Floor coatings in a processing, manufacturing or commercial facility are not always the top concern for an engineer, line worker or facility manager. More likely, they are products that are simply relied upon and taken for granted as invulnerable and permanent. One might not even realize that the concrete in a facility even has a coating on it.
The truth is, floor coatings are an assumed workhorse, rarely considered during the daily operations of a plant or facility. However, as most maintenance personnel can attest, eventually floor coatings break down and require costly repairs, particularly older coatings. Thanks to recent technological advancements in floor coating chemistry, companies such as Tnemec Co. Inc., Kansas City, MO, now offer premium, high-performing architectural floor coatings with superior durability, service life and aesthetic value.
Mark Thomas, manager of product marketing for Tnemec, explains why its recently introduced StrataShield line of floor coatings exceeds the performance of other products. "The technology is in the chemistry," says Thomas. "The advanced chemistry involves improved bonding of resins and hardeners within the molecular structure." He says that many of these advanced formulations use a complex polyfunctional amine structure, offering contractors ease of application and extended durability.
Premium Flooring is in the ChemistryThe quality of raw materials used in developing today's floor coatings has progressed significantly, according to Thomas. As recently as a few years ago, such materials had not yet been seen. Formulation advancements have allowed Tnemec to manufacture coatings using innovative new raw materials. This combination of materials, or "recipe" as Thomas puts it, determines what is manufactured, but the quality of the individual raw materials is the primary indicator of the final product's value.
"At Tnemec, our chemists work with leading suppliers to incorporate the most cutting-edge resins and additives into the StrataShield flooring line, and the outcome has been outstanding," he says. "Extensive testing and real-world applications demonstrate that the new formulations are even more durable and applicator-friendly than our previous products." Revitalizing the line wasn't inexpensive, but advancements could be made that would result in a product that would meet customers' expectations. So the company responded with a line that features the latest in raw-materials technology, resulting in unprecedented flooring performance benefits.
Optimum Performance BenefitsThere are more than 20 coatings in the StrataShield line, representing all stages of the coating process, including surfacers, primers, broadcast laminates, self-levelers, trowel-down mortars and glazelike topcoats. Each individual coating is tested for resistance to chemicals, abrasion, scrapes and impact - all common hazards in a commercial or industrial environment. "The result is an innovative product line that contractors and architects have been calling for," says Thomas. "Tnemec has simply responded to the demand."
Thomas points out that Tnemec's customers want to specify flooring that's easy to apply, has outstanding performance characteristics and will maintain its surface appearance throughout its long service life. StrataShield offers functional, attractive and technologically advanced flooring that is versatile, stands up to abusive environments and is easy to maintain.
Dave Schloegel, president of Epoxy Coating Specialists Inc., Kansas City, KS, uses numerous products in the StrataShield line and has noticed the common benefits. "Our guys in the field love the StrataShield coatings because they are extremely user-friendly and that makes jobs easier and more efficient," says Schloegel. "We use StrataShield in our production-type, industrial flooring projects, and we use it during all of the stages of the coating process."
StrataShield's versatile product line is ideal for warehouses, airport hangars, auto shops and manufacturing or processing facilities. The innovative and unique chemical composition of the StrataShield coatings allows them to resist typical commercial environments such as high humidity, moisture, temperature fluctuations and adverse surface conditions. Each coating in the StrataShield line features improved moisture tolerance, shorter cure times, easy mixing ratios and epoxies with extremely good resistance to yellowing. Plus, StrataShield coatings comply with U.S. VOC regulations, ensuring a safe and environmentally friendly application process and service life.
Floor Coating Selection - Expert TipsThomas recommends that architects and contractors pay close attention to the products and manufacturers they specify and purchase. "It is important to find out how old a coating's chemistry is," he says. "Obsolete technology obviously carries with it an increased risk for coating failure, resulting in costly downtime and lost productivity."
Another indicator of a coating's potential is performance testing. Tnemec frequently shares data from the laboratory testing process to help customers evaluate the quality of a coating. Typically, coatings formulated with advanced raw materials will offer superior performance benefits.
Schloegel touched on his use of StrataShield as a system with various coating stages. This is because the effectiveness of floor coatings sometimes hinges on their use as a system rather than a single product. For example, floor coatings designed for office buildings are developed to meet different performance criteria than those developed for an auto repair shop or a biotech plant.