When selecting flooring for installation in any commercial, industrial or institutional facility, every aspect of the site conditions, typical usage and customer’s expectations must be thoroughly evaluated. With most of designers’ focus typically directed toward lobby areas, offices and other spaces utilized for essential daily operations, the stairwells of facilities can often be overlooked. But whether the stairway is subject to constant foot traffic or is tucked away for use only in cases of emergency, the materials of which it is composed play a huge role in its safety and durability. Fluid-applied and available in a variety of chemical formulations, epoxy and other resinous flooring systems can meet the unique demands of these settings.
Resinous flooring is available with an array of optional performance and décor features. The flooring manufacturer is your best resource for technical and design support relative to a specific setting, and established producers have staff available to assist specifiers and installers with optimal polymer flooring selection and installation. As a general rule, however, the best concrete stair coating systems exhibit the following properties:
- Slip-inhibiting surface to help mitigate hazards caused by slippery shoes and inclement weather
- Superior abrasion resistance for high-traffic areas
- Ease of maintenance and cleanability
- Resistance to abrasive soil brought in from outdoors
- Tolerance for caustic street salt in climates with seasonally snowy or icy weather
These essential resinous flooring characteristics help satisfy what most building managers look for when it comes to stair covering systems for their public or private facilities: Durability, slip-resistance, and aesthetics.
For any of these projects, concrete coating installation expertise is critical. Depending on the location and construction of the stairs and risers, contractors may need experience in properly prepping and applying high-performance seamless flooring both vertically and horizontally. Quality manufacturers’ technical professionals are locally available to help ensure successful selection and installation of durable, slip-resistant and aesthetically pleasing resinous stairwell flooring systems.
Durability is clearly a concern when choosing any type of floor covering. This is especially true in 24/7 operations or other high-traffic settings, where critical customer or employee access can be affected by the required cordoning off of rooms. The long usable life of epoxy flooring and other resinous systems offers a clear advantage. The ability to extend the time between replacement cycles, thereby minimizing the occurrence of such downtimes, can be a great help to a facility’s bottom line. Today’s fast-turnaround formulas can further help reduce any inconvenience to owners and occupants during flooring installation.
In contrast, a floor that fails to hold up presents a host of problems. In addition to the time and budgetary costs of insufficiently durable finishes, damaged traffic lanes can also present safety risks, particularly on stairs where a fall is more likely to result in serious injury. Cracks in the concrete surface as well as lifted and uneven areas can present dangerous trip hazards and simultaneously create places where dirt, debris and spilled substances can accumulate, despite the best housekeeping. Any breach in a flooring surface can quickly develop into the perfect dark, moist space for mold and microorganisms to gather and flourish. High-performance epoxy flooring is an ideal option in that it is fluid-applied and virtually seamless, bonding directly with the prepared concrete surface.
Slip and fall accidents in an organization’s facility present both a serious danger to staff and visitors, as well as an invitation to costly personal injury lawsuits. The discussion of facility managers’ slip-resistance requirements should be a priority regardless of the space, but especially in locations where occupants may be in any way impaired or have compromised mobility such as in hospitals, nursing homes or special education settings. Additionally, fast-paced settings (for example, those seen in the public safety, healthcare, education and hospitality fields) require staff members to move quickly and confidently. Having an ideally profiled floor finish can help support operational safety and efficiency.
On stairs and stairwells, the need for slip-resistant flooring is even greater. Epoxy and other concrete floor coating systems offer customizable levels of slip resistance, allowing installers to provide their clients with the right balance of optimal slip-inhibiting characteristics and exceptional cleanability.
Whether a featured staircase in an office atrium, or an enclosed exit stairwell, every area used by visitors and staff plays a role in tying together the overall design vision of the facility. As science is now documenting, aesthetically pleasing interiors can positively influence occupants’ moods, contributing to happier, more motivated employees, better service for clients and an overall thriving organization.
With epoxy and other fluid-applied flooring systems, facility managers need not choose between a great-looking floor and a long-wearing, safe walking surface. The broad array of colors, decorative aggregates, metallics and flake blends on the market is nearly limitless. Some manufacturers can even furnish custom colors and blends. In addition, resinous floor coatings uniquely allow for installation of hard wearing safety or directional markings, plus all manner of embedded brand logos and artistic graphics.