If you own a restaurant, then you know that the kitchen floor plays an important role. It’s a high traffic area having to cope with heavy loads like the constant traffic of your chefs, the delivery of trolleys laden with food, and the heavy footfall of your waiting staff coming in and out.
Apart from being resilient, the floor must also provide a non-slip surface for the safety of all staff members, and be able to withstand humid and very hot conditions. As a matter of course, you should also consult Health & Safety regulations for the catering and hospitality industries.
To help you choose the best flooring system for your commercial kitchen, here are 5 different options that might be suitable for your business.
Let’s get this out of the way first – vinyl is the cheapest of all the floor coverings you can choose and also one of the most common in a commercial kitchen. This cost-effective and incredibly comfortable floor solution makes for a safe working environment for your staff. It’s also hard-wearing, robust, and very low-maintenance.
Because vinyl is soft and pliable, it’s easier on the feet of your waiting staff, who are constantly rushing out of the kitchen to serve customers and returning with empty plates, glasses and dirty cutlery. Vinyl floors also have a luxurious, soft underlay which further increases the comfort of your hot, sweaty chefs.
Vinyl is available in tiles or sheets but most restaurants owners, or managers, prefer vinyl sheets because when installed these minimise the number of joins that are necessary. The other great thing about modern vinyl is that it’s resistant to high temperatures and doesn’t absorb water or any other liquid. The only downside is that there will be some joins, and it doesn’t look nearly as attractive as some of the other types of commercial kitchen flooring available on the market.
Resin, or epoxy, flooring is probably the most versatile. It has an outstanding non-slip surface, can be installed quickly, and has an ultra-fast cure time of just two hours. It’s also hygienic and very long-lasting, even in the most challenging of conditions. The wonderful thing about resin flooring is that it becomes part of the concrete slab itself.
It’s highly resistant to industrial-strength acids and almost all chemicals, and the floor finish stays perfectly intact even when cleaned numerous times a day. In addition, as the floor has no cracks or seams, there are fewer places for dangerous pathogens and smelly moulds to grow and develop.
3. Ceramic tiles
Ceramic tiles are more expensive than vinyl but are a really good choice – they’re resistant to heat and liquids and don’t stain. If your kitchen is on view to members of the public, a ceramic tile floor creates an interesting aesthetic and is very attractive. These tiles are made in large kilns that reach incredibly high temperatures – a process that’s responsible for their very hard and water-tight surface.
Most commercial ceramic tiles are treated with a glass glaze, which gives them added durability and makes for attractive design features. Apart from looking great, kitchen floors made up of decorative ceramic tiles, treated with a glass glaze, are hard-wearing, safe and extremely hygienic.
4. Stone tiles
There are a few different types of natural stone tile on the market, and all work well and look great as part of an open kitchen’s floor design. For a commercial kitchen, the stone tiles you select should be reasonably abrasive to prevent staff members from slipping and sliding. The best stone tiles are those that are brushed, or clefted, as these provide good grip and extra traction. Slate and granite are popular choices because they’re incredibly easy to clean and highly resistant to water and staining. But beware, because natural stone tiles don’t come cheap.
5. Brick pavers
Brick pavers are a gorgeous choice of floor covering and work exceptionally well in a commercial kitchen environment. If you’d like to add some rich colours and textures, then brick pavers are the way to go. You’ll see these in upmarket coffee and cake shops and delis – where the customers can see right into the food preparation area. Pavers create a warm, homely atmosphere, are strong, durable and highly resistant to stains and humid, hot temperatures. Most brick pavers need be sealed to prevent any moisture being absorbed.