What You Need to Know about Maintaining Your Brewery’s Flooring

Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2019

What You Need to Know about Maintaining Your Brewery’s Flooring

The brewing process can be quite messy. A single overactive fermentation can mean gallons of krausen spilling over your brewery’s floor. Kegging can also make a mess. Even just transferring from the fermenter to the bright tank can be an issue. There’s also the fact that you need to clean dirt and debris off your floors. Foot traffic alone can bring in a lot of dirt and debris. Add to that forklifts, hand trucks, rolled wooden barrels and the like, and you have some very significant soiling.

Cleaning brewery floors can be quite challenging and you’ll need to take the right steps depending on the condition and type of flooring and floor coating you have.

What Is a Floor Coating?

Brewery floors put up with a lot. They must be able to not only stand the test of time, but also exposure to harsh chemicals, lots of traffic, heavy loads, spills, Thermal shock (hot water wash) and more. A floor coating helps ensure that your brewery flooring is up to the task.

A floor coating is exactly what it sounds like: an overlaid application that helps protect the concrete under it from the threats above, applied by a commercial painter and industrial flooring contractor. Floor coatings come in a number of types, although epoxy is one of the most commonly used, particularly in the beer brewing world. However, it is not the only choice.

In fact, Urethane Cement should be installed in the fermentation and canning areas themselves, where there is greater exposure to chemicals and hot water. Epoxy is not durable enough to withstand these conditions on a regular basis. Still, epoxy flooring is viable for other parts of the brewery, such as storage areas, bathrooms, and other typical use locations.

Rather than going with an epoxy floor system in areas other than the brewhouse and fermentation floor, you might also prefer to go with stained concrete, which allows you to seal and protect the flooring without a thick coating of epoxy on top of it. Concrete polishing can also be used to protect your floor if staining and sealing is not an option. Polishing allows you to reduce the permeability of the floor while also achieving an aesthetically pleasing look.

Now that you know a bit more about brewery floor coating options, let’s discuss cleaning and care.

Care with a Floor Coating

If your brewery’s floor is coated, stained, or polished, then you can clean it with confidence. You will need to wash the floor daily. This is necessary to remove dirt and buildup, including old krausen, yeast, and other microbes that could compromise the quality of your product. A simple washing with water will suffice for many areas, but you may need to use a cleaning product that is compatible with your floor system and brushes in the case of heavy soiling.

It is important that you keep an eye on your flooring over time. Chips and dings must be repaired immediately or the protection provided by the coating will be compromised. A single chip can allow moisture, bacteria, and chemicals into the underlying concrete, causing major problems. Moreover, it’s pretty easy to damage a concrete floor. A single dropped keg could be enough to damage it.

Care without a Floor Coating

If you do not have any type of floor coating for your brewery flooring, it is vital that you remedy the situation. You need more than just a trench drain in the center of the floor to wick away water and spilled beer. You need to ensure that the floor is protected against the damage that ethanol can cause to unprotected concrete. Even the cleansers used to clean your fermenters, bright tank, kegs, and other equipment will quickly degrade unprotected concrete flooring.

Knowing the options available from painting and concrete flooring services is vital. As mentioned above, there are several different flooring solutions that can be used within a brewery setting. However, you need to consider the situation before moving forward. Even something as simple as the heat/cold cycle involved with taking boiling wort down to fermenting temperatures can be problematic as the thermal cycle can cause rapid expansion and contraction that very quickly destroys inferior flooring types and coatings.

Other considerations when choosing your flooring type include how slip resistant the flooring is when wet (a significant consideration in the world of brewing!), and how easily the floor can be cleaned. A sloping floor system made with a resinous material that requires nothing more than water and a deck brush could be ideal.

At Kaloutas Painting and Industrial Flooring, we have years of experience working with breweries to find the ideal flooring solution to their needs. We invite you to get in touch with us at 978-532-1414 to learn more about how our industrial painters can serve you.

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