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Historic Building - Flooring Question


missriverdistilling

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We're considering a beautiful building constructed in the 1850's for our dsp. The main floor where we'd like to have our still has wood floor coverings. The trusses, etc. can handle the weight. But I'm concerned about water proofing the floor and having drainage. Is anyone else set up in a similar situation? How did you handle the flooring? I'm looking into a seamless rubberized covering for portions. Also wondering if epoxy sealants, etc. might be an option. Will go talk to a flooring pro, but just wondered if anyone in the industry had already found a solution to a similar issue.

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You need to do some research, as this can be a big headache. Check out: The Brewers Association's Guide to Starting Your Own Brewery (Paperback)

http://www.amazon.com/Brewers-Associations-Guide-Starting-Brewery/dp/0937381896

It has a great article on flooring, from epoxy to concrete and even wood. Are you making whiskey and brewing your own beer, or are you just making white spirits like gin and vodka? If you are making whiskey the brewer's association guide will really be useful. There are problems to all of these solutions. I would recommend talking to other brewers and distillers as 'flooring pros,' unless an old friend, is more about selling you something than about giving you the best advice. Just be skeptical and ask people who actually use it for distilling.

My 2 cents: there are several flooring issues specific to Breweries and Distilleries.

1) Weight: Water weighs 8 lbs per gallon, so two 1000 gallon tanks will weigh 16,000 lbs without the weight of the tank itself. These are usually sitting on small legs, which put a lot of pressure on the floor. Cracking is very common in brewery/distillery floors making them harder to clean and giving a place for wild yeast to live.

2) Deflection: Moving large amounts of liquid from one tank to another on the other side of the room can cause deflection in the slab or if wood, then beams, due to the change in weight. This can cause toppings like an epoxy flooring to pop off the sub base or cause more cracks in a something like a slab. Thicker slabs as well as more control joints are usually money well spent. ‘Moist curing’ during the first 7 days of a concrete cure can result in more strength as well as higher psi concrete.

3) Heat shock: Moving 212 degree water right next to a line that contains cold water or chilled glycol results in rapid expansion and contraction. Of course a topping like epoxy will expand more than something below it like concrete potentially causing the bond to break between these elements. Wood can of course expand and contract dramatically based on moisture and heat.

4) Physical abuse: dropping a steel valve onto a topping can puncture a hole in it. Once this happens water can work into it and begin to compromise the entire coating. Usually coatings are applied much thicker than they would normally be applied.

5) Drainage: For every 1 gallon of beer produced, 8-10 gallons of water will be consumed. You just cannot have enough floor drains. Beer is acidic and brutal on floors, spirits like whiskey are worse. Cleaning agents and chemicals are also hard on floors. Getting these off the slab as quickly as possible is important and is also key for sanitation. Fruit flies, the bane of wineries and breweries everywhere, will appear wherever spilt beer is not cleaned up and will carry wild yeasts with them.

6) Perimeters: Perimeters can be problematic. At my facility, the concrete is very cracked and black from mold that will not clean. I have wasted a lot of time squeegying the floors due to no slope and no drains. I almost put a perimeter of 2 block high CMU and am kicking myself for never doing so, instead I put cheap wood trim. Every time I have a large spill which is pretty much every weekend, hot water shoots across the floor to wood trim over drywall. The wood is of course now all warped. The drywall is slowly disintegrating. If I had thought about a perimeter containment system, either a small concrete wall or a cmu wall covered with a topping or epoxy, I would have saved myself a lot of heartburn.

There is a story about a brewery built on wood flooring, they eventually had to move the brewery equipment, rip out all wood and pour an elevated concrete slab. I hate to be a wet blanket, I just would hate to see you get an unexpected set of costs down the road that you never expected. If you are distilling mostly white spirits, it is probably not that big a deal, if you are making whiskey it could be a real nightmare. I'm not saying its impossible, just be aware going in of the headaches.

Good luck!!!

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You need to do some research, as this can be a big headache. Check out: The Brewers Association's Guide to Starting Your Own Brewery (Paperback)

http://www.amazon.com/Brewers-Associations-Guide-Starting-Brewery/dp/0937381896

It has a great article on flooring, from epoxy to concrete and even wood. Are you making whiskey and brewing your own beer, or are you just making white spirits like gin and vodka? If you are making whiskey the brewer's association guide will really be useful. There are problems to all of these solutions. I would recommend talking to other brewers and distillers as 'flooring pros,' unless an old friend, is more about selling you something than about giving you the best advice. Just be skeptical and ask people who actually use it for distilling.

My 2 cents: there are several flooring issues specific to Breweries and Distilleries.

1) Weight: Water weighs 8 lbs per gallon, so two 1000 gallon tanks will weigh 16,000 lbs without the weight of the tank itself. These are usually sitting on small legs, which put a lot of pressure on the floor. Cracking is very common in brewery/distillery floors making them harder to clean and giving a place for wild yeast to live.

2) Deflection: Moving large amounts of liquid from one tank to another on the other side of the room can cause deflection in the slab or if wood, then beams, due to the change in weight. This can cause toppings like an epoxy flooring to pop off the sub base or cause more cracks in a something like a slab. Thicker slabs as well as more control joints are usually money well spent. ‘Moist curing’ during the first 7 days of a concrete cure can result in more strength as well as higher psi concrete.

3) Heat shock: Moving 212 degree water right next to a line that contains cold water or chilled glycol results in rapid expansion and contraction. Of course a topping like epoxy will expand more than something below it like concrete potentially causing the bond to break between these elements. Wood can of course expand and contract dramatically based on moisture and heat.

4) Physical abuse: dropping a steel valve onto a topping can puncture a hole in it. Once this happens water can work into it and begin to compromise the entire coating. Usually coatings are applied much thicker than they would normally be applied.

5) Drainage: For every 1 gallon of beer produced, 8-10 gallons of water will be consumed. You just cannot have enough floor drains. Beer is acidic and brutal on floors, spirits like whiskey are worse. Cleaning agents and chemicals are also hard on floors. Getting these off the slab as quickly as possible is important and is also key for sanitation. Fruit flies, the bane of wineries and breweries everywhere, will appear wherever spilt beer is not cleaned up and will carry wild yeasts with them.

6) Perimeters: Perimeters can be problematic. At my facility, the concrete is very cracked and black from mold that will not clean. I have wasted a lot of time squeegying the floors due to no slope and no drains. I almost put a perimeter of 2 block high CMU and am kicking myself for never doing so, instead I put cheap wood trim. Every time I have a large spill which is pretty much every weekend, hot water shoots across the floor to wood trim over drywall. The wood is of course now all warped. The drywall is slowly disintegrating. If I had thought about a perimeter containment system, either a small concrete wall or a cmu wall covered with a topping or epoxy, I would have saved myself a lot of heartburn.

There is a story about a brewery built on wood flooring, they eventually had to move the brewery equipment, rip out all wood and pour an elevated concrete slab. I hate to be a wet blanket, I just would hate to see you get an unexpected set of costs down the road that you never expected. If you are distilling mostly white spirits, it is probably not that big a deal, if you are making whiskey it could be a real nightmare. I'm not saying its impossible, just be aware going in of the headaches.

Good luck!!!

From a builder for over 46 years in construction all kinds. The above advice is right on. Coop

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