Commercial kitchen flooring can experience severe punishment day in and day out. Extreme temperature changes, harsh cleaning solutions, hot grease, constant moisture, and extensive foot traffic cause floors to wear and crack prematurely. On top of that, the government highly regulates commercial kitchens from sanitation inspections to health and safety checks. It’s imperative to have a strong foundation in your commercial kitchen. Below is a list of the best types of flooring for restaurants.
Increase the Health and Safety of Guests and Employees with Floors
The function of restaurant flooring far exceeds serving as the base at the bottom of a room. Flooring plays a huge role in increasing the health and safety of guests and employees. When choosing the best types of flooring for restaurants, keep these facts in mind.
Restaurants breed moisture. Humidity comes from multiple facets: cooking, spills, washing dishes, cleaning, and overall temperature control. These activities cause dampness on the surface of the floor. An overlooked source of moisture in restaurants is Moisture Vapor Transmission or MVT. This condensation comes directly from the soil underneath concrete slabs and from the concrete itself. If improper commercial kitchen flooring is installed, this moisture causes early deterioration of the concrete substrate and floor covering. Choosing an industrial or commercial kitchen floor, and having it installed by a professional, reduces this risk. Concrete flooring contractors like Creative Maintenance Solutions work with you to determine the commercial flooring solution for your environment.
Hygiene Code Compliant
Hygiene in restaurants involves more than general cleanliness. It encompasses the staff’s hygiene, equipment and cookware sanitation, proper ventilation, and countless inspections. Hygiene must be considered when storing food, preparing meals, and, yes, choosing the flooring. Restaurants can be a breeding ground for pathogens and bacteria, which is why minimizing their potential growth is so important. Maintaining a hygienic, code-compliant restaurant, that is always ready for inspection is a never-ending job. However, with the correct flooring, it is a must easier task. Seamless, non-porous floors prevent liquid absorption and promote cleanliness. Legally, governmental hygiene standards for commercial kitchens requirements include:
Seamless Installation: Floor surfaces or coverings must adhere to the concrete slab with particular adhesives. These specialized adhesives don’t break down when exposed to moisture, preventing pockets in the substrate, thus reducing the risk for microbe growth. Grout, and other exposed surfaces in tile or similar flooring, provides cracks and crevices for food and debris to accumulate. Over time, bacteria grow. Seamless floor coatings prevent this from happening.
Floor-to-wall cove bases: Coving is the material found at the base of walls. This material prevents food or debris from embedding in the corners where the floor and wall meet. The curvature of the cove base also allows for easier cleaning. Integral cove bases are not limited to commercial kitchens. Restaurants must have them in restrooms, self-serve areas (like buffets), walk-in food storage areas (pantries, coolers, and freezers), and serving stations.
Flooring maintenance habits differ from restaurant to restaurant, usually based on the types of ingredients coming in contact with the floor and the preference of management. In addition to pathogen growth, moisture in kitchens presents a safety and slip and fall hazard. Restaurant flooring with slip-resistance not only helps with sanitation as previously discussed but provides exceptional traction for workers and guests. Skid and slip-resistance floors are created by applying specialized compounds and aggregate. Aggregate provides rough edges that minimize sliding by permitting traction. Commonly used aggregates include quartz, sand, walnut shells, aluminum oxide, epoxy, sand, glass, and plastics. Consulting with an experienced flooring contractor helps you determine the best solution for each area.
Another critical aspect of increasing floor performance is chemical resistance. Consider the multitude of chemicals found in a typical restaurant. Cleaners used to disinfect ovens, surfaces, floors, dishes, and windows contain harsh chemicals. Daily use of degreasers and detergents exposes restaurant flooring to contaminates not found in a home kitchen. Kitchen equipment spews hot oils and grease. Chemicals are required for the maintenance and upkeep of this equipment. Granular ingredients like sugar, spices, and flour spill onto countertops and flooring.
Rolling carts and walking on flooring covered with granules create abrasions on the surface. Exposure to these chemicals causes blistering and cracks in untreated flooring, resulting in downtime and expensive repairs.
Restaurant flooring must endure a wide range of temperatures. Between the heated dining area, chilly coolers, and crisp walk-in freezers, the difference in degrees can be drastic. Dishwashing areas, hot water sprays, and cooking areas (ovens, stoves, deep fryers) expel heat. In contrast, refrigeration equipment gives off extreme cold. This variation causes flooring substrate and coatings to expand and contract. When this happens, it creates gaps in the floor. These gaps lead to loose areas of the floor, welcoming contaminates and creating a safety hazard. The appropriate flooring for restaurants is thermal-resistant, meaning the slab and floor expand and contract at a similar rate. A thermal-resistant floor ensures the concrete and flooring remain entirely bonded.
The decor of a restaurant impacts the customer experience, frequently as much as the food. The visual aesthetic is the first, and lasting, impression. The feeling evoked by your flooring sets the tone amongst guests and employees alike. Studies show that restaurant colors affect the amount of food ordered and overall customer satisfaction. Flooring is the largest canvas in a restaurant, making it critical to create a unique, satisfying look. Flooring experts can help you decide on a concept, blend the back-of-the-house with the dining area, choose a color scheme and design, and implement your vision.
Best Types of Flooring for Restaurants
While various types of industrial and commercial floor coverings meet these requirements, industry professionals recommend the following flooring solutions. These protective flooring options are designed specifically for restaurants and food facilities.
Often confused with painted concrete, epoxy floor coatings provide an amplified barrier on the concrete substrate. The coating consists of an epoxy resin and hardener that, when mixed, react chemically. This process, called curing, gives epoxy a high-caliber strength compared to other products. It also leaves a thicker coating than paint. Thicknesses vary, depending on the use of the area and the needs of the restaurant. Epoxy floor-to-wall coves applied several inches up the kitchen wall create a seamless, covered base that facilitates sanitation.
