Jointless flooring – the new way of industrial flooring
Over the years, industrial flooring has evolved to incorporate improvements to counter the challenges presented by traditional industrial floors and in an effort to lower maintenance costs associated with these problems. Increasingly, warehouse operators are beginning to specify jointless floors as they seek to find solutions to the problems associated with traditional industrial floors.
In South Africa, jointless flooring is a relatively new phenomenon which seeks to improve on problems associated with traditional floors. The gradual move towards jointless applications not only eliminates some of the common problems associated with jointed floors but also offers other advantages.
Traditionally, joints in concrete floors help reduce cracks and minimise curling in floors. By its very nature, concrete moves in response to different environments. It is for this reason that joints were created as they allow for the free movement of concrete elements independent of other elements. However, in an industrial setting, joints may end up creating other problems as the edges tend to get damaged from the hard-wheel traffic that the floor has to endure. Amongst others, old flooring techniques presented a myriad of problems which included cracks, uneven surfaces, curling in joints and damage to joints. These require on-going maintenance and can be costly in the long term. While joints served us well in the past and are probably suited for some applications, it became necessary to find solutions to the ongoing problems they present.
In a warehouse setting, the floor is a critical component of the business as it has to be able to withstand the constant movement of goods while allowing for the efficient running of the operation and safety of the operators. Yet concrete floors have always presented a challenge to the construction industry. As the most used part of any building, floors are susceptible to deterioration resulting from high traffic volumes. In addition, they can also be subject to temperature variances and many other problems, some of which can be attributed to poor construction. With today’s sophisticated material handling equipment used in a warehouse setting, it is necessary to have well-constructed floors with high tolerances from the onset.
Among other things, advantages offered by jointless floors include improved durability, better quality floors, lower maintenance costs for both the slabs and forklifts that ride on them and improved operational efficiency made possible by the smooth floors.
This new technology results in a high strength composite that consists of a high saturation of steel fibres and shrinkage-reducing admixtures, ensuring that the floor can be largely jointless without compromising on strength. In addition, it utilises up to 50 per cent less cement than in industry standard floors. Jointless concrete floor slabs can be laid up to 6000m2 in a single pour. Due to the reduction of joints, the technology allows for better precision in flooring and helps to reduce CO₂ emissions by 50% or more while significantly improving quality, making it an environmentally friendly and economical option.
Information courtesy of CLF – specialists in concrete flooring technology and a member of the AfriSam group