Understanding the F-Values for Warehouse Flooring

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High tolerance is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing warehousing flooring for New York facilities. Among the elements that characterize a high-tolerance floor is what is known as the F-number requirement. Originating in the 1980s, F-numbers offer a systematic method for evaluating the levelness and flatness of concrete floors. The flatter and the leveler the floor, the higher the F-number will be.

Industrial Floors and Coatings in New York

Photo courtesy of ASTM.org

Ff refers is used to indicate the flatness in random traffic floors. This value is also usually an indication of the skill of the finisher who completed the floor in terms of creating a flat floor. Different types of concrete surfaces can have widely varying Ff values. For instance, the Ff value of a floor will often be much higher than that of a concrete driveway.

Basically, flatness refers to a measure of the bumpiness of the finished surface of a floor. The process of quantifying the flatness of a floor using F-numbers begins by measuring differences in elevation between points that are 1 foot apart on a straight line on the floor. Those differences are then calculated and the standard and mean deviation of such values are used for the purposes of computing the Ff value. Means provide the average difference from the target, while standard deviations refer to the amount of variation that exists among the measurements.

In terms of the flatness of warehouse flooring in New York, this can be quite important. Greater differences result in large humps or dips. When there is too much of a difference, the floor can have a corduroy or washboard effect.

Fl refers to the levelness of random traffic floors. A special algorithm is used for determining the Fl value of a floor. This number is often an indication of how good the flooring contractor was at striking off the concrete and setting the side forms.

F-min refers only to defined-traffic floors, meaning floors that have a defined aisle where traffic flows. These types of floors are typically used in warehouse flooring facilities where high-mast lift trucks are used. It should be understood that there is no relationship between the Ff, Fl, and F-min values. The F-min value is measured using a special instrument that is designed to measure the deviation transversely and longitudinally.

Among the most common mistakes made in many warehousing flooring projects in New York is the failure to specify the Ff and the Fl values for the entire floor as well as single bays.

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