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The science behind the surface: understanding the chemistry that enables long-lasting protection & aesthetic appeal  
The science behind the surface

Today, we’re diving into the science of resin flooring to unravel the wonders that make it the superhero of surface solutions. So, put on your metaphorical lab coats and get ready to explore the fascinating chemistry behind resin flooring systems! 

Choosing the right flooring for any commercial or industrial project can be a daunting task. With an array of options at your fingertips, it’s essential to understand the science behind each choice. That’s where we come in. Today, we’re taking you on an enlightening journey to demystify the chemistry that enables resin flooring to deliver not only long-lasting protection but also eye-catching aesthetics. 

From polymers to specialised formulations, we’ll cover the essential aspects of five key resin flooring technologies: epoxy, polyurethane, PU concrete, PU comfort flooring and methyl-methacrylate (MMA). We’ll unleash their unique properties, reveal the chemical reactions that drive their performance, and showcase how they can elevate your architectural masterpieces. 

Ready to embark on this science-filled adventure? Let’s put on our safety goggles and step into the realm of resin flooring chemistry… 

The foundation of resin flooring: polymers at play 

Polymers are essentially large, chain-like molecules composed of repeating subunits called monomers. They come in various forms, each with their own set of unique characteristics and applications. In the realm of resin flooring, polymers are encountered in their liquid state, installed wet before curing to transform into a solid, seamless surface. 

Once cured, different polymer flooring technologies exhibit versatility and a range of unique properties that contribute to the overall performance and aesthetics of the final flooring product. Allow us to introduce you to the key players in this polymer orchestra. 

Epoxy: the versatile workhorse 

Epoxy, in its liquid form, is composed of a resin component and a hardening agent; which initiates the curing process. This dynamic duo sets off a chemical reaction that transforms the liquid epoxy into a solid, resilient surface. The key to epoxy’s strength lies in the formation of cross-linked polymer chains during curing, creating a seamless and robust structure that can withstand heavy traffic, impact and various environmental stresses. 

One of the notable advantages of epoxy is its outstanding adhesion properties. When properly applied and bonded to a properly prepared substrate, epoxy forms a strong and durable bond, ensuring long-term performance and stability. This adhesive power makes epoxy suitable for a wide range of industrial and commercial applications.  

Another remarkable feature of epoxy is its resistance to chemicals and solvents. Epoxy flooring acts as a protective barrier, guarding the substrate against spills, stains and chemical corrosion. This makes it an excellent choice for environments where exposure to chemicals is common, such as laboratories, manufacturing plants and warehouses. 

Beyond its functional attributes, epoxy offers a wealth of aesthetic possibilities. With an extensive palette of colours, patterns and finishes available, epoxy allows for creativity and customisation in design. Architects and specification professionals can unleash their imagination to create visually stunning floors that complement the overall aesthetics of a space. 

Moreover, epoxy is highly compatible with other flooring materials. It can be seamlessly combined with decorative elements like coloured flakes or aggregates to add texture, depth and visual interest to the floor. This versatility enables architects to achieve unique and personalised designs that elevate the ambiance of any environment. 

Polyurethane: fantastic flexibility 

Polyurethane, like epoxy, is a two-component system composed of a resin and a hardener. However, the chemistry behind polyurethane sets it apart, giving it a distinct set of characteristics. Upon curing, polyurethane undergoes a chemical reaction called polyurethane curing, which results in the formation of a flexible and resilient surface. 

One of the standout features of polyurethane is its ability to provide a seamless, incredibly smooth finish. This attribute enhances the visual appeal of the flooring, creating a sleek and polished appearance that instantly enhances any space. The seamless nature of polyurethane also makes it easy to clean and maintain, ensuring a pristine surface for years to come. 

In addition to its aesthetic charm, polyurethane boasts impressive resistance to various abuses. It offers excellent durability, and is able to withstand heavy foot traffic, impact and abrasion. This makes it a popular choice for areas that demand long-term performance, such as retail spaces, offices and public venues. 

Polyurethane is also highly resistant to chemicals, including acids, oils and cleaning agents. This resistance ensures that the floor maintains its beauty and integrity, even in environments where spills and stains are common. Architects and specification professionals can confidently specify polyurethane flooring for areas where chemical resistance is essential, such as laboratories or industrial facilities. 

A potential pitfall of polyurethane, if the floor is to be installed in an area subject to sunlight exposure, is that they can often be aromatic and prone to yellowing and discolouration over time, particularly if chosen in a light grey. They are often available in darker or earth-tone colours to minimise the appearance of fading. 

Aliphatic polyurethane coatings are available to overcome this, delivering a finish that is UV stable and maintains its colour regardless of the shade. 

MMA: the speed demon 

Methyl methacrylate (MMA) is known for its rapid curing time. It is composed of a reactive resin and a hardener that, when combined, undergo a chemical reaction that results in a highly durable surface. The unique chemistry of MMA allows for an incredibly fast curing time, making it an ideal option for projects that require a quick turnaround. 

Not only is the cure time under 60 minutes, one of the primary benefits of MMA flooring is its speed of installation. MMA can be installed quickly, with minimal downtime, allowing for the space to be back in use within hours. This makes it a popular choice for high-traffic areas that cannot afford extended periods of downtime, such as hospitals, airports and commercial kitchens. 

MMA flooring is also highly resistant to impact, heavy loads, high traffic, abrasion and chemical exposure, making it an ideal option for environments that demand long-term durability.  

In addition to its durability and rapid curing time, MMA flooring offers a high level of customisation. It can be pigmented or combined with quartz aggregates or PVA flakes to create a wide range of colours and finishes. This versatility makes it a popular choice for architects and specification professionals who want to create unique and eye-catching flooring designs. 

