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We provide Training, support, and distribution services for the rubber surfacing industry.

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commercial kitchen surfacing

A Brief Guide to Commercial Kitchen Flooring

Choosing a surface for commercial kitchens can be tricky. The flooring in a commercial kitchen is subject to high temperatures, spills, long hours of standing, heavy industrial cooking equipment, and ongoing foot and cart traffic. 

The demands don’t stop there! Commercial kitchens are the most regulated among all the industrial environments we know. 

With the sudden surge in food and water-borne illnesses, the role of industrial kitchens in upholding sanitation has become ever more important. Hence, commercial kitchens are under constant scrutiny by food and health inspectors. Every aspect of their design and construction (handling, preparation, and storage of food to workplace temperatures) is regulated by state and federal agencies including OSHA and the FDA.

All these factors make it challenging to select a suitable surfacing for commercial kitchens. 

In this post, we have shared valuable information that will aid you in selecting an ideal flooring for your restaurant or food production kitchen. 

Let’s begin with the basic features we need to consider when assessing the flooring options. 

1. Hygiene 

All commercial kitchens are required to maintain a USDA-compliant environment in their facility. That’s the primary focus for all food inspectors as a breach in the protocol may lead to serious health issues. 

Unfortunately, several flooring systems like commercial ceramic tiles have grouts and seams that harbor pathogens. Moreover, porous surfaces like concrete and sandstone tend to accumulate food particles and liquids that foster microbial growth. 

Once these particles get settled into the creases, it’s tough to get them out. Such flooring not just creates an unhygienic cooking environment but also develops unpleasant odors. 

Hence, commercial kitchens need a seamless surface that makes it impossible for microbes to breed. Secondly, the material should be inhospitable to bacteria, viruses, and any kind of fungi. 

For instance, materials like wood are an absolute no in commercial kitchens. The material demands high maintenance and provides lots of places and nutrients for mildew spores to germinate. 

Dense rubber, on the other hand, is resistant to pathogenic proliferation, making it an ideal choice for kitchens, both residential and commercial. 

2. Safety 

As mentioned earlier, commercial kitchens see a lot of spillage of water, oil, sauces, and other fluids. This increases the risk of accidents due to slips and falls. 

Hence, you need a skid-resistant surface that ensures the safety of the working staff. The material should have a high coefficient of friction, the ratio of the force required to move two sliding surfaces over each other. 

The higher the coefficient of friction the better is the material’s ability to resist lateral motion. 

3. Durability

Commercial kitchen floorings take all the beating of dropped pots, dragged equipment, and hot spills. Hence, these kitchens need a tough surface that can stand up to all the wear. 

  • Ability to Withstand High Foot Traffic 

A highly trafficked space like a commercial kitchen deserves a surface that can stand up to heavy foot and cart traffic. Most surfaces tend to lose their finish or functionality over time and show visible signs of wear. 

Make sure you opt for tough and scratch-resistant flooring that performs well in such a busy environment. 

  • Chemical Resistance 

Commercial kitchen surfaces should be able to perform well when exposed to substances of varying temperatures. Hot water, soups, and oil often get spewed in a busy kitchen. Also, granular food ingredients like whole wheat flour, sugar, and spices serve as abrasives, damaging the surface. 

All these factors may cause dents, cracks, and peels on the surface. Hence, it’s critical to choose a tough and durable surface that’s resistant to hot and abrasive ingredients. 

  • Thermal Shock Resistance 

Where commercial kitchens have spaces with intense heat due to ovens, fryers, and steam cleaning, there are also cooler spaces like walk-in coolers and freeze zones. This wide divergence in temperatures can cause the surfacing material to expand and contract, damaging the integrity of the flooring. 

Hence, a flooring system that’s thermal shock resistant is perfect for food production kitchens. 

4. Comfort 

Whether they are whipping a treat or handling a sink-full of dishes, chefs and the kitchen staff have to stand for long hours on their feet. The workload and the fast-paced environment often drain them out, negatively affecting their health and productivity.  

Hence, kitchen floors should be springy and comfortable underfoot. It should enable the kitchen staff to stand for long tireless hours without causing joint pains and sprains. 

Further, in case of a fall, the surface should be able to absorb the impact or shock, thereby reducing the risk of serious injuries. 

5. Moisture-Tolerance

The two major sources of moisture in commercial kitchens are – 

  • The humidity owing to the kitchen activities, namely cooking, cleaning up, and liquid spills. 
  • Moisture vapor transmission or MVT, the moisture stemming from the subfloor.

Both these factors deteriorate the flooring and negatively affect its performance and longevity. Hence, it’s critical to opt for a surface that’s impermeable to moisture and can mitigate any MVT issues. 

6. Aesthetics 

An ideal commercial kitchen surface should complement the overall interior design scheme and create an ambiance that upholds your brand image. 

Wet-Pour Rubber Surfacing – An Optimal Flooring Solution for Commercial Kitchens

When we consider the aforementioned features, rubber flooring is the one that fulfills all the requirements of a commercial kitchen. That’s why poured-in-place rubber surfacing is a material worth considering for commercial kitchen flooring. 

Here’s why rubber is increasingly emerging as a popular flooring choice in restaurants and commercial kitchens.

  • It’s a durable and hard-wearing material that can stand up to the heavy foot traffic in the kitchen. It is also resistant to temperature fluctuations. 

Once installed, rubber surfaces can last you for over two decades. Make sure you involve a local rubber surfacing expert to wax it periodically. This will make the surface resistant to damage and discoloration. 

  • Rubber surfaces are seamless and resistant to pathogenic proliferation. So, by installing a wet-pour rubber surface, you are building a hygienic kitchen that complies with USFD standards. 
  • Rubber has a higher coefficient of friction than other surfacing materials like commercial ceramic tiles, vinyl, and linoleum flooring. Hence, the surface is anti-skid even in wet conditions. This greatly reduces the risk of fatal accidents and injuries and creates a safe work environment for the kitchen staff. 
  • Rubber surfaces feel comfortable underfoot. The springy surface is a perfect choice for spaces where people tend to stand for long periods, like the kitchen. 
  • Rubber is impervious to moisture. So, in case of a spill, your staff can take their time cleaning up and attending to other pressing matters, like serving a guest who’s crunched on time.
  • It’s an excellent sound insulator. Rubber tends to absorb sound waves and prevent its transmission too. So, you don’t have to worry about your guests frowning at heavy pots and pans that are accidentally dropped around in the kitchen. 
  • Rubber surfaces are easy to clean and maintain. That saves a lot of effort for the staff. 
  • The EPDM granules used in wet-pour rubber surfaces are available in a variety of colors that can complement any kind of interior decor. Visit our shop to see the entire range and take a pick. 

Do you have more questions about how rubber surfacing is ideal for your restaurant kitchen? Find all the answers you seek in our FAQ section

Summing Up 

Few flooring options are able to meet the unique requirements of commercial kitchens. Rubber surfacing meets all the criteria we shared in this post. Owing to its versatility and durability, this flooring option is quite popular in restaurant kitchens and food production facilities. If you need advice about commercial kitchen flooring or are planning a flooring project, contact team Rubcorp now. We are eager to listen to your concerns and offer the best flooring solutions.

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Creative Director, Rubcorp Distribution, LLC

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