YESChef! Blog

Anti-slip Flooring - Clean & Wear

Jack Josephsen

In the last post (Resin-based Anti-slip) we covered the typical composition of a high-quality resin-based anti-slip floor. For our final post we want to hone in on particle selection for these floors and some other key considerations that come into play, i.e. cleaning and wear.

A mop and bucket not always the answer

We frequently get asked, “can you make it non-slip and easy to clean”, but sometimes that combination just doesn’t exist. The lighter end of the scale (R9-10) isn’t the issue here because those floors typically have a light sprinkling of aggregate or a rounded particle that allows standard janitorial equipment such as mops to be used. (Tip – wet mopping can often push dirt around rather than pick it up. Using a wet vacuum to collect excess water, rather than letting it dry, works well)

The challenge comes when more aggressive slip resistance (R12+) is required, e.g. in an abattoir. A mop will be torn to shreds very quickly here, so other options need to be explored. To clean these surfaces, you’ll find the use of cleaning agents followed by a flush to drainage or a wet vacuum to be more successful. Be careful when picking the cleaning agent as not every resin can handle the harsh but popular caustic solutions, and, be wary of using hot water as it can damage your floor rapidly through thermal shock (as touched on in Planning). Often those options are overkill, so using a pH neutral, surfactant-based product that works with cold water is a far better starting point.

Go hard anti-slip for less wear

Keeping a floor clean via the methods above will help maintain slip resistance, however the hardness of the particle will have a big say as well. For anti-slip floors exposed to heavy machinery traffic and the brutal wear it can impart, particles at the high end of the Mohs hardness scale (i.e. aluminium oxide and carborundum at 9 rather than sand at 6-7) will deliver superior performance.

Non-slip flooring that uses aluminium  oxide like this will have superior wear resistance.

Decorative AND anti-slip

A final word on the wear of anti-slip floors relates to the “stir-in” options on the market. These finishes are very popular in the world of decorative floors because they add subtle anti-slip texture without hiding the design underneath, however they tend to wear more quickly than the specialist anti-slip systems. A couple of tips for improving performance in this area include selecting finishes that use glass beads rather than polymer particles and using two coats instead of one.  

Non-slip topcoat being applied with a roller, which is possible with stir-in particles.  
      

If you have any questions about cleaning and wearing of resin-based anti-slip flooring, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Keep Smiling,

Jack Josephsen
Head FLOORChef

FLOORChef's Chef Hat.


Anti-slip Flooring - Resin-based Anti-slip

Jack Josephsen

At the end of our last post (Planning) we finally got around to the question of which anti-slip flooring to use. Like most applications, the answer unremarkably comes down to whatever system is the best fit. Should that point you in the direction of resin-based anti-slip flooring, having a grasp of the basics will help make sure good decisions are made within this field.

Anti-slip sounds easy, but...

In the simplest of terms, creating an anti-slip surface with resins involves the application of a coating and the broadcast of a particle on top of it (or aggregate, as it may be known). It sounds foolproof enough, however the irony is that resin-based anti-slip flooring is quite difficult to master; slapping on any old product and tossing a heap of sand over it generally isn’t the answer.

There’s a bit that goes into the design of a resin-based anti-slip floor and it starts with the basecoat. All the usual good qualities are relevant to ensure the system is anchored well – crosslinked (thermoset coatings rather than thermoplastic paints), strong adhesion, moisture tolerance etc. – however, in an anti-slip context the application thickness and its viscosity take on extra importance as well. The aim is to use the right product at the right film thickness to encapsulate the particle just enough (too much coverage won’t provide enough texture, too little and particles can pop out).

Full particle saturation and two coats

The choice of particle and how it’s used also demands close attention. You’ll read more on selection in the next post, but in terms of usage it’s typically a question of whether a full broadcast or a controlled sprinkle is employed. Our philosophy is to saturate the film wherever possible because it’s the only way you can guarantee an even distribution with a consistent level of slip resistance. Also, saturation allows the wear to be shouldered by the particle rather than the resin, which means the floor will withstand a lot more punishment.

Non-slip floors close up showing the texture of a fully saturated resin-based floor.Non-slip floor need more texture than this flake floor, which is too smooth.

A couple of final tips; firstly, a two-coat system is generally your best bet. While you can create an anti-slip floor with one coat and some aggregate, using two coats with about 60% particle coverage will result in a floor that’s sealed better, comparatively easy to clean and holds up much longer. Secondly, don’t get fooled by systems promoting flakes or roller textures in the finish as “non-slip”. In our opinion, they don’t offer consistent, long-term anti-slip properties. 
 
If you have any questions about resin-based anti-slip flooring, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Keep Smiling,

Jack Josephsen
Head FLOORChef

FLOORChef's Chef Hat.

