While concrete slabs constitute a relatively sturdy, economical flooring substrate for facilities in a variety of industries, untreated concrete is prone to corrosion over time. In this case, the term “corrosion” refers specifically to the deterioration and disintegration of the concrete due to contact with a reactive substance; slab injury caused by a heavy load, puncture, or other physical cause is not classified as corrosion. Simply put, concrete corrosion is damage from a chemical reaction. Countless substances can cause corrosion, from salt water and acidic substances to microbes and waste products.
Whether an industrial, commercial or institutional facility, if left unaddressed, concrete floor corrosion can turn into a costly problem. Patching smaller damaged areas can sometimes be handled in-house with the right materials and technique, but if left unaddressed, serious resurfacing or even complete slab replacement can often be required. In addition to the upfront costs of the repair, performing the restoration properly will almost certainly require some downtime for at least a part of the facility, resulting in a potential loss of productivity and revenue.
The damage you can see may not be the only thing about which you need be concerned—concrete corrosion can also expose other structural elements to damaging substances. A typical example of this involves the microbes in sewer systems, which, after successfully causing corrosion and breaking through concrete pipes, can then proceed to wear away at a building’s structural steel, weakening the entire edifice. Damage to concrete caused by corrosive, reactive substances can be expensive to repair, and the extent of the damage is often not immediately apparent. When it comes to concrete floor slabs, investing in corrosion resistant coatings now could save you from facility downtime and having to perform costly repairs in the future.
For some facilities, the costs of concrete corrosion can extend beyond the building itself to include the surrounding ecosystems. Concrete is a naturally porous substance into which liquids can be absorbed. Any unsealed concrete floor subjected to frequent chemical or biohazard spills runs the risk of environmentally toxic substances leaching through the body of the slab into the surrounding soil and groundwater.
This is certainly true of corrosive substances capable of damaging the concrete in slab-on-grade conditions. For this and other reasons, various government agencies regulate certain industries in terms of requiring proper structural coatings, which can include primary to secondary containment, as well as high performance concrete floor finishes. Regulated or not, good environmental stewardship as well as common sense economics, call for all facilities to give attention to these concerns.
A highly effective way to prevent concrete floor surface corrosion is by isolating potentially damaging substances from the slab surface in the first place. Spilled substances can then be thoroughly cleaned up and properly disposed of, helping to alleviate the risk of enviro-toxins being absorbed into slab and endangering the natural surroundings.
An effective and economical approach is to consult with a reputable industrial floor coating manufacturer about the right type of protection for your unique operation and site conditions.
Well-selected and installed high performance, corrosion resistant epoxy and other resinous coatings make for strong, durable flooring systems that are fluid-applied directly onto the prepared concrete substrate. The result is a monolithic, virtually seamless surface impervious to the known corrosive substances within a given facility or space, while additionally providing the appropriate level of slip-resistance, compressive and tensile strengths, abrasion resistance and other features required for optimal benefit and value.
Surface corrosion is a common problem on uncoated concrete floors and can be difficult and expensive to fully repair. An epoxy or other high performing coating system from Florock can give you peace of mind by minimizing the risk of concrete floor surface corrosion.