Why warehouse floor coatings are more than just paint
Compared to other equipment and capabilities necessary in productive warehouses or other industrial settings, the paint chosen to coat a concrete floor never tops anyone’s list.
But warehouse floor coatings are critical to safe, efficient operations because they can reduce slip and trip hazards, protect concrete from harmful spills and heavy abuse and increase an operation’s efficiency.
At best, underestimating the necessity of the right warehouse floor coating can hold an operation back from running at peak efficiency. At worst, it puts employees and assets at risk and firms on the hook.
Enhance safety, efficiency and aesthetics with warehouse floor coatings
In settings where heavy shelves and forklifts are used, the right warehouse floor coating can protect concrete from cracking and chipping as well as the harmful effects of spilled chemicals. Coatings also protect people. Workers can move more safely on floor coatings engineered to resist slips and trips.
While it may seem frivolous to labor over what color to paint a floor, the right color does more for a space than meets the eye:
- Spilled chemicals can be located and cleaned more easily when they contrast with the color of a floor coating. Differing floor coating colors can also separate sectors of a warehouse. This increases efficiency and reduces the risk of confusion and accidents.
- Utility bills in warehouses add up. But the right warehouse floor coating can reflect light, keeping spaces more brightly lit. High-gloss coatings can reduce the cost to light a space or lead to the reduction in amount of lights used.
- Aesthetics do matter. While a floor’s coating can add value in terms of safety, efficiency and asset protection, they’re also more pleasing to look at. Certain colors can even improve workers’ moods.
Comparing coating systems
The advantages and disadvantages of the many available coating systems mean decision makers must assess the work done in their spaces, the safety concerns present in those settings, their project budget and time constraints. Here’s a quick roundup of warehouse floor coating systems:
- MMA – Low-glare Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) systems are resistant to some acids, alkalis and solvents and boast a fast cure time—you can walk on an MMA-coated surface in less than two hours. MMA can be applied at lower temperatures, can withstand elevated temperatures and has a much higher dry film thickness (DFT) than other systems, making it resistant to scratching. But floor preparation cannot be overlooked as MMA systems don’t bond as well to substrates compared to other options. Good ventilation is required when applying odorous MMA coats. MMA systems require as many as four coats and are costlier compared to other systems.
- Epoxy and urethane – These systems also resist chemicals well and boast high hardness. Their dry film thickness is on par with other coatings systems, require three coats and are among the less costly alternatives. But these systems do not cure quickly. The walk-on time of 24 hours is among the longest of the available systems; because each coat takes longer to cure, the total project time takes nearly two days.
- 100% solids epoxy – These systems stand up to abrasion and chemical spills and can be applied to floors as part of a multi-part system or on their own. Because these coatings are 100% solids, their wet film thickness and dry film thickness are identical. That means no thickness is lost due to evaporation of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For this reason, 100% solids epoxy coatings are safer to use. They’re also the cheapest option, but they do not cure quickly —walk-on time is up to 24 hours.
- Polyaspartic – This hybrid system is an offshoot of epoxy and urethane systems that offers the advantages in a single coating what two coatings of epoxy and urethane systems can muster. Polyaspartic formulations can be manipulated to allow for curing times that suit individual projects and can be applied at temperatures well below freezing. Walk-on time is just four hours and polyaspartics are safer to use due to only moderate odors. These systems are costlier than epoxy / urethane and 100% solids systems but offer better flexibility compared to the other options.
US Coatings systems suit various needs
No industrial setting is identical, so one coating type certainly doesn’t fit all settings. That’s why US Coatings offers a range of floor coating options made to suit your individual needs.
GripCrete 200 SL – This 100% solids flooring epoxy is recommended in interior spaces where abrasion resistance or chemical protection is desired, including warehouses, service centers and commercial buildings. It can be used alone or in a multi-coat system.
GripCrete 200 SL can be applied directly to concrete but the risk outgassing / pinholing is reduced if the surface is primed. See additional GripCrete 200 SL specs here.
GripCrete 1750 MVE – MVE stands for moisture vapor emission. This low-odor, low-VOC, 100% solids concrete primer / sealer minimizes outgassing and moisture vapor transmission. GripCrete 1750 MVE is suitable for use as a primer in confined spaces and in underground or above-ground concrete coating applications. It can be applied to damp concrete.
GripCrete 1750 MVE is prone to chalking and ambering under sunlight in humid conditions; urethane or polyaspartic topcoats (such as GripCrete 200 SL or GripCrete 9000 PA) are recommended to prevent epoxy erosion and to retain color.
GripCrete 9000 PA – PA stands for polyaspartic. This next-generation coating is designed for a wide range of interior and exterior applications, including in warehouses, factories, chemical processing plants, stadiums and institutional buildings like hospitals and schools. It can also serve as a topcoat over other US Coatings floor systems. GripCrete 9000 PA is fast curing and UV-stable.
Polyaspartic coatings add greater value because they achieve in a single application the benefits of an epoxy and urethane system. As project timelines and budgets constrict, a polyaspartic warehouse floor coating could be the option that returns industrial spaces to service faster while keeping workers safe.
Thinking strategically about your warehouse floor coating can raise many questions, so contact us and we’ll help guide you through choosing the coating that best suits your space and developing a coatings maintenance plan. To get additional information about the products we offer, consult our product catalog.