As with all flooring materials polished concrete has a variety of benefits that have made it an extremely popular flooring choice for commercial and manufacturing facilities, processing plants, shop and production floors, communal areas in these facilities, as well as other high traffic environments. There are also some drawbacks to using it in certain areas, but many of them are easy to overcome, and in the end, the positives of polished concrete flooring far outweigh the negatives. It is important to understand the demands of the environment where the flooring will be located as well as the pros and the cons before making a final flooring decision.
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- High Durability.
Polished concrete flooring is extremely strong and resilient and is able to withstand the pressure from very heavy foot traffic and equipment. It is very difficult to damage and is nearly impossible to chip or scratch.
A properly installed, sealed and maintained polished concrete floor can be expected to last a hundred years or more in even the harshest commercial environments. Its life-span will also far surpass that of other floor coverings, such as carpeting, vinyl tile and wood laminates. That means in the long run you can save money because you’ll never need to remove and replace worn or damaged flooring.
- Easy to Maintain.
Polished concrete flooring is relatively easy to maintain. You just have to dust mop or broom sweep daily to prevent dirt accumulation. You should also damp mop it weekly to remove smudging, scuffs, and water marks, and restore gloss. Depending on your polished concrete floor finish, you may have additional maintenance requirements.
Depending on the level of complexity, polished concrete floors can cost as little as $2 a square foot or as much as $30 a square foot. Most installations are quite cost-effective, especially if you have an existing concrete slab that’s all ready for staining, polishing or application of a decorative coating or overlay. The price savings doesn’t always come at installation, but over its lifetime because the only reason you’ll have to replace it is if you get tired of the look, especially if you factor in maintenance costs.
- Many Design Options.
Today, there is an endless variety of color and texture effects and can simulate the look of dozens of different pricier materials. You can also add decorative engraving and stenciled graphics into the surface.
Properly finished and sealed concrete can be virtually resistant to fluids, especially water. Coatings can provide waterproof barriers that seal the concrete and prevent contaminants from actually getting to the concrete. Some coatings can also provide anti-microbial protection. And high quality concrete flooring shouldn’t have cracks or crevice in the surface that can trap food and dirt and harbor bacteria.
Any concrete surface can be slippery especially in moist environments or areas prone to spills, but, it can also be sealed with a non-slip epoxy coating to add texture and prevent falls and injuries.
A non-sealed concrete floor is porous, although, concrete floors can be sealed with a chemical-resistant epoxy coating to protect them against extreme chemicals (alkalis and acids) and corrosion.
- Thermal Shock-Resistant.
Thermal shock-resistant coatings can be applied to concrete flooring to ensure that disbondment, delamination, cracks, bubbles and other deterioration does not occur if your floors are subjected to very hot water or steam washes.
- Static Dissipative.
An unsealed concrete floor often exhibits antistatic tendencies, although, they are dependent upon the floor’s moisture levels, making it unreliable. Anti-static coatings can be applied to concrete flooring to ensure static discharge doesn’t cause damage to static sensitive equipment.
- No VOC.
Concrete floors do not contain harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) like hardwood floors, vinyl carpets and synthetic carpets.
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The strength and durability of this material can also be a drawback as the surface is very hard, so it won’t cushion or “give” under feet, making it uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time. To overcome this, you can add anti-fatigue mats to areas where employees face hours on their feet on a day-to-day basis.
Another drawback of concrete floors is that they do not tend to retain heat very well. That means that in the winter the surface of the floor is going to feel chilled, but no more so than ceramic tile or natural stone flooring. To overcome this, you can embed radiant heating cables in concrete floors to reduce heat loss. Best of all, you’ll usually pay lower utility costs than with a forced-air system, because concrete floor radiant heating consumes less energy to achieve the same level of comfort.
If concrete flooring is not properly finished and sealed, it will be very susceptible to penetration by moisture. If liquid does manage to make its way into the pores of a concrete floor, it can sit there and lead to the growth of mold or mildew. If you have a trusted professional installing your polished concrete flooring, you shouldn’t have to worry about this.
Polished concrete floors can be loud like ceramic tile, natural stone flooring, and some hardwood or bamboo floors. To reduce the noise, you can furnish the space with rugs, heavy drapes, acoustic wall panels and other elements that absorb or block sound.
