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Painting A Garage Floor

As we all know, it is notoriously hard to find a truly successful and long-term paint solution for a garage floor.  The two main reasons are:

1.The parking of a vehicle with hot tyres.

Like any other material, tyre rubber expands as it gets hot which causes the tyre size to increase. As the tyre cools, it contracts and shrinks back to its original state. When parked on a painted surface, this contraction of the tyre compounded with the weight of the vehicle causes the tyre to grip the surface and as a result, when the car moves, the paint delaminates from the surface of the substrate.

2.Oil contamination.

Oil contamination is one of the biggest reasons for the failure of a garage floor paint. The reason for this is because soaks down into the pores of the concrete. No matter how clean you make the surface, the residual oil that has soaked into the substrate then rises back up to the surface. By painting the floor with a totally impervious floor paint or sealer, this then makes the floor sweat and cause the oil to rise faster.

An example of this ‘sweating’ can be seen easily if you lay a plastic sheet over grass in the summer. You may have had no rain for weeks but by covering the ground with an impervious sheet of plastic, you will see the grass become wet in only a very short pace of time as the moisture rises from the ground below. Thus, so does the oil on your garage floor when it is covered with an impervious paint.

A Proven and Successful Solution

Polycote OT Primer

Polycote OT Primer has been professionally formulated to tenaciously adhere oil contaminated substrates and is ideal for use in commercial garages. It will take exceptional wear and tear, even under constant use of cars, heavy goods vehicles, and is even used extensively in aircraft hangers.  This resin can bind up to 15% oil into itself whist curing and thus adhere strongly to contaminated surfaces, as has been proven in garages and hangers for well over 30 years, on over 1 million sq.m.

Furthermore, VOSA state that ‘inspection pits must be fully sealed to prevent the ingress of water’.  Polycote OT Primer cures to a completely impervious waterproof seal and as a result, this primer is ideal for the tanking and waterproofing of MOT inspection pits.

Flortex Professional Garage Floor Paint.

We have several top-coats suitable for garages but the most popular by far is Flortex Professional Garage Floor Paint. This is a high build, 100% solids, pure epoxy top-coat capable of withstanding the heaviest traffic, from cars and HGVs to plane hangars and train maintenance depots.  We have even successfully applied it in a tank museum!

Flortex Professional Garage Floor Paint is totally impervious and much easier to clean than standard floor paints.  Furthermore, it is extremely chemical resistant and can withstand oil, petrol, diesel and skydrol, to name but a few.

Polycote’s Greatest Proof of a Successful Garage Floor Paint

For the first 24 years of its life, our own warehouse was used as an HGV workshop and was therefore impregnated with all sorts of oil and grease contamination. It had been painted every 3 months and nothing had proved successful. Due to this contamination, it has worn and peeling paint everywhere and if that wasn’t enough, it even had rising damp issues!!  We removed all the remaining paint, dust and any loose material using a vacuum assisted shot blaster. Back in 2002, we primed the floor with OT Primer and top coated with Flortex Professional and at the time of writing (22 years later), this same floor has never been repainted and is still going strong!! Please be free to come and see!!

Linemarking In Garages and MOT Bays

Safety is paramount within working environments both for the employees and for visitors and the clear identification of walkways, inspection pit edges, traffic zones and other hazardous areas.  These might include black/yellow chevrons, safety yellow lines and cross-hatching and are paramount to ensuring people are aware of their boundaries and/or hazards that might be around them.

The line marking of MOT bays, inspection pits and beam setter markings are required to meet VOSA standards.

Epoxy Line Marking

If you are looking for a professional finish to your garage or MOT Bays, the best and longest lasting markings are with the use of Polycote EPS Linemarker. This has a unique pot-life once mixed of up to 12 hours, giving the applicator plenty of time for both easy and accurate line marking.

PVC Linemarking Tape

We stock a full range of PVC Linemarking Tape including plain colours and two colour chevrons. These are high quality and longer lasting tapes suitable for instant use and will adhere to almost any flooring material such as concrete, painted surfaces, wood, metal, tiles, etc.

Anti-Slip Paint, Anti-Slip Tape and GRP Stair Treads

All our garage floor paints and line marking paints are available as an anti-slip version, along with a full range of anti-slip tapeFurthermore, we have pre-formed GRP Stair Treads that are excellent for use on the steps down into inspection pits. No matter whether the area is hot or cold, wet, or dry, clean, or oily, simply screw the GRP Treads to the top of each tread for an instant and long-lasting anti slip solution.

Preparation Of the Garage Floor Is Vital for Success

The importance of correct preparation cannot be overstated and to help you do this, we you need to identify your specific needs.

My Floor Is Already Sealed with A Floor Sealer.

 This can actually prove to be a real problem as the existing sealer prevents the new epoxy from adhering to the concrete itself. Whilst the epoxy will grip tenaciously to the existing sealer, the strengths and adhesive qualities of the epoxy are effectively lost as the final finish will only be adhered as good or poor as the original sealer is to the floor!  It is therefore strongly advised to remove this sealer prior to applying any new coating.

My Floor Is Already Painted with A Floor Paint.

If the floor has been previously painted with a floor paint or sealer, please make absolutely sure that any paint left on the surface (prior to your new paint or screed) has fully adhered to the surface.

If you have any flaking or peeling paint, then it is absolutely vital you remove all the existing paint, down the hard substrate.  This is mostly achieved with the use of vacuum assisted machinery such as diamond grinders and/or shot blasters.

This further note may sound a little rudimentary but please remember that if you apply a coating or screed over an existing paint that has not adhered well to the surface, you might as well paint over a sheet of A4 paper and wonder why your new paint is lifting!

