Make sure to choose the right floor coating for optimal protection
Floor coating serves as thin protective layers on existing floors and as thicker complete flooring systems. The thin film floor coatings are usually not thicker than a millimetre, but the complete flooring systems may reach up to one centimetre in thickness. The most common floor coatings for concrete on the market are polyurethane and epoxy based resin floor coatings which both come with unique properties. Wooden floors can also be protected with coating, as we cover later in this article.
Floor coatings can be for many different purposes; here are some examples of specified floor coating functions common in Australia:
- Applicable in every sector: There is a suitable floor coating for every environment.
- Cost efficient: Can postpone the need for a new floor, complete floor coating systems are durable and easy to maintain.
- Decorative: Available in nearly all RAL colours and in finishes from ultra matt to high gloss.
- Functional additives: It is possible make floors anti slip or fire retardant by using the right additives.
- Promotes hygiene: The seamless layer prevents spread and growth of mould, bacteria and fungi.
There are floor coatings suitable for almost any floor, but how to determine which coating is the best for your project? In this article we will provide you with professional advice on choosing the right floor coating for a specified environment.
Start by defining what is expected from the floor coating
As every environment sets different requirements for a floor coating, it is crucial to choose a product that matches the requirements of your specific location. Industrial floors need to bear heavy loads, and commercial floors should feel fine to walk on. A few of the most important factors to take into account include downtime during installation, hygiene requirements, presence of chemicals, and people or machines using the floor.
Industrial kitchens, for example, require a HACCP coating to meet strict hygiene requirements. Where downtime is to be avoided a fast-laid solution is an option to consider. Therefore, before you jump into looking for floor coating products you should define what is expected from the coated floor.
1. Walking comfort for the crowd
Description: Polyurethane coatings are more flexible than epoxies, which makes them softer and more pleasant to walk on. These coatings are also known for their decorative properties; not only are they available in many colours but they also provide a high gloss finish. Also these coatings are easy to clean due to the fact that they are somewhat resistant to contaminants.
Applications: museums, showrooms, public places, retail stores, offices or in the living room
Suitable coating: Polyurethane (PU) floor coating
2. High hygiene requirements
Suitable coating: HACCP floor coating
Applications: food and dairy industry, canteens, catering establishments, swimming pools and health centres
Description: Floor coatings with an internationally recognised HACCP certificate contribute to a hygienic, anti bacterial environment; these coatings make sure that fungi and bacteria do not have a chance to attach to and grow on the floor. The HACCP floors are also highly resistant to contaminants and aggressive cleaning chemicals. In Australia, HACCP coatings are mandatory for sectors that process food.
3. Mechanical and chemical resistance
Suitable coating: Epoxy floor coating
Possible applications: Industrial floors, warehouses, parking garages, workspaces, factories
Description: This floor coating is an extremely hard-wearing solution which relies on epoxy resins. The coatings result in a seamless surface resistant to liquids and dirt, which makes them easy to clean. Epoxy floors bear heavy mechanical loads and do not abrade as a result of foot or vehicle traffic.
4. Need for continuous activity (+ industrial properties)
Suitable coating: Instant floor coating
Applications: parking garages, factories, catering kitchens, museums, distribution centres
Description: Instant floor coatings are innovative flooring solutions for floors that should be coated with the absolute minimum downtime. The instant floor coatings do not need time for drying, as they are cured by UV radiation. SolidLux UV Instant Floors is the only such product on the Australian market at the moment.
5. Decorative protection for wooden floors
Suitable coating: Oil, stain or lacquer
Applications: residential and commercial interiors, terraces, decking
Description: Oil, stain and lacquer are perfect solutions for protecting a wooden floor, such as parquet, while letting it retain its natural beauty. Oil is transparent and enhances the natural colours of wood. Stain is absorbed by the wood resulting in a light, semi transparent coloured finish. Stains also provide protection from moisture and UV radiation, which makes them suitable for exterior wood such as decking. Lacquer provides a transparent high gloss film on wooden floors. There are also pigmented lacquers which provide the floor with an opaque colour finish.
