According to David Morgan, Technical Assistance, Drytac Europe, to ensure floor graphics are appropriate for their setting, you should invest in the right product. When public safety is a priority, it’s not enough to use any self-adhesive graphics media that sticks to the floor – only a product designed specifically for this application should be used. This is, partly, because it will have been tested and rated for its slip resistance.
Floor graphics are an effective tool in many scenarios and are increasingly used to guide the public around a space safely. By reminding people to keep their distance, often acting as a visual barrier, floor graphics can play a key role in maintaining a safe but efficient flow of shoppers and other groups. However, if the intention is to protect people, the last thing anyone wants is to create an injury risk.
It is important to carefully consider all the conditions a floor graphic will be subjected to – and not just wet or dry situations. Contaminates like oil will affect floor friction more so than water. Floors at a gradient are also different to level floors, and the amount or type of traffic endured by the graphic will impact the durability.
The test standards used to measure slip resistance vary across different geographical regions and even within the same country. Comparison between the standards is difficult as each will either differ slightly in test method or by using completely different instruments, but all are essentially measuring the same thing: floor friction. The standards, outlined here, are also applicable to South Africa.
Fire ratings are also applicable to floor graphics. Ensure all products used in a public space have achieved a sufficient fire safety certification. The manufacturer or supplier of your selected floor graphics product will be able to tell you both the slip rating and fire rating – and to help you choose the right media for your specific environment.
Another reason for choosing a specialist floor graphics media is to avoid a trip hazard. These products will have been developed to adhere securely to most typical floor surfaces (but, again, check your intended setting) without tearing or curling at the edges. They may have been engineered to withstand heavy foot traffic, high-heeled shoes and machinery without being damaged.
It’s important to keep floor graphics clean – this is crucial if they display safety or directional information. Even with a specifically designed product, special care should be taken to minimise the adhesive’s exposure to water and cleaning products as these can degrade the bond to the floor and create a tripping hazard. You can minimise the risk of lifting by edge-sealing the graphic upon application.
The print itself should withstand cleaning chemicals too, as well as potential fading from UV light, so check that the product is compatible with both your cleaning solutions and the ink technology used to print it. Most specialist floor graphics films are designed for vibrant, long-lasting results with all major digital printing technologies.
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