You simply MUST remove all loose, flaking, peeling material if you want a success long lasting job.

My Garage Floor Is Brand New

 One of the biggest causes of failures is when people think a ‘new’ floor is perfect to paint.  Unfortunately, 99 times out of 100, this is far from the truth!

Newly laid and untreated floors are extremely porous and attract every bit of contamination possible, especially when vehicles and trucks have been driven over them during construction.  Rubber from tyres as well as oil drips and spills. Plaster, paint, and overspray from other trades. And the biggest problem of all – dust and surface laitance.

Even with brand new and well power floated floors, a professional painter would NEVER paint such floors without first preparing them with either an acid etch (Polycote Etch IT) or mechanically, using a vacuum assisted diamond grinder or shot blaster.

My Garage Floor Is Dusty / Porous / Weak

It is extremely important to vacuum or brush the floor to remove all loose/friable material. It is also advisable to key the surface even if it is hard, either with the use of acid etch (Polycote Etch It) or mechanically.

If, after you have completed the preparation and the substrate is still delaminating or dusting, then this needs to be properly treated with a suitable primer otherwise you will be completely wasting your time. Obviously, each matter needs to be considered on an individual basis, but the only way to be able to achieve success on such poor or weak surfaces is to ‘flood’ the floor with a low viscosity pure epoxy – Polycote EP Primer. This ‘pure’ epoxy is not water or solvent based and cures only by chemical reaction.  Therefore, it can be applied thickly, enough to be able to penetrate well into the substrate and fully cure within the substrate, thus almost turning the existing concrete into ‘a form of’ an epoxy screed.  However, as already mentioned, each situation needs to be carefully considered on a case by case basis.

My Garage Floor Has Rising Damp

If your floor has rising damp, this is another major reason why floor paints and screeds fail.

Having fully prepared the floor, apply one coat of DPM Primer. This is a twin pack epoxy resin primer formulated specifically to adhere surfaces where rising water may be present.  However, please note that such primers are not suitable if water is ‘running’ into the area as the resin will not have time to cure before being affected by the water. Whilst one coat is often sufficient, it is highly advised to apply two coats to help ensure there are no pin holes, and that a complete 100% coverage is achieved.

A Smart Investment

Painting your garage floor is a simple and cost-effective way to improve the appearance, durability, maintenance, and safety of your garage. With so many colours and textures to choose from, you can create a custom look that matches your preferences and style. Whether you use your garage as a heavy-duty commercial workspace or simply as a place to park your car, a painted garage floor is a smart investment that can pay off in the long term.

Improved Appearance

A dull, stained garage floor can detract from the overall look of your garage, making it a less attractive space to work in and less attractive to your customers. Conversely, to paint the garage floor will transform its appearance, making the space more visually appealing and a far more pleasant customer experience.

With a wide variety of colours and textures to choose from, you can create a custom look that matches your preferences and style.

If you want a sleek and modern look, you can choose a high-gloss finish in a bold colour such as red or blue. If you prefer a more rustic or industrial look, you can choose a textured finish that resembles stone or concrete, even a clear coating. The possibilities are endless, and the result is a garage floor that is not only functional but also looks great.

Corporate Image

In today’s age, it is not only difficult to attract customers to your garage but with increasing competition, we realise that customer retention is equally important.

Corporate image was normally reserved for paperwork, the sign above your door and employees dress code. However, commercial garage floors are now becoming a major part of a professional corporate image.

For the larger customers with several branches, who have left each branch to sort out its own floors with varying degrees of success, along with whatever type of paint and colour they might choose, companies now realise this is far below the standard expected if they are to gain customers and loyalty.

Even the same line marking paint!  Why should you have one branch have yellow lines and another have white?  Why should one branch have 4” wide lines and another with 2” wide?

A full colour scheme can be discussed to ensure all branches are fully aligned with each other and bring in a complete transformation to propel your company into the 21st century!  We will supply the same product and the same company colours to all branches and ensure that each branch can be quickly and easily recognised, not only by customer but suppliers too, no matter whether it is in Plymouth, London, or Edinburgh.

We also highlight the benefits of what we term as ‘Corporate Safety’ and these are mentioned separately.  Please see the subsection entitled ‘Corporate Safety’ below.

Corporate Safety

Safety is an extremely important part within the Corporate Imaging of the company and to this end, the colour coding of specific areas is an important consideration and covers all personnel, no matter whether it is customers, employees and/or suppliers.

Customers

This can include the clear demarcation of waiting areas, customer inspection areas and fire escape routes.

Suppliers

Many garages now colour code both the goods in and goods out areas which they have proven to massively help suppliers and couriers to identify quickly and easily where goods should either be left or collected from.  Garages, particularly large venues can also save a huge amount of time and cost as both suppliers and employees know exactly where products can be found.

Employees

The colour coding of sites has huge safety advantages. Walkways and hazardous areas are easily identifiable. Even fire extinguisher and fire hose positions can be easily defined for quicker identification in an emergency.

Furthermore, this all has a massive advantage as and when employees visit different sites within the company.  Colour coding is self-explanatory, and employees are able to instantly identify any hazardous areas and/or where to look for emergency equipment which has further proved a reduction in the amount of both accidents and injuries.

Increased Durability

Painting your garage floor helps protect it from damage due to wear and tear, such as cracks, chips, and stains. The paint forms a protective barrier, which helps prevent damage from moisture, chemicals, and oil. This added durability can prolong the life span of your garage floor, saving you the cost of repair or replacement in the long term.

