The floor of your building or house is out of level, there is no insulation, its dampness and cold surface is freaking your mind out and you are searching for alternate solutions like mastic asphalt flooring. First of all you must appreciate yourself for opting mastic asphalt flooring because in just of its one layer, lies the solution of all your flooring problems.
In today’s article I will highlight the features which this asphalt flooring brings in for you including detailed introduction to the production and laying process usually adopted. I will be producing a comprehensive list of different grades of mastic asphalt flooring for different classes of buildings which would help you in selection.
What is Mastic Asphalt Flooring?
Mastic asphalt flooring is made by mixing molten mass of specific grade asphalt with clean sharp sand or gravel or grit in a specific ratio poured on the concrete floor in hot form with enough consistency to be dropped freely and then troweled keeping uniform thickness of 13 to 25 mm.
It can either be used as a finish floor or alternatively one can use it as an underlay for tiles or carpeting. The use of asphalt as a damp proofing material dates back to the mid of 20th century till the invention of polythene sheet as a damp proof material which afterwards replaced asphalt in the damp proof course underneath the walls of the houses, industrial and commercial buildings. Today’s modern mastic asphalt flooring contains highly advanced polymer formulations. Synthetic polymers are added in the bitument to enhance its durability, its temperature susceptibility and its resistance to cracking and striping when used in products.
Mastic Asphalt is used for furbishing a durable, smooth and seamless floor surface that is ideal for a wide range of construction projects. It is capable of outclassing and enduring almost any other type of domestic and industrial flooring material.
Mastic Aspahlt, as a material offers many diverse natured properties that are a must for an ideal flooring system and that are the reasons of its growing popularity among builders these days. The construction process involved is very unpretentious with total required time of two or three hours only because of quick installation and rapid cooling.
Preparation and Installation of Asphaltic Mass for Flooring
It is prepared as a dense mass / compost consisting of properly graded mineral gravel and bitumen that can either be obtained as natural or as byproduct during distillation of crude oil. In certain cases different types of mineral matter like sand or fine crushed aggregates of limestone or chippings are used during preparation of mastic asphalt flooring.
Generally the work for mastic asphalt flooring is carried out in two simple steps ;-
- Batching and Mixing of constituents for mastic asphalt
The hardened bitumen / asphalt in raw form, usually purchased from the market in drums, are broken into pieces. That is afterwards heated under fire for melting with constant stirring in a way that no pieces are left in hard form. This heating and stirring process is usually carried out in an iron made pot called Cauldron. After complete melting of the asphalt matter, perfectly graded limestone aggregates or any suitable mineral matter is gently added to it in a mix proportion of 2:1 in which two parts are of mineral matter and 1 part is of bitumen. The mixture, while on heat, is constantly stirred till it reaches a stage where the consistency of the mixture is of such a kind that it drops freely from the stirrer when lifted.
Usually at this stage the mixture emits light brown smoke which can be taken as a sign of perfect mixing. This prepared mixture is used immediately and over-burning is avoided which otherwise would deteriorate the quality.
- Setting and finishing of the prepared mastic asphalt on the floor
The mixture prepared as a result of above step, is a dense, void less material which is different from that of the asphalt that is compacted by rolling in roads and highways. Instead, mastic asphalt is laid with an iron scope or ladle which is afterwards finished with a matt or natural float finish.
Before placing the asphaltic mass flooring, a concrete bed of suitable thickness is recommended that will enhance the flooring characteristics. The thickness of the asphaltic mastic flooring varies from 13 mm to 25 mm depending on the requirement and load characteristics.
After pouring and leveling of the asphaltic mass, very fine sand in small proportion is sifted over the surface, before hardening of the mass and then the surface is rubbed with a help of hand trowel. In some cases, it can be laid in two layers but it should be ensured that the second layer must be laid before hardening of the first layer.
Advantages for use of Mastic Asphalt Flooring
Dam proof properties
With asphalt flooring you would enjoy the integrated water proofing properties of the bitumen. Believe it or not its waterproofing properties were used as long as the Ancient Sumerian era. If you search for “water proofing materials” in Google you would be astonished to know that it is the widely used material for this work. So by using mastic asphalt flooring you are actually providing a damp-proof membrane for your floor.
Did you know that asphaltic roads are famous for their high quality riding wear surfaces? It is the reason due to which in flexible pavements, the word wearing surface is used for the asphaltic top layer. So by using mastic asphalt floors in the factories you are actually providing a seamless pavement for the drivers to run their vehicles on.
Dustless / dust-free
Dust is a very common problem in case of traditional concrete floors where you have to clean away your floor each day. But gone are the days now because asphalt flooring is a dust free flooring which can absorb all the dust particles and thanks to the adhering properties of the asphalt.
How many times you have faced cracking in your concrete floor due to differential settlement? And this is not that simple, a small crack in concrete floor would eventually damage the tiles. So with asphalt you are actually enjoying the flexibility and elastic behavior of your floor that tends to bend and accommodate the changes due to serviceability of the structure.
A special graded acid proof bitumen is mixed with inert crushed rock aggregate to form an acid proof asphalt mastic floor that is ideal for chemical laboratories and plants, storage battery buildings etc where acids are used or manufactured.
- Attractive in appearance
The appearance of your home’s floor create an impression about your home and an attractive floor with a shining asphalt greyish color would add value and appeal to your home.
The rough finish of the asphaltic floor create a non-slippery surface that is ideal to avoid any untoward situations.
Due to the elastic behavior of the asphalt it acts like an asphalt cake which absorbs the noise which is not the case when rigid concrete floors are used.
Applications of Mastic Asphalt Flooring
Because of the above explained advantages, we are now able to actually see the industrialists and domestic home owners actually preferring the use of mastic asphalt as a flooring material over traditional ones.
In industrial buildings where high level of traffic from forklifts and loaders are expected, such flooring is beneficial for seamless dust free approaches of high riding quality. They are ideal for industries where spark resistant properties and acid solution resistant properties are required and for that special grades of asphalt are used.
Although, mastic asphalt flooring has been used for many years in industries and was not used in domestic buildings, but now a days due to problem in conventional flooring; it has been a recommended flooring technique for homes as well.
Mastic asphalt is a proven waterproof membrane and radon gas barrier in building and homes. In addition to that, mastic asphalt provides the ideal base for carpet, vinyl or other types of smooth flooring. It provides hard wearing durable surface that can brought into service as soon as it has cooled to ambient temperature.