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When choosing a polymer coating for floors of an office, industrial or commercial building, a contractor, architect and customer often encounter a considerable number of difficulties, caused partly by the limited budget for installation and operating costs, partly by a low level of awareness about which properties are inherent in this or a different type of coating.
The uniformity and limited choice of monolithic polymer coatings have long since sunk into oblivion. The modern market offers a potential buyer a fairly wide selection of products of this kind: standard epoxy, polyurethane, methyl methacrylate, rough and super-smooth, self-leveling and highly filled, one-color and pleasing to the eye with all the colors of the rainbow ... Sometimes it is not easy even for a specialist to understand such a variety. How not to be mistaken in the choice of coverage, at the lowest cost to purchase the highest quality product?
Firstly, it is necessary to clearly define in what conditions the operation of the floor covering will take place. It should be borne in mind that, contrary to the assurances of marketers, there is no universal coverage suitable for all conditions. For example, roll coatings or tiles are perfect for areas with low to moderate pedestrian traffic, but for the floor on which wheeled vehicles move, they are completely unsuitable.
Self-leveling (self-leveling) floors are an ideal solution for clean rooms, but they do not differ in wear resistance, and they are not applicable in a room with high humidity due to the lack of roughness. Highly filled coatings are the most wear-resistant and maintainable, but they will not provide the required level of aesthetics.
Secondly, even with a limited budget, you should not choose the cheapest flooring. Most often, initially cheap monolithic polymer floors in the process of operation require much more costs for maintenance, maintenance, etc. So it turns out that during the life cycle of the coating, 2-4 times more money is invested in it than in the initially more expensive, but less demanding to care and more wear-resistant product.
Finally, before making a decision, gather as much information as possible about your chosen flooring to understand what is myth and publicity stunt and what is true about monolithic flooring.
The price of monolithic polymer coatings is higher than the cost of alternative materials (ceramic tiles, roll coatings, etc.). Indeed, the initial price of monolithic polymer coatings is quite high. However, it should be borne in mind that coatings of this kind are characterized by high strength, wear resistance, they are durable and do not require large costs for care and maintenance. Therefore, the final cost (taking into account the costs of materials for the maintenance of floor coverings, maintenance, etc.) of monolithic polymer coatings will be at least two times lower than the initially cheaper floors.
The polymer coating is not as durable as ceramic tiles. Indeed, tiles laid on an elastic polyurethane membrane on epoxy glue (the seams are also sealed with epoxy grout) will last longer than a polymer floor covering. However, it should be borne in mind that, firstly, its cost is at least twice the cost of a polymer floor, and secondly, poorly laid tiles cannot be repaired, therefore, in this case, you will have to pay for the installation of new floors again.
There is only one option for monolithic flooring - epoxy coatings. In fact, in our time for the manufacture of monolithic polymer floor coverings, many types of resins are used. However, it should be noted that each of them has certain advantages and disadvantages. For example, polymer concretes (highly filled epoxy coatings) are not very aesthetic in appearance, but they are highly wear-resistant and durable, and, therefore, are ideal for rooms with high operational loads. At the same time, such coatings, due to their low level of elasticity, are sensitive to thermal shock. Therefore, if a large amount of hot flushing liquid is spilled from the technological containers onto the floor, the coating may deform.
Polyurethane coatings, on the other hand, due to their elasticity, are extremely resistant to thermal shock, easily resist food acids, therefore they are an ideal choice for food production. However, it should be taken into account that solvents may be present in the composition of such floor coverings, which will make it impossible to use the coating in the food industry. In addition, polyurethane coatings have greater adhesion to the substrate and are more expensive than epoxy ones.
Methyl methacrylate coatings have a high level of heat resistance, are resistant to various chemicals, and quickly harden. But such a coating is sensitive to the action of solvents and has a strong odor, as a result of which it can be installed (or repaired in case of damage) only during the interruption of the production process (as a result of which the final cost of the coating increases significantly).
