The Evolution of Kitchen Flooring


What are the trends in kitchen flooring? 


Michael Carris: Some kitchens are becoming more visible to patrons (exhibition kitchens), so appearance is playing a bigger role. Power washing of floor and wall surfaces is being utilized more frequently, so kitchen surfaces need to withstand this type of cleaning and need to integrate with drains whenever possible.  

What are the other flooring options? 

MC: The three main options for back-of-house areas continue to be quarry tile, poured epoxy resin floors and slip-resistant sheet vinyl flooring. Resin floors consist of multiple components mixed together and troweled onto substrates on site. It’s virtually impossible to get consistent thickness, appearance and slip resistance on every project. This can mean a significantly different look and performance between two epoxy kitchen floors, even from the same manufacturer, even in the same kitchen! You don’t see this problem with slip-resistant sheet vinyl. The thickness and slip resistance are consistent throughout the product so you can expect the same performance again and again.

What should foodservice operators consider when purchasing commercial kitchen flooring?

MC: The true cost of ownership has a number of facets that play out over time. Safety of employees/slip and fall accidents are a factor, as workers’ compensation insurance costs and days away from work can directly impact profitability. This issue is not just limited to back of house, as customer slip and fall accidents and liability insurance costs have similar consequences for restaurants, hotels, grocery and many other retail businesses. Also, maintenance/life cycle costs should be considered. Floor and wall surfaces require occasional attention by owners, with some finishes needing more than others. These costs may happen over many years and should be considered in the total cost of ownership.

What are the installation considerations with flooring for commercial foodservice operations’ back of house?

MC: These days, construction schedules seem to be tighter than ever. Environmental conditions are often not ideal for installation. Spaces may not be conditioned and concrete may still not be ready to accept the floor covering. Many sub-trades are climbing on top of each other trying to finish their work. Having adequate time and a suitable environment will make a world of difference.

With new construction especially, we are trying to emphasize the pre-construction activities that can eliminate problems and conflicts down the road. As the saying goes, ‘the devil is in the details.’ Owners/architects/general contractors, subcontractors and vendors have the opportunity to collaborate before actual construction takes place. The end result can be a better long-term outcome for the owner/operator. For example, we have recommendations for drains/cleanouts, pipe penetrations and floor/wall transitions that can be included in specs and shown on the plans. This clearly outlines the owners’ and architects’ desires and provides an even playing field during the bid phase. In many instances, the kitchens are not on grade and there is movement in the concrete subfloor that not all flooring systems can accommodate.

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Posted: 10/30/2017 7:20:29 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments