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Once used solely as outdoor pavers and for utilitarian spaces such as storage and cafeterias, educational facilities are now turning to concrete solutions to enhance the overall look and feel of a school.
Concrete has long been touted for its durability. Virtually indestructible, this surface is ideal for the constant foot traffic found in hallways and classrooms on a regular basis. In addition, it’s easier to maintain and more cost effective than other flooring systems.
Moisture or liquid vapor trapped within a concrete floor can result in serious problems for the integrity of a structure. Left unchecked, it can lead to significant flooring damage, create hazardous conditions for workers, and possibly require significant repair soon after installation.
Wetness can compromise the durability and shorten the life-span of a commercial floor solution. Vapor mitigation systems (also called moisture mitigation systems) are specifically designed to keep moisture from entering concrete, or to permanently trap moisture within concrete to contain moisture movement from permeating the surface.
Yes, concrete is solid. It’s hard and unyielding when you stand on it. However, concrete is also extremely porous, and it’s relatively easy for liquids and vapors to seep through the material.
It’s not uncommon for concrete to be treated or have additional layers added to prevent moisture from compromising the concrete or the flooring topcoat placed above it. Known as vapor mitigation systems, or moisture mitigation, there are several techniques which can be employed – but all have the same purpose – sealing off the concrete to prevent wetness from permeating the surface and compromising the integrity of the substance.
The healthcare and pharmaceutical manufacturing industries require mission-critical performance from a commercial flooring system. The versatility of polished concrete offers an array of benefits that these companies should recognize.
Polished concrete has become the solution of choice for many commercial buildings including medical device and drug production facilities. Pharmaceutical companies take advantage of the durability and chemical resistance without sacrificing the look and feel of a space. From the operations floor to office spaces, storage units to lobbies and hallways, polished concrete flooring can be a single source solution for pharma industry flooring.
While concrete coatings are one of the most durable and long-lasting flooring solutions, they aren’t without fault.
Concrete by nature is a porous substance that can trap moisture, permeate throughout, and travel upwards – damaging topcoats and compromising floor systems. This can be particularly dangerous in some industries that rely on specific floor coatings for compliance and workplace safety.
When it comes time to select commercial flooring options for your facility, it’s important to consider the unique requirements related to your industry. Here are five important factors to keep in mind as you make your flooring decision:
1. Hygiene requirements. In many industries, such as food and beverage, manufacturing, healthcare, and restaurant and food service, cleanliness is essential. To minimize the threat of bacterial contamination, floors often are subjected to aggressive washdowns with harsh chemicals or high temperature cleanings. Selecting a floor that is both easy to clean and can withstand these conditions is important.
As we inch closer to January, we can’t help but reflect on the projects and the people that have made 2016 a banner year for Black Bear Coatings & Concrete. Over the past twelve months, we’ve evolved as both a company and service provider, to become more than just an invaluable resource to businesses across the Northeast. Black Bear has had the privilege to branch out and partner with companies throughout the U.S.
The success of our business is attributed to our dedicated staff, affectionately called “the Black Bear family,” as well as our clients who place their trust in our experts every day. We strive to go above and beyond for each individual partner, and provide customized solutions that span tried and true methods, to engineering innovation and experimenting with new techniques and applications.
Every industry has unique operating conditions and business requirements that influence large facility flooring decisions. Many flooring systems exist and at times, the choices may seem overwhelming. If your organization is in the market for new flooring, answering the following five questions may help you identify options that will best meet your needs:
1. Is it a top priority to minimize facillity downtime, while a flooring system is installed? If an organization is renovating its facilities, the management team often has to balance the benefits of large facility improvements with the amount of disruption they will cause to the business. When every day of downtime translates into lost revenue, it’s common for companies to seek flooring systems that can be installed rapidly. Methyl methacrylate or MMA flooring systems are a good option under these circumstances. MMA flooring systems are flow applied, which means that large facility floors can be installed quickly and without trowel marks. Black Bear Coatings & Concrete has worked with restaurants and bars, retail stores, showrooms, building lobbies, and more to install MMA floors quickly and with a minimum of disruption.
In commercial facilities finding the right finishes can be tough. Designers must strike a balance between durability, maintenance, and aesthetic considerations. When it comes to commercial flooring, five trends have emerged this year which will shape the way commercial projects are designed.
1. Bold graphics and bright colors. In commercial facilities, designers have embraced bright color schemes and that extends to floors. Many commercial buildings include graphics within flooring, such as bold geometric shapes. Concrete floor systems lend themselves well to these types of designs. Floors can be installed that incorporate multiple colors, graphics and logos, and different textures.
2. Green flooring materials. As businesses embrace environmental sustainability, many are also looking for building materials that are green. Concrete flooring solutions make sense for these organizations. Concrete itself is comprised of materials that are plentiful. In addition, concrete floors have a long life due to their durability. On projects where resinous coatings are used on top of concrete floors at facilities, products are available that contain no volatile organic compounds.
