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Concrete Coatings: Avoid Unexpected Costs

concrete, coatings, grounds management, hardscapes

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is concrete coating considerations.

The primary considerations for selecting a high-performance opaque coating for installation over existing concrete slabs and decks are the configuration and condition of the concrete surface and the level of performance required. Managers must conduct condition surveys and testing to determine: characteristics of the structure; substrate quality, including cracks, spalls, and organic growth; and patching or repair requirements or special surface treatments.

To avoid unexpected costs during the project, managers must know the extent of concrete repairs needed and the materials to use. Knowing this information also ensures repair materials are compatible with the coating product.

Additional considerations include: existing coatings or patch materials; slab configuration; the slope of the deck or floor; exposure to direct sunlight; moving or static cracks; the presence of curing compounds or hazardous materials; and the potential of water-vapor emissions through the slab.

Understanding the behavior of a concrete surface is critical. If it is a slab-on-ground configuration, managers need to know about moisture movement through the slab to ensure proper coating adhesion and to minimize blistering and pinholes. Moisture testing at this stage can provide the needed information.

Creating a prioritized list of design constraints and performance goals will help narrow product choices. Design issues include: waterproofing requirements; anticipated surface traffic; temperature extremes; chemicals or cleaning products; and acceptable odor levels during installation.

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