In addition to excellent beverages and food, bars and pubs must also provide an inviting atmosphere to keep patrons coming back. Today’s hospitality consumers spend more than ever before, and in return expect not only high-quality comestibles, but also a total drinking and dining experience. The construction and décor of the establishment are key in setting the stage for a memorable experience. One area of crucial importance that can contribute to the desired atmosphere in a bar or pub is unique flooring. Incorporated into the total facility design, the right flooring system can go a long way toward making a great first impression and setting the mood. Because the floors in these establishments serve an aesthetic purpose in addition to having to meet a number of functional requirements, epoxy and other fluid-applied floor coatings are an increasingly popular option for their durability, versatility and diversity of design options. Moreover, well-specified and installed resinous floor coatings are compliant with USDA food safety standards.
An Aesthetic Flooring Option for Every Bar and Pub
Every pub or tavern has a specific identity, which should be apparent from the moment a guest first walks through the door. Some bars offer a quiet, cozy place to relax and enjoy a conversation; others are more boisterous and energetic, offering patrons a chance to let loose and have fun. Epoxy floor coatings come in a variety of aesthetic options to suit the desired ambience of the establishment:
- Solid Colors and Patterns. At the most basic end of the spectrum are smooth, solid colors. Reputable epoxy flooring manufacturers stock a wide range of colors options and some also offer custom color matching services. Fluid-applied flooring systems can be installed by approved contractors in various large, separated sections across the floor—an exciting appearance can be created by placing different solid colors in an oversized geometric pattern. A pub brand logo or whimsical graphic can also be embedded in the epoxy for a one-of-a-kind “wow” effect.
- Colored Chip, Flake or Aggregate Blends. To add texture and visual depth to the floor, consider systems comprising epoxy resins and a blend of different colored chips, flakes or other special aggregates. Flooring manufacturers offer a wide spectrum of flooring that incorporates decorative aggregate elements, such as colored quartz particles, natural mica mineral flakes or multicolored vinyl chips blends suspended in clear, colorfast resin. The final look depends on the size and color of the aggregate or flakes. However, these systems can often be mistaken for far more expensive terrazzo or mined granite floor coverings. The right decorative aggregate blend can infuse the floor, and the room as a whole, with upscale appeal for a fraction of the cost, and with far easier maintenance.
- Metallic Floor Coatings. Polished and/or stained concrete can give the concrete slab surface a burnished, natural or randomly colored appearance that is both attractive and popular. Unfortunately, these floors tend to require regular ongoing professional maintenance and aren’t always well-suited for high-traffic locations. Depending on the treatment, stained and polished finishes can tend to wear away relatively quickly in commercial locations, resulting in patches of bare concrete that can generate concrete dust and have a negative impact on indoor air quality. One solution is the “metallic” epoxy floor coatings (sometimes called “faux stain” systems) that achieve an appearance similar to polished or stained concrete while demonstrating exceptional durability and performance in busy hospitality and retail traffic conditions. A metallic epoxy floor surface offers a stylish, high-performance option that’s simple and inexpensive to maintain.
The visual aspect of the flooring system used in a bar or pub should reflect the “personality” or atmosphere of that facility. Brightly colored, solid, high-gloss coatings tend to give a modern feel, while softer colors and chip blends can be used to create a warmer environment, or even mimic a terrazzo or natural granite floor. Metallic epoxy coatings provide a lush, organic look suitable for a variety of settings.
USDA Compliance for Food Safety
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) creates guidelines for maintaining food safety that apply to facilities which process, prepare and serve food and beverages. The main areas of concern for floors, walls, and ceilings are that they be durable, impervious to water, and able to be thoroughly and effectively cleaned without deteriorating or harboring bacteria.
Impervious and Cleanable
Floor finishes in food or beverages processing environments must be impervious to the type of spills that will inevitably occur. Porous, absorbent surfaces, such as unsealed concrete, can permanently stain from various oils, sauces, red wine and the like, and are difficult to clean. Over time, mold and bacteria can grow in such an environment, resulting in both hygiene issues and odors that persist despite repeated cleanings.
For cleaning purposes, the floor finish should be impervious to a given facility’s standard sanitizing solutions and chemicals, as well as be able to withstand the protocol of automated or manual scrubbing, power washing or steam cleaning used in each department. Grout lines, crack, and other breaks in a floor surface offer dust, debris and microorganisms a place to accumulate, rendering these areas difficult if not impossible to thoroughly clean. Seamless cementitious urethane and epoxy floor coatings help eliminate these vulnerabilities, making it easier to effectively clean and maintain a hygienic environment. Additionally, these floor systems offer customizable slip-resistance, allowing for a good balance between slip-inhibiting safety and cleanability throughout the facility. For best sanitation, an integral cove base can be installed to create a smooth, rounded transition from floor to wall.
Flooring systems that end up deteriorating or wearing away quickly are a liability in food preparation and service environments for several reasons. Firstly, cracks and unsealed areas create the exact vulnerabilities that a high-performance floor coating is designed to avoid. In other words, floor coverings that are unable to withstand the wear and tear of their environment ultimately develop areas where mold and bacteria can thrive. Secondly, failing floor systems pose a safety hazard to both employees and patrons alike. Cracked tiles and peeling laminate flooring present uneven surfaces that can cause individuals to trip and fall, potentially resulting in injury. A durable, seamless flooring system can help keep the environment more sanitary and also help safeguard against the risk of trip and fall events.
Front vs. Back of House Flooring Solutions
Depending on their operation, pubs and bars typically have both a front of house, including all the areas where guests are present, and a back of house, where employees may stock goods, prepare food or perform other behind-the-scenes work of running the business.
The front of house may include the front of the bar, the tasting room and/or dining area, the building entrance and host station if applicable, customer restrooms, plus dance floors or other lounge areas. Flooring in these spaces must be capable of withstanding ongoing heavy foot traffic, the occasional set of sports cleats, dropped food and beverage spills, in addition to the friction of dragging chairs, tables and other furniture across the floor’s surface. An inadequate flooring system can wear out quickly under these circumstances, necessitating costly downtime for the floor to get repaired, or removed and replaced.
In contrast, well-selected and properly installed resinous flooring can provide long-term functionality even in challenging settings, due to its industrial-grade components. Epoxy flooring’s combination of long-lasting performance and ambience enhancing aesthetics is ideal for front of house in bars and pubs.
In the back of house, including kitchens and other employees-only areas, durability and functional properties are of even greater importance. In addition to the foot traffic experienced throughout the facility, kitchens are subject to harsh conditions, including extreme temperatures from ovens and/or walk-in freezer units, heavy micro-distillery equipment, consistently wet dishwashing areas, plus potential puncture or impact damage from dropped items such as knives and heavy pans. Food and beverage spills are common, and ingredients high in acids or salts can be corrosive enough to cause lasting damage to a less than optimal flooring system. Back of house areas can also be exposed to stricter cleaning regimens including punishing chemical cleaning agents, steam and high-pressure washing.
The extreme environment to which back of house floors are often exposed can challenge the majority of floor coverings to the breaking point. One exception is cementitious urethane flooring. Possessing excellent tolerance for ongoing exposure to the wet conditions, intense temperature cycling, strong acids and salts, hot oil splashes and other commercial kitchen conditions, these floors continue to grow in popularity in the food industry.
Optimal Flooring for Bars and Pubs
Almost no other floor covering type furnish the combination of impressive durability, high performance, choice of functional features and aesthetics as does resinous, fluid-applied flooring. Thanks to their affordability, long usable life, easy maintenance, and choice of customized finishes, resinous floor coatings offer bars and pubs unique design and optimal flooring value.