January 21, 2021
The best flooring systems for clean spaces are those which protect the substrate and provide a seamless, cleanable, and durable surface. It is well known that resinous coatings are the best choice for clean space in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. These applications can go on the floors, walls and ceilings to create extremely hygienic environments.
Within the world of coatings there are many options for resinous flooring, yet there are certain systems which are better suited for these spaces.
Common flooring failures found in pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities are due to the use of strong sanitizers and hot water. This combination can deteriorate most floors.
Flooring Criteria for Clean Spaces:
- Hygienic and easy to maintain
- Chemical resistant
- Installs quickly (helps alleviate downtime)
- ADA, USDA, FDA, CFIA and OSHA compliant
Choosing the Right Chemistry
Each chemistry in resinous flooring has its strengths and limitations. It is important to understand what these limitations are to determine if they are the right system for your space. Your unique operational conditions will dictate what long-term flooring systems you should choose to minimize downtime.
Epoxy: Epoxy-based systems are ideal for the right environment. Epoxy-based systems have many advantages. They offer moderate chemical resistance, high strength, and are ideal for locking in broadcast aggregates. They can be a single color or decorative. Epoxy systems are not UV stable, will not withstand sterilization chemicals, and often require a moisture primer.
Methyl Methracrylate (MMA): MMA-based systems are an excellent choice for the right environment. They are incredibly durable and offer a quick cure time which means they can be installed quickly and require little downtime. They can be installed in low temperatures, down to 0°F, and are UV resistant, making them an excellent option for outdoors. Some considerations for using MMA, they do not handle high temperatures, > 140°F, and they have a strong chemical odor while curing and will require ventilation during install.
Urethane: Urethane-based systems are the true workhorses of the resinous flooring industry. They offer great chemical resistance, are thermal shock resistant, self-priming, withstand high moisture vapor transmission — and to top it all off, they are low odor and are low VOC. Typically their only drawback is they are not decorative systems and are only available in solid colors.
Dur-A-Flex Accelera®: Accelera is a proprietary chemistry used for seamless flooring systems. It is a 100% solids, fast curing, low odor coating, featuring UV stability, and superior chemical resistance. Accelera is easy to clean and sanitize and holds up against aggressive chemicals such as vaporized hydrogen peroxide and Spor-Klenz®. These systems are available in solid colors, decorative, smooth, or textured broadcasts.
The Best Flooring System for Clean Spaces
Now that we have quickly reviewed the chemistries, let’s review the best system for clean spaces. Would it surprise you to know that the best system isn’t any one of the ones previously mentioned?
The best systems for clean spaces are hybrid systems. These flooring systems are specially formulated using a combination of the above chemistries to create the best possible flooring system for any individual space.
A hybrid system enables a flooring system to be engineered to address the specific concerns in a clean space. The cementitious urethane base provides tenacious adhesion, tolerates high moisture levels, is thermal shock resistant, and has a fast cure time.
Hybrid floor systems offer a variety of finishes including solid colors, colored quartz sand, or the more decorative looks using colored vinyl chips.
These systems can also have a smooth or slip resistant surface.
You have a choice of topcoats, but as previously discussed, you want to ensure the topcoat can handle the chemicals used in your space.
Performance Topcoats Provide:
- Gloss or satin finish
- Abrasion resistance
- UV protection
- Chemical resistance
- Increased service life of the floor
Topcoats are an extremely important consideration for any resinous flooring system as they are often the hardest working parts of the floor system.
Many resinous topcoats offer moderate chemical resistance, however for clean spaces which are known to use strong chemicals, it is important to use a topcoat which has been proven to offer excellent chemical resistance. Without this, the topcoat overtime will stain and look dingy, and possibly peel, or fail.
The Dur-A-Flex Accelera topcoat outperforms all other chemistries. This coating has proven to withstand:
- 6% Sterile Hydrogen Peroxide Spray
- Sterile 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
- 0.8% Vesphine Solution
- 0.4% LpH Solution
- 0.5% Sodium Hypochlorite Solution
Pro-Tip: If you know your facility is using a specific chemical, ask the manufacturer to test the topcoat with that chemical. Dur-A-Flex offers this service.
Products that are built to Perform:
Dur-A-Flex offers a versatile family of solutions for clean space.
Hygienic: Non-porous surfaces further reduce the places for bacteria to collect and ease the cleaning and sanitization process
Chemical Resistant: Durable topcoat options are available to stand up to daily cleaning using solvents, alkaline cleansers, and sanitizers
Safety: Available in a variety of textures to protect against slip and fall hazards in production and cleaning operations. ADA, USDA, FDA, CFIA and OSHA compliant
Durable: Stands up to the demanding conditions found in pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries
Low Maintenance: Easy to clean and keep clean. Long-lasting seamless flooring solutions assist in passing inspections
Thermal Shock Resistant: Built to withstand cycling between hot and cold temperatures without delaminating, cracking, or peeling
Systems Commonly Used in Clean Spaces:
HYBRI-FLEX A Series A nominal 3/16 inch, decorative broadcast, hybrid floor system consisting of our cementitious urethane base coat with low odor epoxy and Accelera® fast-curing topcoats. Fast installation and low odor allow installations to be performed during normal business hours — making this the perfect solution for general clean space areas. Decorative chips are available in both micro and macro sizes.
POLY-CRETE MDB Medium Duty Broadcast Floor System A nominal 1/4” rake or trowel applied, seamless cementitious urethane flooring system. Offering excellent wear and thermal shock resistance, this flooring system will provide years of service in wet and constantly cleaned and sanitized environments.
DUR-A-WALL HP PLUS A multi-step wall coating system ideally suited for application on concrete, drywall, cement board or block. This coating is extremely durable, sanitary and easy to clean. Suited for general clean space walls, these systems provide protection against very aggressive solvents, acids and alcohols. It features up to 10 times the scrubbing durability of traditional epoxy wall coatings and withstands aggressive cleaning regiments such as Spor-Klenz® and vaporized hydrogen peroxide.
Start with the right floor, not just any floor.
Unique flooring needs require unique flooring solutions. Dur-A-Flex will help you understand your facility’s flooring needs before recommending a system to protect it. To determine which floor is right for your facility, it is best practice to have an on-site evaluation performed.
For more information or to schedule an on-site evaluation, please use this form or call 877.251.5418 to locate your local Dur-A-Flex territory sales manager.
Author: Jes Grant
Jes Grant is the content development manager for Dur-A-Flex. She has over 15 years of experience creating content for various technical industries, and has been featured in several publications for her writing and design work.