PU concrete: ensuring food safety & hygiene 

PU concrete flooring is specifically engineered to meet the rigorous demands of food processing facilities, commercial kitchens and other areas where cleanliness is of utmost importance. The combination of polyurethane liquid and cementitious powder creates a seamless, non-porous surface that is highly resistant to bacteria, mould and other microbial growth, helping to maintain a hygienic environment and preventing the potential contamination of food products. 

One of the key advantages of PU concrete is its resistance to harsh cleaning chemicals. The surface can not only withstand frequent cleaning protocols without deteriorating or compromising its integrity, thicker-applied systems can resist the high temperature associated with washdowns, as well as the low temperatures of freezer and cooling areas. This resistance to chemicals and temperature swings helps to ensure that the flooring remains intact, unaffected by the rigorous cleaning procedures necessary in food environments. 

In addition to its hygienic qualities, PU concrete offers excellent resistance to impact, abrasion and chemical exposure. The combination of polyurethane and cement creates a strong and resilient surface that withstands the challenges of heavy-duty food processing environments. 

PU comfort: balancing comfort & performance 

PU comfort liquid vinyl systems combine the advantages of polyurethane and liquid vinyl to create a surface that prioritises both comfort and durability. The polyurethane component offers flexibility and resilience, while the liquid vinyl component adds an additional layer of protection and longevity. 

One of the standout features of PU comfort flooring is its exceptional shock absorption properties. This unique characteristic reduces the strain on joints and muscles, making it an ideal choice for environments where prolonged standing or walking is common. Commercial spaces, healthcare facilities, educational institutions, retail environments and even indoor sports and play spaces can greatly benefit from the comfort that liquid vinyl flooring provides. 

But comfort doesn’t mean compromising on performance. PU comfort liquid vinyl flooring systems excel in durability and resilience. They are engineered to withstand heavy foot traffic, impacts and daily wear and tear without sacrificing the overall comfort experience. The polyurethane component ensures excellent resistance to abrasion, making the surface highly resilient to scratches, scuffs and marks. 

Not only that, its smooth and non-porous surface makes cleaning a breeze, requiring minimal effort to keep the floor looking its best. This low-maintenance characteristic adds to the convenience and practicality of PU comfort flooring in various settings. 

The versatility of liquid vinyl systems is also worth highlighting. They are available in a huge range of colours and finishes, and can be installed in bespoke patterns, allowing architects and specification professionals to create visually appealing spaces that align with the overall design vision. Whether the goal is a modern, minimalist look or a vibrant, eye-catching pattern, PU comfort flooring offers endless possibilities. 

Mixing it up: unleashing the power of polymer flooring combinations 

Whoever said you can’t have it all clearly hasn’t explored the world of polymer flooring! Imagine bringing together the very best of these different polymer flooring technologies to create a full floor package that combines durability, style and functionality. It’s like having a flooring superhero team assembled to save the day and transform your space into something extraordinary. 

When it comes to resin flooring, the possibilities are endless. You can mix and match epoxy, polyurethane, PU concrete, MMA and PU comfort floors to create a flooring package that is as unique as your imagination. Why settle for just one when you can have a dynamic duo or even a triple threat of polymer flooring types working together in perfect harmony? 

Imagine a bustling restaurant where the kitchen requires the ultimate in cleanliness and durability. PU concrete takes the stage, ensuring a seamless, hygienic surface that can withstand the daily demands of a busy kitchen. But wait, there’s more! In the dining area, where comfort and style are essential, PU comfort flooring steps in, providing a cushioned and visually captivating experience for diners. It’s the perfect blend of practicality and aesthetics. 

Or picture a high-end retail store where elegance and durability are paramount. Epoxy flooring sets the stage with its smooth, glossy finish that adds a touch of sophistication to the space. Meanwhile, polyurethane steps in to provide exceptional resistance to heavy foot traffic and impacts, ensuring the floor stays as pristine as the merchandise it showcases. Together, they create a winning combination that not only wows customers but also stands the test of time. 

Vebro Polymers has been proud to materials for a range of projects that have harnessed the power of polymer flooring combinations to create jaw-dropping spaces.  

At the visitors’ centre at Singleton Distillery, for example, you’ll find a fusion of smooth polyurethane in a deep grey and a lighter, brighter shade of epoxy terrazzo that together create a modern, chic aesthetic that complements the old building perfectly. vebrores PU SL HD and vebro Classic Terrazzo was the ideal duo for this space. 

Venturing into the industrial sector, Cooke Aquaculture required a flooring package that met a variety of performance criteria across different areas of its Orkney production facility. In one production area, a durable finish that exhibited impressive temperature resistance, and in another a slip-resistant finish that could be installed and back in use under a quick turnaround. To meet the needs of this seafood processing client, a combination of vebrocrete HF and vebrospeed Quartz was chosen.  

And there you have it, folks!  

The marvellous world of polymer flooring combinations is at your fingertips… with the Fantastic Five of epoxy, polyurethane, PU concrete, MMA and PU Comfort, the options are endless. 

Imagine the possibilities of a space where durability meets comfort, where style merges with functionality. It’s like finding the perfect harmony between peanut butter and jam, Batman and Robin or Netflix and cozy weekends. The right combination of polymer flooring types can elevate any environment, leaving a lasting impression on all who tread upon it.  

Remember, the power to transform is just a call or message away, contact your local team to bring your flooring dreams to life. Together, we’ll create a space that not only looks amazing but also stands the test of time. 

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