Resin is increasingly seen as a safer, smarter, more durable alternative to traditional flooring at commercial and heavy industrial sites.
Sarah James, Marketing Manager at global chemicals company, Sika Flooring, considers the benefits of this hard-wearing, liquid system.
Latest figures show resin flooring represents around 3.5% of the floor covering market in the UK with an estimated annual market size of 7.1 million.
With businesses facing ever-tighter health and safety standards as well as environmental regulations, the demand for resin flooring will doubtless increase as the 21st century progresses.
It has a host of desirable properties – durable, non-slip, easy-to-clean, smooth and easily repaired – making it the ideal surface for areas of heavy-industry and high footfall which require regular, chemically-aggressive cleansing
The need for improved aesthetics is also key to specifiers turning to resin flooring. It provides a seamless, alternative to vinyl, carpet or timber, and is proven to extend the life of buildings in the industrial sector.
Resin solutions offer a rapid and easy application to most common substrates from concrete to blockwork, and renders just as easily over ceramic tiles or painted surfaces.
Safer school surface
With minimal downtime during installation or maintenance, resin flooring comes into its own during periods of shutdown when speed is of the essence to upgrade industrial work surfaces or learning spaces in school.
Our education establishments are areas of consistently high footfall, hence the increasing popularity of resin flooring in this particular sector.
Its smooth, durable, slip-resistant benefits are a potential safeguard against falls and personal injury which could a hinder a student’s education and damage a school’s reputation.
On difficult-to-clean surfaces in a “busy” learning environment such as schools, germs and microscopic mites thrive in traditional floor coverings but this problem can be mitigated through the installation of resin flooring.
Available in a wide-range of brilliantly-bright colours, resin flooring is of particular use in the classroom, as the right décor is proven to have a positive effect on student mood and behavior.
Resin meets the heat
Resin flooring is also suitable for the extreme service conditions of the food industry where floors are subject to frequent and intensive steam, hot water or chemically-aggressive cleaning. In this environment there’s also the potential for exposure to, or spillage, of corrosive chemicals.
Service temperatures can vary from 120°C to -40°C whilst floors often have to withstand forklift trucks and other heavy machinery and equipment.
Such potentially hazardous conditions demand the most rigorous health and safety requirements; therefore a floor’s slip resistance has to be considered during the specification process.
A resin flooring system can meet all of these individual requirements thanks to its flexible design possibilities.
Offering long-term performance and excellent durability, it represents one of the simplest and most effective methods of achieving a surface that is easy to clean and hard-wearing, thereby reducing maintenance costs and premature failure.
Patient slip cure
In the healthcare environment, a majority of people will already be immunocompromised so infection prevention and control is a prerequisite.
Weakened immune systems and other afflictions will make these patients more susceptible to infections, so it is the NHS’ responsibility to minimise the potential risk of patients acquiring a healthcare associated infection (HCAI).
Figures may show that the number of HCAIs has fallen in recent years, from 8.2% in 2006 to 6.4% in 2011, but infection control procedures must remain an absolute priority.
As healthcare facilities are subject to a range of hazardous substances, surfaces such as floors should be designed to make for easy cleaning and maintenance.
A task made all the easier with resin flooring which is smooth, impervious, as well as hard and seamless.
If a surface is free of fissures, open joints and crevices, it will be unable to retain or permit the passage of dirt or moisture and will not become a breeding ground for bacteria.
There are a number of available resin-based floor systems and hygienic coatings designed to cater for this type of cleaning, complementing the materials’ seamless finish and supporting the healthcare facilities’ infection prevention and control measures.
Increased slip resistance of resin-based floor covering is another benefit of its use in the healthcare sector.
According to Health and Safety Executive figures, more than 50% of reported major injuries in this area are related to slips, trips and falls to staff and patients.
These accidents will not only cause serious injury, in extreme cases, could lead to fatalities as a result of the heightened vulnerability of the client group.
Slip-resistant, resin-based floors can control the slip-risk in some hospital environments, especially areas likely to become wet or subject to other surface contamination.
Therefore, the cleanability of the flooring should not be a barrier to the use of slip-resistant flooring in foreseeably wet or contaminated work areas in hospitals.
Resin has also much to recommend it as an environmentally-friendly flooring system.
At the end of its life it doesn’t require removal; rather it can be overlain with new resin or a different type of flooring.
The availability of hygienic coating solutions offering ultra-low emissions has also helped enhance resin’s environmental credentials.
Toxicity levels of products used in the work or domestic environment ought to be a vital consideration, especially as the European Environment Agency estimates that bad air quality costs €630bn for healthcare and €169bn for lost productivity every year.
When it’s considered we spend 90% of our time indoors, the importance of specifying flooring and wall coating systems that take into account indoor air quality has never been more apparent.
Maintaining the highest standards in terms of hygiene and health and safety, whilst factoring in the energy-efficiency of our workplaces and schools remains a very necessary, but challenging task for all sectors of industry.
Resin flooring offers a safe, durable, hygienic and cost-effective solution to these most important of issues.
For more information please call 01707 394444, or visit www.sika.co.uk