Semi-permanent floor finishes in stores, schools and hospitals are an invisible yet crucial layer of the floors we walk on each day. Finishes extend the lifespan of the floor, add gloss, and prevent slips and heel marks on the surface.
Visitors appreciate the visual improvements and sense of cleanliness these finishes provide, and the increased grip prevents accidents and liability issues for building managers.
After time and wear, the effectiveness of these coatings decreases, requiring them to be cleaned or repaired periodically. When enough time has passed, the coating will have to be stripped and reapplied.
High-quality polymers extend the maintenance cycle of floor finishes and reduces downtime. One of these polymers is ACROFLOR 1000, a styrene-acrylic resin developed for resilient and non-resilient flooring substrates.
Floor finishes for industrial, commercial or institutional use are designed to withstand heavy foot traffic in busy areas, something that typically isn’t a concern with residential floors.
All that foot traffic takes its toll over time, causing black marks and an overall decrease in gloss, so routine maintenance and cleaning is required to keep the coating looking and performing its best.
“ACROFLOR 1000 is targeted towards customers looking to formulate low-maintenance, high-durability finishes,” says Robert Ratcliff, Technical Account Manager at BASF. “You don't have to strip it very often – you can do a deep scrub on the floor and then recoat it. It really stands up to the chemicals used in cleaning.”
Finishes with ACROFLOR 1000 offer great resistance to scuffs, black heel marks, and soil or dirt. They help reduce maintenance requirements, but when the time comes to repair, they’re easy to clean and withstand degradation from routine maintenance done with cleaners and high-speed machining.
Eventually the floor finish will need to be stripped and re-applied. This process revitalizes the floor to give it a fresh new look.
“These polymers are unique in their ability to be stripped off the floor,” says Ratcliff. “With regular coatings, you never think about stripping it back off unless you're refinishing something, whereas these coatings are intended to be stripped back off the floor at some point. This allows for the floor to essentially be new again, restoring the original shine and providing a pleasant appearance for the people entering those areas.”
To the test
Testing is an important aspect of any formulation process, and floor finishes are no different. A variety of tests are conducted to analyze traits like chemical resistance, gloss, removability, slip and black heel mark resistance.
“We use what's called a James machine to test the floor finish,” says Ratcliff. “It's designed for our customers so when they formulate with this product, we can test it and verify that floors coated with our products are safe to walk on, and that’s important for liability.”
The James Machine is a test method that determines the static coefficient of friction, which is a measure of the force required to initiate movement between two surfaces, under ASTM-D-2047 standards.
“To measure black heel mark resistance, we use what’s called Snell capsule, which is like a tumbling machine with panels mounted on the inside, along with rubber pucks,” says Ratcliff. “The machine then rotates at a certain speed for a certain number of revolutions and the black rubber pucks strike against the panels, and you can assess how well they stand up to black heel marks.”
Finishes with ACROFLOR 1000 performed as well or better than competitor emulsions and commercial finishes in a starting point formulation of P/A/W = 93/0/7.
The P/A/W ratio is the ratio of polymer (ACROFLOR 1000), alkali-soluble resin (ACROFLOR 100 or 110) and wax (ACROFLOR 10) in the formulation. Formulations made with ACROFLOR 1000 do not need an alkali-soluble resin, which is typically added to aid in removability.
Formulators are increasingly looking for sustainable solutions that minimize environmental effects and contribute to sustainability initiatives.
ACROFLOR 3000 is an upcoming metal-free polymer for floor finishes. It offers the same durability and repairability as zinc-containing finishes with increased chemical resistance.
“Traditional floor finishes are made using a zinc cross-linking solution. Zinc and any other metals are classified as an environmentally harmful substance if it ends up in the environment,” says Hillary Hamp, Market Segment Manager at BASF.
While these metals aren’t considered an issue for permanent coatings and finishes, when floor finishes are stripped, they can run off into wastewater and pose a potential environmental issue, especially to aquatic life.
ACROFLOR 3000’s strong chemical resistance is also an important capability in a post-pandemic world, where surfaces are subject to frequent cleaning with alcohol-based sanitizers.
“Effective chemical resistance is a big focus in commercial spaces right now,” says Hamp. “There are a lot of cleaners and hand sanitizers everywhere, so ACROFLOR 3000 offers significantly stronger chemical resistance and better performance than your traditional green floor finish solutions.”
ACROFLOR 3000 is nearing commercial availability and will be available in 2021.
For more information on ACROFLOR or to request a sample, Click Here.