Looking to renovate your kitchen floor this year? Maybe you have been contacted by the health department or the owners want a new look in the back of the house. Maybe you’re sick and tired or replacing the floor you have and are looking for a better solution. With the internet it makes it much easier to do your research to find the right fit for your commercial kitchen and your kitchen staff.
A smart man once said “If we knew what we were doing. It would not be called research, would it” -Albert Einstein. Mr. Einstein is a very smart man, but probably didn’t know much about kitchen flooring applications. So like you, he would have to do his research on the topic. Well, it’s too late for Mr. Einstein but if you’re starting your research here I want to thank you. In this article we will lay out important information to keep in mind while probing potential companies about your kitchen project. I will lay out the five most important factors to consider.
Five Key Factors of Every Kitchen Renovation:
- Shutdown Time vs. Installation Time
- Equipment Removal and Reinstallation
- Slope of the floor
- Existing floor
Shutdown Time vs. Installation Time
With most renovations the restaurant will chose to remain open. Like I said in a previous blog, restaurants aren’t making money if the kitchen isn’t open. This can be a major deterrent from perusing a renovation project for many of these owners. With a kitchen project in particular, time frames are very important to lay out to the contractor ahead of time. This way the contractor can choose a product that can be installed in that time frame. Installation of these product are all different with cure time and installation time. Some can be installed in a matter of hours while others can take multiple trips and nights for the finished product. Keep in mind what you want to accomplish with your renovation and plan accordingly to meet your goals.
Equipment Removal and Re-installation
One of the most common questions to any flooring contractor is: Is equipment removal included in the cost? More than likely this cost is not included. The equipment in a commercial kitchen needs trained professionals to be able to remove. As well as these same professionals to put it back into place working! As a flooring contractor I run into these eager clients that would like us or have their staff remove the equipment. I can assure you that my crew does not have a plumber license or a HVAC certificate, and if they did they probably wouldn’t be working on a floor. These licenses can take years to attain and carry a pretty penny when they are needed on a project like this.
A good equipment technician that can remove all the equipment and have it installed back in working order to keep the project on time is critical to the project’s success. Without this you could have the best plan in place to open the following day, and it all comes crashing down when the equipment doesn’t work when it goes back into place. Now, this is a rare occurrence, but if you ever worked on a project like this there’s a saying for this. It goes “If there’s a fifty- fifty chance that something can go wrong, then 9 out of ten times it will.”
Needless to say find yourself an equipment company that knows what they’re doing, or ask your flooring rep for some references. Chances are they have worked with a couple of them in the past and will give you the name of the company they liked the best.
Slope or Pitching of the Floor:
While walking your floor after all the meals have been cooked, and all the dishes have been cleaned. The staff has started cleaning the kitchen getting ready for the next day. Take notice of the areas in the floor that are low, where the water is pooling. This is a simple as soaking your floor and marking where these puddles are. If this is a big problem and there is pooling all over the floor this problem is much harder to solve. Not impossible, but it will increase the price of the project twofold.
With new construction the slopping of the floor is usually done on the architect’s drawings. Allowing for a far cheaper product (concrete) to be slopped to the drains and for the more expensive flooring system to maintain their original scope.
With a renovation project this could mean a shutdown period of a week at least, and a slopping plan with drain locations is required. Normally, the existing floor will also need to be demoed or shot blasted to ensure a bond with the slopping material.
If you’re not concerned about the pooling water and can manage the water to the drains there are methods to we can use to help you in these efforts. We call this pitching the floor. This happens usually in smaller areas and can be installed under equipment, along walls, and under foot traffic to move water away from these areas and out into the open where it can be dealt with.
One of the main factors in your upcoming project is actually the floor you currently have down. Why is this going to factor into my new floor you may ask? Well, if you are looking for a replacement of the floor your obviously not very happy with it. What are you not happy with, the grout lines, the tiles, and the slip resistance? Specifically find out what you’re concerned with and how to best solve these problems with your new flooring system. Sometime the best way to solve a problem is to look at the issues and find a solution to these issues. The product that solves the most important issues for you will more than likely be your best bet.
You can plan and plan all day long, have every article and book describing best practices. You could have everything under the sun to make a decisions, but we all know it all comes down to the budget. There are product in every price range, but a majority of these will not solve your problems. They are cheap Band-Aid fixes to get you down another year. You might be dealing with some of these Band-Aid fixes already in your facility. Do you really need another one in your kitchen? I think you don’t. So, how do you solve your problems within your budget? Simply put make your project smaller until it fits within that budget.
If you have a problem with grout or leaking in your dish room and get a quote on your entire kitchen you’re probably going to be over budget. In order to solve the dish room problem you’re probably looking at the big picture and down the road. While honorable and forward thinking, try shrinking that picture to solve these issues that affect you or your staff. For example in our dish room, we do have the capabilities of tailoring our plan around your worst areas. This way we solve your immediate problems, within you’re your time frame, with your desired product, and within your budget.
In closing, research is very important before taking on a project of this size and permanent nature. It’s also very important to work with reputable contractors and companies that have stated and finished these types of projects in the past. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have.