In facilities that manufacture, package or otherwise process food, flooring plays an essential role in maintaining safety, health and production standards. Food processing often involves wet conditions, extreme temperatures and high-pressure equipment – meaning the floors in these facilities take a beating.
With all of that in mind, what are the most important considerations when choosing a floor coating for your food processing facility? Before starting the project, ask your contractor these questions:
Does the Coating Comply with USDA and FDA Requirements?
Both the USDA and FDA have strict rules for food processing facilities to ensure maximum sanitation and durability. The USDA requires floors, walls and ceilings in food processing facilities to be slip-resistant, smooth and easy to clean. The FDA stipulates that food processing facilities’ flooring must have non-absorbent grout that is impregnated with epoxy, polyurethane or another material.
Most flooring systems for the food and beverage industry should comply with these requirements, but it’s smart to ask your contractor about these rules.
Is it Moisture Tolerant?
Add moisture tolerance to your list of must-haves for your flooring system to ensure it stays strong through day-to-day operations and cleaning protocols. A specialized, moisture-resistant coating will last much longer than a coating that isn’t formulated for wet, industrial environments.
Does it Have Anti-Microbial Properties?
Wet floors are a playground for mold, mildew and other microbes that can contaminate your product. Certain flooring systems are formulated to beat back microbes and, when combined with an effective maintenance routine, can help keep your facility sparkling clean.
It’s also smart to inquire about cove base installation to improve sanitation. Think of cove base as a baseboard made of your flooring system. It provides a smooth transition between the floor and the wall, and it is more durable and easier to clean than traditional baseboards or bare wall.
What are its Slip-Resistance Properties?
Ensure your coating can be installed at the proper slip resistance level for your needs. Don’t skimp on this – doing so could result in costly lawsuits and workers’ compensation issues. Your contractor should be familiar with ASTM and federal requirements for slip resistance, and can test for the proper coefficient of friction.
Can it be Sloped Toward a Drain for Proper Wash-Down?
The floor in your facility is likely sloped toward various drains. Make sure the flooring system you select works well on different concrete grades – your contractor should have the knowledge to recommend a system that works for your needs.
Is it Chemical Resistant?
Your flooring should stand up to chemicals involved in cleaning, maintenance and daily operations. Improper flooring can fail quickly after brief exposure to chemicals, resulting in costly repairs and service interruption. Your contractor can help you select a coating that can withstand nonstop chemical exposure.
Can it Stand Up to Extreme Temperatures?
Food processing involves extremely high – and low – temperatures. It’s important to know whether your flooring system can withstand large temperature fluctuations. The coating should expand and contract similarly to concrete, which reduces the chance of flooring failure due to temperature.
These questions cover the important variables that play into flooring performance. A skilled contractor should anticipate these questions, readily provide answers and troubleshoot roadblocks. Need flooring for a food processing facility? Contact us for a free quote.