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Flooring expert recommends concrete for flood-prone areas

With extreme weather conditions increasing the risk of flooding, commercial flooring needs to be able to withstand immersion in water. Chuck Boutall, a flooring expert from the Restoration Technical Institute, recently advised organisations on the best flooring for buildings in flood-prone areas.

His recommendations start with the types of flooring to avoid, where he says:

“Any type of wood or wood composites, or any type of lignin or cellulose-based flooring, is going to be affected by flood waters.”

Carpets are generally not a good idea, but artificial grass is water resistant.

The best choice to withstand flooding, says Boutall, is finished concrete flooring. With concrete, the worst that can happen after a flood is that the surface layer will need stripping and the floor has to be repolished.

The process of concrete pouring makes concrete dense and minimises the absorption of water, and dense concrete has high abrasion resistance. Mould can pose a health hazard after a flood, but concrete is resistant to mould and fungi growth.

Although concrete, like most flooring, can become slippery when wet, Boutall notes that a non-slip coating can be applied. Other advantages of concrete flooring are that it is easily repaired and requires little maintenance, plus it oftens costs less than other flooring materials.

Many types of flooring will have to be replaced after a flood. If a building is in a flood-prone area, it may be a good idea to replace the flooring with a new concrete floor. After a flood, the floor may only require cleaning before it is ready to walk on again.

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