Epoxy (and other?) floor reviews

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Joined Feb 24, 2017
Please re-direct if there's a better place to post this topic!

I'm working with a client in new construction (within a new building, going up now) and need a refresher: it's been a few years since I put a floor in!

Quarry Tile: HATE IT, not interested
Sheet Vinyl: have never used BOH, my impression from studying is that even sealed, it's not going to hold up to hard work and water for long
Epoxy: my experiences have been mixed: not enough grit and it's too slippery (this client won't have the ability to hang/wash mats at the end of the night) or too much grit and impossible to clean. Plus also it's hard: see "no mats".

FOH/serving areas will have LVT. I have used this in commercial settings, but only low-traffic/low-mess not-flooding situations.

Please share your experiences! Time is of the essence, and I'd be so grateful for your hard-earned wisdom.
 
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If you don't like quarry tile there are many other types of floor tile and other floor coverings. In new construction you could even do a colored cement with sealer. Or paint the floor in any design or pattern the client likes and seal it. . If you have a locally based tile company near you then pay them a visit and see what options they can provide.
 
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I prefer epoxy to everything else I've seen. It doesn't take a ton of grit to give it a bit of texture.
 
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Joined Feb 24, 2017
I prefer epoxy to everything else I've seen. It doesn't take a ton of grit to give it a bit of texture.
Really appreciate the replies, folks!

So how do I make sure to get the grit right!?

And since I posted my question, the inspector came back and says he likes "cementitious epoxy composite": I've never heard all those words together: one more thing to learn!

Keep the opinions coming! I want something that will keep the floor-scrubbers happy AND the inspectors happy!
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
So how do I make sure to get the grit right!?
Now you are asking a question about something that isn't your responsibility. The answer is YOU don't, the company that installs it does- if they even use grit. This isn't their first rodeo. If you call Sika and ask to talk to a rep about your project like I suggested you will get all your questions answered. Even if you don't use them, you will walk away with an education and know what to look for.
 
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6
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Joined Feb 24, 2017
Now you are asking a question about something that isn't your responsibility. The answer is YOU don't, the company that installs it does- if they even use grit. This isn't their first rodeo. If you call Sika and ask to talk to a rep about your project like I suggested you will get all your questions answered. Even if you don't use them, you will walk away with an education and know what to look for.
I will call them, thanks.

But I have seen these floors installed (with installers' advice) that turned out TOO gritty: I need to learn how to talk with them about this. Hearing what other peoples' experiences have been (good and bad) is helpful!

As a consultant, it absolutely IS my responsibility to recommend something that BOTH pleases the inspector AND doesn't cause the dishwashers to curse my name forever : )
 
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So after 30 seconds to a minute of research, I think epoxy refers to the coating, not the flooring material.
If so, you can cover most flooring with epoxy and have it be tough and sanitary.
I noticed on the Sika link they refer to "Cementitious Urethane." I have no idea what that means but it apparently is cementitious. You could call the inspector back and ask him what he meant.
I also don't understand what the grit is for. I thought you meant grout but probably not. If you meant putting grit in the epoxy to prevent/inhibit slipping then by all means be sure to get it right before it goes in. They did have what looked like some very good options. Ask if you can see a sample of each so you can make a more informed decision. Because once it's in, it's in.
In the restaurant I was involved in, one of the partners thought he'd be clever and put outside quarry tile in the renovated kitchen floor. It had a distinctly rough, gritty surface and was a nightmare to keep clean because the grit trapped every little thing and tore up the mops. Even sweeping was a pain in the rear.
So my knee jerk response is very anti-grit. And isn't everyone supposed to be wearing safety, slip resistant shoes anyway?
 
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As a consultant, it absolutely IS my responsibility to recommend something that BOTH pleases the inspector AND doesn't cause the dishwashers to curse my name forever : )

The inspector is not the one you have to please. As long as the floor meets code it's fine. And code in this case means slip resistance and sanitation. Minimum standards may not meet your expectations however, and this is why you need to do your homework, see samples and maybe visit other jobs they have done.

Much seems to be made here of "grit" which is a sand like granular material sprinkled on or mixed in with some floor coatings to make them rough and provide traction for foot traffic. There are tile available with this on the surface also. Absolutely true that it is a PITA to mop, sweep and keep clean. It also tends to wear out over time. IMO it has no place in a commercial kitchen.

But the good news is that a floor with good slip resistance doesn't have to be rough. Matter of fact there are codes that dictate slip resistance in commercial buildings. I have seen floors that look like marble that there is no way you can slide on.
 
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Hate quarry stone because it’s the most expensive?

Start looking at institutional vinyl—not cheap residential stuff, but the stuff hospitals use. Welded seams, drawn up and coved baseboards, many styles have grit built into it.

Bare concrete, even when epoxy coated is hard on the feet when you stand for long periods of time, vinyl has a bit of “give” and quarrystone is not perfectly flat or smooth which makes standing for long periods of time a bit more forgiving
 
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Joined May 25, 2015
Start looking at institutional vinyl—not cheap residential stuff, but the stuff hospitals use. Welded seams, drawn up and coved baseboards, many styles have grit built into it.

I did see one company that offered that for commercial kitchens when I was looking for Sika. The product is 1/4" thick sheets with welded seams. ALOT of welded seams for my liking.
 
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The caveats for vinyl flooring are:

It melts. Placing a hot pot on the floor will melt in a ring, so will placing an empty pot under the fryer to filter hot oil.

It wears quickly. Especially in high traffic areas. Needless to say, the cheaper the flooring material the quicker it wears—leaving unsightly patches in those high traffic areas.

It gouges easy. Kitchen equipment has either castors or bullet feet, and most of the bullet feet are worn and have sharp edges. Kitchen equipment is frequently moved around and (dragged and shoved around would be more accurate...) and the likelihood of gouging the flooring is very high.

It’s hard to repair. With quarry stone you chip up the broken tile and pop ina new one, a very straightforward process. With any kind of rolled on flooring either you cut in and weld in a new patch, or you remove everything and start all over again.

The Germans have a saying, something like “ you should only buy a product once”. While quarry stone may cost more, it can last a looooong time, I’ve worked in kitchens that had 50 yr old quarry stone tiles and they perform flawlessly. A vinyl floor will last maximum 20-25 yrs, and even then it will wear unevenly, brittle, crack, and shrink during that time frame
 
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Joined Aug 13, 2019
The caveats for vinyl flooring are:

It melts. Placing a hot pot on the floor will melt in a ring, so will placing an empty pot under the fryer to filter hot oil.

It wears quickly. Especially in high traffic areas. Needless to say, the cheaper the flooring material the quicker it wears—leaving unsightly patches in those high traffic areas.

It gouges easy. Kitchen equipment has either castors or bullet feet, and most of the bullet feet are worn and have sharp edges. Kitchen equipment is frequently moved around and (dragged and shoved around would be more accurate...) and the likelihood of gouging the flooring is very high.

It’s hard to repair. With quarry stone you chip up the broken tile and pop ina new one, a very straightforward process. With any kind of rolled on flooring either you cut in and weld in a new patch, or you remove everything and start all over again.

The Germans have a saying, something like “ you should only buy a product once”. While quarry stone may cost more, it can last a looooong time, I’ve worked in kitchens that had 50 yr old quarry stone tiles and they perform flawlessly. A vinyl floor will last maximum 20-25 yrs, and even then it will wear unevenly, brittle, crack, and shrink during that time frame
 
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