Why Epoxy and Polished Concrete Flooring Are Ideal for Kitchens - Concrete Epoxy 101
Why Epoxy and Polished Concrete Flooring Are Ideal for Kitchens

Why Epoxy and Polished Concrete Flooring Are Ideal for Kitchens

Watching chefs and cooks move around a professional kitchen is like watching a chaotic but cleverly choreographed dance. Shouts of “behind!” “hot!” “order’s up!” and “Yes, Chef!” are all part of the chorus of sounds. (In truth, it would be wise for some home cooks to employ this type of communication in their family kitchen!) What we all want to avoid is the possibility of someone slipping or tripping. That’s why polished concrete and epoxy flooring is ideal for kitchens, in both professional in the home.

Polished concrete and epoxy have several advantages over other, more traditional kitchen floors. Often, restaurant owners and homeowners are more concerned about the aesthetic of their kitchens; this is particularly true of open kitchens. It’s still not uncommon to see fairly traditional tile or vinyl in industrial and home kitchens. These aren’t a bad choice, necessarily, but they’re not ideal. Let’s compare:

natural stone

Natural stone

This is a popular choice for open-concept kitchens due to its aesthetic qualities.

Pros:

  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Durable
  • Thermal resistant
  • Can be stain- and moisture-resistant (depending on type and whether it’s coated)
  • Can be slip-resistant, depending on abrasiveness of stone
  • Moderate cleanability

Cons:

  • Not as cleanable due to seams and porous tiles
  • Expensive
  • Takes more than a day for installation
  • Requires periodic resealing

pavers are durable

Brick Paving

Durable and pretty (and lower-priced), these are a popular choice for back-of-house commercial kitchens and residential kitchens.

Pros:

  • Durable and aesthetically appealing
  • Thermal resistant
  • Slip-resistant
  • Moderately priced
  • Low maintenance, but grout and mortar will need occasional repair

Cons:

  • Porous, therefore susceptible to stains and moisture
  • Uneven texture that could pose a tripping hazard
  • Takes more than a day for installation
  • Difficult to clean, food, debris, moisture, and bacteria get lodged in seams

Rubber sheet flooring

Great for impact and reducing employee fatigue, this surface fails to live up to the comparison to polished concrete and epoxy flooring.

Pros:

  • Fatigue reduction
  • Impact resistant
  • Moderately priced
  • Water resistant
  • Thermal resistant
  • Slip resistant

Cons:

  • Not stain resistant
  • Special cleaners required for cleaning
  • Entire floor must be replaced when seam failure occurs
  • More than a day for installation
  • Water breaches of the seams lead to bacteria growth, bad odours, and mould

expensive vinyl

Vinyl composite tile flooring

A cheap and low-maintenance option, vinyl flooring is easy to clean and easy to install, but its benefits stop there.

Pros:

  • Can be durable (if installed perfectly)
  • Slip-resistant options
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to install
  • Thermal resistant
  • Easy to clean

Cons:

  • Not stain or moisture resistant; reacts negatively with chemicals and discolours in sunlight and contact with rubber shoes and mats
  • Slippery when wet
  • Impact or sharp objects can jeopardize sheet flooring
  • Although there’s no grout or sealing required, seam failure is a concern
  • Unattractive
  • Subfloor must be perfect or rips can occur
  • VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are used in its manufacturing, making it a toxic choice

quarry tile

Quarry tile

A popular choice, quarry tile might be a cheap option per square foot. However, it’s a loser in many other ways.

Pros:

  • Durable for heavy traffic areas
  • Stain and moisture resistant (if grout is intact)
  • Can withstand high or low temperatures, but not thermal shock (such as cleaning a walk-in freezer with hot water)
  • Can be textured for slip resistance, usually requires mats over top
  • Cleanable: easy to mop and sweep
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Slip resistance will wear over time
  • Multiple-step installation process requiring a full shutdown
  • Requires yearly grout repair and cracked tiles are common due to impact
  • Grout failure can lead to bacteria, mould and mildew growth, bad odours, and unsanitary conditions.

Sealed concrete

An excellent (especially when sealed or painted) polished concrete flooring offers a number of benefits, including some durability. However, it doesn’t compare to polished concrete.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Stain and moisture resistant when sealed
  • Thermal resistant
  • Cleanable

Cons:

  • Can chip from impacts
  • Not slip resistant
  • Requires resealing every 3 – 9 months
  • Installation and curing time can take several days
  • If sealing fails, surface can easily be penetrated by water

polished concrete performs best result

Polished concrete

Different from sealed concrete, polished concrete is achieved by grinding the surface of the floor with the finest of diamond blades. The result is a glassy finish that looks as beautiful as it performs. Also (as seen in the above photo), attractive accents can be added into the flooring.

Pros:

  • A one-of-a-kind look
  • If you polish an already installed concrete floor, it’s an environmentally friendly choice
  • Durable: a tough surface that can withstand whatever is thrown at it
  • Sanitary: It’s non-porous so won’t hold mould, mildew, or bacteria
  • Easy to clean
  • Thermal shock-resistant
  • Slip-resistant

Cons:

  • Pouring new concrete is time-consuming
  • Mats and other shock-absorbers will be needed for employees standing in one place for long periods of time

epoxy flooring is longlasting

Epoxy

When laid over concrete, epoxy can create the longest lasting and strongest option for your commercial or home kitchen flooring.

Pros:

  • More durable than concrete (not including polished concrete)
  • Stain and moisture resistant
  • Thermal resistant
  • Spill-resistant (slip-resistant as a result)
  • Can be installed overnight, no need for extensive down time
  • Easy to clean
  • Low-maintenance — simple, regular cleaning required
  • Low price considering its longevity
  • Enhanced impact protection

Cons:

  • Requires a special cleaning technique — instead of mopping, it requires a deck brush and squeegee
    UV rays can cause epoxy to yellow

Polished concrete and epoxy flooring are clearly the stand out choices for both commercial kitchen applications and residential. The most important factors in choosing a floor for your kitchen are durability, cleanability, slip and spill resistance, and of course, looks. Both polished concrete and epoxy floors fulfill all these needs beautifully.

While polished concrete offers an elegant element to your home or business, epoxy flooring comes in different colours and can be adapted to any room’s decor. Each of these options gives home and restaurant owners an opportunity to create atmosphere without compromising function and safety. Working with your contractor, you can make decisions that will best serve you family, your employees, and/or your customers.

Make your kitchen a place of optimal function and beauty. Focus on the important task of making delicious food without worrying about safety hazards. Contact Concrete Epoxy 101 for great flooring in Toronto and the GTA. We provide efficient, high-quality work at competitive rates; call (416) 838-5188 for your free estimate.

Related article: The Advantages Of Epoxy Flooring

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