Does your facility handle corrosive chemicals on a day-to-day basis? If so, you’ve probably witnessed how much damage these chemicals can wreak on a building’s infrastructure. Not only can corrosive chemicals, from acids and bases to strong solvents, eat through a conventional floor coating, they can also seriously damage the concrete substrate. Left unchecked, corrosion may lead to hazardous holes or cracks in your floor — which can mean costly repairs and unexpected shutdowns.
Chemicals are central to many industries, including:
- Pharmaceutical labs – Labs may work with certain acids to produce medicine, such as acetylsalicylic acid used in Aspirin.
- Beverage processing facilities – Facilities producing soft drinks or seltzer work with carbonic acid, which can corrode steel in high amounts.
- Food processing facilities – Citrus fruits and certain additives contain citric acid, while various animal products contain lactic acid. Both can damage an uncoated or improperly coated floor.
- Manufacturing – Whether your facility produces fertilizer, soaps, plastics or brake fluid, chances are a variety of chemicals are present on any given day.
Durable, chemical-resistant flooring systems are critical for long-term facility success. These can help prevent structural issues while also keeping employees safe, supporting sanitation goals and improving the overall facility aesthetic. Common options include:
- Epoxy – A highly versatile flooring option suited to a variety of environments, epoxy delivers long-term durability and chemical resistance ideal for high-foot-traffic areas and light-to-medium manufacturing areas. Depending on your facility’s needs, epoxy can be entirely smooth or aggressively slip resistant. Additionally, epoxy creates a seamless surface, making for easy, thorough cleaning.
- Polyurethane – Glossy polyurethane coatings are also a good option for facilities with frequent chemical exposure. Scratch-, impact- and abrasion-resistant, polyurethane coatings can withstand industrial facilities with heavy foot or machinery traffic, such as vehicle manufacturers or plane hangars. Often combined with epoxy to get the best qualities of each coating type, polyurethane is also UV-resistant, so it won’t yellow with sun exposure.
- Novolac – Designed to provide improved levels of chemical resistance as well as thermal stability, novolac epoxy coatings can withstand nonstop chemical or solvent exposure. These tough coatings are frequently installed in tandem with epoxy, steel or urethane concrete mortars, at heavy manufacturing sites, secondary containment facilities, solvent storage location and other high exposure areas. Some formulations also provide spark-proof surfaces.
Installing the appropriate flooring system now will save you money and trouble down the road. You’ll also want to keep in mind: Chemical spills aren’t the only hazard at industrial facilities to take into consideration when choosing floor coatings. Work with a skilled flooring contractor to identify the appropriate flooring options to get the most return from your design investment. Contact us for a quote.