The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Kitchen Floors and Coatings

How to choose the right kitchen floor coating that holds up against heat, grease and heavy foot traffic. 

Commercial Kitchen Floors and Coatings

When it comes to commercial kitchens, flooring plays a critical role. It’s a demanding area that needs to look great and perform at a high level. With pounding feet, constant exposure to grime, grinding equipment, and frequent spills, your kitchen floor, and the coatings that protect it, can end up being a valuable investment. 

We’re here to help you understand the unique needs of a commercial kitchen floor and give you the resources you need to pick out longer-lasting, eye-catching flooring products. This guide dives into the ins and outs of kitchen flooring and describes how to use floor coatings to get the most out of this critical piece of your business’s space.

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Chapter 1

Why Do Commercial Kitchen Floors Matter?

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.

Chapter 2

How to Choose Flooring for Kitchens

There may not be one type of flooring or coating that’s best for every commercial kitchen. Food service owners have different needs, unique demands, specific budgets, and other particulars that should match up with the final product. However, there are some important factors to consider when installing or upgrading a commercial kitchen floor:

  • It should be nonslip. 
  • It needs to be durable. 
  • It should be easy to clean. 
  • It must hold up to spills. 
  • It needs to be attractive. 
  • It may need a fast return-to-use time. 

What Are the Best Floors and Coatings for Commercial Kitchens?

The best epoxy floor coating for a commercial kitchen is one with high build and nonslip qualities. At the same time, it needs to be scratch-resistant and protect the floor from bacteria buildup. Also, it’s a good idea to install an integral cove base that is coated for a completely seamless surface.

Typically, the following three systems are the most reliable and popular choices for commercial kitchens: urethane concrete, Perdure HBE, and Perdure SLE.

Urethane Concrete System 

Urethane concrete is easily the most popular option in commercial kitchens. This flooring system is a go-to for commercial kitchens because it’s extremely durable, it’s chemical-resistant, and it holds up to thermal shock. 

Perdure UMC is one of the most reliable urethane concrete systems. It’s a three-component system, but it’s also possible to add a fourth component using a pigment pack or decorative quartz for aesthetic appeal. Here’s a deeper look at the three grades that make up the Perdure urethane concrete system:

  • Self-leveling: Perdure UMC SL is designed to withstand heavy impacts. It uses a durable urethane cement that is chemical-resistant. It’s also slip-resistant, and you can incorporate a quartz aggregate for a dazzling look and texture.
  • Trowel grade: Perdure UMC TG is a sturdy urethane modified cementitious flooring substance that helps the floor fight off high heat. You can easily apply this concrete topping with a trowel. In addition to holding up to thermal stress, it’s chemical-resistant, it holds up under heavy impacts, and it fights off chemicals.
  • Sealer coat: If you want to lock in strength and add impressive designs, you can incorporate Perdure UMC SC. This sealer adds to the floor’s durability and gives you control over the floor’s look. Most people add this sealant as a Perdure UMC top coat, but it can also be laid down as a primer for Perdure UMC SL. In addition to adding eye-catching aesthetics, it’s chemical-resistant, and it protects flooring from scuffs or heavy impacts. 

Perdure HBE

For commercial kitchen owners on a tighter budget, Perdure HBE is another solid option. Although this option doesn’t include the thermal shock resistance of urethane concrete, it’s still nonslip and durable. Because it uses a high-build epoxy system, you can also add coatings to reinforce the floor even more. Here are some advantages to Perdure HBE:

  • It’s slip-resistant.
  • It requires little maintenance.
  • It’s compatible with a range of top coats.
  • It comes in zero- and low-volatile organic compound (VOC) options.

Perdure SLE 

Perdure SLE is another seamless flooring system that works well for commercial kitchens. This is an epoxy mortar system that can be topped with advanced coatings. Because it sets up as a dense material, it has strong chemical and abrasion resistance. 

By adding a polyurethane or polyaspartic polyurea coating to Perdure SLE, you can also retain the floor’s gloss and add an extra layer of strength. Although Perdure SLE doesn’t have the thermal shock resistance of urethane, it’s another budget-friendly option for commercial kitchen owners. Here are some advantages to a self-leveling epoxy flooring system:

  • It’s low-maintenance.
  • It’s chemical-resistant.
  • It’s slip-resistant.
  • It comes in zero- or low-VOC options.
  • It’s compatible with a range of top coats.
  • It’s durable and can hold up to heavy foot traffic.

 

 

Chapter 3

Make Your Commercial Kitchen Flooring Project a Success

If you’re interested in installing your own commercial kitchen flooring, we have the resources to make your next project a success. Try our DIY kits to gain more control over your final flooring results at a lower cost. 

If you need some direction on installing your commercial kitchen flooring, we can help there too. Watch one of our installation videos that map out everything you need to know to install long-lasting kitchen floors. Still have questions about your next flooring project? We’d love to help. Contact our experts today.


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Visit our training section to learn how to apply finishes or contact one of our experts for advice on your next garage flooring project

 

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