Floors are more complicated than they seem for a clutch of reasons, like health and safety, worker and handling equipment efficiency and maintenance costs, yet floor maintenance budgets are rarely put in place and most repair works are reactionary rather than preventative. The degree of costliness for floor maintenance will vary widely depending not only on the bare concrete floor construction method but also on the chosen surface covering so when considering a new floor it is important to view all the options available and the benefits they provide.

chazA key concern over floor maintenance and repair issues is the potential disruption when remedial work is undertaken so it pays to consider all the surface options available. One solution available that allays disruption fears is the Ecotile flooring method which can be laid over any surface without any need for damp proof membrane, screed or adhesive and so that means minimum preparation. After laying the interlocking, 7mm thick tiles the floor can be used immediately because there are no curing and drying times. All the work can usually be done around the customers while they continue production. For some of Ecotile customers, like Toyota and Siemens, stopping work would run to tens of thousands of pounds per day.

Over the long term the maintenance of the floor is quick and easy because if a tile is damaged it can be replaced within minutes, so there are no health and safety issues while the area is isolated for repairs. The tiles can incorporate any kind of safety markings but not least of the customer requirements are the need for anti-fatigue properties and improved acoustics. All tiles come with a 10-year standard warranty and at the end of their life Ecotile will take them away free and re-use them for the next generation of tiles.

Sometimes a floor repair problem can seem of nightmarish proportions, as when the floor begins to dish owing to poor load-bearing sub soil conditions. This can cause serious problems for MHE working within racking aisles because of collisions between forklifts and racking. Until the 1980s the solution often adopted was new pile driving and a new load-bearing slab, both immensely costly and disruptive. Fortunately, a much cheaper and far less disruptive solution is the foam injection kind from suppliers like Uretek. This involves pumping foam through half inch holes to provide a lifting force of 40t/mt2 and can provide a levelling accuracy of 1:1,000. There are now thousands of such applications in the UK.

It may seem obvious that good housekeeping practices are essential for any floor care regime, like ensuring they are kept adequately clean, clear of debris, slip resistant and repaired without delay when potholes appear or joints start crumbling, but how many warehouse operators have looked upwards for a cleaning solution? Polluted air is a major cause of floor dirt so an efficient air filtration system can help companies save up to 70% on cleaning costs. Moreover, they can improve indoor air quality so much that they cut air quality sickness-related absenteeism by as much as 30%, as well as forcing air downwards in the winter, so cutting bills by 20-30%.

Some environments, like food production, by necessity place hygiene properties at the top of their concerns when choosing floor treatments, followed by slip resistance and ability to be regularly cleaned and maintained. Given that scenario, seamless resin flooring is a good choice but the use of powered floor cleaners with advice from cleaning chemical suppliers should be sought to establish the recommended frequency of cleaning and the most suitable cleaning agents. A good place to start for resin flooring advice is the FeRFA website (www.ferfa.org.uk).