What is resin flooring?
If you are reading this then you may have a floor covered in vinyl, tiles, concrete or even carpet. You you are not sure what resin is and what the benefits a resin floor installation has over traditional floor coverings such as vinyl.
On this page we:
- Compare resin to concrete and resin to vinyl
- Explain how a resin flooring installation can benefit your workplace
- How a resin floor will save you money in long term maintenance
- Have a resin floor installation with a life expectancy of over 15 years
There are three main types of resin which are used in the majority of resin flooring installations
- Methyl Methacrylate or MMA
The photograph below shows the uplift of existing quarry tiles and preparation of the substrate and the installation of a heavy duty polyurethane screed in a central processing unit at Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.
Protect the substrate from damage
Resin flooring protects the substrate from any damage. Due to its seamless properties, resin flooring offers unprecedented hygienic properties by inhibiting bacterial growth. In addition they are easy to clean and maintain.
Slip resistant resin flooring products ensure that workplaces are safe environments.
Decorative resin flooring can provide unlimited design options in both quartz and acrylic flakes; they can offer a bespoke design that can deliver a unique appearance to any project, industrial or commercial, large or small.
The photograph below shows the uplift of existing tiles and preparation of the substrate and the installation of a decorative quartz screed to a staircase at a manufacturer of surgical blades in Sheffield.
What are the key benefits of resin flooring?
- Strong and fully bonded to the substrate
- Excellent resistance to a wide range of aggressive chemicals and substances
- Impervious to liquids
- Durability and resistance to impact or abrasion
- Hygienic and easy of cleaning
- Create a safe workplace
- Bespoke levels of slip resistance
- Greater resistance to cracking
- Low applied thickness
Resin flooring v Concrete
The key advantage of using a resin flooring finish is that resin floors are exceptionally tough and durable. The life expectancy of a FeRFA Type 8, heavy duty resin flooring classification would typically be 15 years. They have a higher compressive strength than concrete meaning that they will be able to withstand much more weight, for example the installation of a heavy machine in an engineering factory or excessive fork lift truck traffic, in additional to resilience and resistance to impact or abrasion damage.
The photograph below is a resin repair to the concrete substrate to a fork lift truck route at a health and beauty manufacturing plant in Bradford
Another advantage of resin flooring against concrete is dust. Resin flooring products whether it’s a floor seal applied in two or more coats or a trowel applied heavy duty polyurethane screed, stop dusting of cementitious substrates.
Resin flooring v Vinyl flooring
Both resin flooring and vinyl flooring offer attractive solutions for any industrial or commercial location. We’ve already talked about the compressive strength benefits of resin flooring. Another advantage of resin flooring against vinyl is that resin solutions are more flexible under stress avoiding and cracking. Resin flooring is also impervious to water and moisture damage, so unlike vinyl which absorbs water causing weak areas to split which eventually causes the vinyl to de-bond from the substrate, water on a resin floor finish will not allow any penetration of the surface. Resin flooring can be hand or power washed without causing any damage. Any chemical or substance spillage will not create any damage to the resin flooring surface, protecting the substrate which it is applied upon.
Vinyl flooring can offer the following benefits over other soft flooring options:
- Low maintenance
- Water resistant, almost impervious to water
- Comfort underfoot
- Limited stain resistance
- Ease of installation
However, vinyl flooring does have some major disadvantages to take into consideration when up against a resin flooring option:
Vinyl flooring is volatile to organic chemicals (VOC’s). The chemicals used in the manufacture of vinyl flooring can cause toxic out-gassing to occur after the floor is installed. This can release volatile chemicals which may lead to respiratory problems, eye irritation or asthma reactions. The level of out-gassing in a vinyl floor will be related to its chemical make-up and the age of the floor as most out-gassing occurs early on.
Vinyl flooring is not biodegradable and does not break down naturally in to the environment in a short period of time. It is also very rarely recycled, which means that old, worn out materials often end up taking up space in landfills. Vinyl floors also consume non-renewable natural resources such as petroleum and natural gas during the manufacturing process.
When installing vinyl it is particularly important that you have a perfect smooth, flat surface to install upon. Because vinyl is relatively soft, even small grains trapped beneath the floor can wear down the material over time, these will wear down the material, causing rips and tears and therefore creating potential slip and trip hazards.
While vinyl is generally resistance to stains, it is susceptible to discolouration when it comes into contact with rubber mats that have a rubber backing or rubber shoe heels that scuff against the floor. This can cause a chemical reaction in that the material can permanently discolour the vinyl flooring.
High quality vinyl will be durable, while low quality material will be susceptible to rips and tears. Unfortunately, vinyl flooring cannot be refinished, so when it is damaged it needs to be removed and replaced.
Altro offer a wide range of both vinyl and resin flooring products at www.altro.co.uk
ACC Flooring Ltd is legally registered to remove the waste we generate from all sites. We were the first resin flooring contractor in the UK to recycle up to 100% of the waste we generate. By receiving up to date monthly reports, we can see exactly what products are being recycled and the quantities.
