July/August 2018 • www.cemag.us 19
of time. For example, epoxies are hard. The
same holds true with glued-down vinyl flooring.
Unfortunately, the more ergonomic and comfortable the floor, the higher the cost. Going the
extra mile can provide a return on investment
in that lab or cleanroom workers who are more
comfortable will be more productive and miss
less time due to standing-related injuries, like
plantar fasciitis. Fewer injuries and more comfortable work conditions will also improve staff
Does the underlying concrete pass moisture tests?
If there is concrete beneath your existing flooring, moisture could be an issue and will need to
be checked first — particularly, if the flooring
you’re considering is a product that needs to be
glued. In that scenario, it’s also not advisable to
glue the new floor onto the old floor. It should
be installed onto the underlying concrete. If
you are planning on using interlock flooring,
first you need to test the old flooring for asbestos. Removing flooring with asbestos is a very
detailed process. Areas of the floor need to be
sectioned off with plastic as air pressure is used
to contain any dust.
If using new concrete, can you wait for the 90-day
If you can’t glue on concrete with moisture issues,
it stands to reason that newly installed concrete
floors must cure before you can glue down new
flooring. Ninety days is the recommended amount
If there is an existing floor, does it have asbestos
either in the tile or adhesive?
Both the flooring and the adhesive of your old
flooring should be tested for asbestos prior to gluing down new flooring or, honestly, before installing interlocking flooring. Dealing with asbestos is
costly and will delay installation. Interlocking tiles
can be installed on top of old asbestos-containing
floor without having to remove it.
If there is an existing floor, do you want to install
without removing it?
One of the beauties of interlock flooring is that
it can be installed over existing flooring. Some
facilities managers prefer flooring that requires
an adhesive. In that scenario, removing the old
flooring first is recommended. You can choose
not to take on the expense of floor removal. It’s
just not preferable.
Can your facility tolerate the dust generated from a
When you rip out the old flooring, it will generate some level of dust. Will that have an impact
on the equipment and electronics at your facility? That must be considered and assessed. It
could have an impact on your decision to go
with a glue-down flooring or interlock.
There are other considerations and questions
to ask before making your final selection. Things
like operational considerations, maintenance
requirements, aesthetics, and of course cost. If
you start with these three major areas, the choice
of an ESD flooring that meets EPA standards
Thomas Ricciardelli is the president of
Selec Tech Inc., a manufacturer of flooring products from recycled materials. www.selectech.com
Selec Tech’s FreeStyle
BioLock flooring was
Image: Selec Tech Inc.