ESD Checklist: Aesthetics and maintenance considerations
There are several aesthetic and maintenance considerations involved with ESD flooring. Here are some of the questions you should be asking:
What type of finished look do you want? Is it industrial, more decorative, clean-room, office space? Does it need to match a certain color? Does it need to be light or dark?
The topic of aesthetics comes up more than you might think. We have a broad product line, including a variety of colors and price points. The combination of color and ESD properties has made our FreeStyle ESD product very popular with labs and cleanrooms. Conversely, if your primary interest in a tile is the electrical properties, our SelecTile product is a very effective solution but only comes in black. Even though most companies want our products for the electrical properties, how a tile looks comes up quite a bit, particularly if you are working with an architect.
Does the environment have a lot of dirt? Will the floor need to be cleaned frequently? Does the floor need to look clean and shiny all the time?
If there is a lot dirt in your work environment and the floor requires frequent cleaning that can and should factor into your ESD tile selection. Again, when we sit down with a customer, we review all angles of your floor selection. Part of the decision is how important the look of tile is to your organization. Our FreeStyle ESDPlus stays cleaner longer. If you have a very dirty environment we recommend that tile. If your floors receive regular or daily cleaning, then you have some flexibility on choice.
Does the flooring option require regular waxing/coating to maintain electrical properties?
Our products don’t’ require regular waxing or coating and the electrical properties are built into each tile. With other products on the market, the electrical properties are contained with the coating and will require reapplication every few years. Our ESD customers typically replace tiles based on wear and tear and appearance, not because of the effectiveness in mitigating static electricity.
Do you have the resources for frequent cleaning, if needed?
Again, many times the more expensive tile is less expensive to maintain. So, you could select a less expensive tile, but it will require more in maintenance (e.g. additional janitorial services; more expensive floor maintenance equipment). Over time, the more expensive tile will probably offer better value and cost less than the less expensive tile. This is something we typically review with customers in discussing budget for flooring.
Make sure to consider the full costs of the floor, including: Material costs, subfloor preparation, downtime costs, installation costs, and ongoing maintenance and repair costs.
Purchasing flooring requires a comprehensive look at all angles. The cost of the tile is but one angle. Installation and down time is another. So are operational considerations as well as maintenance. The longevity of a tile also should factor in. Is a less expensive tile that will require replacement within five years a better value than a tile that will last 10 years and require less frequent maintenance and be more effective from an ESD perspective? When comparing options, it’s good to look at costs over a longer period, say 10 years, and then ask a series of questions that might impact the value. For example, is there a chance you will need to move the flooring? Portability might be something that a facility wasn’t thinking of when researching a tile but might be an important consideration for a growing company.