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How To Properly Prepare Concrete Before Coating With Epoxy

how to prepare concrete for an epoxy coating

How To Properly Prepare Concrete Before Coating With Epoxy

January 15, 2020
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Over the years, exposure to abrasion, weather and chemicals will damage unprotected concrete foundations, and that is the main reason why we coat concrete – to seal and protect it.  As this industry was developing the attention has been put on the formulating better coatings instead of focusing on the most important detail, surface preparation. Proper surface preparation of your concrete floor ensures a long-lasting epoxy floor. Read our website and you will quickly learn that proper surface preparation is crucial to ensure a good bond between the concrete and the epoxy. 

Coat or Polish Concrete For Longer Lasting More Durable Floors

When concrete dries it leaves tiny capillaries from where the water escaped.  These holes allow cleaners, solvents, dirt and grease to penetrate into the concrete reducing the durability and life span of the floor.  Without protection, contaminants can penetrate a few inches into the slab. 

 

When coating concrete the surface should be clean and free from dirt, chemicals, or grease.  The surface should also be profiled which is a fancy way of saying scratched up. The scratches on the floor create additional surface areas that the epoxy can grip onto.  Applying epoxy on smooth surfaces results in undesirable peeling and chipping.

 

Best Way To Prepare Concrete Floor For Epoxy Bonding

Chemical Stripping & Cleaning

Chemical stripping uses solvents that can remove thin layers of dirt and grease.  Since chemical stripping is labour intensive and creates chemical waste that needs disposal it isn’t a very common approach with commercial projects.  Also, chemical strippers do not provide enough profiling so machinery is usually still required. Chemical strippers are ideal for removing oil, dirt and grease on an old and dirty floor – but for professional results should not be used for profiling the concrete.

Profiling Concrete To Increase Surface Area

Scarification is the process in which we use diamond encrusted pads to scratch the surface and remove a thin layer of concrete with each pass.  This process is very effective at cleaning the surface of the concrete and removing dirt, grease and oils. The grinding pads rotate on a machine-driven drum which makes cleaning and profiling a quick job.  This process leaves a fine dust on the floor which needs to be vacuumed prior to applying any epoxy coatings.  

Shot Blasting Concrete Surfaces

Shot-Blasting is like sandblasting but instead of sand, it shoots tiny steel balls into the concrete.  Unlike the scarification process, this machine is connected to a shop-vac that collects dust and dirt from the floor while returning the steel balls to the hopper of the machine.  Since this method uses tiny balls it is excellent at getting into cracked and pitted concrete that larger machines couldn’t reach. A magnetic sweep is used to collect any balls that escaped the shop vac during the process.  

 

Summary Of Proper Concrete Preparation For Epoxy Coating

 

There are many factors that determine which method of surface preparation is the best for each slab of concrete. Accessibility to the area, age of the slab, condition, and cleanliness are unique to each job and can determine which method or combination of methods we should use.  The end goal to create a clean and profiled surface so the final product has a superior bond and won’t peel, crack or chip.  

 

Concrete Fusion Epoxy Floors Are Guaranteed – Get a Free Estimate Today!

 

Concrete Fusion delivers exceptional results and warrantied floors –  without proper surface preparation, we couldn’t maintain our high standard or attention to customer satisfaction.  When looking to renovate your Ottawa construction project, building, business, or facility choose a contractor that has a reputation for building floors that last.  

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