18 May 2020
When it comes to managing a successful food operation (a cafe, restaurant, or even a bar) there is a real balancing act that needs to be considered. Not only does the equipment and fit-out have to be negotiated to fit within the budget, but you need to source items which will stand the test of time. What good is a massive oven that only lasts 4 years if the cost of getting it in and out is expensive, not to mention the downtime in shutting down.
But in a commercial kitchen, it is not just sub-optimal equipment which can cause issues, the truth is, all equipment and surfaces need to be up to the day-to-day demands of a kitchen. As one of the few things in the kitchen which gets used every day, your floor needs to be built to a high standard and able to withstand the rigours of heavy foot traffic, heat, harsh cooking fats, and cleaning materials.
In short what we are saying is, spend your time now learning from us about what you need to consider instead of getting caught out later and spending time on Google doing a search like countless others for something like the best flooring for commercial kitchen..
What are the characteristics of the best commercial kitchen flooring?
There are actually plenty of factors to consider when selecting the best flooring option for a commercial kitchen. However, for us at Remedial, a couple of things stand out most – durability and practicality. While cost is also an essential consideration, we believe that it should only be a secondary concern, especially in the beginning when you’re still figuring out your specific requirements.
Durability – Imagine the foot traffic that the restaurant kitchen is going to get. Every day, there will be chef’s and line cooks going to and from the premises, wait staff coming in and out, large tins and produce trolleys being rolled over it and not to mention sharp and hot equipment being dropped onto it. And these are just the mechanical impacts. There are of course, other factors such as water and oil spills, food droppings, and the cleaning chemicals at the end of a shift.
As a result, it is important your floor has high durability and strength. Some options people often consider include ceramic, concrete, stone, resin and epoxy.
Practicality – Durable materials come in different types, but you just cannot choose any of these for your kitchen without considering if it is fit for purpose. Hardwood, for example, is certainly a durable material, but it’s not a practical option for a kitchen floor, right? This type of flooring is vulnerable to moisture and would not be able to withstand the constant presence of people and equipment found in the kitchen.
What are the modern flooring options available?
Though you can always go for traditional materials like concrete, tiles, and the like, there are a multitude of other options to consider. These materials are specially made for various industrial and commercial applications and are incredibly safe (anti-slip is just one characteristic) and long-lasting. Compared to the above traditional choices, they are also more sanitary, making them a great option for commercial kitchens.
Resin, in particular, is a popular material because it is resistant to damage and it is easy to clean. It also has non-slip properties and can be customised for an enhanced aesthetic appeal. Resins include methyl methacrylate acetate (MMA), epoxy and polyurethane (PU). These tend to be more resilient and hygienic compared to ordinary concrete or ceramic as they are not porous and thus less susceptible to organisms getting into cracks. Each type also offers distinct benefits depending on where they will be used.
Resin flooring options suitable for a commercial kitchen
Epoxy – This is probably the most widely used type of flooring solution. It bonds strongly to concrete, providing a great layer of protection for the underlying substrate. It can withstand impact, abrasion, wear, oil, water, and a variety of chemicals often used in cleaning, and is also highly resistant to animal fats which will eat into the concrete. However, if epoxy flooring gets damaged, it needs to be completely replaced. It also has a longer curing time, so any replacements could end up being costly for a business.
Methyl methacrylate – So here’s a fun fact, MMA is an organic compound used in the production of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) or acrylic glass. This gives you an idea of the high-quality finish that you can achieve with it.
It is a thermoplastic resin that can be customised to suit precise needs such as electrical resistance and non-slippage. It has a very fast cure time, and it can be fully installed over a single weekend to an average-sized kitchen (inclusive of under machinery). It’s also easy to upgrade or repair.
Polyurethane – This compound has excellent resistance to abrasion and impact, making it similar to MMA floors. It is very resistant to direct heat and high temperatures making it a good choice for kitchens (what’s that saying about ïf you can’t handle the heat…”). Polyurethane is often used in bakeries, specifically in front of ovens where hot trolleys are left to cool down. It comes in various finishes, which can improve impact absorption, but does have a longer curing time compared to PMMA.
What commercial flooring option should you choose?
Different resin flooring materials have specific advantages and disadvantages depending on how you intend to use them and where they will be installed. Use and resilience should be your primary decision drivers and although it is hard to do, cost should be a secondary consideration as if you get it right at the start, the cost of maintenance will be significantly less over the years.
Another thing to consider is that various chemicals can react differently when spilled on PU or epoxy floors. Epoxy flooring can corrode and turn yellow when exposed to the lactic acids found in milk, but Polyurethane flooring won’t have the same reaction. It thus makes sense to consider the chemicals and other liquids your kitchen floor would likely be exposed to and consult with an expert to make the right choice.
Ease of installation and maintenance are other important considerations. Epoxy has a long curing time, but Polyurethanes are not always appropriate either. MMA flooring, on the other hand, is the appropriate option if you wish to have minimal downtime during installation. It’s also the easiest to repair out of the different types.
To wrap it up…
Resin is the ideal material for building a kitchen floor that’s more likely to stand the test of time. It has the advantage of having characteristics such as longevity and durability but also being hygienic and easy to install or repair.
Ultimately, the crux of your decision should be made by determining what your current and future requirements are so you can make the right selection of flooring to stand up over time. Once you know your requirements, it is time to get in touch with us at Remedial and ask for Goran or one of the teams who will be able to guide you through the different commercial flooring options and provide you with a quote for our installation services.
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