In addition to protecting your garage floor from damage, painting it can also make it more resistant to extreme temperatures. This is especially important if you live in an area with harsh winters or hot summers. The paint can even help regulate the temperature of your garage, making it a more comfortable space to work in year-round.

Easier Maintenance

A painted garage floor is easier to keep clean than one with bare concrete. The smooth, coated surface makes it simple to sweep or mop up spills, making the garage floor more functional for everyday use. This is especially important if you use your garage as a workspace or if you have children or pets who spend time in the space.

With a painted garage floor, you don’t have to worry about dirt and grime getting ground into the concrete, which can be difficult to remove. Instead, you can simply wipe the surface clean with a damp cloth or mop, keeping your garage floor looking clean and tidy with minimal effort.

Do You Consider Garage Floor Paint as A Cost or An Investment?

Our advice is to try not to think of the painting of a floor as a ‘cost’ but more as an ‘investment’, and we want to make it clear that this is NOT just sales talk.

To coat the floors not only strengthens the concrete but seals and protects from contamination.  A sealed floor rather than a porous surface makes cleaning routines far quicker and easier, thereby saving time, effort, and money.

A painted floor makes the entire environment a far brighter and happier place to work, which has been proven to raise the morale of the employees as well as the productivity and cleanliness!

By investing in a high-quality paint, this will last far longer and consequently reduces the need and/or frequency of recoating.

In our humble opinion, when considering all the above points, a good quality paint is truly an investment whereas a cheap, poorly laid paint always ends in a far greater cost!

Finally, three ‘old’ sayings worthy of note:

“It is always cheaper to do the job right, the first time.” Philip Crosby

“It’s hard enough to do it the first time, so do it once and do it right!” Steve Britchford

“Cost is often treated as more important than quality, but quality is the best way to reduce cost.” Genichi Taguchi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Paint Fridge & Freezer Floors 

If you have made the decision to paint the floor in your chilled warehouse or cold store floor, this has historically proved a logistical nightmare due to the cold conditions. It is often impossible to turn off a fridge or freezer in order to raise the temperatures suitable for standard floor paints. In any case, it is not advisable due to the massive amount of expansion the building/flooring is subjected to, that can cause many other issues including cracking as well as massive condensation issues, all of which work against the painting of a floor.

Whilst this next point might be obvious, a lot of people who warm up the area fail to consider that the heat being introduced rises and as a consequence, it takes an awful lot longer to raise the temperature of the concrete or metal floor!

Polycote now have the answer with floor coatings and repair products that are able to cure in temperatures down to -60°C! Furthermore, they are extremely fast curing in only 1-2 hours, thereby drastically reducing expensive downtime and aggravation. Please remember as with all paints and sealers, the actual curing time will be governed by the temperature of the room and/or substrate.

Most Common Fridge and Freezer Floor Paints

For fridges and chilled areas, Flortex MC Standard can be applied in temperatures down to 0°C and will cure in only 1-2 hours.

For freezers and cold stores, use Flortex MC CSG (Cold Store Grade). This paint can be applied down to minus 60°C and again, will also cure in only 1-2 hours.

Application Guides and Tips

Preparing Concrete Floors

Thoroughly clean the floor to remove any surface debris, dirt, dust, and especially oil and grease stains. This step is essential as any dirt or other debris left will prevent the paint or sealer from adhering to the solid concrete substrate below.

If the floor is already painted with a concrete floor paint, even an epoxy paint, make absolutely sure the old paint has fully adhered to the concrete surface, before painting a fresh coat over the top.

Flaking or not adhered well, make sure all loose/flaking paint is fully removed, otherwise you are headed for failure. Painting over the top of old paint that is loose, even with an epoxy concrete coating, the end result will be no different than painting over a sheet of paper! Frankly, an utter waste of time and money!

For larger industrial sized floor areas, the professional way to prepare a concrete surface is to use a vacuum assisted shot blaster or diamond grinder.

We have approved installers able to complete this work for you. Alternatively, we are able to hire the machinery for you to complete the work using your own labour. Diamond grinders can also help smooth out worn or poorly laid concrete in order for you to achieve a smooth finish.

Oil and any other contaminants must also be cleaned from the surface of concrete floors.

Repairing Holes and Cracks

Repair any cracks or imperfections in the surface of the substrate prior to the application of the concrete floor paint. Cracks can compromise the effectiveness of the sealer and allow moisture to seep through, leading to potential damage.

Our MC Primer is a low viscosity primer and is ideal for filling structural cracks within concrete floors… To fill/repair fine blemishes and small holes, simply mix the MC Primer with kiln dried sand and this will form an extremely tough mortar that can be trowelled super smooth and will dry in less than 30 minutes.

Finally, for larger holes, such as where you might have suffered impact damage or where bolts have been removed from the floor, Cretex MC Standard has been formulated to be easy to use and extremely fast curing. Use Cretex MC Standard for areas above 0°C. Use Cretex MC CSG for areas below freezing.

If you have damp areas, particularly in or near to entrances to the store, where the temperature differences between inside and outside are huge, this often result in the formation of ice and the subsequent ‘blowing’ of the concrete due to constant freeze/thaw cycles.

If this is the case, Cretex LT is excellent for such repairs as this comes as a dry powder and is mixed with warm water.  This product is suitable for repairs down to -20°C.

Expansion Joints.

If you have issues with expansion joints, these are best filled with Polycote Jointex CSG after you have coated the floor. The reason for this is to prevent the coating from cracking over the joint, due to expansion and contraction.

Please allow all floor repairs to cure before covering with any floor primers or paints.

