Increasingly, food and drink production facilities are choosing a resin flooring solution. That’s because it’s tough, safe and long-lasting. Not only is resin flooring aesthetically pleasing and easy to customise, but it is also easy to clean, resistant to wear and damage, and equipped with anti-skid and excellent hygienic properties, resin floors can address common health and safety concerns.
Resin flooring in the UK comes in three main forms – PMMA, polyurethane (PU) and epoxy. While all resin floors are more hygienic and durable than other flooring surfaces, the differences between each type can provide significant advantages or disadvantages depending on their use.
PMMA for Durability
PMMA, or ‘polymethyl methacrylate’, is a synthetic resin more commonly referred to in the UK as “acrylic” or “acrylic glass”. This is the same substance used in common products like Plexiglas, Lucite and Perspex. Classified as a thermoplastic resin, PMMA resin flooring is highly customisable for specific industrial needs, such as slip, chemical or electrical resistance.
PMMA resin flooring stands out for its incredibly fast application and hardening (cure) time, even at temperatures below 0°C. Thanks to this remarkably quick cure time, PMMA resin floor can be fully installed and fully cured over a weekend, resulting in minimum downtime for factory and production facilities.
In addition, because of its unique interlayer chemical bond, PMMA flooring is easy to repair and upgrade, whereas other resin floorings often need to be replaced completely. PMMA resin floors do typically cost more than other resin floorings; however, PMMA resin floors recoup the investment by lasting longer. Typically, UK site owners will find that the time to first maintenance is considerably longer than with any other system, so this should be taken into account when comparing costs against other resin floor options.
Polyurethane for heat resistance
Polyurethane or ‘PU’ resin is just as resistant as PMMA to impact, abrasion and chemical damage. However, PU resin flooring really comes into its own when dealing with high temperature and direct heat. For this quality alone, many UK bakeries choose PU for in front of ovens where hot trolleys are left to stand and cool.
Since PU is also flexible and available in a variety of finishes, it is also well equipped for absorbing impact.
Be aware, however, that PU resin floors take significantly longer to cure than PMMA resin floors, owing to their thermo-set resin nature. This can translate to increased operational downtime during installation and repair.
Epoxy for electrical conductivity
The most widely used, and best known, industrial resin flooring in the UK is epoxy. This thermo-set material offers the performance and durability of resin flooring and is typically the resin flooring of choice for electrical conductive flooring.
Epoxy resin comes in a variety of forms, each with its own particular advantages according to use. No matter the variety, all epoxy resin flooring is very hard and bonds fully to concrete, thereby protecting the underlying concrete base from impact, wear, abrasion, water ingress, oil and a wide range of chemicals.
When epoxy resin flooring is damaged, however, it must be fully replaced. Furthermore, epoxy has the longest cure time of all resin flooring options, so an unplanned replacement can have serious consequences to a business.
Resin Flooring Comparison Chart
|Cure Time||1 hour||5 days||7-10 days|
|Overcoat Time||1 hour||8-12 hours||12-24 hours|
|Installation Temperature||0-30+ °C (sub-zero possible with additives)||10-30+ °C (optimal temperature 15+ °C)||10-30+ °C (optimal temperature 15+ °C)|
|Upgrade Potential||Excellent||Remove & Replace||Remove & Replace|
Choosing the Right Resin Floor
Each of these resin flooring options presents its own specific benefits and drawbacks depending on use. That makes it important to weigh up the needs and performance requirements of the specific floor, rather than the cost alone when choosing a resin flooring.
For example, different chemicals or chemical combinations can affect epoxy and polyurethane floors differently. The organic lactic acids found in milk, dairy and cheese production can corrode and stain an epoxy floor, whereas PMMA resin flooring and PU floors remain unaffected. Industries which store or handle sulfuric acids should avoid polyurethane floors, which are susceptible to damage from such acids.
The Importance of Installation and Maintenance
Choosing the right resin flooring should also take into account the installation process, not to mention ongoing maintenance and repair. Polyurethane flooring is typically the most challenging resin to work with, while epoxy requires the longest curing time.
PMMA resin flooring, on the other hand, is fully cured and chemically inert in as little as two hours, so it is the ideal option if minimal downtime is an important business need. All resin floors are easy to clean and more durable than other floor types, but PMMA resin flooring is the easiest to repair if any damage does occur.
Resin flooring solves many safety, maintenance and aesthetic challenges for your business, whether the primary requisite is ease, durability, longevity, hygiene or a combination of factors. Selecting the best resin flooring for a project begins with a thorough determination of current and future use and requirements.
Learn more about FloorTech’s Resin Flooring: