Facility and Risk Management Tips presented by www.solidrockfacilitymanagers.com
Best Practices For Concrete Resiient Floor And Care. Part One
Concrete flooring can be a great option for commercial spaces due to its ability to be cleaned with nontoxic chemicals.
In addition to being visually appealing, concrete floors have gained in popularity due to their relative ease of care. They require less labor and expense to maintain, especially in comparison to vinyl or tile.
There are also environmental advantages to concrete, including a reduction in airborne contaminants, better indoor air quality (IAQ), lower opportunity for mold growth, and the ability to be cleaned with nontoxic chemicals or those with a lower amount of volatile organic compounds (VOC). It is also considered a greener option than carpet and other surfaces that will have to be disposed of after they exceed their lifespan.
Knowing how to properly prepare new or old concrete floors is imperative to gain the desired finish and protect those completing the job. It’s also important to consider floor care once the job is done. Following some best practices can help.
Focus On Safety
Before beginning any prep work, it is critical to understand and implement the proper safety precautions. Standard personal protection equipment (PPE) applies. Workers need to wear steel-toe boots, safety glasses, and work gloves.
When working in small, confined areas be sure to wear hearing protection; the propane motors used to power some equipment can be quite loud. Also be sure that there is proper ventilation when using propane. There are tags that workers can wear that alert them if they are starting to be exposed to too much carbon monoxide.
Most importantly, always protect against silica dust that becomes airborne when grinding and shot-blasting concrete. Silica dust is very dangerous because it can cause scar tissue to develop in the lungs. . The safest amount of silica in the air is zero, but since that isn’t realistic, workers should wear a KN95 dust mask for breathing protection.
Additional protection against silica includes using water on the concrete when grinding, adding air scrubbers to the space, and/or implementing properly sized HEPA dust collectors. When using dust collectors, be sure to clean them regularly to prevent silica dust from reentering the space.
Evaluate The Concrete Project
The best way to approach a concrete surface prep project is to know the existing condition of the floor and what the goal is for the finish. This helps ensure that the correct equipment is in place and that the goal is achievable. The starting point may be a thick or thin coating, vinyl composite tile (VCT), sealer, ceramic tile, carpet, or existing concrete. The goal may be polished concrete, concrete overlays, or a surface with thick or thin coating. In some cases, the goal may be to seal the surface.
It is also important to consider the age of the concrete. As a general rule, it is best to wait until it is 28 days old before grinding, as the material under the surface is still solidifying when it is newer than that.
Determine what power is available and its location, as well as how to access the space. Are there stairs or an elevator?
Finally, be realistic when evaluating the project. If the concrete has flaws that need to be patched, it might not be possible to get a clean, polished finish. The stain will show the blemishes. If that is Solid the desired surface characteristic, it may be better to finish the concrete with a thicker coating. To be continued……………………………
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