Special properties with a floor coating topcoat
Depending on the requirements for the floor, the coating can be complemented with a topcoat that gives the floor additional properties. This is mainly to provide additional safety and protection. A topcoat is suitable on any of the aforementioned coatings apart from the wooden floor coatings. However, the topcoat must also meet the required standards: a restaurant floor still must be hygienic, a factory floor must not wear easily and a commercial floor should remain comfortable to walk on.
The functions of a top coat
The functions a topcoat may provide include: anti slip for where additional grip is needed, fire resistance to minimise fire hazard, and anti bacterial paint where additional hygiene is needed. It is also possible to achieve a special effect with a topcoat, for example light emitting paint can be used to illuminate escape routes.
Note: if you are looking to completely renew a flooring system, these properties can also be created by incorporating additives into the actual floor coating. In that case an additional topcoat is not needed.
Always opt for a tailored floor coating solution; provide the contractor with as many details as possible in order to achieve the most suitable floor coating. In case you need any consultancy in choosing a floor coating or you wish to reach suppliers of a specific coating, do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help!
4 important things to keep in mind when applying floor coatings
Often a floor coating is by far the best flooring option, however, there are some disadvantages related to floor coatings and their application. Consider the following factors before applying floor coatings so you know what you are dealing with:
- Layer thickness and surface preparation
The thicker the floor coating layer, the more preparation the substrate requires. The usual requirements include a completely clean surface, even surface structure and proper use of primers. Unless you are looking for a self smoothing epoxy coating, which is also applicable on uneven and damaged concrete floors.
- Pricing and durability
Thin film floor coatings are affordable, however, in the long-term they lack durability. Thicker layer floor coatings are very durable and do not require much maintenance, but they are more expensive in terms of material and application.
- Scratch sensitive epoxy
Epoxy is a hard wearing and impact resistant coating, but it lacks scratch resistance. When epoxy is the coating to be used, it is wise to apply a polyurethane topcoat to increase scratch resistance.
- Application process is time consuming
A floor coating is an investment of your money and time. The application is a specialist job and can last several days, with some exceptions. If there is no time for application an instant coating is a good choice. Bear in mind that even instant coating requires a well prepared substrate.
Floor coating price per m² and what makes the price
The floor coating price is usually calculated per square metre. If you want to request a quote for coating a floor, never forget to mention the surface. The following 5 factors influence the price of floor coating:
- Type of coating: Epoxy is generally cheaper than polyurethane. Different standards apply to HACCP and Solidlux.
- Pre-cleaning and preparation: Some surfaces, such as concrete, require intensive pre-cleaning and surface preparation. Do not neglect the preparation, for its is fundamental for the success of the coating.
- Moisture content of the surface: The moisture content of the substrate may not exceed 3% for optimum results.
- The larger the surface, the lower the floor coating price per m²: Small surfaces are usually relatively expensive to coat.
- Cheap may turn out expensive: Ask carefully for the quality of raw materials, they determine the durability of the floor coating.
To make it easier for you to roughly estimate floor coating prices, we have compiled a list of price indications per square metre. Note that the prices for instant and HACCP coating are higher than other floor coatings, so the following table cannot be used as a guideline for these two coating types. For the other floor coatings, the table provides a price indication as they are subject to change.
|Area of the floor||PRICE INDICATION PER M²|
|1 – 50 m²||AUD 80 – 120|
|51 – 100 m²||AUD 60 – 80|
|101 – 150 m²||AUD 50 – 70|
|151 m² +||AUD 35 – 60|
Let your floor be coated by a certified specialist Australia
So, you have in mind to update a cold room with a hygienic HACCP coating, a parking garage with a fast-curing instant coating, a car showroom with a warm PU floor or something completely different. We at Coating.com.au are happy to offer our services to provide you with a floor coating solution. In cooperation with our coating partners we can make you a competitive proposal for both material and application of floor coatings.