December 1, 2017

A quick turnaround for a $10 million kitchen

When a global furniture retailer needed to refurbish the kitchen floor at one of its stores, a key consideration when selecting a solution was minimal downtime. Hychem products were able to to provide them with the quick turnaround required.

The store first opened over 10 years ago, and the kitchen alone was providing an annual turnaround of around $10 million. However, after 10 years of service the original floor had degraded, causing it to become slippery and a health hazard.

A joint venture between Varie Coats and East Coast Flooring was called in to refurbish the 600m2 kitchen.

Wayne Pratt, Managing Director at Varie Coat, said the original floor was aged and showing signs of Epoxy Cancer.

“Epoxy Cancer occurs where traces of the oils and grease generally used in commercial kitchens are left on the surface of the floor after insufficient cleaning,” Wayne said.

“Over time these oils and grease turn into an acidic compound that slowly softens the epoxy and eats into the surface of the floor. The floor exhibits the look of small pockmarks which gradually grow bigger to look like a crater in the epoxy, sometimes up to 50 cent size craters. Over time the epoxy coat fails and delaminates.

“Most commercial kitchens completed years ago, and some to this day, were laid with epoxy. Nowadays with better chemical knowledge it is known that a floor system based around Polyurethane Cement technology, such as Hycrete PU, does not suffer from this phenomena as its chemical compound resists this type of acidic attack.

“This technology, coupled with its very similar coefficient of expansion to concrete, allows the product to have great thermal shock resistance to the dumping of very hot liquid and boiling water directly onto the floor. In the past, this would cause the epoxy floor to soften and fail.”

A quick turnaround

Wayne said Hychem’s Hycrete systems were chosen for the refurbishment due to their well-known long-term performance.

“This coupled with Hychem’s technical support made it an easy choice for us to use their product in this punishing environment.”

Justin Twomey, Manager at East Coast Flooring said turnaround time was also a key factor in selecting Hychem products.

“The short timeframe to complete the refurbishment was one of the key challenges for this project. We were able to overcome this problem by adding an accelerator into the product, allowing us to complete the job on time,” Justin said.

Hycrete systems are also low VOC and solvent free so it will not taint food or cause issues in public ventilation. They contain world leading antimicrobial Ultra-Fresh technology which has been proven to provide effective resistance to bacteria, fungi, mould and mildew, making it ideal for application in commercial kitchen areas.

Applying the coating

Prior to installing the coating, Varie Coat and East Coast Flooring carried out extensive testing of the existing flooring to ensure its adhesion to the substrate was not compromised.

“We achieved great adhesion results from the Elcometer Pull testing unit, allowing us to save the client a huge amount of time and money as we didn’t have to remove the old flooring system,” Wayne said.

Before the coating was applied, the existing floor was cleaned and degreased, and was then diamond ground and approximately 5mm removed to eliminate traces of the epoxy cancer.

“First we applied Hycrete PU primer mixed with an accelerator to the entire area and broadcast specialised aggregate onto the wet surface to allow easier application of the next process,” Wayne said.

“We then trowel applied Hycrete PU SL with an accelerator to the area at approximately 5-6mm thick. This was followed by a roll applied coat of Hycrete PU TC with # 46 Grit Aluminium oxide for slip resistance.”

Justin said the final step was to roll apply an additional two coats of Hycrete PU TC mixed with an accelerator to lock in the surface. 

“The final result was a flooring solution that would be able to handle the harsh kitchen environment, as well as being a R12 slip rating which meets Australian Standards for slip resistance in commercial kitchens,” Justin said.

“Throughout the process, there was strict downtime constraints so the accelerator was key as each layer had to be left to dry before the next layer could be applied. The accelerator ensured the coatings dried quickly so we could complete the project within the specified time frame.

“The team of specialist employees at Varie Coat and East Coast Flooring also worked around the clock to complete the project within a three night window.”

A successful application

The project was completed in four days with all equipment reinstated seven hours after the final coating was applied. This allowed the kitchen staff to begin cooking again before the area was reopened to the public on the weekend which is the store’s busiest period.

“The client was happy with the final result and is looking at the prospect of refurbishing other stores in the future,” Wayne said.


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