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January 13 - January 18, 2014

I need to coat a bare concrete warehouse floor that has visible oil stains. What are my options for cleaning the concrete before coating it?

Selected Answers

From donald garrity of CSI on February 12, 2014:
It has been my experience to use a true concrete cleaning system such as Klenztone or other penetrating degreasers with a high pressure wash of 3,000 psi or higher. HP Spartacote has a tremendous product, Hydro-Shield SL, that can be applied to damp/green concrete and works as a vapor and water barrier with great adhesion properties. For a warehouse, I would recommend HP Spartacote, a polyaspartic Sparta-Guard system.

From Craig Taylor of TCS, Inc on February 10, 2014:
Aquafin has  a 2-component, VOC-compliant, moisture-tolerant, extremely high density, chemically enhanced epoxy-based product which prevents the passage of water vapor and moisture through slabs or walls on or below grade, thus eliminating delamination of adhesives, floor coverings and coatings. It also prevents capillary infiltration of oil or other chemicals from the ground and can be used to treat oil-contaminated slabs.

From Jay Barstow of Aeroflor Consulting Services on February 7, 2014:
You're talking my specialty here (millions of square feet of concrete floor coatings over 3 decades). Warren is right, once removed, it will weep up again, but that can be dealt with. Problem is, you didn't give enough information for a proper answer. What type of coating? Clear? Pigmented? What type of surface prep? Everybody above made a valid point: alkaline degreaser, Dawn detergent, high pressure steam cleaning, enzymes, flame, poultices. They all have their place, but most important, what, exactly, are you are trying to accomplish?

From Michael Quaranta of OPERATIONS 40 on February 6, 2014:
My advice begins with the word "depends." How old is the concrete and what caused the oil stains. Was it caused by a vehicle or a piece of manufacturing equipment, which makes a difference in terms of the original viscosity. Rule number one: Do not use any solvent-based or biodegradeable cleaner before coating a concrete floor. They all leave a film deposit detrimental to the coating activity. Achieve a reasonable CSP-3 and notify the owner/client of the limited warranty for your services. If it is in Southern California, I'd be happy to visit the site with you - no charge.

From Arun Gopinathan of BASF Construction Chemical on February 3, 2014:
You can follow these steps:  Alkaline degreaser/ detergent cleaning as the first step with high pressure water.  If the oil stains are still visible,  then there is oil penetration into the concrete. This needs to addressed with hot air cleaning or flame cleaning to burn the oil off the surface. You will find concrete spalling on top, but it ensures that the oil is removed to the maximum extent.  While the concrete is still warm, please proceed with a low viscosity epoxy sealer to seal the pores of the concrete before proceeding with any repair. I hope that helps, mate.

From Kumar Kolur Vadivelu of Sadara Chemical Company on January 17, 2014:
You can opt for high-pressure water wash with biodegradable detergent to remove oil stains.

From Timothy Knell of Shore Corporation on January 16, 2014:
I would recommend a good alkaline degreaser that will clean off all surface dirt and oils and clear loose particles from the pores. Then use either an oil-eating bacteria-based product which will go into the cracks and eat the deeper oils as they rise up, or use a special, water-borne product that pushes oils to the surface in a hour or so. Depending on the job's timing, the specialized cleaners can be used first, like a laundry pre-spotter so that when the surface degreaser is used, the deeper oils are already removed. Then you profile the surface if necessary based on the coating manufacturer's specifications.

From Chuck Pease of MMI Tank on January 15, 2014:
Clean/degrease and shotblast; then apply Ardex. Lightly scarify/sweep blast the Ardex. Then proceed with coating application.

From Suresh Setty of Alpha High-Tech Polyurtehanes on January 14, 2014:
Out of my 15 years experience in industrial flooring, the best product I have seen that really works for concrete degreasing is KLENZTONE. You can visit their website to more details.

From Warren Brand of Chicago Corrosion Group on January 13, 2014:
There are a few options I'm aware of: 1. You can thoroughly clean the concrete to remove the oil. A variety of mechanisms are available, including use of TSP, power washing with TSP, steam cleaning, and scrubbing with TSP and/or other degreasers. The risk here is that even if you get the surface visually clean, will the oil eventually migrate back up out of the concrete, interfering with the bond? 2. Physically chip away and remove the contaminated concrete. This is fool-proof but very costly, and then you must make sure that the repairs adhere well to the remaining, existing concrete. 3. There are a number of companies that sell products which are designed to be oil-tolerant; that is, they are designed to go over these types of stains without the need for significant surface prep. Feel free to contact me off-line if you would like any further information and best of luck.

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Tagged categories: Concrete coatings and treatments; Surface Preparation; Surface preparation

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