To ensure that an industrial floor will maintain its performance and integrity while standing up to heavy-use, its essential that the subfloor is properly prepared, explains F. Ball & Co. Ltd.

Prior to the commencement of any flooring project a thorough assessment of the subfloor should be made to ensure it is clean, sound and free from damp and contaminants, such as oil or grease – which may be found in an industrial refurbishment. The presence of such contaminants can present a major issue; potentially threatening the integrity of the finished project if they are not dealt with effectively.


CONTAMINATION In such situations, there are two options available. If the contamination has not penetrated too deeply into the subfloor, removing the top surface of the floor with, for example, a grinder may be sufficient. An alternative, for some applications, may be to install a loose lay isolator membrane prior to the installation of a floorcovering; although the suitability of this solution will really depend on how the flooring is going to be used.

An isolator membrane will also protect the flooring installation against the presence of subfloor moisture, which is something that should be checked for prior to proceeding with any flooring project. If the relative humidity (RH) is above 75%, preventative action must be taken. In most industrial flooring applications, the most appropriate solution is to apply a liquid waterproof surface membrane, such as F. Ball’s Stopgap F77 or Stopgap F78. Once dry, these systems will provide moisture protection up to 98% and 95% respectively.

If the RH is below 75%, or after a waterproof surface membrane has been applied, the subfloor is ready to receive a levelling compound to provide a smooth and level surface, which can be overlaid with a floorcovering or, in many industrial flooring applications, left as a wearing surface.

CREATING A SMOOTH SURFACE If the floor requires a floorcovering, such as vinyl or other resilient material, a levelling compound formulated for heavy- duty use should be selected. This will ensure the levelling compound can withstand heavy, concentrated loads, for example, from the wheels of a trolley used to transport heavy equipment or machinery.

For industrial applications where floorcoverings are not required, such as factories or warehouses, rapid setting, self- levelling wearing surface compounds, such as Stopgap 800 Wearcoat, offer an ideal solution. Suitable for application in thicknesses of 5 - 15mm, special class abrasion resistance makes it perfect for these heavy-duty industrial applications.

In areas where water or other fluids may come into direct contact with the cured levelling compound, F. Ball recommends that the surface is treated with a sealer, such as Stopgap Seal; a water- dispersed modified polyurethane sealer. This provides a hygienic and protective surface and eases maintenance by reducing the adhesion of dirt and other debris. It also offers a level of

chemical resistance to many commonly found chemicals in industrial/commercial applications.

EXTERIOR APPLICATIONS For external applications or for situations, which may nominally be inside but still subject to external weather conditions, a purpose-designed exterior grade levelling compound is required. Stopgap 850 Exterior, for example, can be used in light to medium duty areas and once applied and cured is unaffected by rain or frost. If required, it can be finished with a suitable non-slip coating or an appropriate exterior floorcovering, or it can be left as a standalone exterior wear surface.

Due to its moisture tolerant properties, it can be used internally over damp, uneven concrete and sand/cement screeds prior to the application of a waterproof surface membrane.

Industrial flooring installations, like all flooring installations, should start with a thorough assessment of the subfloor to ensure it is clean, sound, dry and free form contaminants. Once this has been verified or, if required, corrective treatment undertaken, the selection of an appropriate levelling compound for the expected combination of traffic, loading and environmental exposure will ensure the longevity and integrity of the flooring is achieved. As well as maintaining the aesthetic appearance of the floor, this will also safeguard the health and safety of employees and visitors. INDUSTRIAL FLOORING | 21

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