantly over the last 25 years from essentially just a floor to a sophisticated epoxy- or polyurethane-coated layer offering a hygienic solution and a definite aesthetic appeal on top of investment value.
According to painting, waterproofing and construction company, Indawo, concrete floors in a commercial or home environment are subjected to extensive abuse. They are not, by their nature, designed to withstand wear and tear. Being porous, concrete will break up and become dusty if the right coating is not applied.
Indawo managing director, Geoffrey Jäck, says, “Concrete floors need to be protected from deterioration, no matter what the floor is being used for. The challenge is finding the right protective coating for the abuse the floor is expected to endure.”
The primary purpose of floor coatings is to protect the slab. Floor coatings are continuously tested, needing to provide protection against a myriad of activities and properties including chemicals, abrasion, impacts, temperature fluctuations and traffic on top of day-to-day operations. Jäck points out that floors are subjected to more abuse than any other structure of a building.
Epoxy coatings bond with the floor surface and are designed to provide long-term protection, reduce maintenance and add value to the building. The challenge for architects, builders and renovators is which coating to choose that provides the best performance. Key to this choice is the right supplier as it is critical to have the backing of guarantees from reputable product suppliers. Many flooring companies offer their own flooring epoxy mix at vastly reduced rates, but this may lead to complications later in the coating’s lifetime.
Indawo warns of making a decision based on price alone. The cost implications of getting this decision wrong is enormous and by far outweighs the increased cost of doing it right the first time, Experienced flooring contractors are able to identify the right fit solution for each individual application.
Jäck continues, “Floor protection is often taken lightly in commercial settings. It should form a vital part of building maintenance strategies. In the long term, ineffective floor coatings can result in floor maintenance costs ascending out of control and can seriously hamper production when large-scale renovations are needed. Epoxy coatings have become popular systems in factories and workshops for their exceptional durability and aesthetic appeal.”
When appointing a flooring contractor it is advisable to ensure that he provides a comprehensive flooring solution. A thorough audit will provide an accurate and detailed specification in order to select the right solution. It is critical that attention is paid to application in terms of the required thickness, protection and aesthetics. Over and above this, the product’s adhesion is critical and will need to pass strict tests prior to application.
Jäck advises that the process is as important as the final application:
• Surface evaluation. Assessing current concrete conditions is crucial, as is the required use of the floor. The floor’s surface must be structurally sound, free from cracks, spalling and foreign material.
• Surface preparation. This is the most important step prior to application. The coating selected will have specifications required regarding surface preparation and these should be adhered to validate the manufacturer’s guarantee.
• Floor requirements. Different solutions are required for different factories. Abrasion, exposure to chemicals, impact, temperature fluctuations and other factors determine the solution required. In many cases a combination of these play a role in determining the thickness and durability required.
• Aesthetics versus Protection. Appearance is important. Floor coating finishes range significantly and while protection is vital, incorrect application can affect the aesthetics. Professionals understand application processes to ensure the expected aesthetic appeal is achieved.
• Contractor. The choice of contractor is as important as the choice of coating. A contractor with experience and knowledge of flooring systems is critical for the successful installation.
Jäck concludes, “Once the coating has been applied, a maintenance strategy will ensure the long-term review and repair of the coating. Even the most durable of coatings will show signs of distress in time. Successful floor coating installations rely on the communication between contractor and facilities manager.”
Concrete floors are no longer just concrete floors when applied with an epoxy coating; they add value to your building while providing the necessary protection.
For more information on flooring contact Indawo on 021 941 5000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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