How Concrete Fusion Coatings Protect Concrete
Concrete is a mixture of cement, water and other aggregates likes stone and sand. As the mixture dries a chemical transaction occurs leaving us with a hard dense surface that we all know so well.
How Concrete Gets Damaged
Despite being very hard, concrete breaks down very easily. Since it is porous, water and chemicals can infiltrate the surface. Chemicals react with the concrete creating decay and water can freeze causing expansion and contraction. If rebar is added to the concrete water reacts with the iron causing corrosion to occur. Concrete is damaged by years of friction from foot traffic and vehicles while being exposed to salts, dirt and chemicals. We coat the concrete to seal the pores and help protect it from being exposed to all these deteriorating elements.
Reasons to Coat Concrete:
- Seal the pores preventing chemical and water exposure
- Add protective layer to prevent wear from friction
- Improve visual appearance
- Reduce dust levels
- Increase ambient light
- Reduce maintenance
- Add specialized functionality (anti-static, impact resistance, anti-slip, etc.)
- Repairing damaged concrete
Concrete Checklist Prior To Coating
If the concrete is weakened before applying the epoxy then the coating might not protect the concrete very well. Before coating, your contractor should check the following areas to ensure high quality and long-lasting coat.
- Alkalinity: the chemicals in the concrete have high alkalinity and react strongly with acids in the epoxy. The PH of your slab needs to be compatible with the correct epoxy product.
- Porosity: As the concrete cures it creates tiny holes that allow for liquids to penetrate the slab. Before coating, the slab should be fully cured before we seal the concrete.
- Moisture: as concrete cures, the moisture is translated to heat through chemical reactions. Coating concrete with high moisture levels results in poor adhesion.
- Tensile strength: the concrete needs to be able to withstand tension without cracking. If the concrete is too weak the coating will delaminate and peel.
- Laitance: Sometimes drying cement creates a layer of brittle paste on the surface. This must be removed prior to coating any concrete slabs.
- Surface anomalies: Any defects in the cured surface (cracks, holes, bumps) must be removed for a lasting uniform appearance.
Protective Coatings & Permeable Coatings
Protective Barriers (sealed concrete)
When working with protective coatings you want lower Moisture Vapour Transmission (MVT) rate. MVT measures the rate at which water can pass through the resinous epoxy and the lower the MVT the better the adhesion of the coating. We can increase the protection by including fillers to the resins like sand, glass, or fibreglass. Even decorative flakes can add to the protective barrier by preventing MVT. Before coating concrete it is always a good idea to complete a certified moisture test.
Permeable Coatings (breathable)
As concrete cures, it releases all the water through off-gassing and heat. In some applications, coatings need to be specially formulated to allow for the seal to breathe and allow the gasses to escape. It’s important to keep in mind that permeable coatings will allow chemicals to pass through from the outside in. That’s why we assess the needs of the building project to math the permeability of the coating with the intended function of the space.
Coatings are wonderful additions to concrete that increase their lifespan and increase the functionality of the area. Coatings can be catered to deliver precise performance to withstand foot traffic or heavy machinery. Our team is certified to moisture test concrete, assess the points listed in our checklist and supply the correct coating for the desired results. Schedule a call with the Concrete Fusion sales team and let us visit your site to put a proposal forward.