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Floor protection is a necessity – How & Why?

The first impression of a building is usually given by how clean the floor appears. This applies to both hard and soft flooring. Floors are expensive and are expected to last a long time. By protecting the floor surface, dirt will not penetrate into the floor and therefore will be easier to clean and protect the floors from scuff and scratch. This is suitable for any type of industry where floor protection is important in order to get customer attention, self-satisfaction and slip prevention to name a few. Because of day to day use, all floors loses their gloss along because of scratches and scuff marks along with strains.

Floor chemicals play an important role in protecting any kind of industrial flooring. The terms often used are polymerization, monomers, melting points, gloss level, scratch resistant, buffing and burnishing.

In conventional acrylic floor finishes, crystallization/ vitrification works generally with the creating a chemical reaction on the surface of the floor in the use of an acid, fluorosilicate compounds and waxes. This is only achievable with stone containing calcium carbonate and so most limestone, marble and travertine can be vitrified where as granite cannot. This method will eventually provide high level of gloss but because of its low durability, the maintenance cost will go high.

The common misconception is the long lasting mirror look because of crystallization. Over use of this method can produce a false plastic looking floor which is known as Orange peel effect. It is argued by many that crystallizing the stone creates an impervious finish on the surface. Although this may seem like an advantage, it is actually detrimental to the life span of the stone. Stone needs to breathe and a surface which is completely impregnable while not allowing moisture to escape will cause the stone to rot over a long period of time.

There is also Epoxy floor coating where the floor is protected with around 2mm of epoxy layers. Though the great advantage of epoxy coating is high chemical resistance, this application needs thorough preparation and it is costly to maintain and repair. Delaminating is also very common in this type of floor finishes. Epoxy flooring is specially recommended for heavy duty traffic areas, food processing areas, chemical processing, abattoirs, factories and warehouses.

Currently, Stone or Vinyl floor protector are available which crosslink’s to a high durable coating where only two coats are required to protect the floor from stain, scuff and scratch. The stone floor protector is a high performance floor surface hardener and protective clear coat for concrete, marble, terrazzo and other porous stone surfaces. It produces a glossy surface with resistance to water, chemicals, scuffs and scratches. It is also easy to repair or recoat (once or twice in an year); and no stripping required. The scratches on surface can be burnished away with proper burnishing operation. Stone floor protector maintains a durable finish for up to one year. Studies show that reducing the maintenance and chemical requirement associated with traditional acrylic floor finishes results in up to 35% saving in operation costs the first year and up to 60% savings in subsequent year.

What does it provide?

•  Stain protection (like an impregnator)

•  Hardening (like a densifier)

•  Wear protection (like a sacrificial coating)

•  Gloss enhancement (like a topical coating)

•  Reparability

When NOT to use

•  Extreme lippage

•  No burnisher available

•  Granite

•  Black stones

•  Ceramic

•  Air temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit

Regarding sustainability and environmentally preferable, these products go through a Life Cycle Management (LCM) process. LCM includes a comprehensive review of a product’s potential health, safety, environmental and regulatory impact throughout its lifetime. It includes reviews of raw material acquisition, transportation, manufacturing, use and disposal. The technical experts in toxicology, industrial hygiene, environmental science, product stewardship and product safety all should participate in the LCM process. Their guidance in the product development process helps ensure delivery of safe, environmentally preferable, functional solutions to customers.

Debapratim Dinda
Technical Cell
3M India Limited

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