Installing and Maintaining Poured Epoxy Flooring
When installing industrial-type poured epoxy flooring, a liquid epoxy matrix is poured or hand troweled onto the substrate. Synthetic aggregates are broadcast into the matrix while the flooring is still liquid. The flooring has no seams and can be poured with an integral base. For epoxy terrazzo, a two-part epoxy resin and hardener is poured or troweled over a flexible membrane or primer. The aggregate is added to the mix and, after curing, the floor is ground to expose the aggregate and then sealed. Maintenance consists of sweeping, mopping, buffing, and occasionally resealing. Epoxy terrazzo does not wear out.
Vinyl wallcovering is made from polyvinyl chloride. The PVC resin gives vinyl wallcovering its durability, abrasion resistance, cleanability, and strength. Plasticizers are added to improve the pliability of the end-product and long-term resistance to cracking. Plasticizers also make processing easier. Vinyl wallcovering is used for its abrasion resistance, especially on outside corners, and its impact resistance, cleanability, and stain resistance; and for the depth and variety of colors and patterns available. Tensile or tear strength is important as well. Vinyl wallcoverings can have additives, referred to as biocides and fungicides, which aid in resistance to mold, mildew, and fungus. Wallcoverings with these additives are an advantage when specifying vinyl wallcoverings for hospitals. Other additives include pigments, stabilizers, and stain retardants. Related products that have similar properties include drapery lining, shower curtains, and vinyl fabric.
Residential wallcovering is usually made of paper, but it may have a vinyl or acrylic coating for added durability. One type of vinyl-coated wallcovering is known as expanded vinyl. Liquid vinyl is applied to a paper backing and then heated. The heated vinyl creates areas of raised texture on the surface.
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A PVC-based compound is heated and forced through a series of hot metal rollers that flatten the compound into a sheet of vinyl film. Several passes through the rollers are needed to obtain the desired uniform thickness. On the last pass, a fabric backing is bonded to the film under heat and pressure. At this point the sheet of vinyl wallcovering is white. It is then printed with one or more colors of ink. Better-quality products are printed by forcing the ink throughout the material rather than just applying it to the surface. Surface texture is achieved at the same time as printing, using embossing rollers. To finish the product, a topcoat is added, either clear vinyl or Tedlar, a proprietary product made by DuPont that provides a protective, stain-resistant coating.
Specifying Vinyl Wallcovering
The designer must select and specify wallcovering based on the level of use. Commercial-grade vinyl wallcovering is classified as Type I, Type II, or Type III. The type of backing has the most impact on the durability of the wallcovering and contributes to the overall weight of the product. Type I, 10.5 to 19 ounces per lineal yard, can be used in nonpublic areas that get light use. Type I wallcoverings generally have a scrim or a nonwoven backing of cellulose and synthetic material, and the typical weight for Type I wallcoverings is 15 ounces per lineal yard. Type II wallcoverings are common for most commercial uses, especially public corridors, lobbies, and spaces that get 24-hour use. Type II vinyl wallcoverings weigh 19.5 to 32 ounces per lineal yard, but most Type II wallcovering is 20 ounces per lineal yard. Backings for Type II wallcovering include a woven backing called Osnaburg, or a nonwoven backing. Less common, Type III vinyl wallcovering is for the heaviest use, weighing 33 ounces per lineal yard, with drill fabric backing. Commercial vinyl wallcoverings are usually 54″ wide. Commercial vinyl wallcovering is also labeled according to its flame-spread rating, either class A, B, or C, based on the Steiner Tunnel Test.