Sealing brewery floor
Can I get some feedback regarding the necessity of water proofing the brewery floor. I currently have naked concrete and want to avoid this expense if I can. If your opinion is that waterproofing is needed, what products do you recommend?
I've brewed on epoxy, tile and naked concrete. I prefered the naked concrete. It's much less maintenance. I've had to re-epoxy one floor every year, and I'm always replacing tiles that take extreme heat. I think the quality of concrete has much to do with performance. The age, aggregate, and slope characteristics are all important. Older concrete is harder, and small aggregate gives a nice pebbled surface over time. You'll find problems if you try building up a slope toward drains by feathering a thin concrete product on top of the original floor. You will also need to care for it by washing it down daily and avoid erosion under zwickles, etc. Look for articles on the subject in past issues of the New Brewer and Brewing Techniques. Good luck!
seal the floor!
One piece of advice: SEAL THE FLOOR! Beer can be very damaging to concrete over. It WILL etch the concrete thereby leading to VERY expensive repairs. On the cheap, look at the Industrial Concrete Epoxy from Home Depot. Before you seal, ETCH with muriatic acid. Nasty stuff, wear protection. This exercise may seem like an unnecessary expense but it is well worth it. It is much, much easier to recoat a floor than to replace and patch concrete.
Sympathy with both points of view expressed so far. From a hygien point of view though, I would go for the additional expense of surfacing the concrete with good quality impervious tiles or an epoxy resin compound.
The grouting between tiles inevitably seems to leak and allow water etc to soak between them, into the conrete and turn acidic, chewing up the conrete. A good quality tile and epoxy resin grout seems to work best.
Epoxy resin layers look great, are generally less slippery, but a prone to developing hairline cracks when the concrete slab develops cracks, as they invariably do. This seems to be less of a problem with tiles. As before water / wort etc soak into the concrete and hey presto you have the epoxy lifting. Another problem with epoxy is that in spite of what the suppliers say, they are very prone to temperature differentials - hot water dripping onto a patch will quickly develop a blister and burst....
Neither will bridge across concrete slab joints. Use metal plates for keg handling areas. Also whatever you do, make sure there are good falls to the drains and wash down well as soon as any mess is made.
Concrete is porous
The problem with bare concrete is that it's somewhat porous, and in addition to the wear problems mentioned above, it's also possible that you'll get spoiling bacteria established in it, which could be a real problem!