Learn how to prevent repetitive use issues at your craft brewery.
Brewery floors slope toward drainage systems to prevent standing water.
Flooring takes a lot of abuse throughout the lifetime of a brewery. Choosing the right kind of flooring is essential to preventing slips, injuries, contamination, and other potentially catastrophic events.
In order to help you prevent flooring failure in your brewery, here are 5 tips you can use to make sure that your floors are a help, and not a hindrance, in your facility.
1. Slip Resistance
It’s absolutely imperative that your floors are slip-resistant. Spills, condensation, splash-back, and other sources of liquid can make any brewery a dangerous place. While slip-resistant floors aren’t going to prevent disaster on their own, they certainly help.
If you’ve already installed flooring in your brewery and you find that it’s not as slip-resistant as you want it to be, consider adding an anti-slip additive to it. These coatings will greatly reduce the slip-factor of your floors, giving them much-needed traction.
Damages from slips and falls cost facility owners millions each year. They are the most common way to get injured on the job, and one of the most preventable. If you want to avoid paying out over $16,000 per year on paid leave, sick days, or worse, lawsuits, then you need to make sure your floors are as slip-resistant as possible.
2. Proper Drainage
Slip-resistant floors are great, but when there’s a spill, you need to be able to drain the excess water away quickly. This is where proper drainage comes into play. There are many different types of drains available, but not all of them are suitable for a brewery.
- Spot drains require sloping and extra effort to push liquid toward one small hole in the floor. These are generally not an ideal choice for breweries.
- Trench drains are a commonly used drain, but are not ideal for use in a brewery. Trench drains are covered by large grates that can break down over time and pose a risk of falling and injury. In addition, the insides of trench drains are filled with many corners and cracks, making it an ideal environment for bacteria. These bacteria can cause illness or contamination if not properly cleaned out of your drains.
- Slot drains are the most popular drainage choice for a brewery. These types of drains are thin and long, able to span the entire length of a brewery. Due to their size, these types of drains don't require coverings and can be driven or walked over with ease. Slotted drains are also built from stainless steel and designed in such a way that there are no corners or cracks for bacteria to build up in. They are smooth and slick, able to be cleaned easily with a simple flushing solution.
3. Chemical Resistance
Not only will your brewery floors be subject to spills, they’ll also have to deal with a variety of harsh, corrosive chemicals from time to time. Whether that be from malt enzymes, salt, sugar, yeast, alcohol, acid, or cleaning agents, your floors need to be able to handle it without deteriorating.
Make sure that your flooring material is able to withstand these chemicals, and add a chemical resistant coating if need be. In order to prevent a large-scale disaster, your flooring and its coating need to be able to handle prolonged exposure to any kind of chemical they might be exposed to.
4. Thermal Shock Resistance
Brewery floors are often exposed to a variety of temperatures. From boiling hot water to near freezing liquid, your floors will see it all. Average flooring would be ruined by this kind of constant variation in temperature, developing dangerous cracks and fissures due to the continuous contraction and expansion of the material.
One of the best ways to prevent your brewery floors from cracking is to coat them in urethane. This substance is used for thermal-shock resistance and helps facilities all over the world prevent their flooring from developing fissures due to temperature variation.
This is because urethane expands and contracts at a similar rate as concrete slabs, allowing for a natural cycle of expansion/contraction without it leading to cracking or delamination.
In order to prevent a catastrophic brewery floor failure within your facility, durable flooring is a must. From heavy kegs to tanks, pallets, trolleys, forklifts, hoses, and other heavy machinery/equipment, flooring is subject to continuous heavy abuse from equipment weighing thousands of pounds - if not more. This kind of heavy load can cause floors to chip, scrape, crack, and develop dangerous deformities that are a major safety hazard to everyone working in your brewery.
If you don't need to fortify your entire brewery floor, marking off areas that shouldn’t be walked or driven on with epoxy is a great choice.
For those areas of your flooring that you’ve designated for heavy equipment and machinery, you can use a coating to make it more durable. Urethane will work well in this situation again, as it’s great for acting as a sealant while simultaneously making your floor harder to crack. With a protective coating such as urethane, you can move heavy equipment and machinery freely, without having to worry about your floors getting damaged.
If you do already have some cracks in your flooring, a urethane coating can help prevent them from getting bigger or from anything seeping down into them and causing further damage.
Combine All of These Tips for Maximum Protection
Protecting your brewery flooring requires a multi-pronged approach. Choosing the right type of flooring, with proper coating and drainage will help prevent employee injury and prolong the life of your craft brewery flooring.