3. Terrazzo flooring. Although terrazzo has been around for a long time, it is enjoying a resurgence in commercial buildings thanks to its long life, low maintenance, and ability to incorporate recycled materials. Terrazzo floors have chips of glass, stone, or other materials that are embedded in tinted cement and then polished to an attractive sheen. Black Bear Coatings & Concrete offers terrazzo restoration services for large facilities that would like to give their floors a facelift. Building owners and operators find that terrazzo resembles marble and quartz, but costs much less. Terrazzo is a popular option for lobbies and other areas in corporate, healthcare, and higher education facilities.
4. Polished concrete. Another fashionable flooring option in commercial spaces these days is polished concrete. This material works well in areas with high foot traffic. In addition, it is one of the most cost effective flooring systems since concrete floors will last for the lifetime of the building. Designers like polished concrete because it reflects light and is an affordable alternative to marble and other expensive stones.
5. Acid stained concrete. This commercial flooring solution is appealing to high end retailers and shopping mall operators. It provides a classic, elegant, and natural appearance. In addition, like most concrete floors, it is very easy to maintain. From a design and construction perspective, one of the benefits of acid stains is the fact that they can be used on existing concrete. As a result, the base flooring can be retained which reduces project costs. Acid stains are also highly customizable, so a wide range of colors are available to choose from.
If you are renovating a large commercial space or designing new commercial construction, you may want to consider these flooring trends for your project. Black Bear Coatings & Concrete would be happy to help you and your design team. We have extensive experience installing concrete floor systems in a variety of industries including restaurants, retail, healthcare, manufacturing, and more. We can help you find the best flooring solution that will meet your aesthetic, financial, and maintenance needs.
Black Bear is a leading concrete and coatings flooring company that serves New England – Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Northern Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, as well as New York (north of New York City). Rest assured that we have the staff, equipment, and expertise needed to make your floor project a success. We spend time upfront to assess each client’s needs, identify the best flooring solution, engage in the right preparation, and then install the floor using industry best practices.
We spend time upfront to assess each client’s needs, identify the best flooring solution, engage in the right preparation, and then install the floor using industry best practices. We’d love to help your company. Contact us today for a free estimate.
Vapor Mitigation – Moisture in Concrete Flooring A growing problem in buildings with concrete floors is moisture getting into the concrete itself. Left unchecked, this could become a major issue which can drastically reduce the lifespan of a concrete-based floor and warp decorative vinyl or tiling.
Concrete is naturally porous, which means it is easy for liquids to pass through, especially in vaporous form. Moreover, common types of concrete are made from stones such as limestone, which naturally have a small amount of water in them. Any moisture which is in, or under, the concrete layer can quickly pass upwards through the concrete and start undermining the upper layers.
This has become a bigger concern lately because of the rapid pace at which buildings are being constructed. With tight timetables, it’s common for concrete drying times to be pushed down to their absolute minimum. The upper surfaces are often applied when the concrete isn’t 100% dry, which just traps more moisture within the concrete itself. Within years, sometimes even just months, the upper layers can start to fail – which is not only unacceptable for commercial and industrial flooring, it can be downright dangerous, compromising the integrity of the system.
Vapor Mitigation Systems Fortunately, with the right preparation and a knowledgeable concrete flooring contractor – water vapor and other forms of moisture don’t have to threaten your concrete floors.
Vapor mitigation systems (also called moisture mitigation) are sealants which are applied directly to the concrete surface and trap any remaining moisture within the slab itself. In other cases, they are additives mixed directly into the concrete which reduce its porosity when dry. Upper layers can then be applied securely, ensuring moisture won’t permeate and deteriorate the flooring solution.
Vapor mitigation systems are becoming commonplace to protect concrete substrate and commercial floors. Modern vapor mitigation is also compatible with green building practices. Modern systems are water-based, rather than relying on volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and other substances which are harmful to people and the planet. Some mitigation methods can even qualify for LEED credits.
Black Bear will work directly with you or your general contractor to develop a longer-lasting product that saves money and withstands the environmental elements in the Northeast. Whether it’s new construction to enhance the look and feel of your property, or a restoration project that ensures the safety of your patrons, trust the professionals at Black Bear Coatings & Concrete to make sure you get the exact concrete foundation and restoration services that you want and need.
With over 25 years of experience, our crews have the skills required to create a production floor that meets each client’s unique maintenance and aesthetic needs. Call Black Bear to learn how we provide longer-lasting, more effective solutions for manufacturing and production buildings.
Black Bear is a leading concrete and coatings flooring company that serves New England – Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Northern Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, as well as New York (north of New York City). Rest assured that we have the staff, equipment, and expertise needed to make your floor project a success. We spend time upfront to assess each client’s needs, identify the best flooring solution, engage in the right preparation, and then install the floor using industry best practices. We’d love to help your company.