How to Repair & Protect Floors Subject To Harsh Chemical Exposure

“Our mix room and filling line production flooring areas are subject to harsh chemical exposure almost on a daily basis. What is the best product to use in these flooring sections?”

You’d have to submit a list of the chemicals that are used so we can refer to the chemical resistance chart and then make that determination.

There’s such a range of chemicals. Some products work better than others depending on the environment. Just someone saying “chemicals” is really not enough information to make any kind of recommendation.

Generally speaking, if someone asks about chemical exposure, usually they would know what kind of chemicals are around. And then the questions would be: what are the chemicals, what are the concentrations, what is the condition of the floor, and what do you want it to look like afterwards?

The chemical resistance chart has between 25 and 50 known chemicals that have been tested, and that gives you a range to figure out what product would work. You really need to know what the chemical is, because it all comes down to budget.

If you don’t want to spend the money for a cementitious urethane, in a number of environments you can do a simple epoxy primer and a novolac coating. The price for this system, a 100% solids epoxy, using a novolac resin, might be less than half of doing a cementitious urethane.

“….So really it comes down to budget?”

Yes. Everything has to be dovetailed. It has to do with pre-existing conditions on the floor, because obviously if there’s a lot of decay and a lot of imperfections in the floor, you’re more likely to have to go with a thicker system anyway.

It comes down to budget and it comes down to chemical exposure. So everything has to get wrapped into one for a realistic budget.

Second thing is, when someone inquires “Hey, I have chemicals I’m exposed to, I need to know what to put down”…okay, that’s a great start. The best solution requires a list of the chemicals for the best product recommendation. Usually, the manufacture’s technical service team makes suggestions when they have the details of the problem.

And those conditions could be: what’s on the floor now? Is it wet? Is it damp? What kind of contaminates are in the slab? You know, there’s a whole list of considerations. Just like with any corrosive, you need to know the pre-existing conditions and that helps you consider what you can use.

Time is another issue. You might have a perfect product to solve the problem, but if you don’t have enough down time this is a big factor to be worked into place. Time is actually a huge issue, because you have to start to limit your options. And I mean very, very quickly.

Say one system is a four step installation, that’s one coat a day. But you have only 36 hours to get the job done. All of a sudden, you may have very few and limited product selections to choose from. And that’s based on time. And then, it doesn’t really matter what the budget is. Whether it can be afforded doesn’t even matter.

Often it comes to a recommendation of only one coating system. Manufacturer’s guidelines for installation are also very important. We can’t recommend any system unless it is installed according to the manufacturer’s directions. This is part of the “filtering process”.

During a conversation with a customer, there is always “filtering” to arrive at the best recommendation. We are always filtering. You have many, many products to choose from, and as the questions are considered we will “filter” down, down, down, until the point where you get one, two or three options.