Black Bear Coatings & Concrete has extensive knowledge of polished concrete floors in commercial and industrial environments. With over 25 years of experience, our crews have the skills required to create a floor that meets each client’s unique maintenance and aesthetic needs. See some of the work we have done with other clients in our gallery.
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.
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“What’s the best industrial flooring for my facility?” Unfortunately, there is no single answer to that question. The “right” answer depends on the industry and operating requirements for your specific facility. When Black Bear Coatings & Concrete meets with clients to discuss industrial flooring projects, we usually start by asking a series of questions to determine the industrial flooring specifications needed.
Top 6 Considerations for Industrial Flooring:
- How long can production be suspended at the facility?
We understand that most companies need to minimize downtime associated with facilities management projects. Industrial flooring solutions exist that offer fast curing times which means teams are back to work sooner.
The best hospital flooring options provide solutions to meet the many demands of healthcare environments. Choosing the best hospital flooring will also depend on the types of hospital floors. For instance, the intensive care unit may require special hospital flooring standards that differ from those in general areas. Exam room flooring, operating room flooring, or medical office flooring may require a different hospital flooring option as well. All of the healthcare flooring requirements of your environment must be taken into consideration to make an appropriate determination on how to choose the best hospital flooring options.
Commercial kitchens have not only their own flooring requirements, but, they must also support safety and sanitation regulations administered by agencies like the USDA, FDA, OSHA, and others. When installing a new floor or replacing an existing floor, it is important to ensure the floor and base meet the following requirements:
- High Durability.
Commercial kitchens expose floors to salts, alkaline compounds, and ingredients that contain acids that can eat away at flooring. Additionally, some food processing chemicals, harsh cleaners, and disinfectants contain industrial solvents. They also take physical punishment from heavily loaded, steel-wheeled carts, foot traffic and more. Ultimately, these floors must be capable of surviving some of the most extreme conditions.
- Thermal Shock-Resistant.
Commercial kitchen floors are often subjected to extreme temperature ranges from ovens, freezers, and other appliances, as well as during cleaning. It’s essential to find a flooring solution that can withstand these changes and won’t delaminate under the stress.
Wherever food is prepared and/or manufactured, cleanliness is a top priority. Commercial kitchen flooring must be easy to clean. That means finding flooring materials that can stand up to strong cleaners that might be acidic or alkaline. It’s also important to use a flooring design that doesn’t have seams or joints that could harbor bacteria. The FDA, for example, requires food establishments to have floor and wall junctures that are coved.
It’s not unusual for oils, grease, and other potentially slippery substances to end up on commercial kitchen floors. To prevent employee falls and injuries, it’s essential to find flooring options that are textured and slip-resistant. The appropriate degree of textures will be determined by the operating conditions, as well as cleaning and maintenance practices.
- Quick Installation.
In most cases, it’s not practical to close commercial kitchens for long periods of time for renovations. Flooring options exist that can be installed quickly. If a commercial kitchen has quarry tile, it’s possible to install coatings over the existing surface.
When it comes to your commercial flooring options, many are available. Before making a selection, the demands that will most likely be placed upon it and your specific industry regulations should be considered. It’s typical for commercial facilities to need floors which are seamless, sanitary, anti-microbial, chemical-resistant, slip-resistant, thermal shock resistant, etc. Commercial flooring is usually designed to meet those requirements and offer some combination of durability, cost-efficiency, easy maintainability, and visual appeal.
Common types of commercial flooring options include concrete, epoxy, urethane, methyl methacrylate (MMA), and hybrid flooring systems.
Considerations for Choosing the Best Commercial Flooring Options:
An environment with multiple competing projects and business demands may require commercial flooring options with a fast turnaround time that will minimize business downtime and impact on revenues.
- Ease & Cost of Maintenance.
Many types of flooring need significant attention. Some might require regular buffing or polishing. Over time, the cost of labor to maintain flooring acceptably will be many times higher than the initial installation cost per square foot.
- Traffic Volume.