Resin flooring to reduce slips and trips
Slips, trips and falls are the most common course of injury in the workplace.
- Nearly 37.5 million falls worldwide require medical attention each year.
- Each year an estimated 424,000 people die from falls globally.
- Falls are the second leading course of accidental or unintentional deaths from injury worldwide.
I’m sure you’ll agree these statistics are staggering, so how can a resin flooring installation reduce the potential for slips and trips?
Most resin flooring systems have a slip resistant option. That is the creation of a profiled finish during the installation which is not detrimental to the performance or aesthetics of the floor.
To a FeRFA Type 1, 2 and 3 classification an aggregate can be scattered or fully blinded between the 2 coat installation to create slip resistance. The choice of aggregate size can vary depending upon how much of a profile is required. Sometimes there is a balance between profile and the cleaning maintenance regime, as a very coarse profile is harder to clean.
A decorative acrylic flake system, FeRFA type 4, or a flowable applied resin flooring system, FeRFA type 5, are not classed a slip resistant products due to the structure of the system as there are no aggregates included which will give an semblance of slip resistance.
With a decorative quartz screed, FeRFA type 6 product offering, there are two options either a standard product which again due to the composition of the product has no slip resistance classification. A slip resistant option is available by incorporating 2 slip resistant seal coats.
Both FeRFA type 7 and Type 8 products are natural slip resistant again due to the product composition.
Slip resistance is measured to BS 7976 (now BS EN 13036-4) to a pendulum test method; the result is shown as a PTV value for which a product with a PTV of ≥36 is classed as being slip resistant. A heavy duty polyurethane screed would typically have a PTV of ≥50 due to the coarseness of the aggregate used in the system & also its trowel applied method of application.
For more information on slip tests go to: https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/geis2.pdf
How resin flooring works in a brewery or a commercial kitchen
Polyurethane resin flooring systems provide the perfect solution for either a brewery or commercial kitchen area.
Resin manufacturers have their polyurethane flooring product portfolio independently tested by Campden BRI so that you can be assured that they meet the Health & Safety legislation requirements in addition to quality and suitability for such hygiene demanding manufacturing and processing areas.
The main features of a polyurethane seamless resin flooring system are that they inhibit bacterial growth, which makes it a perfect choice for food grade flooring. They are easy to clean and maintain a 9mm thickness installation can also be steam cleaned at 120°C. They offer outstanding impact, abrasion and chemical resistance in addition to slip resistant properties.
Vertical render and coving detail can be installed to complement the flooring installation ensuring a smooth transition from floor to wall, enhancing cleaning and hygienic properties of a product which has a life expectancy of 20 years.
ACC Flooring Ltd has vast experience of carrying out resin flooring installations in breweries with Cameron Brewery, Saltaire Brewery, Small World Beers and McColls Brewery being amongst our clients.
Please take a look at 2 brewery case studies:
Altro have produced a brochure designed specifically for commercial kitchens: https://www.altro.co.uk/Latest/Brochures/Commercial-kitchens
How resin flooring works in a classroom
The traditional classroom flooring options have been vinyl or tile floors but resin flooring is becoming more popular because of its seamless, monolithic finish, but also because of the range of decorative finishes available and the easy of cleaning and maintenance.
With a hard wearing finish that can deliver high levels of durability, resin flooring systems can offer more cost effective classroom flooring options than other traditional floorcoverings.
Epoxy resin systems which encapsulate decorative acrylic flakes look great in either matt or gloss finishes. Available in a range of eye catching colour options they are a perfect classroom flooring solution.
Decorative quartz resin flooring systems installed at 3mm – 6mm offer versatility in both school laboratories due to their level of chemical and slip-resistance properties, but also provide classroom locations with striking design flooring options.
Flexible, liquid vinyl products combine durability with good impact resistance. With UV stability they also offer education Business Managers outstanding life cycle costs and have more than 50% renewable, natural oil content therefore being kind to the environment.
In a classroom environment, resin flooring feels great to stand and walk on and are ideal for staff that are on their feet all day.
For music classrooms and libraries, there are also acoustic options which provide sound insulation as standard along with delivering levels of comfort underfoot, reducing fatigue caused by long periods of standing on hard floors.
With a comprehensive product choice which offers durability, design and colour choice, impact and chemical resistance, slip-resistant properties, resin flooring can offer ideal classroom flooring options to any primary or secondary school, college or university.
How resin flooring works with chemical bunds
Resin flooring has been used for many years to provide chemical resistance generally to concrete bases. Specially formulated protective coatings and heavy duty polyurethane screeds tend to provide an answer to a wide range of solutions against oils and fuels to food products or derivatives to natural or synthetic fats and oils to highly aggressive acids, alkalis and solvents. Chemical resistant resin flooring systems also have an environmental purpose to prevent surface liquids from contaminating the ground underneath any structure in addition to giving protection to the substrate on which it has been installed upon.
