FAQ: Can a floor finish prevent static?

Applying static-dissipative floor finish over standard resilient flooring (VCT) is always a calculated risk. Before purchasing a floor that gains its static-protective properties from a special finish or wax, the following caveats should be taken into account:

  1. WaxingWaxes and floor finishes are temporary. Like any wax, static-control finishes abrade; as they wear off, the floor will increasingly generate static.

  2. Dissipative floor finishes rely on humidity. ESD floor finishes gain conductivity by drawing moisture from the air. When RH drops below 30%, they lose effectiveness, and the ohms resistance of the floor increases.

    Losing one order of magnitude would turn SD vinyl tile with a resistance of 10E8— at the upper end of the dissipative range—into an unacceptable flooring surface measuring > 1.0 X 10E9 ohms.

  3. There is no visible sign that static-protective properties have worn off. Unless someone commits to testing the floor on a regular basis, and follows through, the floor could generate high levels of static without anyone knowing.

Humans can’t feel a static zing until it’s approximately 3.5 kV (3500 volts). This means, any discharge under 3.5 kV would go undetected. In a residential environment, this is no big deal. In most electronics workspaces, a discharge as small as 100 volts—or as low as 20 volts for ultra-sensitive microcircuits—can damage or destroy electronic components.

Applying static-dissipative floor finish over standard resilient flooring (VCT) is always a calculated risk. Before purchasing a floor that gains its static-protective properties from a special finish or wax, the following caveats should be taken into account: Waxing
  1. Waxes and floor finishes are temporary. Like any wax, static-control finishes abrade; as they wear off, the floor will increasingly generate static.
  2.  
  3. Dissipative floor finishes rely on humidity. ESD floor finishes gain conductivity by drawing moisture from the air. When RH drops below 30%, they lose effectiveness, and the ohms resistance of the floor increases. Losing one order of magnitude would turn SD vinyl tile with a resistance of 10E8— at the upper end of the dissipative range—into an unacceptable flooring surface measuring > 1.0 X 10E9 ohms.
  4.  
  5. There is no visible sign that static-protective properties have worn off. Unless someone commits to testing the floor on a regular basis, and follows through, the floor could generate high levels of static without anyone knowing.
Humans can’t feel a static zing until it’s approximately 3.5 kV (3500 volts). This means, any discharge under 3.5 kV would go undetected. In a residential environment, this is no big deal. In most electronics workspaces, a discharge as small as 100 volts—or as low as 20 volts for ultra-sensitive microcircuits—can damage or destroy electronic components.
Walking Body Voltage
Walking Body Voltage

Why buy static-control flooring?

If it’s to prevent static shocks—at home or in an office that doesn’t rely on sophisticated electronics—we advocate for antistatic sprays and floor finishes. When people start feeling shocks, it’s time for a reapplication.

To avoid mission-critical failure by preventing malfunctions in a data center, control room, call center, 9-1-1 dispatch operation, or flight tower, a floor finish won’t do the job. Short of routine performance tests, there is no way to monitor the effectiveness of the floor—the very events the ESD floor is meant to avert will be the only barometer indicating that the finish has worn off and the floor is no longer static-protective.

How Static-Control Flooring Works

Using Wax for Routine Maintenance

While waxes and floor finishes do not provide adequate static protection, buffing waxes work well for routine maintenance—that is, to keep the floor clean and, in the case of conductive SVT, maintain its hospital-like shine.

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More FAQs

What is ESD Flooring?

ESD floors dissipate static safely, protecting electronics from accidental damage due to electrostatic discharge (ESD) events.

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Walking Body Voltage

What is meant by ESD?

ESD stands for electrostatic discharge. Minute ESD events, too small for humans to perceive, can damage electronic components.

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How can you prevent ESD?

Preventing ESD requires a well-thought-out ESD prevention program. What is required will be dependent on the application and environment.

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Is wood antistatic?

No, wood is not antistatic. You can learn which materials are antistatic and which are not by looking at our Triboelectric chart.

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What are ESD guidelines?

Because different applications require different specifications for static control, ESD guidelines, or standards, vary across industries.

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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.