Story at a glance:

  • A common misconception is that resinous flooring is expensive, but when comparing life cycle maintenance cost, resinous flooring can be more cost effective than many other types of floor finishes.
  • SofTop Comfort resinous flooring is formulated with up to 25% natural plant oils for lower environmental impact relative to non-biobased alternatives.
  • SofTop flooring is impact resistant and stands up to heavy foot traffic and carts.

Resinous flooring is “forever.” It is one of the longest life cycle options, and that’s a good thing, says Phillip C. Smith, market segment manager at Sherwin-Williams.

Smith is on the leadership team for the High Performance Flooring segment at Sherwin-Williams. He’s been in the resinous flooring industry for more than 20 years, with 10 years in design and construction before that, and he’s seen major changes in the industry. He’s passionate about product.

“Of all the choices for flooring, this is the one that stays with the building,” he says. “It penetrates the surface, bonding to the concrete, almost becoming part of the slab. If you want to do something different in the future you don’t have to tear this out and put it in a landfill. You can build on top of it, which is potentially a more sustainable option, and that’s important.”

The Sherwin-Williams SofTop Comfort Systems is relatively new to the US, but it’s been successful in Europe for years. It’s among the top resinous flooring options today, and Smith says it is easier on the feet, easier on the eyes, and easier on the earth.

What is SofTop?


SofTop also comes in marble patterns perfect for retail and commercial. Photo courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

SofTop Comfort is poured, fluid-applied, decorative, elastomeric, seamless flooring that feels soft underfoot. It has acoustic, ergonomic, and hygienic benefits that make it a great fit across health care, education, and other commercial and institutional facilities. In addition to being ergonomic and soft underfoot, SofTop is tough; it contains industrial grade resins that help protect against abuse. At the same time it offers various design options. It’s a pretty floor, Smith says.

SofTop Comfort SL is a quarter-inch decorative elastomeric flooring system, while SofTop SL is a one-eighth-inch system. Options include 12 standard colors as well as custom color matching, plus aesthetic finishes to complement design themes. More Benefits Installation is contractor-friendly. “These are poured, fluid-applied systems that are spread with a squeegee and roller, allowing for large areas to be installed efficiently,” Smith says. That ease of installation in large part can mean lower cost. “This new generation of SofTop Comfort Systems has an attractive price point and offers the owner excellent value.”

Resinous flooring also requires no waxing. “That’s a big deal,” Smith says. “Many of the traditional options are materials like vinyl, which tend to require waxing. When you look at that type of floor, a lot of folks don’t consider the maintenance life cycle cost. The waxing maintenance cycle involves frequent stripping, reapplying, and buffing throughout the life of the surface throughout the life cycle. That’s a lot of cost not considered on the front end.”

SofTop is also resistant to chemicals and staining. Its slip-inhibiting surface is seamless, sanitary, and easy to clean. “This is a great fit for health care,” Smith says.

The system is ideal for sensitive, high occupancy, high-traffic environments like hospitals and nursing homes, schools and universities, hospitality and entertainment venues, offices, and retail stores. In a setting like a hospital, medical staff are on their feet all day and need soft flooring as well as surfaces that are easy to clean and that stand up to harsh chemicals. “This is going to provide all of that,” Smith says.

Seamless resinous flooring can be a more sanitary option compared to vinyl flooring, Smith says, which typically comes in squares or sheets with glued or welded seams. When seams or welds break down, dirt and chemicals can penetrate and bacteria and other microbes can grow. “That’s a big deal in today’s world.” SofTop is seamless and sanitary.

In a stadium environment, where you may have tens of thousands of people making noise, you also need flooring that is sound dampening. “SofTop helps reduce the decibels of sound within the space,” Smith says.

More Sustainability


SofTop Comfort Systems combine versatile decor options with ergonomic comfort and noise reduction benefits that help meet the health and safety needs of institutional and commercial facilities. Photo courtesy of Sherwin-Williams

In addition to being hygienic and potentially staying out of landfills, SofTop is low-VOC and formulated with up to 25% renewable plant oils to reduce the environmental impacts relative to non-biobased alternatives.

Smith says the industry continues to provide more environmentally friendly options. He says more people want sustainable flooring with a quick turnaround and a long life cycle with flexible design options.

Efficiency across all areas counts, and speed of installation matters, too. “Resinous flooring is typically applied over concrete, which normally has to cure 28 days. We have trended toward products that can be applied over what we call green concrete. These new resinous flooring products can be installed on the concrete after five to seven days,” Smith says. “Time is money in the construction industry.” SofTop offers quick turnaround options and a long life cycle.