Concrete Coating – Epoxy (Flake)
Concrete Coating vs. Polished Concrete: What is the Difference? Choosing between floor coating and polished concrete often becomes a matter of personal preference, functionality, and aesthetics. However, understanding the differences between the two options is essential before making that choice. Concrete polishing strengthens and beautifies the surface by removing material, while epoxy coating does the same by adding material on top of the concrete. One option might be better depending on the environment and other relevant factors.
Proper surface preparation for polished concrete and concrete coating is fundamental in determining the final result’s success, durability, and aesthetic quality. It involves a multi-step process, although varying slightly between the two methods, and broadly includes surface cleaning, repairing, profiling, and moisture checking.
Concrete Epoxy Coating
Floor coating involves the application of a protective or decorative layer over the existing concrete surface. The coating materials range widely from epoxy, polyurea, and acrylic to polyaspartic coatings. The choice of coating typically depends on the environment, such as high-traffic industrial zones or residential settings.
Coatings can provide a customized look, offering an array of colors and finishes while enhancing the floor’s resistance to chemicals, abrasions, or impacts. The epoxy coating offers versatility in aesthetics with varying degrees of durability and resistance based on the type of coating used.
This option allows for more design freedom than polished concrete, with unlimited options for color and texture, making it a popular choice for decorative purposes.
The surface preparation stage for epoxy coating is critical for ensuring an optimal bond between the coating and the concrete, resulting in a durable and long-lasting finish. Inadequate preparation can lead to issues like poor adhesion, uneven application, bubbling, and premature peeling or flaking of the coating.
1). Cleaning: This initial step requires a thorough surface cleaning to remove dust, dirt, oil, grease, or any existing coatings and sealers that could prevent the new coating from bonding effectively to concrete. The cleaning methods range from power washing to specialized cleaning agents.
2). Repair: Similar to polished concrete, any damage to the concrete surface, such as cracks, holes, or uneven areas, must be repaired. Depending on the extent of the damage, methods can vary from simple crack filling to extensive patching or leveling.
3). Surface Profiling: This involves altering the surface to create a rougher texture, which provides a better grip for the coating, enhancing adhesion. Standard techniques include acid etching, diamond grinding, shot blasting, or scarifying. The chosen method will depend on the project’s size and the concrete’s condition.
4). Moisture Check: The concrete’s moisture levels must be checked. Excessive moisture in the concrete can interfere with the adhesion of the coating, potentially causing it to fail. If high moisture levels are detected, measures such as applying a moisture barrier may be needed.
5). Priming: Although not always necessary, in some cases, a primer can be applied to improve the bonding of the coating further and seal any tiny pores in the concrete.
In the case of concrete coatings, meticulous preparation enhances the bonding of the coating, prevents issues like peeling or bubbling, and thus ensures a durable and visually pleasing outcome.
Polished concrete is the product of mechanically grinding and polishing the existing surface using specialized machines fitted with diamond-impregnated disks. The process removes the top layer, exposing the aggregate beneath, then polishes the surface to a high shine. The surface is then sealed with a densifier to protect it from water and stain penetration.
The polished concrete method offers a highly durable, low-maintenance finish that often incorporates natural beauty and unique patterns. Polished concrete is an eco-friendly option that utilizes the existing material, with the appeal lying in its raw and natural look.
Surface preparation is the unsung hero in achieving a flawless polished concrete floor. It’s a pivotal step directly influencing the outcome’s quality, durability, and aesthetic appeal. Polished concrete is a product of processing the concrete surface mechanically through grinding, honing, and polishing. The surface’s initial condition will significantly impact these procedures’ success.
An unprepared or poorly prepared floor can lead to uneven polishing, reduced durability, and even structural problems.
Here are the steps:
1). Cleaning: The first step is thoroughly cleaning the concrete surface. This step involves removing existing coatings, sealers, dirt, grease, or other contaminants that might impede the grinding and polishing process. Power washing or chemical cleaning agents may be used based on the level of dirt or contamination.
2). Repair: After cleaning, any visible damage on the concrete surface, such as cracks, spalling, or pitting, needs to be repaired. High-quality concrete repair products fill the gaps and create a uniform surface that can withstand the grinding and polishing processes.
3). Grinding: This step involves using heavy-duty grinding machines fitted with diamond-impregnated discs. The initial grinding stages remove the top layer of the concrete, expose the underlying aggregate, and create a flat, uniform surface. The level of grinding is often determined by the desired level of aggregate exposure and the condition of the original slab.
4). Checking Hardness: An essential but often overlooked aspect of preparation is checking the hardness of the concrete. It’s crucial to ensure that the slab is hard enough to polish. If the concrete is too soft, it may not polish well; if it’s too hard, it could be more difficult to grind down to the desired level.
5). Moisture Check: The concrete’s moisture levels must be assessed. Excessive moisture can interfere with the polishing process and compromise the result. If moisture levels are high, remedial action, such as installing a moisture barrier, might be necessary.
In the case of polished concrete, thorough preparation ensures a smooth, even surface that can be effectively ground down, polished, and sealed – resulting in a natural, raw, and long-lasting finish.
Final Thoughts on Concrete Coating vs. Polished Concrete
Both concrete coating and polished concrete offer unique benefits that cater to various tastes, functional requirements, and aesthetics. Polished concrete provides a raw, natural, eco-friendly finish with lower maintenance requirements and an industrial appeal. Whereas epoxy coatings offer versatility, providing various colors, textures, and finishes for decorative purposes. Epoxy Coatings also provide increased resistance to heavy impacts and chemical spills.
Ultimately, the choice between floor coatings and polished concrete should be guided by a clear understanding of their differences, the environment, and the desired result.
Cleanstart Concrete & Coatings
At Cleanstart Concrete & Coatings, we have the expertise and equipment to handle large and small projects. We offer expert epoxy floor coating and concrete polishing services for commercial, industrial, and residential settings, including
- Manufacturing Plants
- Chemical Plants
- Distribution Facilities
- Aircraft Hangars
- Commercial and Residential Garages
- Commercial Kitchens
- Restaurants & Bars
- Office Buildings
- Retail Spaces & Mall
- Athletic Facilities
- Residential (Interiors, Patios, Pool Decks, Driveways)
Our one-day install of hermetic stout flooring systems are UV stable, chemically resistant, non-slip, and have a 10-20 years life. We go above and beyond to ensure a flawless finish that exceeds your expectations. We use only premium-grade epoxy coatings and materials, ensuring your flooring receives the best protection and durability possible. Call Cleanstart Concrete & Coatings at (253) 921-2593 for free consultation and estimate, or fill out our online contact form for a prompt response – Serving King, East King, South King, Pierce, and Thurston Counties.