Flooring Options for Cold Storage Facilities

Flooring for cold storage facilities such as dairies, laboratories, grocery stores, cafeterias or restaurants must be able to withstand cold or freezing temperatures, be easy to clean for hygiene, tolerate heavy equipment, be non-staining, non-absorbing and slip-resistant. That’s a lot to ask of any floor!

If the floor in a cold storage facility can not handle these demands it is likely to crack or otherwise show damage and wear, which will compromise the integrity of the facility. Specially formulated concrete coatings for cold storage facilities not only can meet these challenges, but can be installed at a lower range of temperatures than other standard concrete coating options.

Environmental temperatures are important in any installation of concrete coatings and systems. The majority of resinous flooring cures best at “room temperature”. Yet some facilities would be ideally served by cold temperature epoxy flooring installation or application of other resinous systems possessing the ability to adapt to different climates.

The Importance of Cold Temperature Flooring

Whether yours is an operation with consistently cool rooms, or a new construction site where HVAC systems are not yet fully functional, we understand that adjusting the environment to accommodate standard epoxy flooring installation is not always desirable – or even possible. 

Not all concrete coatings and systems are formulated for colder applications.  In fact, most are not recommended for installation in these conditions and can cure improperly or not at all.

This type of flooring is also highly effective at surviving thermal shock and temperatures at the opposite extreme as high as 250°F, which means that the floor won’t fail if the cold store is cleaned using hot water or steam. Many simple aspects of the working day could also lead to an impact or wear-related floor failure within a food production plant’s refrigerated area. For example the interior could contain machinery and well-stocked containers, or the staff may be carrying (and potentially dropping) heavy tools and product.

Unique Factors That Go In To Choosing A Floor For A Cold Storage:

1) Facility

Cold storage warehousing creates some unique structural challenges — and one of these challenges is, of course, the concrete floor. Cold storage facilities differ from many other industrial facilities in a variety of ways, all of which can be compensated for by a skilled concrete floor contractor. These are the important things to bear in mind when talking to a concrete floor contractor about your cold storage facility

2) The Temperature of Various Areas in Your Storage Facility

Will your facility have IMP walls? Will you have products that arrive with ice that melts? Temperature and water will impact the type of floor that should be used throughout your storage facility. If the temperature in your storage facility will ever fluctuate due to type of product stored, it should be a consideration in the floor. Standing water from melted ice or other liquids can be a safety hazard and should planned for in advance. There are a variety of concrete floor systems that can be configured to best accommodate a facility’s particular needs.. An experienced concrete floor contractor can design the right configuration for every purpose in the facility.

3) The Equipment Used throughout the Facility

The type of machinery needed in your refrigerated warehouse should by all means be discussed with your concrete floor contractor in advance of floor design. Robotic machinery, automatic storage retrieval systems, forklifts, pallet riders or other types of heavy equipment require a durable floor.. If a crack occurs or a joint fails, it can cause maintenance issues with the equipment plus deteriorate the floor at a faster rate. The heavier equipment and the more frequent the traffic you have, the more floor durability matters.

4) The Need for Drainage and Joints Within the Facility

Does your facility need drainage areas? If so, sloping and other considerations may come into play. The amount of joints in your floor will also matter. Ideally, you want the least amount of joints possible in your floor, as joints can become impaired if not installed properly. However, you do need a certain amount of joints, otherwise the floor itself can crack. The right contractor will be able to find the correct balance, creating a floor that has the least amount of joints needed to maintain structural integrity . Drainage is also necessary in many facilities for easy cleaning. A good floor contractor will be able to install drains as needed while still ensuring that the floor remains properly reinforced.

5) The Racks and Other Built-Ins in the Facility

Racks and other built-ins will add weight to your warehouse floors, and consequently will be an additional consideration. Racks provide constant pressure on the floor, so unlike equipment, they are less likely to create fractures at joints. They may, however, eventually buckle an improperly designed, engineered and constructed floor if they are overburdened. Reputable designers will make sure that the loads are properly distributed and will accommodate the maximum load of your racks and built-ins.

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