Anyone who has been in the commercial food industry understands the crucial role of kitchen flooring. The space has unique needs that reach far beyond those of typical flooring. Here are a few reasons kitchen floors are especially demanding:
- Visual appeal: Kitchen flooring can’t be hidden or lackluster. In many cases, the kitchen is at least partially exposed to customers. It also helps promote the business’s unique ambience and reassure customers that food production spaces are clean. That’s why a commercial kitchen floor needs to be attractive on top of performing at a high level.
- Heavy traffic: Commercial kitchen floors take a beating. They need to stay strong beneath heavy foot traffic. At the same time, they have to shrug off spills and avoid damage from high heat.
- Safety requirements: Flooring should always help keep employees safe and productive. That means it needs to be slip-resistant, but it also needs to fight off grease and chips.
Sanitation regulations: In many cases, flooring is regulated for the safety of consumers and employees. Flooring that isn’t easy to keep clean puts customers’ safety in jeopardy. With such a high potential for food buildup, pooling, and bacteria collection, it’s important that kitchen floors are seamless and easy to maintain.
What Are Kitchen Floors Up Against?
Commercial kitchen floors are exposed to erosive forces. When choosing the right floor coating, it’s important to account for the hazards that your floor is exposed to on a daily basis. Here are some common issues kitchen floors and coatings need to account for:
- Heavy impacts: Commercial kitchen floors have to hold up under shuffling feet, harsh impacts, and heavy equipment.
- Grease and grime: Cooking comes with grease and oil. In a commercial kitchen, those elements can stain an unprotected floor as they splatter, spill, or simply gather in the air.
- Product spills: Spilled food and beverages are inevitable in a commercial kitchen. That’s why the flooring needs to be easy to clean, nonporous, and chemical-resistant.
- Thermal shock: Flooring will naturally expand and contract as temperatures change. In a hot kitchen, some flooring can move at a different rate than its substrate, resulting in thermal shock, which can cause the flooring to crack, bubble, come apart, or wear down.
- Scuffs and chips: Especially in the intense atmosphere of commercial kitchens, it’s common to drop dishes, lose control of pots, or have to slide heavy equipment across the floor. All of these scrapes and dings can chip a floor or wear down its shine.