Floor Coating: Understanding and Preventing Problems
Even with the best products in the world and the most highly
trained installers problems can happen. Preventing problems from arising prior
to, during and after an installation is dependent upon proper pre-job
evaluation, system recommendations and application expertise.
The first step in any coating installation is the pre-job
evaluation. This consists of understanding the needs of the application, any
restrictions on the installation such as timing, or the need for odorless
resins. What the system will be used for including chemical resistance needs,
abuse it will be subjected to, area size and layout, as well as surface
The next step in a pre-job evaluation is testing. Minimum testing should include
moisture testing, alkalinity/pH Level testing, concrete hardness testing, and
adhesion testing if an existing coating is present.
Selecting the Right System
Recommending the right flooring system will depend upon the
traffic conditions during use, the physical and chemical exposure, and finally
the time frame allotted for installation. After satisfying the performance
demands of the installation, aesthetic options can be reviewed.
Professional flooring installation contractors take their
responsibility of preventing installation related problems seriously. There are
a number of factors that can lead to unacceptable installations and all can be
prevented. In construction, the finishes receive the most attention and critique
because they are the last to be installed and are highly visible. Some
problems can occur during the installation, including out-gassing from the slab,
and bubbles or fisheyes in the coating. Out-gassing is caused by a difference in
the temperature and humidity of the air versus the concrete. When the air
temperature is warmer than the slab, especially in a low humidity, vapor will
leave the slab. This problem can be avoided by checking the conditions and
installing during stable or falling temperatures. Double priming or using a
higher build primer can help alleviate the problem.
Fisheyes are most frequently caused by a contaminant on the
concrete surface. This is a surface preparation issue and the contaminant must
be removed before continuing.
Amine blush is a normal chemical reaction of between the
amines present in epoxy with Carbon Dioxide and moisture in the air forming
carbamate which appears as a greasy surface film. This is especially true at low
temperature and high humidity.
A coating which appears white or cloudy immediately after
installation has most likely been exposed to water prior to complete cure. This
exposure may be due to moisture from the concrete, moisture from the
environmental conditions (Dew Point), or from placing the coating into wet
service prior to complete cure.
Surface stickiness, difficulty cleaning and poor hardness are
symptoms of improper mixing or incomplete cure. Proper mixing is the single most
important job during the installation process.
Pealing from the concrete substrate is frequently associated
with surface preparation. Mechanical preparation is far superior to acid
etching. Pealing in the form of blisters is most likely due to moisture vapor
emissions. If this is experienced within several months of the installation it
is due to a surface saturation affect from the dew point during installation.
Aged floors which develop blisters are due to moisture vapor transmission or
alkali aggregate reaction.
The Negative Effects
Of Visible Light
Almost all epoxies and most urethanes, especially urethanes
made using aromatic isocyanates, contain chromophores which interact with light.
This is of particular interest where light stability is a critical factor and is
the main reason that aliphatic isocyanates are used in making polyurethane
coatings. When a single component polyurethane coating is exposed to visible
light it discolors, turning from off-white to yellow to reddish brown after
extreme long term exposure to UV light. It has been generally accepted that
apart from yellowing, visible light has little effect on wear properties.
In summary, seamless flooring requires surface evaluation,
accurate system selection, and professional installation to prevent expensive
problems. Taking the time and effort to understand the potential problems and
implementing the correct measures to prevent them is the hallmark of a
successful professional flooring installer.
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Vanguard Concrete Coating
3030 Hillcroft SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49548
© Copyright 2009-15 All rights
reserved by Vanguard Concrete Coating of Grand Rapids, MI. For residential epoxy
coating of floors our service area includes the West Michigan cities of Grand
Rapids, Muskegon, Holland, Zeeland, Grand Haven, Kalamazoo, and Portage and
small cites in-between. For industrial & commercial floors we service a larger
area including the greater Detroit & Ann Arbor area, Northern Michigan
(including Traverse City, Cadillac, Big Rapids, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Grayling
and Gaylord) Southwest Michigan (including St Joseph, Benton Harbor, South
Haven,) Central Michigan (Including, Marshall, Battle Creek, Jackson, Lansing,
Charlotte, Eaton Rapids, Grand Ledge, Saint John’s, Ithaca, Owosso, and Mount
Pleasant) MI Thumb Area (including Flint, Saginaw, Lapeer, Bay City, and
Midland) as well as Northern Indiana.
Grand Rapids, Michigan