Historic buildings have an undeniable charm and character that can often be lost in modern constructions. However, restoring and repurposing them for commercial use can be challenging due to the unique requirements of these buildings, such as the need to maintain their original aesthetic while ensuring they meet modern building codes and standards.
One crucial aspect of restoring historic buildings for commercial use is the flooring, and polymer flooring has emerged as an innovative solution for this purpose.
What is polymer flooring?
Polymer flooring is composed of polymers; long chains of molecules that have high strength and durability. The curing process of polymer flooring involves the chemical reaction between the polymer resin base and a hardening agent, which causes the material to solidify and become a hard, durable surface.
The three main types of polymer flooring for commercial use are epoxy, polyurethane and methyl-methacrylate (MMA).
- Epoxy flooring is a thermosetting material that forms a strong adhesive bond.
- Polyurethane flooring is known for its toughness, flexibility, and chemical resistance.
- MMA flooring is fast-curing and offers high impact resistance.
Epoxy, polyurethane and MMA flooring solutions are becoming increasingly popular due to their ability to provide a wide range of benefits, including — but not limited to — impressive resistance to chemicals and cleaning agents as well as wear and tear. In the context of restoring historic buildings, polymer flooring offers several advantages that make it an ideal solution for commercial use.
Getting the right look
One of the primary advantages of polymer flooring is its ability to mimic the appearance of traditional flooring materials. Epoxy terrazzo like vebro Classic Terrazzo, for example, mimics the look of traditional cement terrazzo with all the benefits of an epoxy system.
This polymer equivalent to traditional concrete terrazzo is achieved by mixing an epoxy resin binder with coloured chips of marble or glass. Applied as a slurry and allowed to fully cure before being ground and sealed to deliver a smooth surface, the result is a highly durable and seamless flooring material that is resistant to staining, scratches, and wear and tear.
Epoxy terrazzo is also highly customisable, allowing for a wide range of colours, patterns, and designs to be created. In historical buildings, this can allow for original details to be replicated, as well as create a traditional look with a modern twist.
Creating a durable finish
Polymer flooring is extremely durable and long-lasting. This is particularly important for commercial spaces that experience heavy foot traffic, such as retail stores, restaurants, and museums. Polymer flooring can withstand the constant wear and tear caused by foot traffic and heavy equipment, making it an ideal choice for commercial use.
In addition to its durability, polymer flooring is also very easy to maintain. Traditional flooring materials, such as wood and concrete, can often require frequent polishing, waxing, and sealing to maintain their appearance and protect them from damage.
On the other hand, polymer flooring requires minimal maintenance, and any spills or stains can be easily cleaned with a simple mop and bucket. Building owners and managers can refer to the polymer flooring manufacturers’ cleaning and maintenance guidance.
Another advantage of polymer flooring is its versatility. It can be used in a wide range of commercial spaces, including museums, art galleries, retail stores, and restaurants.
On top of this, there are several systems that can be installed over existing flooring materials, which can significantly reduce the cost, and time, required for restoration.
Meeting modern building standards & codes
One critical aspect of restoring historic buildings for commercial use is ensuring that the building meets modern building codes and standards. Polymer flooring can help meet these requirements as the installed systems are typically non-toxic and non-flammable, making them a safe choice for commercial spaces. Additionally, polymer flooring can be engineered to provide slip-resistant surfaces, ensuring that visitors are safe and secure while exploring the building.
See polymer flooring in action in historical building restorations
Vebro Polymers materials have been chosen for several historic building restoration projects, including the Singleton Distillery Visitors’ Centre in the Scottish Highlands and The Globe Theatre along with its adjoining bar & music venue in Stockton, England.
Looking for a high-performance flooring solution for a historic commercial building restoration project? Get in touch with your local team.