FAQ: Does ESD flooring lose its electrical properties?

FAQ: Does ESD flooring lose its electrical properties?

The static-control properties of a well-designed ESD flooring material should last as long as the floor. In high-performance, permanently protective ESD floors, elemental conductive or dissipative materials, such as carbon and graphite, are embedded in the manufacturing process. Assuming the additives are bonded to the material in adequate concentration, and the fibers or filaments are exposed—creating an electrical bond with the shoe soles of people walking on the floor or with objects such as rolling carts or ESD chairs—the material should dissipate static throughout the life of the floor.

Illustration demonstrating how ESD flooring works. The diagram shows cut off legs/foot standing on a conductive tile (labelled conductive tile with carbon pathways). A zoomed in cross-section is labelled "tile cross section: carbon veins". The next layer down is labelled "conductive adhesive". The next layer is labelled "concrete". From the conductive adhesive, copper stripping is shown with a grounding symbol and the label "connect to AC or bldg. ground". The diagram shows an electrical charge being carried from the person throw the conductive tile to the conductive adhesive and then along the copper stripping to ground.

Finishes and Some Flooring Materials Lose Conductivity Over Time

Permanent Static Protection
ESD floors should always provide permanent static protection, without the use of special ESD wax or floor finishes.
ESD waxes and finishes wear off, providing temporary static protection that can’t be evaluated without routine testing with an ohms meter. Other materials, such as static-dissipative rubber, lose their effectiveness over time due to the chemical makeup of the flooring material. In tests conducted by ATT, static-dissipative rubber lost its conductivity after seven years. By comparison, electrically conductive (EC) rubber made with carbon chips retains its conductivity permanently.

All ESD Floors Must Be Properly Cleaned and Maintained

Photo of the StaticWorx range of cleaning products, including CoatZF static-dissipative floor finish, EcoScrub degreaser, ScrubWorx neutral pH cleaner, Formula 20.20 cleaning emulsion and gray, maroon and natural fiber scrubbing pads.

To perform effectively, all ESD floors must be properly cleaned and maintained on an ongoing basis, at intervals appropriate to the material and site conditions. A layer of dirt and debris will act as an insulator, diminishing the performance of any ESD floor.

Floors with inherent conductivity, such as AmeriWorx vinyl tile and other StaticWorx floors, do not need any ESD wax or finish for electrical performance. An ESD floor should never be waxed with a generic (non-ESD) floor wax. Generic floor waxes contain static-generating polymer emulsions that hinder ESD performance.

Properly cleaned and maintained, a well-designed ESD floor should perform at optimal effectiveness throughout the life of the installation.

  • Contact StaticWorx for information on cleaning and maintaining your ESD floor or to purchase cleaning materials designed to clean and protect ESD flooring.
Illustration showing feet standing on a dirty floor with debris
Dirt and debris can act as an insulator, separating shoe soles from the static protective properties (or conductive elements) in an ESD floor.

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Background graphic is a still from the StaticWorx GroundSafe ESD Flooring – Your Trusted Partner explainer animation. In the foreground at the bottom are two boxes. The top is a bright blue with the StaticWorx logo and "GroundSafe ESD Flooring" underneath in white. The second is a dark blue-gray and includes the text in white: “GroundWorx ESD Flooring – Your Trusted Partner”
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StaticWorx high-performance static-control floors protect electronic components, explosives, and high-speed computers from damage caused by static electricity. ESD flooring is part of a system. Choices should always be based on objective, researched evidence. When you partner with us, we look at all possible items that may need to integrate with the floor, and, focusing on your goals and objectives, help you find the right floor for your application.