What is Floor Coving?

by Kyle Tierney, Technical Service Manager - Stonhard

There are several types of cove base categories depending on the flooring product you are using and whether the area is residential or commercial/industrial. It is important to have the most effective cove installed for your specific environment.

Floor Coving Basics
A cove is typically either a radius in the corner of a wall or a 45-degree cant to prevent the easy buildup of dirt/debris in the corner of the wall. Cove bases can prevent water from going under walls and also contain chemicals within the coved area in industrial spaces. Coves make cleaning procedures easier and prevent bacteria, dirt, and insects from hiding under walls. Coves can be effective in protecting walls from impact damage by carts and equipment.*  A cove base is often required by government regulation in certain environments like food and pharmaceutical. Finally, a cove base is a design element that gives a space an attractive, finished look.

*In some spaces, like food processing or pharmaceutical environments, pre-cast wall curbs will offer increased protection, beyond that of a cove base.

Where is Floor Coving Required?
For purposes of both hygienic safety and cleanability, floor coving should be installed in commercial kitchens, bathrooms, food and beverage processing environments, commercial and industrial wet environments, and any spaces where hygienic standards are required. It is critical that proper installation is achieved, creating the proper radius at the base. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) should be followed in clean space and critical space applications.

What is an Integral Cove Base?
There are several types of floor coving depending on the material being used, but when referring to seamless flooring, (such as epoxy, urethane, or methyl methacrylate), an integral cove base, sometimes referred to as a sanitary cove base, is seamless from the floor up. With an integral base, the cove and flooring are combined together, rather than having the cove applied to the top of the flooring material (such as a PVC or pencil cove). Integral cove bases are sanitary because there are no seams or joints for bacteria or dirt to become trapped. A seamless flooring system with an integral cove base installed at the proper radius at its base is critical to cleanliness and hygiene in the space. Integral, mortar cove bases are typically installed at a height of four inches. Two or six-inch coves may also be appropriate depending on the area.

What is the Process of Installing a Mortar Cove Base?
Installing an integral cove base varies from flooring system to flooring system, but the process the professional installer will follow for installing a mortar-based cove for your commercial or industrial facility is as follows:

  • The wall surface must be clean and dry with a firm backing. There should be no movement or gaps at the base where wall substrate meets the floor.
  • Hang the cove strip at the desired height of coving.
  • Prime the vertical portion of the wall and part of the floor.
  • Mix the mortar
  • Hock the mortar up on the wall using a flat trowel and leave some material at the base to form the radius.
  • Utilize a special cove trowel to trowel and compact the material and form the radius.
  • Allow to cure.
  • Coat with proper sealers or coatings.

How Do You Clean Integral Floor Coves?
Integral floor coves are typically cleaned at the same time the floor is being cleaned, using a mop or rags/wipes for the cove base specifically. The same cleaners used on the floor can be used on the coves.

Are Mortar Cove Bases the Best Sanitary Protection for My Facility?
Integral mortar cove bases offer excellent sanitary protection for facilities as they are seamless from the floor up. However, some facilities such as food processing or pharmaceutical processing can benefit from going a step beyond this. Because these facilities are at risk for shutdowns and recalls due to contamination and high-pressure washdowns, along with other abusive day-to-day operations, these businesses are turning to prefabricated, polymer-composite curbs. These chemical-resistant curbs are superior to standard concrete curbs and offer protection against forklift damage.

 
Stonhard has been manufacturing and installing seamless flooring systems for nearly a century. Stonhard currently has HACCP International Certification on six flooring products used within the food & beverage industry. We are committed to providing safe and sanitary products for industry, and in doing so, have partnered with Blucher drains and PolySto wall curbs to provide a Total Hygienic Solution.