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The Goodness of floor chemicals

A discussion on floor chemicals will invariably throw up the following words – polymerization, monomers, melting points, gloss levels, scratch resistance, buffing and burnishing. A floor finish chemical is nothing but a liquid floor surface application which dries to a hard and durable coating that protects the floor while giving it a good look and anti-slip surface. Floor finishes generally have separate components which assist in film formation, curing and finishing.

In conventional acrylic floor finishes, crystallization/vitrification works generally by creating a chemical reaction on the surface of the floor by use of 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 be.

This method will eventually provide high level of gloss but because of its low durability, the maintenance cost will be high. Over and above that, it may have an orange peel effect where the floor may give a false plastic look.

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 period of time.

There are also methods like grinding and polishing but they will not provide any stain protection and at the same time need to be repeated frequently.

Epoxy floor coating is another floor finish method where the floor is protected with around 2mm of epoxy layers. The great advantage of epoxy coating is high chemical resistance but this application needs thorough preparation and it is costly to maintain and repair. De-lamination is also very common in this type of floor finish.

In the era of 4G, there are certain floor protectors which go beyond the limitations of other floor finishes. Now a days, stone or vinyl floor protector (modern floor protector) are available which crosslink to a highly durable coating where only two coats are required to protect the floor from stains, scuff marks and scratches.

These types of floor protectors are durable and easy to maintain, penetrates deeper into stone surface versus sodium or potassium sealers, easy to work with – low learning curve for floor care professionals, easy to maintain- neutral cleaner/auto scrub + burnish as desired, easy to repair auto scrub and recoat or strip and recoat.

Moreover, in this modern type of coating, recoating is required once or twice in a year depending on the traffic.

In terms of Gloss value the acrylic floor finishes when initially installed will provide high gloss (>80) but it reduces with wear. Most acrylic floor finishes require multiple strips and recoats per year and multiple deep scrubs and topcoats per year.

Stone or vinyl floor protectors coating on the other hand, can be installed in two coats and placed in service immediately. It has an installed gloss value between 65 and 75, depending on the floor condition and will retain its gloss value. A simple auto scrub with a neutral cleaner and burnishing as desired is all that is needed to maintain the surface. And it will remain scuff-and scratch-resistant for an extended period of time.

These products are also environmentally preferable which means they have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competition. This comparison may consider raw materials acquisition, production, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, reuse, operation, maintenance, or disposal of the product or service.

Debapratim Dinda
Technical Cell, 3M India Limited-India

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