Normal warehouse floors are designed to carry the loads that will be imposed on them, including forklifts, pallet racking systems or bulk product. These concrete floors are reinforced both to carry load and to stop unwanted cracking both during the curing process and thereafter for the life of the store. Storing new products should be done with care. 1 pallet of sugar weighed rather more than fabric and were forcing the concrete floor downwards.
All concrete floors will crack. However this process can be managed by way of fibre, reinforcing, anti-crack mesh, expansion/contraction joints and saw cut joints. If rails are installed in the concrete floor either for cranes or mobile racking, then increased reinforcing is likely both to assist in carrying and spreading the increased rail point loads and to prevent the concrete floor from cracking around the rails. This can happen as embedded rails are crack inducers.
The actual design of normal concrete warehouse floors depends on the supporting ground beneath. If it is of a variable nature or not weight supporting, and the imposed loads will be relatively large, then piling may be needed.
Freezer store concrete floors or wearing slabs must incorporate all the requirements of normal warehouse floors with a few extras for freezing. If the temperature of the subfloor approaches freezing, usually plus 4 degrees C is taken as the danger point, then any water moisture in the subfloor will freeze. When water becomes ice, it expands in volume and has to be accommodated. This normally leads to the concrete floor rising and cracking as the rise is variable over the floor area. Ice will lift just about any weight which is particularly important when pallet racking is present.
As well as underfloor insulation, all freezer floors should have added protection from frost heave.
Cold store floors are the most important part of a freezer store and should be seen not just as a wearing surface but also as a foundation for the racking system. It is therefore worth taking time to get the floor right as subsequent repairs on a large scale at subzero temperatures are extremely difficult.
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