7 Considerations when Choosing Floors for your Brewery
When opening any new facility – you pour all of your time and energy into ensuring that it’s the best that it can be. Specifically with breweries, it’s no easy task to create an atmosphere ideal for manufacturing the best brew possible while also being a place that people want to visit to enjoy your beer. One of the most critical parts of your facility to think about is the floor surface that everything happens on. Here are some considerations to think about when planning flooring for your brewery:
While the ingredients used to brew your product are harmless to most floor options – once fermented, the ethanol content will degrade bare concrete floors and epoxy systems over prolonged exposure. Another item to consider would be the cleaners used in your facility to clean the floors, equipment and vats – make sure you speak with your flooring manufacturer to discuss best-practice cleaners to ensure you’re not doing more damage than good when cleaning your facility.
Slip resistance is an important consideration when choosing a floor system. Options like bare concrete and tile can be slippery – especially with any moisture from spills from the tank. Consider adding an anti-slip additive to a resinous floor system to provide some safety underfoot for employees working in the production areas, as well as guests touring your facility and enjoying a beer.
You’ve already got your hands full running the rest of your business - floors shouldn’t be a maintenance headache. Floors that are simple to maintain include bare concrete and resinous floor systems (that just need a scrub with a deck brush and soap and water followed by a rinse). Resinous floor systems also offer the option to be sloped to drains. The sloping of a floor system allows for simple wash downs post-cleaning which increases efficiency in your cleaning process and reduces any standing water.
Thermal cycling is the alternating between heating and cooling and is often present in brewing facilities where steam and boiling water are used during the brewing process and then cold water is used for wash-downs. Resinous coatings are fantastic choices for all the aforementioned considerations…but not all coatings are created equal: floor paints, epoxies and tile and grout systems will crack and degrade when faced with these swift temperature shifts. Facilities that have thermal processes should consider cementitious urethane floor systems – these systems offer properties similar to concrete so when hit with these hot or cold temperatures they expand and contract just like the concrete (allowing them to stay adhered and not degrade).
While the FDA and USDA do not “approve” specific flooring options, they do provide guidelines and best practices to keep your facility compliant. The FDA notes one way to inhibit standing water (which can lead to contamination) is “Designing and constructing the slope of floors to drains so that floors drain freely and water does not accumulate” which can be done with a resinous floor system.
Constant forklift traffic is an important consideration for large-scale facilities. Forklift traffic can have a major impact at the point of turn (as essentially the wheels scrape in place as they turn). Epoxy floors work well in facilities with forklift traffic to protect the bare concrete – they also can be used to create traffic patterns or walkways marked in color to identify where guests should, or shouldn’t, walk to ensure safety.
A great way to increase hygiene in your facility is to have a seamless surface. With no crevices to hide dirt or moisture (as seen with tile options or cracked bare concrete) – you’ve made a great first step to prioritizing sanitation in your facility.
There are many considerations when designing a new brewing facility and we hope these 7 considerations have been helpful in highlighting what type of floors would be best for your particular needs. Still have questions? Contact us here – we’d love to discuss your project!