Although there are many types of substrates that you can have – like gypsum, wood, or steel – one of the most common for floors is concrete. Concrete floors are comparatively inexpensive and can withstand a lot of heat and impact resistance. Because it is such a popular substrate, and has its own set of flaws, a good concrete coating is the perfect way to ensure that your structure lasts as long as possible.
There are a number of concrete coating products that are vital when considering a primarily concrete construction project. Each concrete coating product meets a different need and supports the longevity of your building in a unique way. Epoxy, polyurethane, MMA and polyaspartic concrete coatings each have their own strengths and weaknesses, but all support concrete substrate in unique ways. For example, urethane concrete floor coating is excellent for stopping moisture from leaking through concrete walls. On the other hand, a fiber-reinforced epoxy concrete floor coating gives a harder finish that strengthens and supports concrete.
Even though each compound has different characteristics, the application process for a concrete floor coating is similar regardless of the specific product you choose. Some of the most popular applications are:
Concrete Floor Paint
Concrete floor paint is a simple way to manage moisture and cover immediate problems. Since painted concrete floors usually have compounds applied very thinly, they will not mitigate advanced problems like crumbling or damaged concrete. Concrete floor paint must also be reinstalled on a regular basis, usually every 6-12 months.
Another consideration is expense. Concrete floor paint is inexpensive, but doesn’t provide the impact or heat resistance of a more long-term solution. A painted concrete floor is not able to perform well under very high traffic or consistent abrasion, either. In fact, a painted concrete floor may cost more in the long run than more durable solutions like concrete floor sealer or fluid applied flooring.
Concrete Floor Sealer
The next level of protection for concrete is a sealant. A concrete floor sealer provides an additional level of strength and support for the underlying concrete. Concrete floor sealant comes in a variety of compounds, and can be up to ¼ inch thick. This means that your concrete floor sealer will do what you need it to, whether your focus is flexibility, bacterial resistance, impact resistance, or heat resistance.
The concrete floor sealant also fills and mitigates damaged or crumbling concrete. By creating a thick concrete seal between cracking or crumbling substrate, the concrete floor sealant actually strengthens the structure as if the flaw was never there. And, since a concrete seal is thicker than a concrete paint, it also smooths the surface, so the imperfection is functionally erased. The concrete seal ensures that the floor or wall stands strong and repels water, heat, or bacteria for years.
Concrete Floor Finishes
The final layer of a complete concrete wall or flooring system is the finish. The concrete floor finish is a layer that is applied on top of a primer or sealant level to give the final floor more durability and beauty. In good concrete floor finishes, the floor will look smooth and provide the perfect levels of flexibility and strength necessary for your building. Some of the most popular choices for concrete floor finishes are epoxy, polyurethane, and polyaspartic compounds.
Fluid Applied Flooring
In areas where easy cleaning is a necessity, such as industrial kitchens or cage-wash areas, fluid applied flooring is the best possible choice. In fluid applied flooring, the concrete is cleaned and then covered in a multi-component compound with an epoxy, isocyanate, or acrylic base. Fluid applied flooring can be applied to other substrates like wood or metal, but most commonly with concrete.