Case Studies

Florock Polymer Flooring

Improving sustainability through manufacturing and product development

Located in the historic stockyard district of Chicago, Florock Polymer Flooring is a leading manufacturer of floor covering systems for industrial, commercial and institutional applications. The family-owned and -operated company is setting the bar for sustainability within the industry with a range of low-solvent and solvent-free products.

Founded in 1952 by Benjamin A. Schmetterer with a focus on epoxy floors and coatings, the company has grown under Benjamin’s son, David Schmetterer to include a range of polymer resin-based concrete floor coating products, including Floropoxy epoxy flooring, Florothane urethane coatings , FloroCrete cementitious urethane mortars and FloroSpartic polyaspartic floors.

Florock Polymer Flooring

While Florock sells its products to facility managers and owners across a range of industries, the company is currently focused on expanding its market share within the food and beverage and health care sectors. With flooring options that can withstand frequent thermal shock and consistently wet conditions, as well as exposure to acids, alkalis and other chemicals, Florock’s flooring systems are particularly well suited to these applications.

The company distributes its floor covering systems to clients nationwide and around the world, with a strong presence in Mexico, the U.K. and South America. Florock employs a unique model when marketing its product abroad, selling to an installer approved and trained by the company, who in turn sells its service, complete with materials and installation, to clients around the world. “We have some of the best technical representatives in the industry,” says Sophia Daukus, business development manager at Florock.

As the third generation prepares to take the reins at Florock, the company is putting even more of an emphasis on its line of sustainable products. This effort has been led by the owner’s daughter, Aviva Llorens, current vice president at Florock.

“She’s extremely committed to a greener company all the way around, even internally: we are not allowed to make multiple copies of anything,” says Daukus.

While many in the floor coverings industry have moved away from the use of solvents, the practice has not disappeared entirely. This is not the case at Florock. “Even though it is still legal in certain parts of the country, we don’t want to bring more solvents into the world in any way,” Daukus says. The company has also eliminated the use of phthalates and formaldehyde in all of its manufacturing processes.

Florock aims to incorporate a litany of sustainable features in both its manufacturing processes and end products. For example, while many competitors use less than 15 percent of recycled glass in their polymer floor coverings, 25 to 33 percent of Florock’s EcoBlend product is made from recycled glass, reducing the need for new glass production and adding vital LEED points to a project.

A greener option

Florock’s products are not only produced using sustainable and environmentally friendly methods, but also serve to improve a building’s overall environmental performance. “Our type of floor is, by its very nature, an eco-friendly product,” says Daukus.

“It’s not only solvent-free, but it prevents dangerous chemicals and acids that are being used in manufacturing from going through porous concrete and into the exterior environments. Our materials actually isolate the dangers on the surface of the concrete so they can be cleaned and disposed of properly,” she says.

Polymer coatings in general are a more sustainable alternative to other floor covering systems like carpet. “Typically, a facility manager would schedule a carpet replacement every two or three years and that all goes in a landfill, as would tile or wood,” she says. “Our products last much longer than a carpet or many other options.”

Florock’s products are a vital tool for any building owner looking to acquire valuable LEED points on a project. The company’s EcoBlend product, made with up to 33 percent recycled glass, can earn a project a vital LEED credit under the program’s MR 4.1 category. “EcoBlend comes in two basic colors, so you could use a clear resin for industrial uses or a colored resin for a decorative touch,” says Daukus.

Another highlight of Florock’s product line is the company’s Florothane MC/HT. This low-solvent product can be used for a range of projects and is approved by the Master Painting Institute for use as a floor coating in aircraft maintenance facilities. “You can get outrageous performance with this product and it has very little solvent content,” says Daukus.

Florothane MC/HT is particularly well suited for use in health care facilities where the use of povidone-iodines such as Betadine can leave unsightly stains on floors. “Betadine is used to prep everyone for surgery, but it makes the floor look ugly really fast,” says Daukus. With a Florothane MC/HT coating applied, Betadine can be easily wiped up within one hour, leaving no marks and making overall facility cleanup an easier task.

A neighborhood company

Florock recently moved into a new 89,000-square-foot facility, expanding the company’s production capabilities and bringing the manufacturing and business side of the operation under the same roof for the first time in six years.

The new facility will house offices, laboratories, production and a finished goods warehouse. “Right now we’re getting all the production equipment moved in, so production is still going to be done at the old facility until April, but this will allow us to triple our capacity,” says Daukus.

The move was necessitated by an impressive period of growth at Florock that has seen the company set record profits in each of the last 12 years. Florock owner David Schmetterer has been particularly excited about the new facility, filling it with new, cutting-edge production equipment and frequently taking employees on tours of the progress.

While the new, larger facility will allow Florock to expand its production capabilities, it was a combination of size and location that led Schmetterer to settle on the new property. “He made sure employees who came by bus could still manage to come to the new facility, which is less than a mile away from the old one, because all the talent is drawn from neighboring communities,” says Daukus.

“Generations of families have depended on this company; we have brothers and sisters, fathers and sons working at this place; it’s just the kind of company we are,” adds Daukus.

As a company with a focus on sustainability, green manufacturing processes and product development, Florock’s relationship with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is vital to the company’s success. “From a business standpoint, it really is a must when you work with specifiers; you can’t go in and talk to architects or commercial interiors people and not talk about USGBC,” says Daukus.

“In addition to the LEED points projects can accumulate by utilizing Florock flooring, design and construction professionals can earn LEED and AIA continuing education credits by taking our convenient online CE Course or attending a lunch-n-learn,” says Daukus, who ranks Florock’s relationship with USGBC as one of the two most vital to the company’s success, alongside the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

As a company on the leading edge of sustainable manufacturing practices and products, Florock Polymer Flooring is poised for growth in the epoxy flooring and coatings market thanks to an increasingly green consumer base.

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