Concrete is a popular floor material because it’s sturdy, economical to clean and manage, and can serve in any environment. Unfortunately, concrete is not always visually appealing and can be vulnerable to staining, moisture, and dust if left bare. But that’s not a problem if you are willing to apply floor coatings over it. Concrete coatings will not just beautify it but also seal it to make a durable surface.
There are several floor coatings for concrete, that’s why it can be challenging for property owners to choose what’s right for their needs. As an experienced flooring contractor, we’ve had the opportunity to work on all kinds of concrete surfaces designed for different purposes and understand what you need for your situation. So we’ve put together this guide to help you pick a suitable fit for your floor surfaces. Here are various floor coatings that we can help you install.
Understand Your Flooring Needs
From our experience, the best way to choose a flooring solution for your concrete slab is by understanding your needs the type of concrete slab and the environment. Once those things have been established, you can start moving towards picking the right coatings for the environment of your floor (IE. Outdoor or indoor).
- At this point, the coating selection process can begin.
- Does this coating product work outdoors? Is the structure of the coating resistant to Sunlight UV Rays?
- Does that product blend need to protect against moisture vapor transmission?
- Are there areas of the concrete that are a problem and might need an overlay?
- Are there different options for the coating product that will meet the needs of the floor and also provide the aesthetic look we are hoping for?
For instance, epoxy is a superior floor coating if you want an easy-to-maintain surface, that’s tough and suitable for any indoor space. Epoxy flooring products and systems can be used for industrial, commercial, and residential spaces. Concrete polishing is another good floor solution that can serve in high traffic areas. Staining is great for patios, driveways, and walkways.
Moisture vapor barrier coatings help with waterproofing surfaces depending on the environment. At Armor Coatings, we have pool deck coatings and balcony coatings that are not only waterproof but are slip-resistant and can be made to look like limestone for swimming pools.
Epoxy Concrete Coatings
If you are looking for a versatile concrete coating solution then epoxy flooring is the way to go. It’s great whether you want a single color-tone for industrial space or want decorative artwork for a business space. Just like most concrete coatings we discuss below, you need to prepare your floor thoroughly to install a lasting industrial epoxy coating over it. You do this by grinding down the slab using industrial-grade diamond-laced equipment. Grind down the spots that are high and fill up those that are low. Your floor has to be level because epoxy is a self-leveling flooring material.
Apart from making single color floor surfaces, unlike most of the other coating materials, you can come up with unique designs and patterns including the 3D imagery with epoxy coatings. Another benefit you can expect from epoxy coatings is their resistance to chemicals, oils, and hot tires, making them ideal for garage floors. This material can last indefinitely if it’s professionally applied and well maintained, yet all these profits at an affordable price.
Urethane coating is commonly used for industrial concrete applications because they protect against UV rays, can handle heavy traffic, and look good. With the many formulations of urethane products, you get it in a wide range of colors. Unlike epoxy, this flooring solution has better adhesion and wetting properties, which makes it cure even under low temperatures. We apply urethane using the brush-and-roll techniques or by spraying it over a well-prepped concrete surface. They rea also great for recoating and multi-coat systems. Customers choose these types of coatings when they need:
- Industrial space with cracked floors or high traffic to be fixed
- A solution with great color retention and a glossy surface
- A surface with excellent adhesion and wetting properties
- A chemical resistance floor surface
- A coating that is compliant with VOC emission standards
Concrete Stain Then Seal
Concrete staining is one of the ways to make concrete surfaces beautiful. You can stain both old and new concrete floors then coat them with a sealer. And there are two ways to do it; acid-based staining and water-based staining. Depending on the method you choose to stain your floors with, you can achieve a permanent or temporary stain job. This happens because the materials involved react differently when they interact with your floor surface.
Water-based stains are easier to work with compared to acid-based stains thanks to their organic pigmentation that doesn’t react with your concrete floor. You have full control of how the eventual results will look like. If you make a mistake during the concrete staining process, you can easily rectify it using regular tap water to clean off and reapply. With this method, it’s possible to attain any color, design, and pattern you want. Because the process is not a chemical reaction, it’s not permanent. With exposure to UV rays and weather changes, it fades and requires reinstallation. Unlike acid stains though, water-based stains are eco-friendly and won’t cause damage to plants and vegetation.
All in all, both acid staining and water-based staining require you to thoroughly prepare your floor so they are properly absorbed into the concrete surface. Once the installation of the stain is over, use the recommended sealant to cover the pores, give the floor a shine, make it smooth. You might also need to add an anti-skid additive to protect against sliding and falling. Reach out to us to get expert advice on the best choice between the two.
As the name suggests, this method uses acid (hydrochloric acid) combined with a small quantity of metallic salts. The two penetrate the porous concrete surface and chemically react with calcium hydroxide that is present in your concrete floor to create a permanent color.
Once the acid stain is applied, you can coat it with a sealant. The best part about this flooring method is that it’s resistant to UV light, unlike the water-based alternative. It’s equally effective indoors and in open spaces. Consult with our team of specialists on the best stains for the job. Different strains work better indoors and some work better outdoors. The same goes for acrylic sealers and coating concrete, you don’t want to apply something that is UV sensitive and will yellow over time.
Concrete Grind and Seal
Concrete grind and sealing is a coating that is applied after at least two passes with a concrete grinder. The end result is similar to polished concrete but is a little faster and more cost-effective. An acrylic sealer or topcoat of urethane is applied after the grinding process which can make the floor have an appearance similar to polished concrete. It makes use of the existing concrete surface as the finished floor to make a glossy surface. The polishing process is achieved through industrial grinding machines armed with diamond abrasives. We can compare polishing concrete with sanding wood.
Depending on the current state of your concrete slab, you start grinding down with coarser grit then gradually move down to the finer grit. These can be anywhere between 16-grit to 3000-grit depending on the final results you want. Professionals know how to go about picking the right grit. Before you start grinding the floor, you need to remove the existing coating (if there’s any) then repair the floor where it’s cracked or disjointed.
Once you have the desired floor shine, apply a sealant coat over your work to guard the polished surface and make it easier to clean and maintain. The sealer also gives the floor stain and chemical resistance. You can add an anti-slip additive coating. Your polishing could happen in any of the following two ways:
Wet Concrete Polishing Method
Dry Concrete Polishing Method
Dry concrete polishing for concrete floors uses the natural elements of the concrete and has become a staple of modern design and eco-friendly workspaces. Our process involves anywhere from 7 to 15 steps of grinding to hone the concrete to a perfect polished finish.
Seek Expert Advice and Professional Installation Services For Concrete Coatings.
Concrete coatings are a great way to improve the durability and appeal of your concrete slab. To enjoy all the benefits these coatings can offer, they should be professionally installed. This way you know that the cracks will be repaired, the product with the right performance characteristics is selected. It makes you sleep easier at night knowing that you won’t have to worry about water vapor and moisture. Getting an application on a concrete slab with the wrong performance characteristics and then have to start over is not fun. At Armor Coatings, we offer quality installations for all these coating types both on old and new concrete surfaces. We help you have the best floors for your industrial, commercial, and residential space. If you have flooring questions, reach out to us for professional advice on coating application. We do them on everything from driveways, porch pool decks and have several different products that work well for each.