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How to choose the right warehouse floor

Posted July 17, 2020 in Flooring, Concrete
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The warehouse is one of the most unglamourous – but most necessary! – parts of business operations. The top priority for most warehouse floors is durability: a warehouse floor needs to stand up to extra heavy duty traffic from people, pallet jacks, forklifts, and pallets and stacks of inventory. Most warehouse floors require a flooring choice that isn’t vulnerable to chipping, cracking, or pick-up from hot tires on forklifts or vehicles. Forklifts are incredibly hard on flooring surfaces: operating in tight spaces often requires turning the steering wheels in place, which places incredible shearing forces on the adhesive layer between an installed floor and the subfloor.

Looking at factors beyond durability, some warehouses also need to present an appealing visual appearance as well. If your warehouse plays host to factory tours for customers, clients, vendors, or suppliers, you might require your warehouse floor to meet the needs of form as well as function.

Warehouse operators also need to consider the potential for specialty needs in their warehouse. If you have electric forklifts or pallet jacks, do you need an floor area that is especially resistant to the potential for battery acid spills in the charging area? Alternatively, if your warehouse machinery is engine-powered, do you need a floor that is resistant to oil, fuel, or hydraulic fluid spills? If you manufacturer or inventory chemicals, does your floor in these areas need to have resistance to those chemical compounds? If you are a food manufacturer or distributor, do you need a floor surface that can be sealed and made sanitary to a food-safe level of clean? Or a floor surface that can withstand refrigerated temperatures for perishable inventory?

Another point to consider that is often overlooked is how the flooring system you choose for your warehouse has to mesh with your cleaning and maintenance routine. Some flooring choices are durable and give an impressive appearance to visitors, but require a lot of maintenance and upkeep to keep them looking good.

Two of the most popular warehouse flooring types we help our clients with are polished concrete and epoxy coatings. The choice between these two primarily boils down to two factors: your budget, and how you plan to use space. Tight budgets typically mean that polished concrete is the answer; warehouses can get away with a lower amount of polishing (reducing costs) than a showroom, and polished concrete overall can typically cost about half of the cost of applying an epoxy coating. Business owners and property managers often choose polished concrete when the surface will only be subject to moderate use and budget concerns outweigh a fancier appearance.

When your warehouse needs a flooring surface with special features (like resistance to chemicals, acids, and oils), epoxy coatings typically fit the bill. Epoxy coatings are available in a variety of different compositions that give them the ability to withstand exposure to industrial chemicals and substances, as well as the kind of wear and tear that heavy machinery can have on flooring. The trade-off for epoxy’s customizable nature is that it’s typically less long-lasting than a polished concrete floor; epoxy floors may require refurbishing every 3 – 5 years, whereas polished concrete floors may only need to be renewed once per decade or so depending on traffic and usage. Epoxy coatings are highly versatile, so they can often be specifically tailored to fit your needs, whether those needs are related to performance or appearance.

Choosing the right warehouse floor for your needs can be difficult without the right help! Lean on Source Floor’s 20+ years of experience to help you make the right choice for your particular space’s needs. Contact us today to get started on your warehouse floor!

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