Story at a glance:
- FasTop™ is among Sherwin-Williams most popular products.
- The urethane concrete systems are tougher and more sustainable than their chemical-heavy contemporaries.
- Sherwin-Williams says their flooring solutions earn more points toward LEED credit than other coatings manufacturers.
When it comes to creating a strong foundation in green building design, the best place to start is often, literally, the ground floor. That’s where companies like Sherwin-Williams come in. With more than 150 years in business, a focus on corporate responsibility and peerless customer service, Sherwin-Williams is a go-to resource for commercial facilities like breweries looking for the best in flooring solutions.
“Especially in some of these microbreweries where you’ve got a lot of spaces that are customer-facing, where people can see the brew area. When you have a bright and shiny coating on the floor, It gives that extra sensibility that it’s clean,” says Casey Ball, Sherwin-Williams global market director for flooring.
Cleanliness is King
It’s about more than just looks, though. With ever stricter standards for cleanliness tile, wood, and even bare concrete is a potential liability. “There’s typically some sort of grout or joint that is potentially a weak point, a place that can harbor bacteria,” Ball says. Enter: the seamless floor coating; perfect for environments that need to be sterile, durable, and attractive. This type of resinous floor has become ubiquitous. It’s customizable and easy to clean.
But, in the past, most in the industry turned to chemical-heavy, solvent-based epoxy flooring solutions (not as ideal for the eco-conscious). These floors also took a long time to cure before production could come back online. “Typically, if you put an epoxy coating on concrete, you have to wait a minimum of 28 days for that concrete to hydrate,” Ball says. “Epoxy is more plastic-like. It moves at different rates compared to the concrete. It doesn’t have quite the temperature resistance that urethane concrete does. And so it just doesn’t last as long.”
A Top Solution
Sherwin-Williams set out to do better. Today, among their most popular products, beloved by breweries like Sierra Nevada as well as micro-breweries like Loose Ends in Centerville, Ohio, is FasTop™, a family of urethane concrete systems tougher (and more sustainable) than their chemical-heavy contemporaries. “Breweries are abusive,” Ball says. “Hose ends are dropped on the floor, cleaners are used, hot water spills, forklifts and pallet jacks driving around.” Thermal shock, impact, corrosion, chemicals, abrasion—FasTop can withstand it all.
But, perhaps even more importantly for a business in a rapidly growing industry, FasTop is, well, fast. It can be applied over “green” concrete (ideal for new construction), wood, or steel quickly. “The goal is always to create products that are fast to cure because today’s construction schedules are pretty demanding,” Ball says. “With FasTop, a brewery could be back to production in as little as four to six hours. “Whether you’re doing a renovation, or let’s say you decided to put in a new bottling line and you’ve got a short window in which to get back to production—you won’t be down for long.”
How It Works
Although application is quick and straightforward, it’s a job best left to the professionals. “There are typically three or four component products. A lot of people, when they think of coatings or paints, are used to the kind of paint that goes on their house. Open the can and roll it on. That’s a single component,” Ball says. “These are reactive products—you’ve got an A side and a B side. And in the case of urethane concrete, you’ve got an aggregate that has cement and some other fillers. The fourth component would be pigment. And then you mix all those together and rake it out onto the floor. It could be anywhere from an eighth to a quarter-of-an-inch thick. The installing contractor might have anywhere from five to seven people assisting with application.” Not exactly a DIY, but still far faster than its contemporary epoxy flooring.
FasTop is also more eco-conscious. In fact, flooring products like FasTop have become an important part of environmental certification for many commercial facilities. Flooring solutions from Sherwin-Williams earn more points toward LEED credit for customers than any other coatings manufacturer, for everything from helping to reduce concentrations of chemical contaminants (VOCs) to building product disclosure and optimization. Made with water-based components (combined with plant-based oils), these innovative floor coatings have begun to replace not only unhealthy floors but also outdated ways of thinking. “There was always a thought that if it wasn’t solvent-based, it wasn’t as durable or useful,” Ball says. “And now [urethane concrete] has really become the product of choice.