The FDA deems a concrete floor suitable when it is smooth, durable, and easily cleanable. (Chapter 6: 6-201-11 of the FDA Food Code). While there are many flooring systems that meet this requirement such as epoxies, MMAs, and other concrete sealers they all have drawbacks that a polished concrete floor does not.
Coatings vs Polished Concrete for USDA and FDA Approved Flooring
Cost: Polished concrete is by far the most cost effective flooring available today for new construction and renovations. Based on square footage the pricing varies, but the true cost savings is realized in the significantly reduced maintenance and replacement cost.
With epoxies and other coatings, shotblasting or other surface prep is required to achieve a good bond, thus adding to its price. And when it requires replacement, the entire surface must be stripped down and prepped again. On the other hand, polished concrete, does not require a costly surface prep step and never has to be taken back to Step 1 for refurbishment. See more on the life cycle cost of flooring.
Durability: Nothing compares to the durability of polished concrete floors. Here we are utilizing the existing concrete slab and adding a hardening chemical to it. In some cases, this can harden the concrete up to 400%. Coatings and epoxy will wear under forklift traffic and heavy carts.
Maintenance: Easily cleanable are the requirements of the FDA and USDA. Epoxies can be difficult to clean from tire marks and other wheeled traffic, but a polished concrete floor is simply cleaned free with water and autoscrubbing on a daily or weekly basis.
Because the process of polishing concrete refines the surface pores tightly and with the added layer of stain protection burned into the concrete, spills can be easily mopped up when they occur.
Green Properties: Unlike toxic coatings, there are no toxins with a polished concrete floor. The chemicals used to harden and protect the surface are no VOC and there are no harsh chemicals required to strip or clean it. It is safe for direct food contact per the FDA requirements.
Moisture Issues: With epoxy flooring, moisture testing is required. If there is a moisture vapor transmission issue present, the coating will fail. This requires an additional, costly coating to prevent the failure. Polished concrete remains a breathable concrete substrate and does not require moisture testing or treatment if it is present.
Who needs USDA and FDA Approved Polished Concrete?
- Grocery Stores
- Food and Beverage Manufacturing
- Food and Beverage Distribution Centers
- Cooler and Freezer Storage Facilities
- Food Establishments
- Farmers Markets