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Last edited 16 Dec 2020
The term ‘flooring’ refers to the lower enclosing surface of spaces within buildings. This may be part of the floor structure, such as the upper surface of a concrete slab or floor boards, but typically it is a permanent covering laid over the floor. There are many types of flooring materials available. For more information see Types of flooring.
Resilient flooring is loosely defined as flooring manufactured from elastic materials. Products made out of these materials share certain characteristics - they are durable and firm, but they also offer a degree of 'bounce' or resilience. For more information see Resilient flooring.
One type of resilient flooring is polymer. A polymer is a substance which has a molecular structure built up chiefly or completely from a large number of similar units bonded together. In basic terms, polymers are very long molecules typically made up of many thousands of repeat units.
Many synthetic and organic materials are based on polymers, including; plastics, rubbers, thermoplastic elastomers, adhesives, foams, paints and sealants. Polymer materials account for the highest growth area in construction materials. Well-established applications of polymers in construction include products used for flooring, windows, cladding, pipes, membranes, seals, insulation, and so on. With thousands of commercially available polymers new applications are emerging all the time.
Polymeric floors are poured as liquids and spread out across surfaces to harden and cure. This creates a finish without seams and makes them particularly suitable for industrial or commercial applications.
- Epoxy flooring (including solid resin and terrazzo flooring) is a combination of polymer resins and hardeners that form a single cohesive material that is at least 2mm thick (otherwise it is known as epoxy coating). It is not only durable but can also cope with harsh usage. It increases the strength and durability of concrete and protects the floor from chemicals. It can also increase the light reflectivity of the floor and bonds easily with cement or concrete.
- MMA (methyl methacrylate) resin flooring is a dual system polymer able to withstand weak acids and other solvents. Epoxy has a gentler cure rate as compared to MMA (methyl methacrylate) floors, and it requires more than one coat to remove porosity of the concrete.
- Urethane (and urethane concrete) flooring systems (also known as polyurethane flooring systems) are used to treat concrete floors and enhance their chemical, water, slip and abrasion resistance.
The introduction of polymeric materials has brought with it new concerns, particularly relating to their longevity, how they are affected by ageing and weathering, the effects of pollution, environmental and sustainability issues, fire performance, re-use, recycling or disposal at their end of life and so on.
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