Imagine this common scenario: You’ve spent months of your time and hoards of your cash installing new flooring for your restaurant or brewery. But after a short while, you discover stains, chips, or hardened food ruining the surface. Suddenly, production must screech to a halt. You have to bring in large equipment for repairs, and costs climb.
Luckily, avoiding this unpleasant situation is easy. By taking a few extra minutes to plan now, you can install flooring that impresses customers, lasts longer, and reflects the best qualities of your establishment. We’ve outlined the most important and most frequently overlooked factors you should consider when choosing flooring for your restaurant or brewery.
What to Consider Before You Choose Restaurant Flooring
Prior to choosing flooring, it’s important to consider the nuances of restaurants and breweries. These are unique industries that require special features and must live up to higher standards.
Restaurants generally consist of two distinct sections: kitchens and serving areas. Each section serves a unique function and comes with its own regulations. For instance, many government guidelines now require commercial kitchen flooring to be seamless and equipped with floor drainage.
Like restaurants, breweries usually include a serving section and production areas. Brewery flooring should be USDA compliant, offer chemical resistance, and have water-repellent features, including drainage.
Unique Demands of Kitchen and Brewery Flooring
In addition to their unique requirements, restaurant and brewery floors face demanding environments. Here’s an overview of what each space is up against:
Flooring in Kitchen Areas
Keep in mind that kitchen floors tend to be high-impact areas that are subject to high foot traffic, high heat, and heavy equipment. Kitchen floors also need to be able to hold up against grease buildup in the air, as well as direct spills.
Flooring in Restaurant Serving Areas
Although flooring in the serving area won’t endure the heat and grease buildup of the kitchen, it will experience its own set of wearing conditions. Serving floors need to remain strong under heavy foot traffic. It’s likely that they’ll be pummeled by spills and residue. Floors also must withstand potential scratches from moving tables.
More importantly, serving floors need to be slip-resistant to ensure customers’ safety. All the while, because these floors are exposed to the public, they should also be aesthetically pleasing.
Flooring in Brewery Production Areas
Owners need the floors in brewery production areas to withstand liquid residue and chemicals on a daily basis. Because spills are common and liquids flow frequently in these spaces, the floors should include proper drainage as well as waterproofing. Floors should also be protected by chemical-resistant coatings.
Flooring in Brewery Serving Areas
Similarly to restaurant serving areas, brewery floors in public spaces need to be able to hold up to spills, handle heavy foot traffic, and maintain a stunning appearance. It’s especially important to use slip-resistant materials in order to keep customers from falling in these liquid-heavy environments.
What Type of Flooring Is Available?
Of course, restaurant and brewery owners have all of the traditional flooring materials at their disposal. However, there are specific floors that are more popular and also more practical than others. Here are some common restaurant and brewery flooring options:
As a relatively inexpensive product, quarry tiles have recently grown in popularity within restaurant and brewery spaces. Tiles consist of thick materials that make them sturdy. This quality of durability has caught the eye of food and beverage owners who need flooring that won’t chip amid high foot traffic.
However, restaurant and brewery owners should be wary of unglazed quarry tiles and grout lines. Because they are not seamless flooring systems, quarry tiles have grout lines where food, grease, and liquids can build up.
Without a protective sealant, permanent stains can quickly ruin flooring. If you decide to install quarry tiles, be sure to add a durable floor finish to protect against surface damage. When choosing a finish, look for products that includes these features in order to protect employees and customers:
- Low odor
- Free from volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Rubber Rolls or Tiles
Rubber flooring has long been a tempting but deceptive option for restaurant and brewery owners. Because you can lay rubber down over existing surfaces, it may seem like a simple option for kitchen areas. Rubber is also a natural shock absorber, making it an attractive choice for heavy-use areas such as serving spaces.
Unfortunately, rubber flooring carries heavy risks for food and restaurant owners:
- Slip hazards: Rubber tends to become slippery when wet, presenting a danger to workers and customers.
- Flammable adhesives: Many rubber floors use flammable adhesives during the installation process. This fire danger is amplified in cooking spaces.
- Bacteria collection: Rubber surfaces will hold on to grime and spills readily, which poses a safety concern in breweries and restaurants.
Concrete: Urethane and Polished
When paired with the right surface enhancement, concrete provides an ideal flooring option for both restaurants and breweries. Urethane concrete is made to handle the demanding environment found in the kitchen and food preparation areas. Along with the ability to withstand thermal shock and damage, and prevent bacterial and fungal growth, urethane concrete easily adheres to a variety of substrates and has a quick turnaround. These features tend to allow a quick and easy installation.
Polished concrete on the other hand is best used in the dining area, away from the kitchen and food prep areas.
In addition to being practical, concrete can easily be transformed into a beautiful surface with protective polishes. By using polished concrete with a densifier, you can make your flooring attractive with the added benefit of durability. With increased reflectivity, it also has the potential to reduce lighting and energy needs.
What’s more, adding a protective finishing conditioner to the polished concrete will provide extra protection against mild acids, which is useful in an area where you’re serving food.
Urethane concrete flooring is also appropriate for breweries. Urethane concrete is temperature-, chemical-, and slip-resistant. These qualities make it a common flooring material for food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and other manufacturing and process environments. On the whole, urethane concrete flooring is known for its longevity and can handle the kind of heavy equipment that is typical of most breweries.
How to Choose the Right Flooring for Your Establishment
In order to choose the perfect flooring for your establishment, keep these guiding questions at the forefront of your mind:
Is it durable?
Flooring needs to be able to maintain its luster even after years of abuse. It must repel food and liquids, hold up to impact, and support heavy equipment.
Is it aesthetically pleasing?
Whether it’s installed in public areas or in employee-facing spaces, your floor will set the ambience for your restaurant or brewery. Thus, it should be practical, yet pleasing to the eye.
Will it keep employees and patrons safe?
It’s crucial to protect the company’s public image, maintain the safety of customers and employees, and avoid legal complications. This element of safety should be present in floors through slip resistance, antibacterial design, and fire-proofing.
What’s the cost?
Flooring is an investment. It’s important to focus on the value of floors and how much they’ll cost the establishment in the long term. When it comes to material costs, rubber mats tend to run around $1-$5 per square foot, and rubber tiles usually cost $3-$5 per square foot. At the same time, polished concrete will cost approximately $3-$8 per square foot, whereas quarry tiles are usually similarly priced at around $3-$5 per square foot.
Is it easy or inexpensive to install?
Before choosing a final flooring option, it pays to understand the costs and labor that it will require to install. Have a question or need an expert’s opinion? Contact one of our professionals, and we’ll give you recommendations based on your establishment’s specific size, budget, and needs.
Bring out the Best in Your Industrial Flooring
Regardless of your final decision, flooring in any establishment should strike a balance between durability and style. Want to see what’s possible?
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