Concrete is one of the most common flooring substrates used in commercial and industrial buildings. Its durability, performance, and lifespan can be virtually unequalled, if it is:
Typically, a concrete finish is smooth. Smoothening the concrete is accomplished through a four-step process:
After these steps are accomplished, diverse curing techniques and surface treatments are available.
Concrete floor finishes and coatings are not “one size fits all.” There are myriad flooring systems available to meet the needs of virtually any environment and facility operation. Innumerable products and methods, including everything from curing compounds, light duty spray-on sealers, and concrete stamping, to concrete polishing, staining and high performance coating systems are available. As the category offering some of the best lifecycle value, industrial high performance coating systems will be discussed below.
Five of the most frequently specified high performance floor coatings are:
Epoxies have long been one of the most utilized general service coatings for concrete floors. They are highly durable, abrasion- and chemical-resistant, and offer exceptional durability. Today’s more color-stable epoxy systems are also zero V.O.C. and perform admirably in the face of heavy pedestrian, cart and forklift traffic. Quality manufacturers offer many custom options, such as antimicrobials that inhibit the growth of pathogens, primers and underlayments that mitigate moisture vapor transmission, as well as various levels of slip resistance. Additionally, epoxy floor systems never need buffing or polishing, so maintenance efforts and associated costs are reduced.
Available in a vast array of standard and custom colors, nearly any floor design can be realized, such as geometric patterns, freehand drawn shapes, safety and traffic lanes, as well as embedded logos, images and wayfinding messages.
High performance, thin film aliphatic urethanes are frequently utilized as UV-stable topcoats over many general service epoxy coating systems, offering additional protection and longevity to the floor finish. Many provide extra resistance to:
Other benefits include:
Thin film urethanes are generally available as Clear finishes that can be field-tinted with compatible pigments by the same manufacturer.
Cementitious urethane mortars are called such, because they contain Portland cement. This gives them the property of expanding and contracting at a rate similar to the concrete substrate. Because of this, cementitious urethane mortars have excellent thermal shock resistance, making them ideal for the food and beverage processing industry, where extreme temperature swings and cycling can be the norm.
Cementitious urethane mortar systems also perform admirably in environments where the floors are exposed to:
These systems are often available:
The tenacious bond, low odor, expeditious cure and other unique properties of urethane mortars make them ideal for many floor coating applications.
Polyaspartic coatings are among the newest resin technologies that have come to market of late. They offer good abrasion- and chemical-resistance, and like urethanes, are tolerant of slightly higher temperatures than general service epoxies. The primary benefit of polyaspartics is their exceptionally fast cure. Depending on the facility and environmental conditions, full cure can often be achieved within two hours of the final coat application, making it an excellent option for facilities that run 24/7.
Vinyl esters provide extreme chemical and corrosion resistance, as well as tolerance for exposure to higher temperatures. Often utilized as primary and secondary containment coatings, they provide excellent protection in many industrial settings where other finishes would quickly break down. By isolating toxic or otherwise deleterious substances on their surface, vinyl esters enable proper clean up and disposal of hazardous liquids that could otherwise contaminate the building and surrounding environment.
Our highly experienced team of professionals can help you sort out the many concrete coating and finishing options and choose the best flooring for your facility.