Apparatus Bay Finish


Apparatus Bay Finish

Our solution to slick floors.

A firefighting apparatus is a fancy word for a fire truck. The place where they park the fire trucks is called the Apparatus Bay. The finish we devised with the Pflugerville Fire Department for these areas solves a big and long standing problem.

The problem was that many of the features needed are at odds with each other. Here are the requirements.

  • The floor must be safe by being skid-resistant when wet

    • Firefighters use a lot of water.

    • When it’s go-time, they are racing around there grabbing gear.

  • The floor has to be easy to clean.

    • This fire department keeps things super-clean and squared away when they are not fighting fires.

    • Usually, the same things that make a floor grippy when it’s wet and when it’s go-time make it a dirt magnet.

    • Heavily stained floors are off-brand for this fire department.

  • The solution has to be cost effective.

    • The administration / leadership of this fire department cares deeply about stewarding tax dollars well.

    • They won’t spend 3X for something that is only 20% better if they can avoid it.

  • The flooring has to be supremely durable.

    • If it is not durable, then it’s not cost effective.

    • Fire trucks weigh about 80,000 pounds.

      • Tires could get really hot with that kind of weight.

      • Many resinous finishes could be vulnerable to that kind of heat and pressure.

    • Firefighting equipment is heavy, awkward, and sharp.

      • When it’s go-time, firefighters might have to scrape the floor a little.

    • Talk about “playing the long game”: Fire departments have been a thing for over 300 years and the need will not go away any time soon. The decisions made will not be passed off to another tenant or homeowner or whatever drives short-term thinking in other places.

Luckily, this FD employed a sharp firefighter that built houses on the side. He knew element7concrete’s track-record of solving hard problems. So, he called us in to meet with his facilities director. After listening to the FD and really thinking about the problem, we came up with something new and truly better. It’s frankly simple, and could be duplicated by another, so we price it aggressively and work on the sealers every month to make sure it stays world-class and a good deal for all involved. There are two parts to it.

  1. We cut a specific texture into the concrete. (because anything put on the concrete may come off someday).

  2. We use a combination of a chemical floor hardener and 2-3 impregnating sealers (to make the floor highly stain-resistant and easy to clean despite the texture).

That’s about it. Like many brilliant solutions (the pipe wrench, the toilet, suitcases with wheels), it seems obvious after someone figures it out and will get copied. If it means safer firefighters and more efficient local governments, we are cool with that. Of course, if you can just have us do it for you directly, that’s probably better.

The concrete is ground rough with metal-bonded diamond abrasives on a planetary floor-grinding machine to produce a swirled pattern in the concrete. The floor is then chemically hardened and sealed with two different kinds of impregnating sealers for maximum stain resistance at the surface profile. Coated floors will be more stain resistant but arguably less abrasion and skid resistant.

We salute our brave men and women of the Pflugerville Fire Department and wish them health and safety and thank them for their very important work.