Dur-A-Flex makes unique floor systems that are tough, rugged and nice to look at. Lorie Greenspan profiles a company that continually engineers advances in flooring for hospitals, food processing and light industry.
Floors are one of those areas that are thought little about and yet serve an understated purpose – without floors we’d be walking on dirt and that would get our shoes messy. But when you truly begin to think about floors – and all the abuse they take in places such as retail stores, hospitals and industrial facilities – you need to look beyond what they do and think about what else they can do.
Or more to the point, as far as Dur-A-Flex is concerned: What else can be done to better protect them.
Dur-A-Flex has proven its innovative flexibility in the area of floor system coatings on a number of occasions. Last October, Dur-AFlex was summoned to Scottsdale Healthcare, a nonprofit organization with three campuses, three hospitals, outpatient centers, home health services and a wide range of community health education and outreach programs.
As reported on Dur-A-Flex’s Web site: “Fred Buys of Spectrum Services, North America was asked to look at the three heli-pads on the rooftop of their level one trauma facility. He found that there were three landing pads; two that were the same size and one that was about 25 percent larger. The material used to coat the landing pads was a rubberized pedestrian auto deck material, and the damage that the helicopter landing skids was causing was very visible. If left untreated, there would be problems during takeoff and landing and it would jeopardize the safe transport of their trauma patients.”
So the hospital needed a durable system that could be installed quickly and still allow daily emergency landings. Alongside Dur-AFlex’s Clayton Moore, who came in to inspect the heli pads and provide information and technical advice on the system installation, Buys decided that Dur-A-Flex’s MMA would be best suited for this application “for its durability and non-temperature sensitive application time.” Features and benefits of Dur-A-Flex’s CRYL-AFLEX MMA include rapid application and full cure, meaning it would be ready to use in one hour, which translated to minimum interruption in use: the complete job could be done in one day.
Buys and his crew were told at the beginning of this installation that they would be given six minutes notice about an incoming helicopter, forcing them to clear the landing pad and leave the roof. Another requirement was that the letter “H” within the pads be reflective. Buys achieved this with glass beads dispersed into the topcoat. The separate colors (red, white, black and tan) were done with integral colored quartz.
The project was a huge success and hospital personnel were pleased that the installation did not greatly impact the trauma emergency landings. According to the Lead Building Systems Technician who coordinated this project with Buys and the entire Spectrum Services crew, the roof installation is holding up extremely well and they are looking forward to many years of trouble-free use.
And that, of course, chalks another one up for Dur-A- Flex. The company was founded 40 years ago by husband and wife Mitch and Betty Andresky, who started their operation in a small building in East Hartford, Conn, where they sold floor coatings for the as-yet-to-be-coined “do-it-yourselfers.” (It is one of the last family run companies in the industry, purchased by Bob Smith who was the company’s first sales rep and who is now president and CEO, working alongside his son and daughter.)
One of the biggest industry trends coincides with a dramatic new product the company is offering in the area of cementitious urethane, which, as the name implies, possesses like or relevant properties of cement, typically used in tough food processing environments, where water and use of chemicals tend to undermine the floor system. Cementitious urethane has a strong tolerance to moisture transmission, relates Alex Dittenhoffer, vice president of sales, “which is the kiss of death for floor coatings because it causes the epoxies to blister.” Rugged and tough, Dur-A-Flex’s cementitious urethane won’t blister. What’s more, Dur-A-Flex’s product contains a layer of decorative chips on the surface and MMA high-speed coating that cures in 45 minutes. “We call these hybrids and our product is called Hybri-Flex. We’re truly changing the game with this product: It can coat the floor five days after concrete is poured, as opposed to 28 days. Now we can get into the front end of construction projects instead of waiting for concrete to harden.” Hybri-Flex also addresses the risk associated with elevated moisture levels. It is available in both macro and micro decorative chip blends, making it perfect for retail, grocery stores, schools, healthcare and pharmaceutical flooring applications.
The company’s Hybri-Flex MC floor system tolerates elevated moisture levels up to 12 pounds and RH less than 92 percent, making it ideal for new construction as well as fast track construction projects going over five- to seven-day-old concrete (green concrete). The system eliminates the additional step of applying a costly mitigation system. “Currently we’re the only ones offering a product like this on the market,” Dittenhoffer says, adding, “With construction technology today there are many projects built on land that doesn’t drain well. Our solution gives the customer a fast turnover.”
Another Dur-A-Flex product getting attention is Cryl-A-Stain, which mimics the look of an acid-stained floor and offers seven times more durability. Cryl-A-Stain doesn’t require wax or sealers to protect it, reducing annual maintenance 55-75 percent when compared to many other popular flooring choices.
Cryl-A-Stain floors fully cure in one hour and in many cases they can be installed in 75 percent less time than it takes to install a traditional stained concrete floor, reducing down time or eliminating any interruption to business. It is a 100-percent solids, fast curing, Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) floor coating stain, as well as low emitting, VOC compliant. It is available in seven colors that can be combined to create a variety of patterns and designs. “We’ve also introduced a color stable cemetitious urethane – it’s the only product that is UV stable,” Dittenhoffer says, adding, “Our focus is on the needs of the contractor and developing reliable products that do what they say they will do in the field. We give the contractor a sense of security.”