Important

First and foremost, these are industrial, professional products and it is essential to read and understand the application instructions as stated on the product data sheet BEFORE proceeding. Different paints and sealers can be applied by paint roller, brush, squeegee, or sprayer.

Each paint type will have different application methods, coverage’s, and drying times. Again, the product data sheets have all the information necessary for you to complete a good job.

If anything is unclear, no matter how small or insignificant it might appear, please ring the technical team, BEFORE mixing. These product cure quickly and you will have no time to waste after mixing, to start asking questions!

A good tip is to store the paint in the cold store to help reduce the temperature which will then help lengthen the pot life.  If the tins are stored outside and therefore ‘warm’, this can drastically reduce the pot life (working time) of the resin as it will cure much faster.

Applying The Primer Coat

It is important to apply enough primer to be able to penetrate the surface to not only seal the concrete but to allow a good bond. It is always advisable to apply an even coat as much as possible.

However, you will almost always find that some parts of the floor are more porous than others this will be why the first coat might appear patchy. the paint will soak into some areas due to the concrete being more porous, whereas in other areas where the concrete is denser, the paint starts to build on the surface and has begun to show a nice even sheen. This is all perfectly normal, and the second coloured coat (Flortex MC) should then achieve a nice gloss finish.

Apply the paint evenly, working in small sections. Start from one corner of the room and work your way towards the exit to avoid stepping on the freshly applied sealer. Ensure that the sealer is applied evenly and without leaving puddles or streaks.

Applying The Top Coat

As with the primer, store the resin in the cold store to help reduce the temperature. This will then give more application time and allow you to complete a quality job and leave a nice finish.

It is important to wait for the first coat to dry completely BEFORE applying the second coat.  If the substrate is very porous, then it may be advisable to apply a second coat. Avoid over-application and brush out any puddling, as this may lead to an uneven finish. Flortex MC can be applied by brush, roller, or squeegee.

How To Achieve a Non Slip Finish

Both Flortex MC Standard and Flortex MC CSG top coats have an anti-slip option. This is where the ‘standard’ coating is supplied with a non-slip aggregate that is either mixed in with the paint prior to application or can be sprinkled onto the first coat whilst it is wet and then the second (top) coat is applied over to completely seal in the aggregate.

You may well have been frustrated in the past due to the so called non slip paint becoming smooth after only a short period of time and this is simply due to the poor strength of the aggregate used to achieve a slip resistant finish.

The calcined bauxite aggregate we supply, has one of the highest levels of shore hardness with a Mohs level of 8.5. and can withstand both constant and heavy traffic and still maintain good slip resistance for many years. For more information on the Mohs levels, see https://www.nps.gov/articles/mohs-hardness-scale.htm

Curing And Drying Times

After applying the primer, allow it to cure and dry, normally around 1 hour. The top coat can then be applied over the primer. Allow 1-32 hours to cure before allowing use of the area.

Remember that the curing and drying time can vary greatly depending on the environmental conditions as well as the type of sealer used.

To allow for the correct and sufficient curing times will ensure the primer bonds effectively to the concrete and will withstand the wear and tear of daily life and thus, provide long-lasting protection. It is crucial to follow the recommended curing time before subjecting the floor to regular use.

Hazards To Avoid When Painting Concrete Floors

Applying the coating too thin

When applying too thinly, often when persons are trying to cover an area as cheaply as possible, remember that you will have next to no penetration and the final coating will be very weak.  The longevity of even an expensive paint when applied to thinly will be hugely reduced!

Use of chemicals

No matter whether you use basic cleaning chemicals or the possibility of more harsh chemicals spilling onto the floor, make sure the coating has the fully cured before being exposed to chemicals.

Water, Condensation, Dew Point.

It is best to allow the coating to cure for at least 4 hours before being subjected to water.

High humidity levels and/or condensation dripping down onto the concrete floor, especially where a fridge or freezer has been turned off prior to painting, can cause an uncured floor coating to ‘bloom’ thus causing an unsightly whiteness to the surface.

This discolouration does not normally have too much of an ill-effect and will, in many cases, actually ‘wear off’ over time.  However, if the coating is subjected to too much surface water, and in the worst-case scenario, this can result in a poor or even non-cure situation.

Mixing and Pot-Life

As mentioned above, you can store the resins in the fridge or freezer to lower the temperature of the resins and thus extend the pot life of the product once mixed.

The pot life is the period of time you have to apply before the coating goes too hard and is mostly dictated by the curing time of the said product.  The faster the curing time, the shorter the pot life. Please consult with the manufacturer’s product data sheets BEFORE mixing.

Make certain that the product is mixed in the correct proportions. as stated on the data sheet.

Finally, and for obvious reasons, don’t mix more material than what you can apply within the given (pot-life) time.

Health & Safety Precautions

Suitable clothing, including footwear, coats, trousers, hats, and gloves should be worn by all applicators to cope with the cold conditions, especially in cold stores where the temperatures can be as low as -60°C. Furthermore, suitable respirators and goggles should also be worn to ensure the full safety of the applicator.

 

 

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A Crash Course in finding the best Floor Paint for your Industrial Area!

As we all know, there are hundreds of manufacturers and thousands of suppliers. Furthermore, most people have had many disappointments with their chosen floor paint, whether it be a case of bubbling, delaminating and/or simply not lasting.

Here, I’m going to give you a crash course in some basic facts that will highlight points that you may never have known or even considered before and help you to make the best decision for YOUR needs.  I’m going to highlight three main products/options and tell you the differences/benefits of each and then I will show you the price differences for a theoretical 120sq.m floor area and leave you to make your own choice.

