Improper epoxy flooring surface preparation can lead to delamination and other problems with your epoxy flooring. Do you know enough to tell whether your installer is conditioning and installing your floor correctly?

One of our frustrations as a professional epoxy flooring installation company, is seeing all the hack handymen, fly-by-night “epoxy” companies and other con men posing as epoxy floor professionals. Many homeowners get duped by the low prices, thinking they are getting a great deal. After all, most epoxy floors look similar when finished. It isn’t till later, when the low quality floors start to delaminate that the differences become apparent.

proper floor coating preparationSome companies may even offer lengthy warranties to hide the low quality materials and workmanship. Offering a 30 year warranty doesn’t matter if the company isn’t around in 2 or 3 years.

One of the most important things that some companies may cut corners on is the surface preparation of the concrete. There are only three methods of preparing the concrete for epoxy installation that will properly condition the floor. We want to educate homeowners on the proper methods, so they are less likely to be fooled by shoddy work.

The Three Methods of Epoxy Flooring Surface Preparation

Shot Blasting Concrete Flooring

Shot blasting is a one-step approach for removing, cleaning up and profiling surfaces in preparation for coverings and overlays. Not only do shot blasting systems produce a roughened texture that enhances adhesion of decorative garnishes, they also leave surface areas immediately ready and dry for re-coating or resurfacing.

Many shot blasters use a wheel with blades similar to paddles, that launch steel shot at the surface area at a high speed utilizing centrifugal force, fracturing off the surface layer of the concrete along with any dirt, finishes, paint or other contaminants.

The depth of surface area removal is managed by a mix of factors, consisting of the size of the shot and concentration utilized, the rate the machine is moved across the floor, shot impact force and whether there is already a coating on the floor that needs to be removed. One advantage of shot blasting is that it produces little dust or debris, making the technique an excellent choice for floors in sensitive areas, such as cooking facilities or making plants. Shot blasting is one of the old techniques earlier utilized to level a flooring and to prepare a concrete floor for further treatment. The heat produced from shot blasting can make the covering sticky.

Concrete Grinding Floor Surface Preparation

commercial epoxy floor prep imageConcrete grinding is a phrase that broadly references the work done to a concrete surface to remove layers of residue or imperfections. Concrete grinding is generally used in the removal of flooring finishes and/or the flooring itself, as well as glue left from carpet or tile removal. It can also remove residual grout from stone tile floors.

Concrete floor grinders use powerful rotating diamond-coated discs to carry out a wide variety of jobs, from concrete texturing to clean and open the pores of the surface, to elimination of paints, glues and other finishes. They usually leave behind a smoother profile than scarifying, scraping or shot blasting, and when used on difficult, dense concrete surfaces they have more of a polishing effect rather than creating abrasions.

Concrete grinding can be used to get rid of dirt, oil, glue, and other debris from production, storage facility, and factory plant floors. For more even texturing and smoothing of the surface, some epoxy floor installation companies are also geared up with equipment that uses floating heads that will mold to the shape of the flooring similar to how some razors conform to your face while shaving. Modern grinders can serve numerous functions and are usually more versatile than other kinds of surface prep equipment, specifically when it comes to decorative work. They are a great solution for cleaning old coatings and adhesives from floors before applying epoxy because they will not produce ridges on the concrete, as can more abrasive methods. Concrete grinders can also be equipped with finer pads to be used for polishing the concrete in preparation for a stain or other “finished concrete” look.

Acid Etching to Prepare for Epoxy Coating Installation

pearl essence metallic epoxy coatingAcid etching is the procedure of roughing up the slick surface of concrete with chemicals. Etching, generally done with muriatic acid (or hydrochloric acid as it is sometimes called) opens the pores of the concrete and prepares the surface to accept its next treatment. Though it’s also possible to prepare the concrete by hand by abrading it with a grinder, acid etching is generally much less labor-intensive. Acid eats millions of micro holes in the surface of the concrete, permitting it to bond with topical treatments such as paint, epoxy or stain. These small holes create porosity in the surface which is very important to allow the epoxy coatings to properly bond with the concrete. Without this procedure, the epoxy may appear to be fine initially, but will de-laminate over time.

It is important for homeowners to know that if your installer does not use one of the three methods listed above, the quality and life of your epoxy floor is greatly reduced. Now that you know the truth, you will not be so easy to fool by those installers cutting corners and providing lower quality service.

At Brilliant Epoxy Floors Inc., we have specialized in acid etching with hydro cleaning and mechanical methods of industrial diamond grinding for the past 21 years with flawless results. When you want your floor installed right the first time, call Brilliant Epoxy: 480-203-2444 and let us help you get the professional epoxy coating installation service you deserve on your next commercial or residential flooring project.

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