December 16, 2021
What Are Chemical Resistant Floors?
Chemical resistant floors are designed specifically for environments exposed to corrosive elements such as solvents, acids, or alkalis. The floors are built to resist chemical attack and perform excellently in these harsh environments.
Where Are Chemical Resistant Floors Used?
Chemical resistant floors are commonplace in many industries. They can be essential in pharmaceutical, healthcare, food processing, manufacturing environments and any areas that will use, store, or manufacture caustic or aggressive chemicals.
Why Choose Chemically Resistant Floors?
Chemicals can and will deteriorate floors. At a minimum this deterioration could be cosmetic, such as staining, but it could also be a serious issue such as pitting, delamination, and even holes. Having floors that can resist deterioration from chemical exposure has many advantages. Safety, time, and costs are three significant benefits.
- Safer Environment: Chemically resistant floors protect employees. They’ll avoid potential workplace hazards such as slips and falls from deteriorated floors. The National Safety Council reports “slips, trips, and falls” remain one of the leading causes for work-related injuries. The average worker’s compensation for these injuries is $47,000 and that doesn’t include lost production.
- Time Saving: Chemically resistant floors protect a facility longer. This reduces the number of times a facility faces downtime and interruptions to production for flooring repairs and / or replacement.
- Cost Savings: Costs associated with replacing or repairing flooring can quickly add up. Not only will the installation and materials have a price, but there is also a cost associated with a company’s downtime. As mentioned above, safer floors can reduce injuries to workers and the costs for medical and legal compensation.
Options for Chemical Resistant Floors
Many flooring options on the market tout chemical resistance. One option that stands out is resinous flooring. These systems are one of the most durable and long-lasting solutions for chemical resistance. Resinous floors are seamless which enhances their ability to protect. They are built in layers and can address other requirements such as abrasion, slip, and thermal shock resistance. Resinous floors are available in solid colors, decorative quartz or vinyl flake options.
How to Choose a Chemical-Resistant Resinous Floor
When choosing a resinous floor it is always important to know the environment and what the floor will be exposed to. This includes identifying the type of traffic it may see, be it foot traffic or vehicular, knowing if thermal shock will be a concern, and what elements the floor will be exposed to, and of course, what chemicals could potentially be spilled on the floor, (and any other special considerations for a specific space). Once these items are known, it is time to consider topcoats.
The topcoat selection is the most important part in choosing a chemical resistant floor — and any floor. It is the frontline defense against chemical attack and degradation for the floor. Dur-A-Flex has several topcoat options for excellent chemical resistance including high-performance urethanes, Novolacs, and our Accelera line.
Our performance topcoats are tested against various types of chemicals including cleaning agents and food acids. The findings of these tests are included in a Chemical Resistance Chart. This is a good place to start to see what topcoats will work in any given environment. If a chemical is not listed, it is possible to work with Dur‑A‑Flex to have it tested. From here, options for flooring systems can be further narrowed down. The following three scenarios demonstrate the floor selection process:
Facility X needs a new floor for their battery storage area. Battery acid has previously caused damage to the floor. The batteries are moved on sleds by forklifts so abrasion resistance is also a concern.
The best topcoat for this scenario is Novolac. A Novolac topcoat offers superior chemical resistance to battery acid.
The best system for this scenario would be a Hybri-Flex ES with a Novolac topcoat. The Hybri-Flex system provides the strength and durability needed for the environment and the topcoat provides the chemical resistance to protect the facility.
Facility Y is a research laboratory. The laboratory uses various chemicals and solvents. The lab manger wants to install a new decorative floor into the lab and also needs to fix the floor in their chemical storage space. Only foot traffic is used in both areas and slip resistance is important. The lab manger also wants a decorative floor to match their branding.
A urethane topcoat would serve this lab well. It does a fantastic job with solvents. The topcoat recommended for both spaces is Armor Top®.
The recommended system for the lab is a decorative Dur-A-Quartz with clear Armor Top for the topcoat. The decorative quartz provides excellent slip resistance and style while the topcoat will protect from chemical spills.
The recommended system for the storage closet is Shop Floor with a pigmented Armor Top topcoat (no need for a decorative system in a storage space). Shop Floor is a durable system with a flintshot broadcast which is another excellent option for slip resistance.
Facility Z is a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Not only are they using chemicals in their production, but their use of sterilizing agents for cleaning has deteriorated the floors. They use vaporized hydrogen peroxide to clean work stations in their facility. The facility manager would like a decorative option for workspaces.
An Accelera topcoat is recommended for this scenario. It has a proven track record of holding up to the chemicals and cleaning agents commonly used in pharmaceutical environments.
The recommended system for the work spaces would be Accelera C. This is a decorative chip system with a virtually endless choice of color combinations. Accelera is a fast-installing flooring system which will reduce downtime for the facility. Every layer of this system including the topcoat uses Accelera, so this floor provides excellent chemical resistance in its entirety.
Caring for Chemical Resistant Floors
Although resinous floors are made to resist chemical attack, it is important to care for them properly. Spills of any kind should be wiped up immediately and a scheduled cleaning regimen should be established and followed. The lifetime of your floor will depend upon how well you clean it.
Chemical resistant floors are designed for any area that will use, store, or manufacture caustic or aggressive chemicals. There are many options available for chemical resistant floors and resinous flooring systems are a top choice. For more information or help in choosing the right flooring system, Dur-A-Flex territory sales managers are available. They can assist in determining which flooring system will best address the needs for any facility.
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.