Get the right floor coating to provide optimal protection
Floor coating serves as thin protective layers on existing floors and as thicker complete flooring systems. The thin film floor coatings are usually not thicker than a millimetre, but the complete flooring systems may reach up to one centimetre in thickness. The most common floor coating for concrete on the market is epoxy and polyurethane based resin floor coatings which both come with unique properties. Wooden floors can also be painted, as we cover later in this article.
Floor coatings can be for many different purposes and function: here are 5 examples of what can be achieved with the right floor coating.
- Promotes hygiene: The seamless layer prevents spread and growth of mould, bacteria and fungi.
- Decorative: Available in nearly all RAL colours and in finishes from ultra matt to high gloss.
- Functional additives: It is possible make floors anti slip or fire retardant by using the right additives.
- Cost efficient: Can postpone the need for a new floor, complete floor coating systems are durable and easy to maintain.
- Applicable in every sector: There is a suitable floor coating for every environment.
There are floor coatings suitable for almost any floor, but how to determine which coating is the best for your project? In this article we will provide you with professional advice on choosing the right floor coating for a specified environment.
First determine the purpose of the floor coating
As every environment is different, it is crucial to choose a floor coating that matches the requirements of your specific location. Industrial floors need to bear heavy loads, and commercial floors should feel fine to walk on. A few of the most important factors to consider include downtime during installation, hygiene requirements, presence of chemicals, and people or machines using the floor.
Industrial kitchens, for example, require a HACCP certified coating to meet strict hygiene standards. Where downtime is to be avoided a fast-laid solution, is an option to consider. Therefore, before you jump into looking for floor coating products you should define what is expected from the coated floor.
1. Resistance to chemicals and mechanical abrasion
This floor coating is an extremely hard-wearing solution which relies on epoxy resins. The coatings result in a seamless surface resistant to liquids and dirt, which makes them easy to clean. Epoxy floors bear heavy mechanical loads and do not abrade as a result of foot or vehicle traffic.
Suitable coating: Epoxy floor coating
Possible applications: Industrial floors, warehouses, parking garages, workspaces, factories
2. Pleasant to walk on
Polyurethane coatings are more flexible than epoxies, which makes them softer and more pleasant to walk on. These coatings are also known for their decorative properties; not only are they available in many colours but they also provide a high gloss finish. Also these coatings are easy to clean due to the fact that they are somewhat resistant to contaminants.
Suitable coating: Polyurethane (PU) floor coating
Possible applications: museums, showrooms, public places, retail stores, offices or in the living room
3. Ability to increase and maintain hygiene
Floor coatings with an internationally recognised HACCP certificate contribute to a hygienic, anti bacterial environment; these coatings make sure that fungi and bacteria do not have a chance to attach to and grow on the floor. The HACCP floors are also highly resistant to contaminants and aggressive cleaning chemicals. In Canada, HACCP coatings are mandatory for sectors that process food.
Suitable coating: HACCP floor coating
Possible applications: food and dairy industry, canteens, catering establishments, swimming pools and health centres
4. Fast application & mechanical and chemical resistance
Instant floor coatings are innovative flooring solutions for floors that should be coated with the absolute minimum downtime. The instant floor coatings do not need time for drying, as they are cured by UV radiation.
Suitable coating: Instant floor coating
Possible applications: parking garages, factories, catering kitchens, museums, distribution centres
5. Decorative protection for timber floors
Oil, stain and lacquer are perfect solutions for protecting a timber floor, such as parquet, while letting it retain its natural beauty. Oil is transparent and enhances the natural colours of wood. Stain is absorbed by the timber resulting in a light, semi transparent coloured finish. Stains also provide protection from moisture and UV radiation, which makes them suitable for exterior timber such as decking. Lacquer provides a transparent high gloss film on wooden floors. There are also pigmented lacquers which provide the floor with an opaque colour finish.
Suitable coating: Oil, stain or lacquer
Possible applications: residential and commercial interiors, terraces, decking
The finishing touch and special properties with a top coat
Depending on the requirements for the floor, the coating can be complemented with a top coat that gives the floor additional properties. This is mainly to provide additional safety and protection. A top coat is suitable on any of the aforementioned coatings apart from the wooden floor coatings. However, the top coat must also meet the required standards: a restaurant floor still must be hygienic, a factory floor must not wear easily and a commercial floor should remain pleasant to walk on.
The functions a top coat may have include: anti slip for where additional grip is needed, fire resistance to minimise fire hazard, and anti static where electronic machines may cause short circuits. It is also possible to achieve a special effect with a top coat, for example luminous paint can be used to illuminate exit routes.
Note that if you are opting for a completely new flooring system, these properties can also be created by incorporating additives into the actual floor coating. In that case an additional top coat is not needed.
Always opt for a tailored floor coating solution; provide the contractor with as many details as possible in order to achieve the most suitable floor coating. In case you need any consultancy in choosing a floor coating or you wish to reach suppliers of a specific coating, do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help!
4 Crucial details to be aware of when applying floor coating
Often a floor coating is by far the best flooring option, however, there are some disadvantages related to floor coatings and their application. Consider the following factors before applying floor coatings so you know what you are dealing with:
- Application process is time consuming
A floor coating is an investment of your money and time. The application is a specialist job and can last several days, with some exceptions. If there is no time for application an instant coating is a good choice. Bear in mind that even instant coating requires a well prepared substrate.
- Layer thickness and surface preparation
The thicker the floor coating layer, the more preparation the substrate requires. The usual requirements include a completely clean surface, even surface structure and proper use of primers. Unless you are looking for a self smoothing epoxy coating, which is also applicable on uneven and damaged concrete floors.
- Pricing and durability
Thin layer floor coatings are affordable, however, in the long-term they lack durability. Thicker layer floor coatings are very durable and do not require much maintenance, but they are more expensive in terms of material and application.
- Scratch sensitive epoxy
Epoxy is a hard wearing and impact resistant coating, but it lacks scratch resistance. When epoxy is the coating to be used, it is wise to apply a polyurethane top coat to increase scratch resistance.
What to expect – Floor coating costs per m²
The floor coating price is usually calculated per square metre. If you want to request a quote for coating a floor, never forget to mention the surface. The following 5 factors influence the price of floor coating:
- The larger the surface, the lower the floor coating price per m²: Small surfaces are usually relatively expensive to coat.
- Type of coating: Epoxy is generally cheaper than polyurethane. Different standards apply to HACCP coatings.
- Pre-cleaning: Some surfaces, such as concrete, require intensive pre-cleaning and surface preparation.
- Moisture content on the surface: The moisture content of the substrate may not exceed 3% for optimum results.
- Cheap may turn out expensive: Ask carefully for the quality of raw materials, they determine the durability of the floor coating.
To make it easier for you to roughly estimate floor coating costs, we have compiled a list of price indications per square metre. Note that the prices for instant and HACCP coating are higher than other floor coatings, so the following table cannot be used as a guideline for these two coating types. For the other floor coatings, the table provides a price indication as they are subject to change and variability.
|Area of floor||Price indication per m²|
|1 – 50 m2||$75 – $120|
|51 – 100 m2||$60 – $75|
|101 – 150m2||$50 – $70|
|151m2 +||$35 – $60|
Let your floor be coated by a certified specialist in Canada
So you consider updating a cold room with a hygienic HACCP coating, a parking garage with a fast-curing instant coating, a car showroom with a warm PU floor or something completely different. We at Coating.ca are happy to offer our services to provide you with a floor coating solution. In cooperation with our coating partners we can make you a competitive proposal for both material and application of floor coatings.