Plain epoxy floors can only be installed in production areas and warehouses - elsewhere they will not harmonize with the design of the premises. Indeed, the level of aesthetics of floor coverings of this kind left much to be desired for a long time. However, thanks to recent advances in polymer chemistry, colored decorative monolithic polymer coatings have appeared on the market. At the request of the customer, we can create floors with a graphic pattern and multi-color, thanks to the addition of some components (quartz, glass, etc.) to the decorative flooring.
Any base is suitable for laying monolithic polymer coatings. This is not entirely true. Indeed, the durability of any type of flooring - tiles, monolithic coating, roll materials - depends on the quality of the base (evenness, strength, absence of cracks, etc.). If the base is of poor quality, the floor covering laid on it will quickly collapse during operation.
The treatment of the subfloor prior to laying the resin coating is also extremely important. It should be noted that the adhesion of the polymer to the base is determined by the adhesion area (degree of roughness) of the surface and the absence of a laitance layer on it. In order to ensure reliable adhesion, the substrate should be shot blasted. Since such rigs are expensive, some companies that are not able (or willing) to purchase them argue that diamond (or other) cutters will achieve the same effect. Such statements should not be believed. With the help of cutters, the base can only be sanded, making it either smooth or unevenly covered with scratches. But cement laitance cannot be completely removed in this way.
Polymer coatings (even if their thickness is less than 1 mm) will last a long time. Misconception. After all, for example, nails protruding from wooden pallets by 1-3 mm can damage a thin monolithic floor covering. Therefore, it will have to be updated at least once a year.
Monolithic polymer coatings are laid without seams. Indeed, a polymer floor, laid with high quality and competently, looks like a seamless, although in fact it is not. Almost all polymer coatings have seams located at the base seams.
You don't need to care for monolithic polymer coatings. Any floor covering requires maintenance, monolithic polymer floors are by no means an exception - and you will have to wash it periodically, and clean it from sand and other abrasive materials.
When choosing the color of a monolithic polymer coating, you should be guided only by the designer's advice. Of course, you can choose any color scheme, but you should take into account some factors. For example, on a plain floor, any dirt is clearly visible. Such a floor will have to be more carefully protected from the ingress of abrasives (after all, dirt accumulates in micro-scratches) and cleaned more often. This kind of flooring is most appropriate in places where the presence of dust and dirt is highly undesirable (food and pharmaceutical production, electronics industry). But in trading halls, canteens, corridors, etc. you can install a multi-color polymer floor.
If quality materials are selected, the flooring will also be of high quality. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. After all, high-quality material is only one of the components in the installation of flooring. But even the best material, laid on a poorly processed base without observing the appropriate technologies, will not last long. Therefore, one should also take into account:
- Correctness of concrete processing before installing the coating;
- Compliance with the temperature and humidity conditions in the room during work;
- Adjoining the coating to walls and columns;
- Creation of the desired slope to the ladders for water drainage;
- Correctness of adhesion of the monolithic coating to the floor, etc.
Neglect of the above details is the cause of almost all defects that occur during the operation of a monolithic polymer coating.
The installation of monolithic polymeric coatings can be performed by any company specializing in services of this kind. Yes it is. However, it should be borne in mind that in case of problems with the coating, the stacker will blame the manufacturer, the manufacturer - the stacker, and the customer, who finds himself "between two fires", will not be able to prove anything, or will spend a lot of money on various types of examinations and inquiries.
In order to minimize the possibility of the above situation occurring, the choice of a stacker should be taken very seriously. It is best to give preference to the manufacturer-stacker bundle, and pay attention to the packaging of the material (the ideal option is a small package designed for one portion of the mixing station), because inaccuracy in the selection of even high-quality ingredients will lead to a low-quality final product.
It is also possible to ask the material manufacturer or previous customers for information on the selected paver, as well as request technical specifications for the offered coatings (i.e. information on chemical resistance, thickness, application).
In addition, even before concluding a contract with a stacker, be sure to check the warranty conditions. At the same time, it is important to pre-collect information, for example, about the service life of the coating you have chosen (some installers state in the guarantee the service life of the coating, the thickness of which is 0.1-0.5 mm - 3-5 years, which is completely untrue).