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How To Paint Fridge & Freezer Floors 

If you have made the decision to paint the floor in your chilled warehouse or cold store floor, this has historically proved a logistical nightmare due to the cold conditions. It is often impossible to turn off a fridge or freezer in order to raise the temperatures suitable for standard floor paints. In any case, it is not advisable due to the massive amount of expansion the building/flooring is subjected to, that can cause many other issues including cracking as well as massive condensation issues, all of which work against the painting of a floor.

Whilst this next point might be obvious, a lot of people who warm up the area fail to consider that the heat being introduced rises and as a consequence, it takes an awful lot longer to raise the temperature of the concrete or metal floor!

Polycote now have the answer with floor coatings and repair products that are able to cure in temperatures down to -60°C! Furthermore, they are extremely fast curing in only 1-2 hours, thereby drastically reducing expensive downtime and aggravation. Please remember as with all paints and sealers, the actual curing time will be governed by the temperature of the room and/or substrate.

Most Common Fridge and Freezer Floor Paints

For fridges and chilled areas, Flortex MC Standard can be applied in temperatures down to 0°C and will cure in only 1-2 hours.

For freezers and cold stores, use Flortex MC CSG (Cold Store Grade). This paint can be applied down to minus 60°C and again, will also cure in only 1-2 hours.

Application Guides and Tips

Preparing Concrete Floors

Thoroughly clean the floor to remove any surface debris, dirt, dust, and especially oil and grease stains. This step is essential as any dirt or other debris left will prevent the paint or sealer from adhering to the solid concrete substrate below.

If the floor is already painted with a concrete floor paint, even an epoxy paint, make absolutely sure the old paint has fully adhered to the concrete surface, before painting a fresh coat over the top.

Flaking or not adhered well, make sure all loose/flaking paint is fully removed, otherwise you are headed for failure. Painting over the top of old paint that is loose, even with an epoxy concrete coating, the end result will be no different than painting over a sheet of paper! Frankly, an utter waste of time and money!

For larger industrial sized floor areas, the professional way to prepare a concrete surface is to use a vacuum assisted shot blaster or diamond grinder.

We have approved installers able to complete this work for you. Alternatively, we are able to hire the machinery for you to complete the work using your own labour. Diamond grinders can also help smooth out worn or poorly laid concrete in order for you to achieve a smooth finish.

Oil and any other contaminants must also be cleaned from the surface of concrete floors.

Repairing Holes and Cracks

Repair any cracks or imperfections in the surface of the substrate prior to the application of the concrete floor paint. Cracks can compromise the effectiveness of the sealer and allow moisture to seep through, leading to potential damage.

Our MC Primer is a low viscosity primer and is ideal for filling structural cracks within concrete floors… To fill/repair fine blemishes and small holes, simply mix the MC Primer with kiln dried sand and this will form an extremely tough mortar that can be trowelled super smooth and will dry in less than 30 minutes.

Finally, for larger holes, such as where you might have suffered impact damage or where bolts have been removed from the floor, Cretex MC Standard has been formulated to be easy to use and extremely fast curing. Use Cretex MC Standard for areas above 0°C. Use Cretex MC CSG for areas below freezing.

If you have damp areas, particularly in or near to entrances to the store, where the temperature differences between inside and outside are huge, this often result in the formation of ice and the subsequent ‘blowing’ of the concrete due to constant freeze/thaw cycles.

If this is the case, Cretex LT is excellent for such repairs as this comes as a dry powder and is mixed with warm water.  This product is suitable for repairs down to -20°C.

Expansion Joints.

If you have issues with expansion joints, these are best filled with Polycote Jointex CSG after you have coated the floor. The reason for this is to prevent the coating from cracking over the joint, due to expansion and contraction.

Please allow all floor repairs to cure before covering with any floor primers or paints.

Important

First and foremost, these are industrial, professional products and it is essential to read and understand the application instructions as stated on the product data sheet BEFORE proceeding. Different paints and sealers can be applied by paint roller, brush, squeegee, or sprayer.

Each paint type will have different application methods, coverage’s, and drying times. Again, the product data sheets have all the information necessary for you to complete a good job.

If anything is unclear, no matter how small or insignificant it might appear, please ring the technical team, BEFORE mixing. These product cure quickly and you will have no time to waste after mixing, to start asking questions!

A good tip is to store the paint in the cold store to help reduce the temperature which will then help lengthen the pot life.  If the tins are stored outside and therefore ‘warm’, this can drastically reduce the pot life (working time) of the resin as it will cure much faster.