The three products to be considered are:

PB Floor Paint, a single pack polyurethane floor paint

Flortex SG, a water based twin pack epoxy floor paint, and finally…

Flortex Professional, a twin pack 100% solids pure epoxy floor paint.

Option 1: PB FLOOR PAINT. A single pack polyurethane floor paint

Example: 120sq.m floor area.  Applied at 30sq.m per 5L unit = 4 tins. Two coats required = 8 tins

8 x 5L tins @ £76.45 each, equals a total cost of £611.60. Price per sq.m = £5.10

A single pack means that it can be applied directly from the tin. Most single pack paints are either water based, or solvent based, and they cure atmospherically. In other words, the water or the solvent evaporates into the atmosphere and as it does so, leaves the ‘solids’ of the paint to cures to a final ‘hard’ finish. Due to this evaporation process, this can leave a micro porous finish which then means that liquids such as water and oil can penetrate through the paint and thus, over a period of time, the paint delaminates from the floor.

In industrial areas where oil is present, this creates an even greater problem as the oil that has seeped through into the floor substrate below, then prevents any other subsequent paints from sticking. Bacteria loves a micro porous finish, and this is one fundamental reason why single pack paints are not regarded as suitable for kitchens or any other food production or processing areas. For any of the above- mentioned areas, a twin pack epoxy is strongly recommended, as follows:

Option 2:  FLORTEX SG. A twin pack, water-based epoxy floor paint

Example: 120sq.m floor area.  Applied at 30sq.m per 5kg unit = 4 tins. Two coats = 8 tins

8 x 5kg units @ £115.85 each, equals a total cost of £926.80. Price per sq.m = £7.72

First and foremost, epoxy resin is one of the world’s strongest forms of adhesive and a twin pack epoxy floor paint (supplied in two parts, a base resin, and a hardener) is one of the strongest floors with the best adhesive qualities.  The second important point is that due to twin pack formulation. When mixing the two parts together, the paint cures by way of chemical reaction (rather than simply atmospherically) and this leaves a totally impervious surface from above.

So, when spilling liquids onto the floor, they do not get ‘into’ or through the paint and therefore, not only is your substrate fully protected but also your cleaning routines are far easier that when using a single pack (micro porous) paint.  Due to being impervious, this also helps to reduce smells in areas as any offensive liquids (especially in washrooms, toilets, animal house, pens, etc) do not seep into the paint/substrate.

So, in summary, for an extra £315, Flortex SG will adhere far stronger to the substrate, will far outlast a single pack floor paint as well as making the area easier to clean, meet health and safety requirements for food areas and finally, offer a more pleasant and less odourous place to work in / visit.

Option 3:  One coat of WD Primer and One coat of Flortex Professional.

Example: 120sq.m floor area.

WD Primer, applied at 30sq.m per 5kg unit = 4 units. £96.90 per 5kg unit = £387.60

Flortex Professional, applied at 40sq.m per 15kg drum = 3 drums. £218.90 per 15kg drum = £656.70

Total price for both coats = £1044.30. Price per sq.m = £8.70

Firstly, I want to make clear that Flortex SG is both an excellent floor paint and also a very popular choice of our customers. Furthermore, it has been laid over millions of sq.m since our inception in 1991 and has been proven in almost every type of industrial and commercial environment. However,…!

All professional painters prefer to apply a ‘professional’ primer before applying a top coat. The reason for this is that they are manufactured with adhesion promoters and have better penetrating abilities into the substrate due to being less viscous. The higher viscosity of the top coat is mostly due to pigment clays and high build fillers included within the paint.

WD Primer has been professionally formulated with advanced adhesion promoters and has incredible adhesion to most surfaces including concrete, stone, terrazzo, and even ceramic and quarry tiles! We completed a pull off test between WD Primer and a ceramic floor tile. The primer did not pull off the tile before the tile itself shattered!

Flortex Professional has also been professionally formulated for ultimate strength and wearability.  It has incredibly high impact, abrasion, and chemical resistance.  It has been proven on over 2 million sq.m in some of the most demanding environments.  We have sites where this system has been in constant use for 10, 15 and even over 20 years, and still going strong.

So, which one is for you?

If you already know that you are looking for a twin pack epoxy coating, lets now consider the difference between Option 2 (two coats of Flortex SG) and Option 3 (WD Primer and Flortex Professional).

First and foremost, Flortex SG and WD Primer are the same base resins. However, when pigment (colour) is included within a resin (Flortex SG), it reduces its priming capability. Basically, the pigment obviously does nothing to help it stick to the surface and by including it, the product becomes ‘thicker’ and therefore reduces its ability to penetrate the substrate.

The adhesive qualities of WD Primer are so much greater because instead of adding a pigment, we include advanced adhesion promotors to really make it stick, so much so, it can adhere strongly to ceramic and quarry tiles, never mind the usual materials such as concrete, wood and stone. When all is said and done, the very first coat is actually more important than any subsequent coat, simply because if the first coat doesn’t adhere well, no matter what you apply over the top, everything is relying on the adhesion of the first coat. And ultimately, this is why so many coatings fail.

Other differences

Now that we have made it clear as to the first coat, let’s look at the differences between the top coat using Flortex SG as opposed to Flortex Professional.  Here you will see, the difference is massive!

When applying a water based resin, you need to know the solid content, which then tells you the water content. Let’s just say hypothetically it is a 50% solids resin (which is quite a popular percentage) this then means the product is around 50% water. If this is indeed the percentage, what no salesman will ever make clear to you is that 50% of what you are buying is going to evaporate and leave you with on 50% of what you have bought on the floor.  Therefore, if you purchase a 5kg unit, you only end up with 2.5kgs on the floor!!!

