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Float On has been around for nearly 9 years, and in those 9 years, we’ve gone through lots of floors. Some have held up better than others. Some didn’t hold up at all. At one point we tried putting down textured pebbles with epoxy grout, pebbles that turned to putty within a few months. Lessons about flooring are the kind of lessons you learn quickly. Each time you replace your floors, it means hours of tearing out existing floors, working around plumbing, hours and hours of downtime (in our case for the entire shop, given how small it is).
Throughout the years, we’ve tried lots of floors. We’ve learned from our mistakes and seen the mistakes of others and learned from those too!
We’ve collected a few tactics that have helped ourselves – and others – pick out the best floors for a variety of different scenarios. Fortunately, we’ve written everything down so you don’t even need to take notes!
Let’s start with how we protect our floors from falling apart.
First off, we choose the right waterproofing (and salt-proofing) material and remain ever vigilant about preventative maintenance.
Not only did we inspect every single seam and potential weak spot upon initial installation of our floors, we continue to crawl around and check every last one for damage during deep cleans each week. When any small installation imperfection or random pinhole can lead to catastrophic failure, it pays to stay en garde.
Float tank center floors endure a constant barrage of saltwater, repetitive scrubbing, and high foot traffic. They must remain slip-resistant when drenched with silky smooth float tank water and, preferably, look stylish while doing so.
It’s much easier to flush salt water down a floor drain than it is to mop it up. So put floor drains everywhere. Obviously, you’ll need a floor drain in your shower area. We also like to install one near the dressing area and another one near the spa pack of the float tank. It’s a lot nicer to discover a salty leak that’s trickling down a floor drain instead of one that’s pooling in the middle of your float room.
Slip-resistant vinyl flooring is an excellent option for a float tank room, especially for hardwood floors. With heat-welded seams and the installation of surface-level membrane clamping floor drains, vinyl flooring has the potential to protect your substrate for years to come. We have noticed that hard-soled shoes definitely have an impact on the appearance of vinyl sheet flooring over the years. We’ve also noticed that it can become brittle where the material is coved up the wall in a float room.
Epoxy resin is another excellent option for protective flooring in a float tank room. Epoxy resin is rigid and can crack if your substrate is flexible like a wood floor. You will need to add something to the resin for slip resistance, though. There are many fine options including glass beads, aluminum oxide, and our personal favorite: multicolored quartz. It’s like sand art on your floors!
It’s important to pay special attention to the bond between the resin flooring and the edge of the drain body. Talented installers will “key in” the resin around the floor drain. This means grinding a very narrow/shallow trough around the drain and letting the first pour of epoxy fill the trough. Sometimes, installers will even use heat to disperse any small bubbles within the resin.
Porcelain tile and epoxy grout is another option for flooring within a float room. It’s not our first choice, though. The tiles tend to be a little slippery. We often see float centers use interlocking rubber mats to provide slip resistance in these situations.
Even with the best-constructed floor, it’s not going to matter if you don’t maintain it. Keep an eye out for damage as time goes on. Flooring is one of those areas where small problems become large problems very quickly. Being proactive can save you money, not just on materials, but on downtime with float rooms, as smaller fixes take less time to repair.
If you’d like a detailed guide on our best practices for floors as well as your entire float center construction build-out, check out our complete Float Center Construction Package. Literally hundreds of pages written and reviewed by the best electricians, flooring experts, contractors, sound-proofers, and float center owns in the industry.
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