COMMERCIAL FLOOR COATINGS – DANGEROUS FOR WORKERS?

Industrie Boden für Supermärkte
Industrie Boden für Supermärkte

Commercial floor coatings have been used for decades to protect floors from traffic, spills and normal wear and tear. But did you know that every time you enter a hospital, Industrie Boden für Supermärkte mall, or garage, you’re probably walking on dangerous substances called isocyanates ?

Isocyanates have been responsible for more than 10,000 deaths in India at Union Carbide’s Bohpal plant and have caused myriad respiratory problems and other health challenges in nearly every developed and non-developed country.

So this isocyanate stuff and why use it at all?

Isocyanates are considered chemicals that contain the highly reactive isocyanate group . Basically, when there are two or more isocyanate groups on a molecule ( diisocyanates or polyisocyanates ), a process of linking with other molecules occurs to form long-chain polymers called polyurethanes.

Isocyanates are used in traditional polyurethane, which is one of the most ubiquitous materials in commercialization. Polyurethane is not only used in commercial floor coatings, but also in foam sprays applied to everything from plumbing pipes to building materials to automotive manufacturing. As a multi-billion dollar industry, many manufacturers have invested millions of dollars manufacturing, marketing, distributing and selling polyurethane and are therefore far too lax about possible regulatory changes.

Needless to say, the industry is slow to change its toxic behaviors and will soon come under scrutiny from the environmental protection industry, which has begun to follow the lead of the European Union in tightening its regulations on toxic isocyanates . Eventually, as manufacturers find cheaper “green” substitutes, we will see the phase-out of traditional polyurethane. Of course, this doesn’t happen overnight and it can take 10 to 20 years or more before the work environment is free of toxic soil.

On the plus side, there are many new technologies that replace traditional polyurethane and contain zero isocyanates . These technologies include epoxy resins, typically found on surfboards, which have high chemical resistance. Although epoxies can be used on floors, they don’t have the durability of a traditional polyurethane and need to be replaced much more frequently. This frequent replacement can make using epoxy quite expensive and tedious due to multiple applications and the labor associated with those applications.

Other eco-friendly alternatives show more promise for commercial floor coatings and are based on hybrid technologies that incorporate both the chemical resistance of an epoxy and the durability of traditional polyurethane. These new “green” hybrid commercial floor coatings contain no toxic isocyanates and last longer than traditional polyurethane.

Choosing the right commercial flooring

Replacing a floor is a big job, and when it comes to commercial flooring, the job is even bigger. You need to maintain a certain level of organization so that installing a new floor doesn’t completely shut down your business. So how do you choose the right flooring so you don’t have to replace it again soon?

Here are some tips to help you:

  • Start by considering what type of flooring you think the room will need. This largely depends on the nature of your business and how the floor will be used. For example, you might want carpet in a restaurant dining room, but you need a sturdier, non-slip floor covering in the kitchen area.
  • Think about the type and amount of traffic the floor will be exposed to. This is definitely the most important component in choosing the right vinyl floor as it will ultimately determine how quickly you need to replace the floor. If you don’t factor in the traffic that traverses the floor on a regular basis, it will wear out sooner rather than later.
  • Consider the amount and type of cleaning required. Many business owners and managers don’t give much thought to this aspect of choosing the right flooring, but it is important. You need to consider if you have the number of staff available to do a proper cleaning of the floor. If not, then you need to consider how much it will cost to hire a process cleaning company to do it. This is especially important if you are considering having a hardwood floor installed, as proper maintenance takes a lot more time and effort than maintaining other types of floors.
  • Choose colors that not only complement your decor and branding, but also stay stylish for years to come. Neutral tones are always best because they go with everything and won’t go out of style anytime soon. The last thing you need is a dated-looking showroom a year or two after the flooring was installed.
  • Keep warranties and quality levels in mind when considering different flooring brands. As with everything else in life, quality is certainly important when it comes to choosing commercial vinyl flooring. Usually the better brand names come with great warranties, so you’re covered should anything happen to the floor. Even quality brands are more capable of withstanding years of abuse.

You should consult a flooring expert for help in choosing Industrie Boden für Supermärkte the best commercial vinyl flooring for your business. After filling out a checklist of information, consult an expert about the best type of flooring for your needs. He or she can explain the pros and cons of different types of flooring and guide you to some of the best options available on the market.

Let the experts at Generations Flooring help you choose the right commercial flooring in Toronto. They have installed a variety of commercial floors for more than 30 years. In addition to commercial flooring, they also offer residential flooring and industrial flooring in Toronto. Call today and find out what a difference the right flooring can make for your business. 905.669.6618.

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