Application of epoxy floor coatings is as much about preparation as it is about application. Repairing damaged concrete requires careful attention to the repair of hairline cracks, spalling, minor “pitting”, and major cracks. The time spent will enhance the final appearance of your installed flooring.
When it comes to damaged concrete, the old adage “size matters” applies. Once the primer coat is applied, small hairline concrete cracks only require a little siliconized acrylic latex caulk. A quick scrape with a putty knife and presto, you’re done!
Like hairline cracks, saw cuts and tool joints, often seen in exterior concrete and garages, can also be repaired with siliconized acrylic latex caulk. Saw cuts and tool joints are cuts in the concrete that provide “planes of weakness” allowing for drying and shrinkage. They prevent the formation of random cracks in the concrete slab.
Isolation joints (separations where vertical wall meets horizontal floor) can also be “repaired” by using siliconized acrylic latex caulk. However, isolation joints can be large and may require the addition of one or more backer rods before caulking. It is important that excessive caulking never be used to fill large gaps in the concrete.
Larger cracks simply require more effort. A large crack can be defined as a crack exceeding the width of a dime and includes large concrete indentations and broken concrete edges. If you attempt to repair these problems with siliconized acrylic latex caulk alone, you’ll be back for re-repairs in short order.
These issues require the preparation and application of complex, quick-cure polyaspartic or poly urea, fine aggregate, and solvent mixtures of varying ratios. For vertical damage and broken concrete, the fine aggregate is switched out for a more thixotropic additive to produce a wet “peanut butter-like” consistency. This allows the mixture to stick to the vertical substrate or broken edge.
For large-scale damage on a horizontal substrate, preparation and application of 3-component “cementitious” mixtures may be required. GarageFloorCoating.com (www.garagefloorcoating.com) recently introduced its ZYCrete PMC series. This family of moisture-mitigating concrete repair products hide concrete imperfections varying from 1/16” to 1/4” in depth. Because these products combine concrete repair and primer coat in one step, they can save one or more days of installation!
Quality concrete preparation includes the proper repair of damaged concrete. This can be simple in the case of hairline cracks or complex in the case of large cracks or large-scale damage. Proper repairs will determine whether your installed epoxy flooring is beautiful, functional and durable…or not! Do not be enticed by your hardware store DIY kits or inexperienced “contractors”. Leave installation to the professionals.
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