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When vetting a flooring contractor for a new industrial floor coating installation, you want to make sure they use the best materials, apply the right thickness, and don’t take shortcuts. But it’s hard to know the right questions to ask.
Preparation for the floor coating installation is the single most important part of the entire job. This is where you’ll want to focus the majority of your questions. Shortcuts taken in the surface preparation stage will greatly reduce the life of your floor coating. Improper preparation might lead to flaking, bubbles, and dis-bonding of your coating investment. Don’t take that chance.
We’ve laid out 8 steps flooring contractors should take to ensure a successful industrial floor coating installation.
Flooring contractors should assess the general condition and soundness of the surface, particularly if this is a surface that has not been coated before. They should look for areas contaminated by dirt, oil, grease, old floor coatings, or other surface treatments. Installers should also take note of areas where water pools.
Surface contaminants identified in the previous step must be removed. Flooring contractors should use a scrubber with heavy-duty cleaner/degreaser and pressure wash the area.
The surface might look clean, but chemicals might still exist on the concrete and jeopardize the new floor. If the existing concrete was heavily contaminated testing the pH of the concrete is probably a good idea. Normal readings should be around a pH of 8.
Flooring contractors should use a moisture meter to check the moisture content on new slabs. Readings of 4% or greater may require special treatment. They should also look for signs of moisture vapor transmission issues such as bubbling of existing coatings.
This is one of the most important steps of the surface preparation process. Shot blasting is the preferred method of preparation and provides the best bonding profile.
Diamond grinding is used to create a smooth surface profile and knock down high spots. It also helps to remove surface contaminants like old coatings, paint, and others.
Diamond grinding opens up the pores of the concrete and is commonly used when the floor has minor imperfections, pits, and divots.
Both shot blasting and diamond grinding can create a lot of dust. Ensure the flooring contractor will use a good dust collection system.
A hand grinder with a dust shroud and vacuum is used in areas where the shot blaster or diamond grinder couldn't reach, such as along a floor-wall intersect. Failure to complete this step may cause the coating to start peeling or chipping in these areas.
Flooring contractors should consider a number of factors when deciding which coating is best:
Each application should be evaluated and matched to the proper coating system. One coating does not fit all!
Joint caulking seals the joints in the floor and allows slight movement of the concrete slab. This step ensures that dirt and debris will not enter these areas, which helps to prolong the life of the floor coating.
Thorough cure is just as important as proper preparation to ensure a successful flooring installation. It is imperative to allow 24-48 hours or more of cure before exposing the area to traffic and chemical exposure.
Though the flooring may be hard enough to walk on in 8-12 hours, it will not have its full physical strength or chemical resistance. Many failures can be linked to inadequate cure. Include adequate cure time when planning your flooring projects.
It may seem like wasted time, but it is time well spent.
Always consult the professionals when investing in a concrete floor coating for your manufacturing or food and beverage facility because let’s face it; a concrete floor coating is an investment in terms of plant downtime and dollars. And, please remember that not all floor coating projects are created equal. Depending on the starting condition of the concrete, additional steps may need to be taken to ensure proper coating adhesion and installation.