FLEXMAR Floor Coatings Case Studies

FLEXMAR Cooks Up Polyaspartic Floor Coating System for Durability, Sanitation at Commercial Kitchen

rizzos restaurant building
restaurant polyaspartic flooring
Rizzo's Malabar Inn kitchen

Commercial kitchen floors encounter near-constant food and drink spills and splashes, as well as exposure to harsh cleaning agents. And these floors risk the potential for abrasion and degradation from heavy foot and cart traffic, and heavy fixtures being moved across the surfaces. Damage and degradation to the flooring can not only create uneven surfaces that lead to tripping and falling, they can also create pockets that harbor dirt and bacteria, creating unsanitary and unsafe environs in which food is prepared and dishware sanitized.

Family-owned Rizzo’s Malabar Inn, located in a small coal-mining town outside of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, has been serving the public since 1935. What began as a small, home-based operation has since expanded to a 350-seat restaurant and adjacent bar and gift shop. Demand for parties and other events grew, and in the fall of 2012, the bar and gift shop no longer met that demand. So Rizzo’s decided to expand it into an impressive 300-seat formal banquet facility.

As the owning DeFabo family expanded the bar’s commercial kitchen to accommodate the banquet clientele, they sought an alternative to the typical tile floors—and never-ending maintenance—that plague the commercial foodservice industry.

Tile and Grout Leaves Bad Taste in Owners’ Mouths

The bar’s original kitchen floor, pre-renovation, was the tile flooring typically found in most commercial kitchens. And the sub-par performance of the tile floor was typical as well. Rizzi DeFabo, son of Owner Jerry DeFabo, Sr. and the head of catering and special events, explains, “We weren’t very pleased with the tile floor. It didn’t hold up to the beating that it took on a day-to-day basis with cooking and storage and moving around product and things like that.”

The mediocrity of the tile flooring resulted in considerable maintenance and expense for the restaurant. “We were constantly cleaning the grout, maintaining the chipped tiles, broken corners, and cracking. There were constant repair and maintenance.”

Seeking an alternative for their new banquet facility’s kitchen floor, Rizzi’s brother, Jerry, Jr., researched hard-surface floor treatments to find a solution that would meet their needs.

“We were looking for no more grout, no more tile. Easy maintenance. Durability,” Rizzi DeFabo enumartes. “Slip-and-fall is always an issue for wet areas, so we were looking to get away from the tile and grout and into an easy-to-maintain and easy-to-clean floor that wouldn’t present a slip hazard when wet.”

Those requirements led Jerry Jr. and Rizzi directly to FLEXMAR® Coatings.

FLEXMAR Coatings the Top Selection

The DeFabos learned that FLEXMAR polyaspartic coating systems form a seamless, virtually impermeable barrier on top of concrete and other properly prepared substrates. They won’t stain from splash-and-spill exposure to most food and drink, including red sauce, pickle juice, mustard, and red wine, and even most cleaning agents like oven cleaner and Clorox solutions. They are up to four times more abrasion resistant than competitive coatings like epoxies. And they won’t crack and chip like tile will.

The DeFabos had no doubt that the floor would hold up to the use and abuse it would face in their commercial kitchen. But how long would the floor look good, and how much work would it take to keep that floor looking good?

The very nature of polyaspartic coatings prohibits the color from yellowing or fading from exposure to sunlight or indoor lighting. And there are no grout joints to clean, no polishes to apply, no waxes to buff, no fibers to deep clean. No pores to attract dirt and bacteria. It doesn’t take much to keep that FLEXMAR floor looking like new, even after years of heavy use!

Learning all of this, Rizzo’s choice for a hard-surface floor system was clear: FLEXMAR Coatings.

FLEXMAR Polyaspartic Coatings Serve Up Success

While the banquet facility was under construction, the staff at Rizzo’s removed most of the equipment that was in the existing portion of the kitchen. The FLEXMAR-qualified applicators at U-NEEK Concrete Coatings worked quickly to repair chipped and cracked concrete with a rapid-set polyurea repair material, and leveled the concrete so water would flow properly to the floor drains. Then they diamond ground the existing concrete to create an optimal profile for the concrete to accept the polyaspartic coating.

