Jan 28

Polyaspartic Coating for Concrete

What if in the sea of concrete sealants available on the market today, there was a new type of product that answered just about every operator’s wish list for achieving stunning looking concrete surfaces time after time? Too good to be true? What’s the catch? Let’s see what some of the claims that have been made about polyaspartic sealers:

What are the main Benefits of polyaspartics?

– Can be applied at any temperature (-30°F to 140°F).
– Bond to any concrete surface as long as it is prepped properly.
– Very low viscosity material can even seal small cracks due to its high flexibility.
– Produce a high film build with a single coat reaching 8 mils.
– Rapid curing to full strength  (from 5 to 120 minutes depending on the formula used).
– No or Low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) because made with high solids content.
– Superior stain and corrosion resistance.
– Greater impact resistance than epoxy or urethane coating.
– UV stable means it will never turn yellow and is a UV protected layer to the underlying coats.

That’s a pretty impressive list by any account!

So what are polyaspartic sealers made with?

Basically a two-part a polymer coating material where a resin is mixed to a catalyst to create the curing reaction that hardens the material. It has been compared to epoxy and was first invented in the mid 1980’s by Texaco Chemical Company. The original formula has since been experimented and vastly improved with a myriad of variables.

What are they best used for?
Residential and commercial applications.

Indoor:
Garage floors, auto showrooms, warehouses because of their high resistance to stain, heavy traffic, abrasion and chemical corrosion. The fact that an entire garage floor can be completed in 5 hours (instead of 5 days for an epoxy floor) when using polyaspartic coating, makes it stand out from the competition. Quartz sands or vinyl flecks can even be added to the formula for a more decorative finish look. While the cost of material may be a little higher than epoxy, the time saving makes it a superior alternative.

Great for sealing concrete counter tops due to their ability to resist acidic materials like lemon, wine etc. (link to other article)

polyaspartic coatingOutdoor:
Bridges – when embedded reinforced steel in bridges are sealed with polyaspartic coating, the structure is protected from the corrosion caused by fresh or sea water. All concrete piles of the 7-mile San Mateo/Hayward bridge in California received a 3-coat application of polyaspartic polymer during its construction, providing UV protection and deterring barnacles from clinging to the structure.

Limitations & risks

– Insufficient surface preparation can lead to disastrous results.
– Polyaspartics are impermeable so new floors should be cured for 28 days or more before applying sealer. If the substrate is contaminated or moisture is found on the surface, the coating will stick to it rather than the surface!
– Surfaces that have been cleaned with acid etching will not work because it lowers the pH and can cause delaminations problems.
– Potlife of some products can be less than 20 and as a result not adequate for large jobs.
– Product’s low tolerance for mis-application and poor installation practices.
– Not appropriate for floors with high moisture vapor emission rates.
– Fail to properly prepare will yield costly failures and rework.

CONCLUSION:
As for all new technologies, there is a phase of trial and error and a definite learning curve that are required. The most important thing to remember is that polyaspartic sealers are not for all jobs. The appeal in finishing a flooring surface in a day shouldn’t outweigh the other factors to consider. The two main causes of adhesion failure are the underlying surface has not been adequately prepared and when moisture is found on the surface. As long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, you should end up with a stunning results.

Examples of polyaspartic products:
InstaDrive from Kamcrete
Rapid 1000 from Rapid Coating Systems
Roll On Rock from Versatile Building Products

Have questions about concrete finishing, concrete pumps or accessories, give us a call at: (503)283-2105.United Equipment Sales

 

 

Additional reading
Different types of polyurea
Polyaspartic floor coating uses
Buyer’s Guide to polyaspartics

 

 

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Aug 05

Architectural & Decorative Concrete

The concrete industry has come a long way and keeps reinventing itself to answer the needs of builders, architects and even decorators. With more and more home owners attracted to a greener and more sustainable lifestyle, we have seen, in more recent years, a new use of concrete, blending innovation and artistry to create truly unique surfaces for interior floors, patios and kitchen counters. Here are some of the coolest new possibilities:

Concrete Countertops in the kitchen:

Granite Counter top

When you think kitchen countertop, a few options usually come up. Depending on your budget, you can get high end and more expensive products like: polished granite, marble, quartz, soapstone, stainless steel and glass.  On the cheaper end and ideal for DIY afficionados, you have tile, wood and laminate. Other options that are becoming more popular are concrete and recycled concrete. The later one being one of the most eco-friendly choice that allows you to combine post-consumer products like glass, paper, composite and plastic with concrete for a truly unique finished product.

Plain concrete can be used in countertops, landscaping and customized with various textures and finishes (stain color). A really nice feature of concrete is its ability to be energy efficient. Whenever the temperature rises, the concrete traps the heat and releases it when the temperature cools down.

White Portland cement
To transform what may be viewed as boring cold grey concrete into bright, elegant aesthetic surfaces requires a combination of special ingredients, forms and finishing technique. The magical ingredient in this case is white Portland cement.  It comes plain or pigmented and is available in wide array of colors, from pastel to saturated colors. It can be used indoor or outdoor and has the same durability properties as grey cement but contains more metal oxides like iron and manganese, giving it its whiteness. White cement concrete is used in exposed architectural concrete, landscaping, building accents and more. It provides greater energy efficiency and safety because of its light color.

Some design ideas

Stone finishing

Concrete can be transformed to look like natural stone. To create this effect, you will need to cast the concrete in an integral color then apply multiple layers of acid stain to the surface until the desired result is obtained. TIP: Use the veins produced by the marbelizing effect to hide seams on your countertop.

Wood grained concrete texture

 

Create a wood-grained finish to any surface by applying a technique called “board forming”. To create this unique texture, you will need to cast the concrete in forms that have been previously lined with unfinished wood that will imprint the wood texture into the concrete surface. You can also create board lines by cutting straight lines with a saw after it is cast. Next is creating a realistic color using both integral color with topical stains.

To create a smooth and elegant look to your surface, you can polish or sand your concrete. It is recommended that the counter top be poured in one piece and not show any seam. To create the look of marble, you will need to use a titanium-white concrete mix that contains white silica sand. You can also hand sand the surface lightly for a less shiny and more natural look.

Exposed Aggregate Finish
This is where the use of post-consumer products like glass, stones, bricks, even shells can be recycled and added to concrete to make truly unique finished surface. There are 3-4 steps to create this type of finish: first you pour the concrete, then you insert pieces of material of your choice (broken glass, decorative stone, shells etc.) Once the concrete has set  you grind the surface to expose the aggregate. Finish with a high gloss sealer to protect your newly created surface.
TIP: for spectacular results it is best to select pieces that will create the most contrast with the concrete color.

If you are looking for a good deal on a concrete pump or want to make sure you have the right pump for the job, give us a call at: (503)283-2105 or visit us at: www.Unitedequipmentsales.com

Related reading
Milestones in the history of concrete construction
Photos of concrete counter tops
Applications for architectural concrete