Stunning Concrete Floors Start Long Before the Coating


Facility owners so often make specific demands about their concrete floors; they want high functioning floors that are more than good-looking — sometimes even dazzling. They want floors that make a statement. For contractors, the process of delivering a stunning floor starts well before the first coat is applied.

A metallic floor creates visual impact at the PNC Club. PHOTOS COURTESY OF CFI

Step 1: Define Needs & Expectations

Every floor is different. The treatment depends on the type of traffic the floor will have to endure, the environment it will be in and its desired look.

In addition to the look and finish of the floor, be sure to ask your customers about their expectations for durability and how quickly it needs to return to service.

The more you know ahead of time, the more you know about what promises you can make.

Step 2: Understand the Application Needs

Once you understand these requirements, you need to understand application needs and constrictions to make everyone happy.

For new concrete, find out how long the floor will have cured prior to the coating application process. Cure-time requirements vary by coating system and, especially, your choice of primers, so be sure the concrete will be ready before you plan to start.

For existing concrete, you need to know if there are oils, chemicals or other contaminants below the surface. This can — and likely will — affect curing and performance over time, possibly causing a premature failure if not identified.

Make sure you understand the application environment, especially temperature and humidity. Also, know whether other areas of the building will be occupied during coating application and curing.

Understanding the condition of a concrete floor before choosing an application is critical to the success of the project.

Step 3: Prepare the Surface

A coating is only as good as the surface to which it’s applied; proper surface prep is crucial.

For existing floors, look for any damaged concrete that needs to be repaired. Some coatings require mechanical abrasion in order to adhere effectively. And always make sure the concrete surface is clean and dry before you begin application.

Step 4: Choose the Right Primer

Primers help topcoats adhere to the surface to reach maximum long-term durability and performance of the coating. Work with your supplier to ensure that you choose the right primer for the application and the environment.

For most applications, a quick-drying, penetrating epoxy, such as WearCoat 1020, will be effective and cost-efficient. In moist environments or when a primer is to be applied to green concrete (7 to 10 days old), you’ll need a moisture/vapor-tolerant product, like WearCoat 1080. Finally, if you need a robust primer that helps cover physical imperfections, even chemical spills, use a polyamide epoxy such as WearCoat 490.

Step 5: Choose the Right Topcoat

The topcoat provides the final look and finish to the floor, but it does more than look good. Factors like resistance to ultraviolet light, abrasion and chemicals, as well as odor and cure time, must be balanced with the desire for gloss or satin finishes and the striking design.

Step 6: Choose Texture & Color

Finally, choose the color and texture that gives the floor the stunning look your customer wants, such as flake, metallic, a pigmented topcoat or one of many quartz colors.

Know when in the process the colors and textures should be applied. Some need to be applied before the topcoat and others are mixed with it.

Ask customers about the environment, the type of traffic and durability needs before selecting a system.

While the needs of any given floor project are different, the process for specifying the right coatings is the same. Follow the above steps, and you’ll always be on your game — ready to do the job right and meet your customers’ expectations.

Feel free to contact us if you need help choosing the right coating for a job.

Claims or positions expressed by sponsoring authors do not necessarily reflect the views of TPC, PaintSquare or its editors.