While on a recent visit to a Colona Fire Department station in Glen Carbon, Ill., I admired the brightly colored apparatus bay floor, which featured a light-gray epoxy coating with speckled flakes. Chief John Swan said the department applied the epoxy in the 20-year-old station after firefighters slipped and injured themselves on the concrete floors.
“The floor is safer and easier to walk on and easier to clean,” said Swan.
But other departments shy away from epoxy because of problems created by tire heat, according to Jim McClure, a retired captain from the San Jose Fire Department who now a consultant with Firehouse Design & Construction, said his department shied away from “We kept epoxy out of the apparatus bay floors,” he said. “We did use it in kitchens and dining rooms, but we’d never do it again as we used a slightly dimpled coating on the floors, but it didn’t clean well.”
Another unpopular option is carpeting, according to McClure. "Firefighters take coffee everywhere,” he said. “We stopped carpeting bedrooms and living areas because it was so difficult to keep it clean and spot-free from coffee stains.”
One popular option found in West Coast fire stations is nora flooring, a quarter-inch-thick rubber-vinyl flooring that can be applied to walls and is suited for bathrooms and bedrooms, McClure said. It is available in rolls or squares and needs no finishing, waxing or sealing. The covering features a dense, nonporous and dirt-repellant surface, which eliminates the need to use harsh cleaning chemicals.
When possible, pour-finished, stained concrete is McClure's top choice. He belives it is worth the investment and will save taxpayers in the long run.
“The investment in concrete polished floors will pay back in the life of the building,” he said.
What’s your flooring of choice?