The photograph below is a chemical bund in a micro-brewery in Huddersfield
BASF Chemicals have developed their Masterseal 7000CR system which is consists of MasterSeal P770 which provides high substrate penetration and acts as a bond promoter for the subsequent MasterSeal M790 membrane. This product is highly chemical resistant and ideal for waterproofing and protection on concrete structures in harsh conditions.
It can be used on horizontal and vertical structures for both internal and external chemical bunds.
How long can a resin floor last?
All resin flooring manufacturers will offer a warranty against each of their offerings in their product portfolio.
Product warranties range from 2 – 15 years whilst anticipated life expectancies vary from 5 – 20 years depending upon the choice of system. However, with the correct maintenance regime and duty of care, a resin floor can exceed even the manufacturers and resin flooring contractors’ expectations.
Resin flooring and commercial environments
Commercial resin flooring can offer a wealth of benefits over other types of flooring solutions. Whether it’s a retail store, a restaurant or bar, an office suite, public market or museum, the choice of flooring is crucial in meeting the demands of each unique project.
So what are the demands in commercial locations? The flooring must be fit for purpose; it must also be aesthetically pleasing on the eye. It has to be durable and easy to clean, meet life expectancy and be a cost effective solution. Whilst other flooring types might meet some of these criteria, resin flooring ticks all the boxes.
There are a variety of resin flooring solutions to meet differing criteria and life expectancy which will out-perform all soft flooring options from decorative acrylic flake or coloured quartz aggregate systems in a wide colour choice, high gloss, self-levelling epoxy products and self-levelling polyurethane flexible solutions both available in an attractive colour palette.
With a diverse range of options in thickness, finish and life expectancy with a comprehensive colour choice, designed for a workplace location either in an industrial or commercial environment, resin flooring has a wealth of advantages, features and benefits over other floorcoverings.
Do do you need help with your next resin floor project?
If you are looking at applying epoxy resin flooring at your workplace or would like to repair an existing resin floor, ask ACC Flooring for a free comprehensive site survey.
What is FeRFA?
FeRFA set the standards for the resin flooring industry and provide manufacturers and contractors with guidelines and technical advice on topics such as:
- Surface smoothness and slip resistance
- Chemical resistance
- Static control
- Temperature resistance
- Curing conditions
- Damp proof membranes
In addition publications on various subjects relating to resin flooring installations and products are available on their website www.ferfa.org.uk.
Types of resin flooring finishes
- FeRFA Type 1 – Epoxy floor seal applied in a minimum of 2 coats can be either coloured or clear with a high sheen finish, life expectancy of 5 years.
- FeRFA Type 2 – Epoxy floor coating applied in a minimum of 2 coats in a gloss finish, life expectancy of 5 years.
- FeRFA Type 3 – High build epoxy coating applied in a minimum of 2 coats in a gloss finish, life expectancy of 7 years.
- FeRFA Type 4 – Multi-layer flooring such as an epoxy resin with a decorative flake encapsulated with either a matt or gloss finish, life expectancy of 8 years.
- FeRFA Type 5 – Flow applied resin flooring in a high gloss finish, life expectancy of 10 years.
- FeRFA Type 6 – Resin screed flooring such as a decorative quartz screed bound in clear resin in a gloss finish, life expectancy 15 years.
- FeRFA Type 7 – Heavy duty flowable flooring, usually in a matt finish with a life expectancy of 10 years.
- FeRFA Type 8 – Heavy duty resin flooring, trowel applied, aggregate filled systems with a life expectancy of 15 years.
How is resin flooring produced?
Resin flooring systems are produced by a chemical reaction when liquid components of a base resin and reactive hardener are mixed in precise proportions to create a uniform and homogeneous final product. The chemical bond formed with the substrate by the polymer reaction will allow for the creation of a strong, solid, continuous flooring surface.
An epoxy resin coating consists of a formulated synthetic resin and a separate hardener.
As the demand for increased performance grows, this would generally result in an increase in resin flooring thickness, the array of components grow to include aggregates, pigments, decorative quartz or acrylic flakes. The thicker, heavy duty resin flooring systems for the hardest working environments are almost always harder than concrete.
The expression “resin” came from epoxy resin on which the original resin floors were formed on. Many different types of chemicals are now used in the manufacture of resin floors. The common feature is that polymerisation or curing reaction takes place in situ to produce the final resin flooring finish.
Resin flooring systems are available in a wide range of thicknesses from a floor seal of up to 150 microns to a heavy duty polyurethane screed at 9mm generally used for industrial workplaces. The choice of resin flooring system can offer a seamless surface with greatly enhanced performance to the concrete or cementitious base on which it is applied.
FeRFA, the Resin Flooring Association, represents leading manufacturers, contractors and associated companies involved in resin flooring and set the standards for resin flooring industry.