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Applying concrete floor coatings can help a concrete floor maintain its initial appearance longer, enhance the image of a facility and protect the safety of occupants and visitors. But with many concrete floor coating options on the market, workers should examine application conditions carefully because many factors affect concrete floor coating selection.
Typical considerations for concrete floor coatings include: Is the application outside or inside? Is the concrete porous, tightly troweled or exposed aggregate? Is the surface horizontal or vertical? Does the application require resistance to slips, oil, grease, acid, ultraviolet radiation, or de-icing salt?
For new concrete, a 30-day curing period with a curing coating will help the concrete develop full strength. When it is dry, workers can sweep, pressure wash — using a 2,000-psi unit with a fan tip — or scrub the surface with a rotary walk-behind scrubber and detergent, and rinse twice.
Acid washing using one part muriatic with five parts water might help remove oil and stains or improve the appearance of exposed aggregate. Workers can neutralize the acid wash with a rinse mixture of 1 pound of baking soda to 5 gallons of water. They’ll need to rinse twice or until the rinse water is clean, removing the rinse water with a squeegee or wet vacuum to prevent efflorescence.
For sealing, crews can use an airless sprayer, roller, or lambs-wool applicator. The sealer application rate for one sealer product using lambs wool is 800-1,000 square feet per gallon, or 1,000-1,600 square feet per gallon for subsequent or maintenance coats.
Crews might need to apply two coats on previously untreated concrete, applying the second coat when the first is tack-free — after about 2 to 24 hours, depending on heat and humidity. The best conditions for this work are dry, windless air at 50-90 degrees. Complete drying takes 12-24 hours.
Getting More From the Floor by Thomas A. Westerkamp
Sealing in Floor Performance