What is urethane cement and why do I want it in my commercial kitchen?
For years the standard for commercial kitchens has been quarry tile with epoxy grout. Quarry tile is a great option and has proven itself as a durable surface for the harsh environments found in a kitchen. Just because something works well and appears to be the norm, doesn't mean that there isn't a better option.
How do those grout lines look in 5 years?
How much time do you devote to having to clean the grout?
How often do you have to have someone come back and fix grout that has degraded?
How has the use of enzymatic cleaners in food service environments affected the life of your epoxy?
Enzyme cleaning solutions can lead to the breakdown of epoxies in short order. When the enzymes react with the fatty oils they leave behind lineolic acid which can contribute to swelling, increased porosity and degradation of the epoxies. This can happen to standard epoxy floors as well in this environment.
Polymeric Cementitious Urethane Floor Systems (Urethane Cement) can address and mitigate those problems. Essentially it is a water based polyurethane (often derived from castor oil) combined with a portland cement and graded aggregates. Several chemical reactions take place within this system to make it extremely resistant to chemicals (including lineolic acid), thermal shock, and impact. They also provide some degree of sound deadening.
Todays systems typically contain zero VOCs and have little to no odor during installation. Flow applied systems can be installed with relative speed decreasing down time and reducing the install time for large areas on new construction projects.
These systems can also be installed over "green" concrete and are much less sensitive to slab moisture issues (some manufacturers have developed decorative systems using urethane cement as the base to mitigate moisture concerns.)
Once consideration with urethane cements is that they are not typically UV stable and will change color with time. There are some color stable options, but they do increase material cost.