Choosing flooring for buildings exposed to extreme temperatures and the elements
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Buildings and facilities are designed to perform a wide variety of jobs and fulfill myriad purposes. Sometimes, these facilities need to be able to stand up against extreme temperatures and elements.
Extreme temperatures and exposure to outdoor elements require durable flooring solutions. Otherwise, undesirable flooring will pose both safety and long-term durability concerns.
Typical Facilities Exposed to Extreme Temperatures and the Elements
There are numerous types of facilities that are constantly exposed to the seasons and unpredictable weather conditions. Daily operations and safety can be largely impacted by temperature and elements, making flooring an important factor that should be considered.
A couple of examples are:
Large Outdoor Arenas: Large outdoor arenas such as baseball fields, football fields, concert arenas, and amphitheaters may have some enclosed areas; however, much of the flooring may be completely exposed to the elements and temperature fluctuations.
The flooring in these areas should not only withstand the fluctuations in temperature during the course of the year but should also withstand UV exposure in order to reduce yellowing of the flooring over time.
Parking Decks: Parking decks are critical to the operations of many businesses, including malls, hospital buildings, event venues and more. These large outdoor structures deal with fluctuating elements with little protection.
Their structure can retain extreme heat in the interior of the structure along with ample rain and water during summer months. In winter months, the surface can be exposed to ice, snow, snow melt and extreme cold temperatures. Regardless of the season or temperature, a waterproofed and textured floor is extremely important to both patron and vehicle safety.
These are only a couple of the many examples of facilities that deal with extreme temperatures. Whether it is the hard surface of a parking deck or the foundation of a large outdoor arena, inadequate flooring can easily crack, delaminate and over time, resulting in costly repairs or, even worse, structural issues.
Must-Have Features of Flooring for Facilities Exposed to Extreme Temperatures and the Elements
Withstanding extreme temperatures, weather elements and abuse that unfortunately coincide with inclement weather — such as salt, sand and damage from snow removal — require floor coatings that can effectively handle these unique situations while protecting the overall flooring infrastructure.
Ideal flooring solutions for these types of facilities should include characteristic properties such as:
Aliphatic (non-yellowing) & UV Resistance
When dealing with outdoor areas, the sun’s rays may lead to unattractive yellowing. Aliphatic properties, like those of methyl methacrylate (MMA) coatings, can withstand the sun’s damaging UV rays, helping flooring maintain its original color and decorative beauty over time.
These same facilities that are exposed to harsh temperatures and elements can often be exposed to harsh chemicals such as salts and fluids from motor vehicles, requiring a floor coating that can resist their damaging effects.
Abrasion & Impact Resistance
When dealing with extreme elements, facilities must also prepare for heavy equipment such as vehicles, cleaning machines and more. Flooring that can withstand punctures and abrasions is ideal for long-term performance.
When dealing with rain, snow and other liquids, waterproof flooring systems not only help contain water but keep it from leaking through from upper levels. This provides protection to help maintain the integrity of the overall structure, as water can deteriorate concrete over time.
Slip Resistance Options
When exposed to snow, rain or liquids from vehicles or other machinery, texturized flooring systems are a must to help aid against both pedestrian slips and falls and vehicular slipping — such as forklifts and carts.
Textures are customizable and are available from light to heavy. The amount of texture is determined by the type of traffic and the volume of traffic the area receives.
Thermal Shock Resistance
Coatings that are resistant to thermal shock, or the quick change from one extreme temperature to another, help to ensure flooring does not expand, contract or become brittle under extreme fluctuations. This type of flooring system is built to expand and contract along with the concrete itself.
The benefits achieved mean that these floors will withstand extreme temperatures, stand up to vibrations, resist acid rain, help reduce accidents, hold up to water and provide a solid protective layer for floors and foundations. MMA floor coatings and waterproofing parking deck coatings, for example, are often top choice for these facilities.
Choosing the Right Flooring System
Facilities that are exposed to extreme temperatures and elements face unique challenges when it comes to flooring. From safety to aesthetics and economics, flooring in these facilities must be carefully selected to offer the highest protection to the integrity of the overall flooring structure, maintain safety, and perform under extreme temperatures and elements.
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