Do I Need a Floor or No Floor for Walk-in Coolers?

Do I Need a Floor or No Floor for Walk-in Coolers?

When you’re looking into walk-in cooler installation for your winery, brewery, restaurant, grocery store or other type of business, flooring is a surprisingly important consideration. Floors contribute a significant amount of insulation—or not—depending on where and how your cooler is installed.

Before you can decide whether your walk-in cooler needs dedicated flooring, you’ll need to determine what kind of flooring it currently has and whether its thermal needs are conducive to your goals.

Here’s how to decide if you need a floor.

Where is your cooler installed?

When you’re trying to decide whether your cooler needs an actual floor, it’s important to determine where it will be installed. For example, your geographic location makes a big difference in whether you’ll need thermal insulation between the ground, a cement slab and your cooler. In Oregon, especially in areas where it gets warm in the summer, you will probably need to add additional insulation.

Does your walk-in cooler have a floor?

The first thing to determine is whether the walk-in cooler you’ve chosen already comes with a floor installed. Many coolers present that option, but it might not be right for you. The most important thing to know is that if your walk-in cooler doesn’t come with a pre-installed floor, you’re probably going to need to install further weatherproofing—in the form of seals or “screeds”—to prevent air transfer from indoors to outdoors.

If your walk-in cooler will only be accessed by walk-in traffic, it might be fine to install it on a concrete slab. However, if the floors are made of a different material, it’s not perfectly level or there are other structural concerns, your winery equipment installation is probably going to require a different type of flooring.

Is there a thermal break pre-installed?

Heat transfer is the biggest problem for walk-in coolers. When warm and hot air meet, they flow toward each other until they eventually balance out. The same goes for when the cold temperature of your walk-in cooler meets the hot temperature of the ground in the summertime. Do you really want to pay to refrigerate the earth? If not, you’ll need to install a thermal break, which disrupts heat transfer and keeps the cold air where it should be: in your cooler.

What kind of floor should you choose?

Once you’ve decided that your walk-in cooler needs flooring, it’s important to choose a type of floor. Obviously, the most important part is the insulation, which impedes heat transfer from the earth to the cooler. However, reinforced and aluminum floors are popular. They help keep the floors as cold as possible while withstanding thousands of pounds of pressure per square foot.

Not sure which type of cooler or floor you should choose? The team at American Refrigeration Inc. is here to help. Call us today to learn more about our refrigeration options, including flooring types, whether you need a floor and specific installation requirements. Our winery and other walk-in cooler installation processes can be customized to suit your needs.