Like decorative concrete, epoxy resins come in different looks. Textured additives, dyes, stains, and flakes leave behind one-of-a-kind designs. Restaurants utilize epoxies to add embellishments and brand their business through logos and colors. Creative Maintenance Solutions specializes in decorative flooring options like:
● Decorative Quartz Epoxy Flooring: This ornamental, resinous flooring system provides a seamless surface made up of 100% solid epoxy and topcoat with colored quartz aggregates. The heavy layer of colored quartz is impact resistant, sanitary, and slip-resistant.
● Vinyl Flake Epoxy Flooring: Vinyl flake epoxy flooring resembles granite, at a substantially lower cost. The application is a multi-step process, first with a 100% solid pigmented basecoat broadcast with decorative flakes followed by layers of urethane or 100% solid topcoats. The texture and color are customizable.
● Self-Leveling Epoxy Flooring: Self-leveling epoxy provides top-of-the-line protection against erosion, oil, dirt, and grease. Less decorative than its counterparts, this epoxy coating system comes one color. The UV-resistant topcoat is also chemical resistant, making it suited for commercial use.
● Epoxy Mortar Flooring: The aforementioned flooring supplies a high-build system. Troweled into place with graded or quartz sand, epoxy mortar flooring produces a durable, high impact and chemical resistant ground. This flooring solution holds up to heavy traffic and builds integral floor-to-wall epoxy cove bases.
● Urethane Cement Mortar Flooring: Specifically formulated for areas that are subjected to thermal shock and high-impact abuse, Urethane Cement Mortar Flooring works best in commercial kitchens, dishwashing spaces, food-processing plants, and freezers and coolers. Applied as a solid color with unlimited texture options, it maintains and minimizes bacterial contamination.
● Self-Leveling Urethane Cement Flooring: Self-leveling Urethane Cement flooring, designed for light traffic, offers a smooth, non-skid finish. This flooring solution is applied as a smooth slurry with an optional broadcast aggregate. It protects steel and concrete substrates against corrosion, chemicals, impact, and thermal shock.
● Salt and Pepper Polished Concrete: Salt and Pepper Polished Concrete varies in aesthetic from low to high-gloss. The finish is attained by using specialized diamond grinding equipment. The abrasive disks on the tool, similar to sandpaper, grind concrete surfaces down to the desired smoothness and shine. Using this technique, concrete flooring technicians create the appearance of an aged surface by exposing the small aggregate.
● Exposed Aggregate Polished Concrete: A ground, or heavily cut surface, Exposed Aggregate Polished Concrete exposes a substantial amount of sizable aggregate. This flooring option is most often used when the concrete substrate is already seeded with custom aggregate.
● Stained and Dyed Polished Concrete: Particular stains, chemically combined with cured concrete, produce an antique look. Often said to resemble tanned leather or natural stone, Stained and Dyed Polish Concrete never fades, peels, or chips. In dyed concrete, no chemical cure occurs. Instead, they enhance already-stained floors. This results in more vibrant colors and allows for multiple layers of color.
● Acrylic Concrete Sealers: Applied to dry or damp concrete floors, Acrylic Concrete Sealers forge a high-gloss finish. It retains the moisture of newly-poured concrete, minimizing damage caused by shrinkage. Sealed surfaces are easy to clean and resistant to foot traffic.
● Concrete Hardeners and Densifiers: These transparent sealers permanently seal concrete. They protect against salt, grease, oil, contaminants, and chemicals. They add strength to concrete floors through systematic curing, sealing, and hardening. Applied to new, uncured concrete as well as existing concrete, hardeners and densifiers treat floors to resist deterioration and curling.
● Epoxy Sealers: Epoxy Sealers form a protective film on the surface of concrete, resulting in a long-lasting, abrasion-resistant finish. Epoxy Sealers repel water and other moisture, and chemicals while allowing the concrete substrate to breathe. Installed with a clear or pigmented coating, Epoxy Sealers prolong the life of deteriorated concrete.
● Acid Stained Concrete: Acid Stained Concrete creates a mottled color pallette in existing concrete. The unlimited design capabilities make it widely used in commercial flooring projects. Its low maintenance surface, pleasing aesthetics, and resistance to peeling and chipping make Acid Stained Concrete a sought-after commercial flooring product. " />
● Dyed Concrete: This colorful concrete flooring option creates a deep-penetrating color. When this color mixes with acetone or water it produces a translucent color. Dyed concrete enhances already-stained floors which allow for color layering.
Allow a professional concrete flooring specialist to guide you through the selection of your restaurant flooring. Their expertise and knowledge seamlessly support your concept and transforms it into reality. By taking floor solutions off your plate, you can concentrate on your food, service, and success.
A Milwaukee, Wisconsin based concrete coating company, Creative Maintenance Solutions concentrates on concrete safety and flooring solutions. For over 30 years, we have provided state-of-the-art floor coating solutions to local and national companies. At Creative Maintenance Solutions, we continuously educate ourselves on the latest trends and technologies to give our customers innovative concrete flooring solutions. From homeowners to mom-and-pop businesses to Fortune 500 companies, we promise to deliver unparalleled work. Only using high-quality products that we stand by, we offer unmatched product guarantees.
Our skilled installers and expert staff offer real-life solutions for your commercial kitchen needs. Spanning an expansive array of requirements, budgets, and timelines, our crew works diligently to lay the foundation for a clean, safe, and productive restaurant.
Contact Creative Maintenance Solutions today to start designing your new restaurant floor!