Once the concrete was prepared, the applicators rolled on a base coat of FLEXMAR Sand Beige Self-Prime HS polyaspartic coating and broadcast Saddle Tan color flakes into the still-wet base coat. In about an hour, the base coat was dry, and any excess color flakes were removed. Then, an initial coat of FLEXMAR Clear Coat HS polyaspartic sealer was rolled onto the floor. In about an hour, the floor was dry. Lastly, the crew applied the finish coat of FLEXMAR Clear Coat HS polyaspartic sealer.

One hour after that, the finished floor was dry and ready to be returned to service. There was virtually no downtime while the floor dried before other work could be completed in the kitchen and fixtures moved back in.

“It didn’t take very long at all,” recalls DeFabo. “Once we had our smaller equipment out of the kitchen, they came in and went to work. There was really no interruption to our operation or the other renovation work.”

In addition to a truly rapid re-coat and return-to-service time, all FLEXMAR polyaspartic coatings have virtually no odor. Crews were able to complete overhead electrical work and finish carpentry in the adjacent banquet rooms without interruption while the polyaspartic floor coating system was being applied. This kept the entire renovation project on-schedule and allowed Rizzo’s to open the doors to their banquet facility without delay.

FLEXMAR Earns Five-Star Rating

Six months have passed since the FLEXMAR polyaspartic floor system was installed at Rizzo’s. The floor is demonstrating superior durability and cleanability compared to the original tile floor, just as expected. There are no cracks and no chips. There are no signs of wear or abrasion. No stains. No set-in dirt and grime.

The floor is earning high marks from the DeFabos, their personnel, and even outsiders. Rizzi remarks,

“Everybody that we show the facility to, especially food vendors, sales reps, all of our friends, they all say ‘Wow, the floor looks great!’ and ‘I’d love to have this in my house,’ or ‘I’d love to have this in my garage!’ Even the staff that works in there every day, they love it.”

The maintenance regimen is simple with FLEXMAR polyaspartics. All that’s required is sweeping and wet mopping as needed; in Rizzo’s case, after every banquet event. Rizzi adds,

“There’s no grout to clean. You don’t have to deal with any of the broken corners or problems with dirt build-up.”

FLEXMAR makes it easy for Rizzo’s staff to keep a seamless, sanitary floor surface without a comprehensive maintenance and repair program.

And the line and service staffs at Rizzo’s have sure footing.

“We’ve had no problems with slipping, and no complaints from employees that the floor is slippery in areas around the dishwasher or main cooking line,” Rizzi reports.

That’s because the color flake polyaspartic system has a slight texture to it, and the applicators spread a slip reduction agent in the final clear coat to provide greater traction. So there are no slip-and-fall problems in an environment where employees move quickly across a floor that tends to be wet.

Another Satisfied Customer

The rapid application, superior durability, and minimal maintenance of the banquet facility kitchen floor at Rizzo’s Malabar Inn have unmistakably demonstrated the value of choosing a FLEXMAR polyaspartic coating system over conventional tile flooring.

“We’re very happy with what we have right now,” boasts DeFabo. “I would recommend FLEXMAR Coatings to other banquet fa-cilities . . . anybody that needs a commercial floor.”

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If it isn’t FLEXMAR, it’s just another coating.

  • 1 hour between coats
  • 1-2 hours return to service after final coat
  • Allows for same day or overnight return to service
  • 0 VOC
  • Virtually no odor
  • LEED Approved
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FLEXMAR polyaspartic coatings and sealers contribute toward satisfying credits in the Indoor Environmental Quality and Materials and Resources categories under LEED.


 “USGBC” and related logo is a trademark owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and is used with permission. “LEED” is a trademark owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and is used with permission.

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The coating system featured in this application is FLEXMAR Coatings Industrial Resinous Flooring ARCAT specification, Flexmar 3-Coat High-Build Color Flake Polyaspartic Coating System.*

Information on this page is the property of FLEXMAR Coatings, Inc. and may not be used without the express consent of FLEXMAR Coatings.

Copyright © 2016. FLEXMAR Coatings, Inc. All rights reserved.

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