Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Great Flooring Debate

Yes, I am writing a post about the floor.  It gets no more mundane than this.  But in a lot of ways it typifies the myriad of seemingly small decisions that could have major implications down the road when starting a brewery.  A brewery floor gets a lot of abuse.  It needs to be able to withstand temperatures from near freezing all the way up to boiling as well as highly acidic and highly basic cleaning solutions.  There are a lot of different ways to protect a brewery floor from eventually disintegrating under these conditions.  None work forever, but of course the more expensive the covering, the longer it will last.  So do you go all out with a 10 -20 year solution and put down quarry tile and epoxy grout for about $20,000 or do you get some cheap garage floor epoxy from Home Depot that might last about a year?  Of course finances enter into this decision, but I don't really want to have to re-do the floor every year.  That's kind of the crux of the issue.  How do you balance the short term needs to keep capital expenditures down while still building out a workable space? 

How many outlets should be on this wall?  How far should they be spaced apart so that they are where they will be the most effective?  Which way should the door on the walk-in cooler face?  All seemingly minor decisions that can be a big deal later.  If the cooler door isn't facing the right direction then you might have to run longer transfer hoses (which are very expensive).  If there aren't enough outlets then you will have to get more electrical drops added.  All of these "little" things can lead to extra expense down the road that you may not be ready for.

I've drawn out the layout and re-worked it a few different times trying to get the best "workflow".  All the electrical and water requirements were figured from there.  Hopefully it'll all fit as designed and I won't realize I missed something major when I go to get everything installed (which should begin next weekend).

So what about the floor?  I went with a "midrange" solution.  It's an industrial sealer that is supposed to be the same stuff they use in food processing plants.  We'll see how long it lasts...

Scrub scrub scrub.  Gotta clean it before you can seal it!

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