Selecting Concrete Floor Coatings

Concrete is made by mixing together proportionate amounts of cement, sand, water and aggregate. The untreated final product, by nature, is a porous material that is surprisingly vulnerable.

It is used extensively for floors in basements and garages, as well as in warehouse facilities, manufacturing and food processing plants because of its durability. Since it can stand up to heavy traffic abuse and harsh chemicals, concrete gives the impression as being indestructible.

But, this is not always true.

Concrete floor coatings provide extra layers of protection that are necessary in order for the hardened final product to endure constant wear and tear. In addition, these coatings can also transform a somewhat drab looking surface into a thing of beauty, as well as support maintenance requirements and improve skid resistance.

There are literally dozens of products available for coating concrete depending upon the desired result. The challenge is to find the most economical and practical solution to meet your overall objective.

Mix-in pigments and other add-ins can create special decorative effects to include metallic or luminescent finishes. Ease of installation, curing times and resistance to abrasion are important aspects to your final selection. Of course, higher price tags go hand-in-hand with higher quality coatings.

The word coating, as it relates to concrete floors, broadly refers to different types of cement based toppings, paints and epoxy material that are used to cure the concrete. The most commonly used concrete coatings are hybrids of epoxies, urethanes, acrylics and polyureas, which has a fast drying time that permits many coats to be built upon quickly.

Bear in mind that floor coverings will hide a multitude of problems associated with improper floor structures. In other words, you can cover up the problem of cracks, spalls and unevenness by adding a raised floor surface, but unless the concrete floor itself is patched, repaired and leveled properly, you will waste your money by applying a coating system to a distressed surface.

Depending on the severity of the floor surface itself, the challenge is to choose the most effective material and application that will result in the best performance and lowest life cycle cost. Total floor protection should be part of any study or evaluation for new or old concrete floor protection.

There is a very complete selection process to narrow the search for the right product and application for concrete floor coatings. Remember, you must not only select the material, but also a total system in terms of application, total thickness, and aesthetics.

Industrial Floor Coatings – Are They Safe For Workers?

It’s important for factories and other manufacturing related facilities to provide for industrial floor coatings. Floor coatings provide surface stability, environmental cleanliness as well as aesthetics. Safety is also an important factor in the need to have industrial floor coatings. Companies that provide for industrial floor coatings reduce the risk of accidents due to excess or lack of traction however after several decades, the environmental safety of using these coatings are now in question.

Industrial floor coatings provide a stable, non-broken surface (given the substrate is also hole or crack- free) for staff and products to move on. The coating also serves to protect the substrate from the wear and tear of wheel and foot traffic. Also, the smoother the surface, the faster people and products move. Coatings also provide a sense of order and cleanliness. Brighter coatings also add to the ambient lighting of the workplace. Safety comes into play because industrial floor coatings made from polyurethane or like materials provide sufficient traction to avoid accidents as against ordinary rough concrete/soil floors or overly smooth concrete/tiled flooring. Aside from commercial uses, industrial coatings are also best for gymnasiums and facilities for indoor sports.

However, the use of conventional polyurethane coatings is not without its own hazards. The material, polyurethane, that we’ve used for decades for industrial floor coatings is not safe in itself. The manufacture of polyurethane, a prime ingredient for industrial coatings involves the use of toxic chemicals known as isocyanates. Normally and preferably, isocyanates lose their toxicity after bonding with the other chemicals that form the polyurethane. They become inert. However, recent studies have shown that not all of the applied isocyanates completely bond with the other ingredients leaving behind what is known as post-reactive isocyanates. These post-reactive isocyanates are present in the fumes the coating generates during application on floors and other surfaces of a building.

Application personnel that lack sufficient protective equipment become susceptible to these fumes. Employees are exposed to these chemicals in minute amounts during their day-to-day interactions with the workplace and the facility’s products can become tainted as well. These chemicals also leech into the environment when the coating is disposed for replacement. The effects of isocyanates of the human body include asthma, vomiting, as well as chest and throat irritation. Exposure to large amounts is fatal.

Such dangers then contradict the premise of safety on the use of polyurethane coatings. The risk was not known until recently but floor coatings have remained essential in the industry. Fortunately, new advances in technology has given rise to the manufacture of a non-toxic polyurethane alternative known as green polyurethane. Non-toxic or green polyurethane does not make use of chemically-bonded isocyanates but instead binds its ingredients at the ‘nano’ or atomic level. The ingredients lock together or intertwine to form an impermeable substance with the same properties as polyurethane.

Modern manufacturing techniques, also ensure that excess toxic chemicals are filtered out from the finished product. Thus choosing green polyurethane over conventional polyurethane renders the premise of safety of using industrial floor coatings complete. As green polyurethane continues to grow in popularity, floor coatings as well as other materials that use polyurethane become safer and the industries that use them can breathe safely.

Industrial Floor Coatings – Making the Right Choice

The majority of people take for granted how industrial floor coatings my affect their lives. Chances are these people perceive that such products have no relation with them. However, the fact is that such floors have not remained confined to industrial environments yet can be seen even in the most common place like your garage. If you are a business owner, chances are you might want to apply floor coatings at your business premises to protect and extend the life of your garages and floors. In this article, we will cover most options within the sector of commercial floor coatings with a brief overview of the different types of coatings used in various types of commercial floors.

Floors are obviously essential for buildings as they provide the ability to build multiple levels and give a proper structure to the buildings. Hence, it has become the prime duty of both industrial and commercial owners to protect the floors from causing damage by applying the most suitable type of floor coating. Currently, industrial owners are using various types of coatings to ensure protection of their floors. Ceramic based, Polyurethane based and Epoxy based coatings have become the most popular among worldwide industries due to their suitability, durability and protection. These coatings are most commonly referred to as Commercial Floor Coatings or Industrial Floor Coatings.

First, Epoxy Coatings are quite popular and available to us in wide range of colors and finishes. In addition, industrial business owners can use such coatings in wide range of applications. Epoxy is considered one of the Thermosetting Polymers, which consists of two parts, most commonly referred to as Polyamide and Epoxide Resin. In recent years, epoxy coatings have become perhaps the most popular choice for commercial floor coatings as they can create highly durable surfaces, which possesses very high value of resistance against traffic and abuse. Epoxy coatings are available to purchasers in various attractive colors, are highly resistant to rust and waterproof to different types of chemicals such as acids oils and water. You can easily apply any of the Epoxy coatings to uneven, rough and broken floors, where it not only acts as a coating, but also as a filler. As many industries have concrete floors, Epoxy paints have become quite suitable for application directly on top of the floor surface.

Second, Polyurethane is one of the harder and more durable substances used as industrial floor coatings. This substance is more or less similar to Epoxy paints, however, when the coatings of polyurethane are subjected to intense heat or shock, it can split or fracture easily, leaving white patches on the floors. One of the negative attributions of traditional polyurethane is that it contains a toxic substance called isocyanates. Isocyanates have been known to cause various health complication including nausea, asthma and in certain cases even death. As such, polyurethane is now being fazed out of production throughout the Unites States and Europe.

Besides Epoxy and Polyurethane coatings, newer more effective solutions have arisen including Green Polyurethane, which is a non-toxic form of polyurethane that costs less to produce than its traditional counterpart and has greater strength and permeability properties. The Environmental Protection Agency of the Unites States and European Environmental agencies are both helping in a major transition from toxic to a non-toxic based polyurethane solution. Given its superior strength, lower cost and multiple colors to choose from Green Polyurethane could be the choice of the future for industrial and commercial floor coating.