How to Prepare Concrete for Epoxy Coating

Epoxy floor coatings are excellent at protecting your floors from stains, chemicals, moisture, and damage while giving your floors a customizable, decorative finish. Epoxy is composed of resin and hardener. This mixture sinks into the pores of the concrete and adheres to the surface. Over the course of 7 days, it solidifies and cures, creating a durable and shiny coat.

However, some key preparatory steps need to take place before applying the coat to ensure a strong bond between the epoxy and the concrete. The quality of the concrete preparation directly influences the service life of the floor.

Step 1: Allow the Concrete to Fully Cure

It may seem apparent, but if you’ve just installed new concrete, you’ll need to let it fully cure before applying the epoxy coating. This takes a full 28 days. Don’t jump the gun! If your concrete isn’t new, you can skip to the next step.

Step 2: Clean the Surface

Dust, dirt, and debris are enemies to an epoxy coat’s adhesion to concrete! They get trapped under the surface and interfere with the bond between the epoxy and the concrete. Make sure you sweep away all debris into a pile and vacuum it away.

Once you’ve cleared the floor of loose materials, you can hose down or power wash it to take an extra step toward ultimate cleanliness. Squeegee away excess standing water to speed up the dry time. You should also remove any stains or spots with a diluted degreaser. Thoroughly rinse away any cleaning agents used because you do not want chemicals trapped underneath epoxy coating.

Step 3: Give the Concrete Profile

Prior to coating the floor, you need to prepare the concrete with a profile. This texture is referred to as CSP, which stands for “concrete surface profile”. This step is critical because it opens up the pores of the concrete, allowing the epoxy coating to sink in and adhere properly to the concrete. There are three main methods of preparing concrete as detailed below.

Acid Etching

Acid etching can achieve a low CSP for a thin coat of epoxy. While most professionals opt for other methods, this one is DIY-friendly and inexpensive. However, acid etching is not known to give the most level surface.

If this is the right method for your project and budget, start by buying hydrochloric acid, a commonly used pool chemical. Apply a solution of acid and water to the concrete surface and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. The acid breaks down any surface contaminants. Then, you’ll neutralize the acid with diluted ammonia and water. Do an extra rinse of just water to clear out any remaining chemicals. After the floor dries, you’re ready to start coating.

Diamond Grinding

For many professional floor coaters, diamond grinding is their method of choice. Diamond grinding is a simple process of sanding your floor with an industrial machine. The machine has rotating blades with abrasive bits that score the ground as it is pushed over the surface.

You’ll need to have this professionally done, or it requires an industrial machine rental. While diamond grinding is not the cheapest technique, it achieves excellent results, creating a level and uniform CSP. Grinding concrete creates dust, though, which should be thoroughly cleaned before applying the epoxy coat.

Shot Blasting

Shot blasting also requires a machine. Similar to diamond grinding, this machine is wheeled over the concrete while little steel balls pelt the concrete at a very high speed. The impact of the blasted medium does the preparatory abrasion, and there is little cleanup. If done properly, this method is efficient, and it’s a bit more budget-friendly than diamond grinding. However, improper shot blasting can create unwanted divots and an uneven surface.

Step 4: Fill Cracks

Check your concrete for cracks and identify areas that need repair. To repair a crack, first, you’ll need to clean out debris or loose gravel with a vacuum or pressure hose. Then, apply a thin layer of concrete bonding adhesive. Lastly, you’ll fill the crack with a crack filler. Now, the concrete is ready for epoxy coating!

About Performance Floors & Coating

Performance Floors & Coating specializes in installing high-quality epoxy floor coating in Tampa and the surrounding West Florida area. Our focus on customer satisfaction and fast service sets us apart from the competition, and we offer a 15-year warranty on any floor coating. Contact us online or call (813) 212-2271 to learn more about our services or to request a free quote.

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