Flortex Professional is a 100% solids high build epoxy coating, frankly the best you can get.  And when you apply a 15kg unit onto your floor, 15kgs STAYS on the floor.

So back to our example area of 120sq.m, and just considering the difference between the two topcoats, for Option 2, you would buy 4 x 5kg units of Flortex SG (a total of 20kgs) which would leave 10kgs of cured material on the floor. For Option 3, you would buy 3 x 15kgs (a total of 45kgs) whereby the whole 45kgs STAYS on the floor.

Summary

In summary, with Option 3, not only do you get a FAR better first (priming) coat, but the top coat ends up 4.5 times thicker and will therefore last many times longer that Flortex SG. And the coat difference…?  Only £117.50 or 98p per sq.m.

Now you can make you own informed choice. A floor that is over 4.5 times better for less than a quid extra per square metre! Respectfully speaking, it’s a no-brainer!

Other Polycote Primers

Oily and contaminated surfaces, replace the WD Primer for OT Primer

Areas suffering from rising damp, replace WD Primer for DPM Primer

Screeds that are very poor and unstable, replace WD Primer for EP Primer

So why wait?

Transform your industrial environs, whether it be the warehouse, factory, production area or commercial garage!

Choose a product from our high quality range of heavy duty epoxy floor coatings and reap the rewards that extend far beyond simple aesthetics.

If you are genuinely looking for a long term solution, and unsure as to the best one for you, simply ring Polycote now on 01234 846 780.

Speak to one or our advisors who will find out out your exact requirements and then be able to intelligently tell you exactly WHAT you should use and WHY!

Finally, three ‘old’ sayings worthy of note:

“It is always cheaper to do the job right, the first time.” Philip Crosby

“It’s hard enough to do it the first time, so do it once and do it right!” Steve Britchford

“Cost is often treated as more important than quality, but quality is the best way to reduce cost.” Genichi Taguchi

 

 

 

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How To Paint Concrete Floors

If you have decided to start painting a concrete floor, proper application is crucial for the effectiveness and longevity of the concrete floor paint or sealer. Here is a guide with some tips, to help the process of a successful application.

Preparing Concrete Floors

Thoroughly clean the floor to remove any surface debris, dirt, dust, and especially oil and grease stains. This step is essential as any dirt or other debris left will prevent the paint or sealer from adhering to the solid concrete substrate below.

If necessary, etch the concrete to ensure proper adhesion of the sealer. Etching involves using an acid-based solution such as Polycote Etch IT to remove the weak laitance and dust.  The etching solution will also help create a keyed texture to a smooth surface which then helps the sealer to penetrate and bond effectively to the substrate.

If the floor is already painted with a concrete floor paint, even an epoxy paint, make absolutely sure the old paint has fully adhered to the concrete surface, before painting a fresh coat over the top. If it is flaking or not adhered well, make sure it is fully removed (a wire brush will make this an easy job and is ideal for this), otherwise you are headed for failure. If you do paint over the top of old paint that is loose, even with an epoxy concrete coating, the end result will be no different than painting over a sheet of paper! Frankly, an utter waste of time and money!

For larger industrial sized floor areas, the professional way to prepare a concrete surface is to use a vacuum assisted shot blaster or diamond grinder. We have approved installers able to complete this work for you. Alternatively, we are able to hire the machinery for you to complete the work using your own labour and elbow grease. Diamond grinders can also help smooth out worn or poorly laid concrete in order for you to achieve a smooth finish.

Oil and any other contaminants must also be cleaned from the surface of concrete floors. Polycote Degrease IT is an excellent product to help remove contamination or other concrete stain. Degrease It is designed to lift the oil from the surface which can then be washed away with clean water and/or can be removed using a suitable aqua vac machine.

It is best to allow the concrete surfaces to dry as much as possible before applying the chosen concrete paint or concrete sealer.

Repairing Holes And Cracks

Repair any cracks or imperfections in the surface of the substrate prior to the application of the concrete floor paint. Cracks can compromise the effectiveness of the sealer and allow moisture to seep through, leading to potential damage. Fill in the cracks with a suitable low viscosity resin such as Crackfiller EP100. Fine blemishes and small holes can be filled with products such as Easi-fil which is a tough and extremely durable product that can be trowelled super smooth and will dry in less than 30 minutes.  Finally for larger holes, where maybe you might have impact damage or where bolts have been removed from the floor, products such as Cretex EP require minimal experience and will prove to be quick and easy to use.

Should you need to fill holes that are contaminated with oil on a garage floor for example, our Cretex OT Mortar is a highly specialised epoxy resin floor repair that includes oil tolerant resins in order to adhere to oil contaminated floors.  This should be included in your ‘must have supplies’, especially in garages and engineering workshops.

Allow any crack fillers or patching compounds to dry completely before applying the sealer coat.

Ensure Substrate Is As Dry As Possible

First and foremost, if you are intending to use a solvent based paints such as Flortex PU, it is crucial to ensure that the concrete floor is completely dry.  Solvent based products will not adhere to damp surfaces.

Water based Paints such as WD Primer, Flortex SG or Flortex Clearseal will adhere to damp concrete surfaces. However, even though they are tough and durable, we still strongly advise to have the floor as dry as possible and the reason for this is very simple:  If the floor is wet, the pores or the concrete are ‘filled’ with water and thus, the chosen primer will achieve little to no penetration of the substrate. The concrete paint will achieve far better adhesion and be far longer lasting if it is allowed to penetrate and ‘lock’ well into the substrate. Apart from this, any moisture left on the surface prior to application of the sealer may well result in an uneven finish as well as a poor or even non-cure situation.