Many commercial floors get a beating from foot traffic and rolling equipment. Installing a flooring system built to withstand heavy foot traffic, abrasion and impacts can make the difference between a floor that looks attractive and lasts for many years and one that doesn’t.
The traction of a flooring material is especially important in high traffic areas, moist environments or areas prone to spills. To prevent employee falls and injuries, commercial floors may need to be textured and slip-resistant. The appropriate degree of textures will be determined by the operating conditions, as well as cleaning and maintenance practices.
- Environmental Impact Issues.
Certain industries require flooring installations that generate very little dust or odors. Low or no VOC products may be necessary, as well as specialized installation techniques like HEPA filtration, air scrubbers, or negative air machines.
- Sanitation Requirements.
Food & beverage, healthcare, and other industries must follow strict federal and state guidelines when it comes to flooring. They must install flooring that is durable and impervious to moisture. These materials must reduce the growth of bacteria and mold to guard against contamination.
- Chemical & Thermal Exposure.
It’s important to consider the processes associated with maintaining your commercial flooring system. Commercial floors may be subjected to different thermal processes, such as heat from industrial equipment or hot water washes, as well as different chemicals. It’s essential that your flooring can withstand these types of processes.
- Static Discharge.
In data centers, electronic manufacturing, hospitals and other areas where highly sensitive equipment is used, manufactured or handled, static discharge can cause damage and possible component failure. It’s critical to ensure your floors static dissipative qualities to avoid static electricity that could damage equipment.
Best Commercial Flooring Options
Concrete is increasingly becoming the new flooring material of choice for commercial applications. Whether it’s stained, polished, or overlays, concrete offers a range of commercial flooring options, unlike any other material. With unlimited colors, textures, and patterns, you are likely to create a flooring system exactly to your environment needs while coordinating with your décor.
One of the major benefits is its affordability compared to other commercial flooring options. Installation can be quite cost-effective and the lifetime cost is very low because there is very little maintenance involved and it lasts for years.
- Stained Concrete
Staining concrete is good for revitalizing dull, lackluster flooring. Concrete stains are semi-transparent and are intended to enhance rather than disguise the surface. They will not hide cracks, blemishes or other flaws in existing concrete. Nor will they completely mask an underlying color or conceal the texture of the surface.
- Polished Concrete
Polished concrete involves grinding concrete floor surfaces to a high-gloss finish that never needs waxes or coatings. You can choose the level of sheen — from satin to high-gloss — that meets your maintenance and aesthetic requirements.
- Cementitious Overlays
Cementitious overlays are used to repair the surfaces of floors that have been heavily eroded due to thermal shock, chemical exposure, and high impact traffic. One of the best solutions to avoid costly replacement is to overcoat and re-enforce damaged floors with cementitious overlay.
- Epoxy Flooring Systems
Epoxy flooring is a system that is made up of epoxy resins and hardeners that when mixed together, form a material that is durable, chemical-resistant and solvent-resistant. These epoxy coatings are formulated based upon your specific commercial flooring requirements. It’s the combination of the epoxy and hardener component that determines the final characteristics.
- Urethane Flooring Systems
Urethane flooring systems are good for the most abusive commercial environments. They are a superior commercial flooring option for many harsh environmental conditions, especially where thermal shock is present.
- MMA Flooring Systems
MMA flooring systems are great for those who require minimal downtime. They are also good for very cold environments and are UV stable for exterior applications.
- Hybrid Flooring Systems
Hybrid flooring systems combine the best attributes of all of our flooring systems, making them the most value-packed systems. The various combinations can be designed to fit within your budget while ensuring your floors offer the performance requirements needed for your specific commercial environment.
The Black Bear Process
The Black Bear team, with over 30 years of combined expertise, has been integral in renovating and installing commercial flooring solutions for companies throughout the Northeast. Our unique, individualized approach and proven processes involve an in-depth understanding of each space to engineer the right solution and perfect installation.
Learn more about our epoxy, urethane, and polished concrete solutions for commercial spaces. Take a look at projects we have completed for clients in the manufacturing industry, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, municipalities, and for corporate and retail brands. Find out about our expertise in concrete surface prep, mitigation systems, and underlayments to discover how Black Bear Coatings and Concrete can design a longer-lasting, customized solution for your business.