Applying The Primer Coat

It is important to apply enough primer to be able to penetrate the surface to not only seal the concrete but to allow a good bond. It is always advisable to apply an even coat as much as possible.

However, you will almost always find that some parts of the floor are more porous than others this will be why the first coat might appear patchy. the paint will soak into some areas due to the concrete being more porous, whereas in other areas where the concrete is denser, the paint starts to build on the surface and has begun to show a nice even sheen. This is all perfectly normal, and the second coloured coat (Flortex MC) should then achieve a nice gloss finish.

Apply the paint evenly, working in small sections. Start from one corner of the room and work your way towards the exit to avoid stepping on the freshly applied sealer. Ensure that the sealer is applied evenly and without leaving puddles or streaks.

Applying The Top Coat

As with the primer, store the resin in the cold store to help reduce the temperature. This will then give more application time and allow you to complete a quality job and leave a nice finish.

It is important to wait for the first coat to dry completely BEFORE applying the second coat.  If the substrate is very porous, then it may be advisable to apply a second coat. Avoid over-application and brush out any puddling, as this may lead to an uneven finish. Flortex MC can be applied by brush, roller, or squeegee.

How To Achieve a Non Slip Finish

Both Flortex MC Standard and Flortex MC CSG top coats have an anti-slip option. This is where the ‘standard’ coating is supplied with a non-slip aggregate that is either mixed in with the paint prior to application or can be sprinkled onto the first coat whilst it is wet and then the second (top) coat is applied over to completely seal in the aggregate.

You may well have been frustrated in the past due to the so called non slip paint becoming smooth after only a short period of time and this is simply due to the poor strength of the aggregate used to achieve a slip resistant finish.

The calcined bauxite aggregate we supply, has one of the highest levels of shore hardness with a Mohs level of 8.5. and can withstand both constant and heavy traffic and still maintain good slip resistance for many years. For more information on the Mohs levels, see https://www.nps.gov/articles/mohs-hardness-scale.htm

Curing And Drying Times

After applying the primer, allow it to cure and dry, normally around 1 hour. The top coat can then be applied over the primer. Allow 1-32 hours to cure before allowing use of the area.

Remember that the curing and drying time can vary greatly depending on the environmental conditions as well as the type of sealer used.

To allow for the correct and sufficient curing times will ensure the primer bonds effectively to the concrete and will withstand the wear and tear of daily life and thus, provide long-lasting protection. It is crucial to follow the recommended curing time before subjecting the floor to regular use.

Hazards To Avoid When Painting Concrete Floors

Applying the coating too thin

When applying too thinly, often when persons are trying to cover an area as cheaply as possible, remember that you will have next to no penetration and the final coating will be very weak.  The longevity of even an expensive paint when applied to thinly will be hugely reduced!

Use of chemicals

No matter whether you use basic cleaning chemicals or the possibility of more harsh chemicals spilling onto the floor, make sure the coating has the fully cured before being exposed to chemicals.

Water, Condensation, Dew Point.

It is best to allow the coating to cure for at least 4 hours before being subjected to water.

High humidity levels and/or condensation dripping down onto the concrete floor, especially where a fridge or freezer has been turned off prior to painting, can cause an uncured floor coating to ‘bloom’ thus causing an unsightly whiteness to the surface.

This discolouration does not normally have too much of an ill-effect and will, in many cases, actually ‘wear off’ over time.  However, if the coating is subjected to too much surface water, and in the worst-case scenario, this can result in a poor or even non-cure situation.

Mixing and Pot-Life

As mentioned above, you can store the resins in the fridge or freezer to lower the temperature of the resins and thus extend the pot life of the product once mixed.

The pot life is the period of time you have to apply before the coating goes too hard and is mostly dictated by the curing time of the said product.  The faster the curing time, the shorter the pot life. Please consult with the manufacturer’s product data sheets BEFORE mixing.

Make certain that the product is mixed in the correct proportions. as stated on the data sheet.

Finally, and for obvious reasons, don’t mix more material than what you can apply within the given (pot-life) time.

Health & Safety Precautions

Suitable clothing, including footwear, coats, trousers, hats, and gloves should be worn by all applicators to cope with the cold conditions, especially in cold stores where the temperatures can be as low as -60°C. Furthermore, suitable respirators and goggles should also be worn to ensure the full safety of the applicator.

 

 

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