Anti-slip Flooring - Planning

Jack Josephsen

There are many anti-slip flooring options out there and the best chance you have of choosing the right one is, as always, to do your homework. Anti-slip flooring can’t be an afterthought because insufficient planning will guarantee you pay the price later on. You need to understand the demands on the floor and find the system/s equipped to deal with them.

Know thy floor

Consider what type of punishment the floor will receive during service. Is there heavy vehicle traffic with the potential to wear an anti-slip profile smooth? Will frequent impact and gouging from dropped items necessitate constant repair or replacement? Is there a chance “gunk” falling onto the floor will become lodged and compromise the anti-slip profile? Think hard and put together a clear checklist of what properties, besides anti-slip, the floor will need to be a success.

You can easily spot the floors that weren’t subject to this kind of analysis beforehand because they often have a telltale “mish mash” of anti-slip measures slapped together – some bulky rubber mats here and there, dirty tiles where they shouldn’t be, sections of cheap flooring peeling off. The stop-gap approach not only looks sloppy and unprofessional, but it also becomes more costly because temporary fixes always need more cleaning, repair, replacement and shutdown time.

Non-slip rubber mats on a floor posing a potential trip hazard.

Consistent anti-slip is the key

At the end of that process your solution should present itself clearly enough. The ideal scenario would be to have the same surface with the same slip resistance over the entire area, however that might not always be practical. Floor shape, fixtures, contamination, hygiene demands, cleaning methods, traffic levels and budget all need to be bundled into a decision that’s too complex to cover in this short space. What you should try to avoid, however, is the situation described above where too many different types of anti-slip measures slapped together can actually exacerbate the risks, e.g. edges of rubber mats forming a trip hazard.

Some hidden anti-slip gems to consider

There are some other things to consider during this planning phase, aside from the surface used, which will help the performance and longevity of anti-slip floors (or any other floor). Coving – the shape, size and construction – should always be assessed because of the role it plays in keeping floors clean and hygienic. The question of how to clean underneath equipment and other hard-to-reach areas also needs to be tackled (often coving is crucial in this context as well). So too can the potential sources of damage to the floor besides traffic, e.g. most flooring surfaces don’t cope well with equipment dumping boiling hot water directly onto them.

Non-slip flooring in a processing plant with damage from hot liquid.

If you have any questions about planning anti-slip flooring, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Keep Smiling,

Jack Josephsen
Head FLOORChef

FLOORChef's Chef Hat.

Anti-slip Flooring - Two Standards

Jack Josephsen

When it comes to anti-slip flooring, the majority of clients contact us armed with an “R” rating they’re adamant should be on their floor. Despite their conviction, we find most don’t fully understand how it relates to their floor. Because of this, we’d like to take a few steps back in our first blog to broadly discuss what the standard actually means.

Slip resistance not all about the “R”

There are two popular tests for quantifying slip resistance. By far the most common reference is to the Oily Ramp Method, which is a laboratory test gauging sureness of footing by producing the well-known “R” rating (from R9/light anti-slip to R12 or 13/aggressive anti-slip). The other is the Wet Pendulum Test, which is used as the Australian Standard (AS) for field testing of existing surfaces (“Z” rating/very high slip risk to “V” rating/very low slip risk).

Non-slip flooring being tested through the Oil Ramp Test.Non-slip flooring being tested with a Wet Pendulum Tester.

The key differences are summed up by two sets of words above – oily and wet, laboratory and field.  When you’re talking about an “R” rating, you’re talking about a measurement made in a laboratory using an inclined, oily surface with the aim of replicating that slip resistance in the field (Note - there’s no way of actually confirming this once applied). The Wet Pendulum Test, on the other hand, has more to do with the field. Portable equipment is used to take the readings on any part of a floor, new or old, and assess the slip resistance at that point when the surface is wet.  

Which slip resistance standard should I use?

What can be taken from all that? Well, perhaps the main message is that the two standards aren’t interchangeable and anti-slip specification needs to consider what standard is more appropriate. Will the floor be exposed to oil and/or applied on an inclined surface? Is water the only liquid that will come into play? The CSIRO publishes recommendations for anti-slip requirements with both standards in mind, however it’s important to use the one that matches your application best.

Finally, an important distinction we like to make when discussing the basics of anti-slip flooring relates to our preference for using “anti-slip” or “increased slip resistance” as opposed to “non-slip”. Unless you can guarantee the floor prevents slips and falls in every scenario, “anti-slip” is perhaps the more accurate description of what can be achieved at the end of the day.

If you have any questions about anti-slip flooring standards, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Keep Smiling,

Jack Josephsen
Head FLOORChef

FLOORChef's Chef Hat.