The intensive promotion of industrial flooring impregnation products could give the impression that all high-specification industrial flooring would benefit from an impregnation treatment, according to Grant Roe, BE(Hons) MEngSc MBA MIEAust CPEng, NER director of Costin Roe Consulting.
Impregnation treatments often unnecessary
“As the consulting engineers for many of Australia’s largest warehousing facilities, including those with extremely sophisticated automation systems, it is sometimes presumed that Costin Roe would specify industrial flooring impregnation for all new slab constructions as a matter of course,” Grant said.
“However, the application of one of these smear-on, swipe-off chemical impregnation treatments is often unnecessary.”
“In reality, a well-engineered monolithic floor, if properly constructed in the first place, will provide a superbly durable and functional surface. In Australia, for example, some of the world’s most impressive distribution centres have not needed any flooring impregnation treatment to deliver extremely high productivity, cost-efficiency, durability, and ease of maintenance,” said Grant.
Advantages of flooring impregnation
“Flooring impregnation may offer advantages when it comes to keeping floors cleaner in certain environments, and the glossier surface finish left behind by the treatment might enhance aesthetic appeal. However, any perceived benefits would have to be weighed against not only the cost of the product and labour for the application process, but any delay caused by having to wait for about one month after the pour before the application process can properly begin,” Grant said.
“It’s also important to note that there could be some risks associated with flooring impregnation products and processes. For example, the use of inferior products, or the application of products before the top layer of concrete has properly dried, could produce quite disastrous results.”
“There are probably only two situational instances where I would routinely recommend one of the leading flooring impregnation treatments. One of these would be where the finishing of a new monolithic floor is somewhat imperfect, for whatever reason, and options for remediation are being sought. The other is when an old industrial floor is to be renovated, because some flooring impregnation treatments now available could be useful for filling superficial cracks.”
“The products can provide important improvement in inferior floors with surface durability issues,” said Grant.