Walk-in refrigerations are indispensable parts of many businesses because they provide safe and sound storage for your products. Restaurants, florists, caterers, even hospitals utilize walk-in coolers and walk-in freezers for storage purposes. There are a couple of key points when choosing this commercial refrigeration for your businesses, and walk-in floor options are one of the most important ones. We covered walk-in floor considerations in this article and wanted to help you select your walk-in!
Why Do You Need Walk-in Floors?
Some walk-ins indeed do come without floors installed and work just as fine depending on the space they are installed in (indoor units placed on concrete are an example of this but keep in mind that walk-ins without floors aren’t options for upper floors or outdoor units.) Insulation is of the essence when it comes to walk-ins and when thinking about walk-in floors, you cannot ignore their insulation value. There are several reasons why you might need floored units;
- Walk-in floors ensure that the insulation is literally air-tight. While you need to adjust to insulation in a flourless unit, already installed walk-in floors save you the trouble of taking extra measures.
- Bacteria growth is significantly impeded thanks to walk-in floors. Through their sturdy structure and good quality materials, these commercial refrigeration floors ensure that health hazards are avoided as much as possible.
- Health inspections will be looking for clean, well-made walk-in floors that maintain the benefits mentioned above. Depending on the state you are in and the condition of your business, floored units might be a must for you. So make sure to check in with your local guidelines before making a new purchase or adjustments regarding walk-in floors.
- Walk-in floors level the ground of your unit and ease the process of carrying carts in and out significantly.
- High insulation means saved energy. You will be saving regarding your electricity bills.
What about Walk-in Units Without Floors?
Floors have many advantages, but you can also have walk-in refrigeration without floors if the room you will use will be on the ground level and indoors. Foam or rubber screeds are used to create and maintain insulation in such units. If you believe you can protect the insulation and carry carts in and out of your commercial refrigeration without dealing with bumps, then a floorless walk-in might be the one for you.
What to Look For in Walk-in Floors
You need to look for several key features when choosing your walk-in floors. These features can increase the efficiency and safety of your unit and make sure your chosen walk-in floor lasts for a long time.
- National Floor Safety Institute has come up with many data regarding the slip rates of different walk-in floor types. You can check the NFSI data and slip rates for different walk-in floors to choose the safest one for your business. Slip-resistant floors will protect your employees and products.
- Waterproof walk-in floors will be easier to clean and prevent mold and bacteria growth within the unit. Make sure that the floor you invest in does not absorb water or any other chemical.
- The amount of weight the walk-in floor can support is another factor you should consider.
- Depending on the capacity of your unit, decide on how much you will be storing and choose your floor accordingly. If you purchase a walk-in unit with a floor, the floor will already suit the unit’s capacity. This concern is only applicable if you are rebuilding or renewing the floors of your cooler or freezer.
- The material of the walk-in floor should not give out any form of color or odor that might affect the stored products. Most state regulations will require you to go with non-toxic material in flooring for the safety of your products.
Walk-in Flooring Options
When investing in walk-in refrigeration, there are many types of walk-in floor options that serve varied purposes, and you can choose the one that fits your business model.
- Aluminum panel floors are known as the standard walk-in floors. A square foot of aluminum panel flooring can carry 500-600 pounds of weight. It might sound like a lot, but keep in mind that your products will use much of that capacity, so this flooring isn’t the best for more than foot traffic.
- Reinforced floors are made to withstand around 5000 pounds per square foot. As the name suggests, their stability is reinforced with metal grids placed in the foam insulation. Their underlays are made of plywood which gives it its steady structure. If you need your floors to support heavy foot traffic and loaded carts, then this might be the option for you.
- Plywood underlays are very popular among businesses since they are more resilient than aluminum panels with their ability to withstand 1000 pounds per square. You can safely use light-weighted carts and walk around without causing any harm to the floors. Wood underpayments are usually preferred since they can evenly distribute the weight over your unit floor. While their installment can prove a little tricky and expensive, you’ll be grateful for the extra support they have to offer.
- Diamond tread plates are a plating you can choose to upgrade your walk-in floor. Their primary function is to lower the slip rates and consequently increase the safety of your unit.
- Ramps are an additional adjustment you can make to your walk-in floors to ease your day-to-day job. Upon request, their structure and finishing can be matched to your commercial refrigeration, and you can easily carry carts in and out of your unit.
Detecting Damages in Walk-in Floors
There are tell-tale signs of damage on walk-in floors that you should keep an eye out for to keep your walk-in refrigeration in top condition and your products safe. Below are only a few of the signs; if you encounter anything out of the ordinary, contact a technical service to send an expert. Make sure to get in touch with an expert if the detected damage is more than you can handle as well.
- Gaps or breaks on your walk-in floor can cause air pockets to form underneath the panels. The air pockets can condensate and turn into liquids that endanger the sanity of your commercial refrigeration unit. Cracks and breaks can lead up to major code violations.
- Mold is an obvious danger to the health of your products, employees, and the working of your unit. Watch out for signs of mold on your walk-in floor, and make sure to clean it regularly to avoid it. Spilled products left uncleaned can lead to permanent stains on your floors and cause health hazards. You can check out our article on walk-ins to get walk-in cleaning tips.
- Corrosion can be viewed as the rotting of metal. If the material of your walk-in floor isn’t of good quality, you might encounter corrosion. Corrosion directly threatens the structure of your unit and opens the door to many health and injury hazards.
Walk-in floors require significant consideration since they are the foundation of your walk-in refrigeration, which is indispensable to your business, are based on. They need to be strong, steady, and impenetrable. After carefully estimating your establishment’s capacity needs, you can choose the best walk-in floor option for you. Make sure to keep a close eye on the maintenance of your walk-in units and floors to make them last as long as possible.