High build and pure epoxy paints such as Flortex Professional and Flortex EP, should all be applied to a dry floor. If any water or dampness has been in the area, it is always advised to allow the surface to air dry for at least 24 hours and ensure there if appropriate air circulation. Of course, the use of dehumidifiers or fans, or raising the ambient temperature with the use of heaters, can all help speed up the drying process prior to painting concrete.

Has Your Floor Got A Damp Proof Membrane (DPM)?

A damp proof membrane is normally a plastic sheet that has been laid under the concrete in order to prevent damp rising up for the ground below. In older houses, this might have been a layer of bitumen or pitch.

If you have any evidence of rising damp, it is vital that you apply a DPM Primer as the first coat to prevent the water from rising and bubbling up through the chosen top coat. If the surface is very porous, it may be advisable to apply two coats. Concentrate on the edges of the room to make certain you have achieved a good seal. Remember, just one pin hole is all it takes to empty a swimming pool! If you are unsure as to rising damp, a moisture test would be advisable that will show if there is an excess moisture present within the substrate.

Is Your Concrete Showing Any Signs Of Oil Contamination?

If you have any oil contamination within the concrete, particularly on garage floors, standard paints, including epoxies and polyurethanes, will NOT stick. You MUST clean the area of any oil contamination. If you need a degreaser to help accomplish this, especially stubborn oil, Polycote Degrease IT is an excellent product to lift the oil from the floor so that you can clean this away thoroughly.

We then strongly advise the use of Polycote OT Primer, which is an oil tolerant primer which has been professionally formulated to adhere strongly to oil contaminated concrete. You must remember that the oil has sunk down into the pores of the substrate and even after cleaning the floor, the underlying oil will rise by capillary attraction and simply lift the paint you hope to apply. This is very reason why thousands of companies cannot get the paint to stick!

Rest assured, Polycote OT Primer will solve this issue. However, if the surface is very porous, it may be advisable to apply two coats in order to completely seal the surface.

Applying The First Coat Or Primer Coat

First and foremost, it is essential to read and understand the application instructions as stated on the product data sheet BEFORE proceeding. Different floor paint and sealers can be applied similarly by paint roller, brush, squeegee, or sprayer. Each paint type will have different application methods, coverages and drying times. Again, the product data sheets will have all of the information you need prior to painting.

It is important to apply enough primer to be able to penetrate the surface to not only seal the concrete but to allow a good bond. It is always advisable to apply an even coat as much as possible. However, you will almost always find that some parts of the floor are more porous than others. This will be why the first coat might appear patchy. The paint will soak into some areas due to the concrete being more porous, whereas in other areas where the concrete is denser, the paint starts to build on the surface and has begun to show a nice even sheen. This is all perfectly normal, and the second coat should then achieve a nice even finish.

Apply the paint evenly, working in small sections. Start from one corner of the room and work your way towards the exit to avoid stepping on the freshly applied sealer. Ensure that the sealer is applied evenly and without leaving puddles or streaks.

Applying The Top Coat

It is important to wait for the first coat to dry completely BEFORE applying the second coat.  If the substrate is really porous, then it may be advisable to apply a second coat. This is particularly relevant when using Polycote DPM Primer or Polycote OT Primer. Indeed, should any further coats be required, allow the existing coat to cure before continuing with any further applications.

If you have high traffic areas, a high build epoxy top coat such as Flortex Professional would be highly recommended.

Avoid over-application and brush out any puddling, as this may lead to a uneven paint finish.

How To Achieve A Non Slip Finish

Almost all of our top coats have an anti slip option available. This is where the ‘standard’ coating is supplied with a non slip aggregate that is either mixed in with the paint prior to application, or can be sprinkled onto the first coat whilst it is wet and then the second (top) coat is applied over to completely seal in the aggregate.

You may well have been frustrated in the past due to the so called non slip paint becoming smooth after only a short period of time and this is simply due to the poor strength of the aggregate used to achieve a slip resistant finish.  The calcined bauxite aggregate we supply, has one of the highest levels of shore hardness with a Mohs level of 8.5. and can withstand both constant and heavy traffic, and still maintain good slip resistance for many years. For more information on the Mohs levels, see https://www.nps.gov/articles/mohs-hardness-scale.htm

Curing And Drying Times

After applying the sealer, allow it to cure and dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions, before allowing use of the area. Remember that the curing and drying time can vary greatly depending on the environmental conditions as well as the type of sealer used.

To allow for the correct and sufficient curing times will ensure the sealer not only bonds effectively with the concrete but will also withstand the wear and tear of daily life and thus, provide long-lasting protection. It is crucial to follow the recommended curing time before subjecting the floor to regular use.

Hazards To Avoid When Painting Concrete Floors

Applying sealer too thin

When applying too thinly, often when persons are trying to cover an area as cheaply as possible, remember that you will have next to no penetration and the final coating will be very weak.  The longevity of even an expensive paint when applied to thinly will be hugely reduced!

Applying sealer too thick

The top two reasons why you should not apply too thickly:

1) If it is a water or solvent based product, and it is applied in a very thick coat, the top surface of the coating will begin to ‘skin’ over and thus the curing begins.  However, the water (or solvent) this is within the coating itself then has to percolate through the surface skin in order for it too, to cure. This the overall curing time of the paint will be exponentially longer.

2) Applying any top coat too thickly may well result in the floor looking patchy rather than leaving a nice even finish.

