Protective coatings for concrete – is the answer set in stone?
One common method for concrete protection is the use of performance coatings. However, choosing the right product to protect concrete isn’t that simple, but GSG Distribution can help with that.
Factors like the concrete’s age and condition, its environment, abrasive chemicals, and natural occurrences need to be considered first. Aside from this, the quality of concrete protection products, the surface preparation, and application restrictions need to be considered as well.
The right concrete protective coatings can give you lasting, cost-effective protection. However, before considering the right materials, there are some factors you should think about.
First, you need to check the product’s quality. To do this, you need to really get to know your chosen manufacturer as well as the quality of their products. Second, you need to check the performance and the safety test results of the product.
Now that that’s out of the way, there are several protective coatings for concrete you can choose from.
Epoxies do well in chemically corrosive environments. Examples of these environments are sewage treatment facilities and processing plants. Epoxies can also withstand the presence of substrates and moisture.
However, concrete protection by epoxies are not all that effective for places with a lot of ground movement, such as bunds and concrete tanks.
This material has a long life span if conditions aren’t that demanding. Compared to other protective coatings for concrete, it has also been around for a long time and is familiar to many. It used commonly in concrete bunds and tanks.
One drawback of this material is that it takes a long time to apply. It is composed of layers of resin and matting, applied over the course of a few days. GRP is also not recommended for environments with harsh chemicals, which can cause cracking.
Polyurethane is easy to apply and is the most popular among concrete protective coatings for commercial and industrial flooring. However, it is also strongly odorous when being applied. This makes polyurethane unsuitable for occupied spaces. Its bond to the concrete and coating also isn’t very durable.
This material is arguably better than other concrete protection products. For one thing, it dries after a few seconds. There is also not much surface preparation needed. It can also cope well with ground movement and temperature fluctuations. Because of this, polyurea is best for concrete protection for tanks, roofs, and gas digesters.
PROTECTIVE COATINGS TO KEEP YOUR CONCRETE SAFE
Protecting concrete from wear, tear, and weathering goes beyond picking some random performance coating and sticking with it. There are a lot of factors to take into account, like the condition of the concrete and how long it’s been standing. Location is important too. The environment, natural occurrences (think minor earthquakes, rainstorms, etc.), and the presence of abrasive chemicals in the surrounding area.
Performance coating is one of the best concrete protections available, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You have to base your decision on the quality of the coating, potential application restrictions, and standard surface preparation as well. The trick is to pick the right product to fulfill the parameters in place. Easy in theory, problematic in practice, right?
This is where experts like GSG Distribution can help.
CHOOSING CONCRETE PROTECTION PRODUCTS
Matching the coating to the conditions is not only the smartest way to go about concrete protection, but the most cost-effective solution as well. You don’t want to be dolling out dollars every couple months to replace the performance coating.
Take note of the product’s quality – you may end up buying a hybrid mix instead of pure, consistent coating. This takes a little bit of market research; consumer reports, case studies, testimonials, etc. The time you take for this now can save you heaps of resources in the future.
While you’re at it, also look into safety testing. Some companies – particularly those in Europe – rely on in-house testing instead of third-party testing. It’s technically legal, but there’s no way the results are a hundred percent unbiased.
A good rule of thumb is to simply just ask around.
Epoxies are generally great for damp substrates, and they hold up really well in the presence of moisture. If your area is humid, you might want to consider epoxy as your choice of concrete protection. They also perform exceedingly well in highly chemically corrosive environments – a definite bonus for those near chemical plants or sewage treatment facilities.
Unfortunately, concrete protection epoxies also dry slower than other coatings, and they’re quite difficult to apply. This can present a real problem for industrial processing plants. Epoxies also won’t hold up well in areas subject to dynamic cracking or sudden ground movement (in other words, it’s a no-go for earthquake-prone cities).
If you’re looking for heavy-duty coating, you might want to check out GRP. It’s one of the older coating solutions available, which speaks a lot about its reliability. Commonly used on concrete lining bunds and tanks, GRP is hard-wearing and can withstand harsh, less-than-favorable conditions.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s also quite difficult to apply. Slow application is key when handling GRP, especially since it’s built up in layers of resin and matting. The whole process can take days. And unlike epoxies, they don’t do too well in harsh chemical environments.
Despite its highly odorous nature, polyurethane is the popular choice for commercial concrete protection and industrial flooring. It’s easy to apply and easy to paint on, which makes for quicker turnover. Polyurethane is not recommended, however, for areas susceptible to constant motion. Due to its easy application, the bond between coating and concrete is quite easily broken.
Much like polyurethane, polyurea is easy to apply, easy to touch-up, and quick to dry. Minimal surface preparation is required when using this coating. It also forms a very solid bond with concrete in a matter of seconds, making it one of the best-suited concrete protection products for places with constant movement. It’s also quite durable, meaning it can cope pretty well with structural movement, extreme temperature change, and unpredictable weather/environment conditions.
And as far as drawbacks go, there haven’t been any reports strong enough to warrant an issue!