Concrete Coatings: Effective Application for Long-Term Performance
Expanding product options and growing pressure to protect concrete surfaces can mean complex decisions for managers
Every concrete coating has a service life, and eventually technicians will need to repair or recoat the surface.
“The recoating process needs to be much less intrusive than the initial installation to minimize the facilities downtime,” Thome says. “There are systems that need to be completely removed down to the concrete substrate every time they need to be refreshed. There are also systems available that once they are installed only need minor surface preparation to be recoated and then put back in to service with minimal downtime impact.”
If concrete coatings are not correctly applied, the result can be a number of expensive issues. One key element of effective concrete coating application is surface preparation.
“Mechanical preparation of the concrete is critical for longer term performance of any coating system,” Tierney says. “This includes diamond grinding, media blasting and other methods. When concrete cures it creates a laitance layer on the surface that is very weak. Removal of this layer is important to create a strong bond between the coating or flooring system and the concrete.
“This also helps remove any potential contaminants on the surface. A coating professional will make the recommendation of any additional step methods, such as degreasing, as required for the project.”
In some instances,technicians might need to perform a chemical cleaning of the surface before the mechanical cleaning takes place.
“Some concrete slabs might need a chemical cleaning in order to remove heavy grease, oils or other contaminants before the mechanical means are utilized. With these two methods, the thickness of the coating system and how the coating system obtains its bond will dictate which one to use.
Mechanical preparation not only cleans the surface but also opens the pore structure to allow the coating to penetrate and then bond.”
Once the concrete coating has been successfully applied, performing proper maintenance procedures is essential to extend the life of the coating. For example, all protective coatings need cleaning occasionally.
“The wrong procedures, such as using scrubbing pads or brushes that are too aggressive, will begin to mechanically wear off the coating and damage it,” Tierney says. “Discuss the proper cleaning and maintenance steps with your flooring contractor.”