Use of chemicals

No matter whether you use basic cleaning chemicals or the possibility of more harsh chemicals spilling onto the floor, make sure the coating has the fully cured before being exposed to chemicals.

Water, Condensation, Dew Point.

It is best to allow the coating to cure for at least 24 hours before being subjected to water allow.

High humidity levels and/or condensation dripping down onto the concrete floor can cause an uncured sealer to ‘bloom’ thus causing an unsightly whiteness to the surface.  This discolouration does not normally have too much of an ill-effect and will, in many cases, actually ‘wear off’ over a period of time.  However, if the coating is subjected to too much surface water, and in the worst case scenario, this can result in a poor or even non-cure situation.

Mixing and Pot-Life

If you have decided to use a twin pack resin sealer to paint your concrete floors, make certain that the product is mixed in the correct proportions. as stated on the data sheet.

Mixed materials will then have a pot life that can be anywhere from 5 minutes to 2 hours.  The pot life is the period of time you have to apply before the coating goes too hard and is mostly dictated by the curing time of the said product.  The faster the curing time, the shorter the pot life. Please consult with the manufacturer’s product data sheets BEFORE mixing.

Finally, and for obvious reasons, don’t mix more material than what you can apply within the given (pot-life) time.

Related Articles

A Comprehensive Guide to Different Types of Concrete Floor Sealers

Understanding the Different Requirements of a Concrete Floor Sealer

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Concrete Floor Sealer

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Thermal Performance of Floor Screed: How it Contributes to Energy Efficiency

Polycote Easi-Screed Flexible has proven to be the No. 1 choice for property owners, architects, and construction companies alike, due to its high thermal conductivity from the underfloor heating pipes, which has been shown to be around five times more effective than traditional screeds.

Professionally formulated with self-compacting properties, the liquid screed completely covers the underfloor heating pipework, eliminating air voids to ensure optimal heat transfer. It can be installed at much thinner depths compared to traditional sand and cement, providing ultimate control of the underfloor heating system. Energy usage and costs are greatly decreased when over-screeded with Easi-Screed Flexible, due to the system’s increased efficiency.

Easi-Screed Flexible has incredibly high strength and durability (with a compressive strength of 35N/mm²) together with low shrink characteristics. This allows the screed to be installed at far less thickness than traditional screeds, requiring a minimum of only 20mm cover to underfloor heating pipework. This therefore ensures far better heating performance, and faster heat transfer.  It is perfect for use with ground source and air source heat pumps, allowing lower flow temperatures, reduced energy consumption, CO2 emissions, and heating costs, as well as quick heating and cooling for greater system control.

The thermal conductivity of typical building materials can be measured according to standards such as BS EN 12664, BS EN 12667, and BS EN 12939. In comparison to electric-based systems, hydronic systems containing water and antifreeze offer both heating and cooling operations. Being a highly conductive thermally, this self-compacting anhydrite screed provides improvements over conventional screed or slab construction systems by reducing reaction time and enhancing thermal energy transfer.

Depending upon the method of construction, the thermal conductivity of the Easi-Screed system has been measured at between 2.2W/mK, and 2.9W/mK, therefore making it extremely responsive to underfloor heating. The lower thickness of the screed and high thermal conductivity, contribute to improved performance and substantially reduced response time for the entire system.

Easi-Screed Flexible has also been professionally formulated to be compatible for use with almost any underfloor heating system, including both conventional and renewable technologies. The strength, durability, and low shrink characteristics of the screed enables reduced depths without compromising performance and is suitable for most modern construction methods and substrates, subject to suitable engineering. The flowing and self-compacting nature of Easi-Screed Flexible, combined with its unique minimum depth capabilities, have enabled significant gains in placement time. Our contractors are now able to install up to an incredible 2000m² in just one working day. Compared with the limitations of traditional sand cement screeds, this is a massive saving in labour costs and downtime.

Furthermore, whilst on the subject of cost savings and speed, Polycote Easi-Screed allows for faster installation of final floor coverings as opposed to calcium sulfate screeds, which require a final moisture content of 0.5%, potentially delaying floor finishing by months. Easi-Screed can be tiled at a final moisture content of 5% and timber floors can be installed at a final moisture content of 2.8%, thereby expediting the entire build process with far less installation and curing times.

The complete range of Polycote Easi-Screed products are suitable for almost any type of floor covering, from tiles, terrazzo, wood, epoxy and polyurethane coatings and screeds, carpets, and vinyl flooring…, to name but a few!

Finally, Polycote Easi-Screed offers huge environmental benefits, by using far less of earth’s natural resources due to thinner application depths over against those required by conventional screeds. A win-win solution.

Related articles

What is a floor screed?

Types of floor screed.

Polycote UK would like to take the opportunity to thank you for taking an interest in these product and application articles and hope they have been some help to you.

We would of course be pleased to answer any specific questions should you wish to contact us directly on 01234 846400 or email: help@polycote.com

 

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Self Levelling Liquid Screeds -V- Traditional Sand / Cement Screed

Traditional screeds made by mixing sand and sharp sand by hand or cement mixer are rapidly becoming a ‘thing’ of the past.  They are perfect for new construction where time is not of the essence and where budgets are tight.  However, as soon as downtime becomes an issue, traditional screeds are simply no longer the answer.  Agreed, the liquid screed material is considerably more expensive than its traditional sand/cement ‘cousin’, but as soon as downtime is considered, the extra material cost pales into insignificance.

Easi-Screed is manufactured in various formulations to cover virtually all eventualities.  With fast curing formulations for areas of restricted downtime, a flexible formulation for the successful covering of underfloor heating, together with an external grade self-levelling version with the ability to withstand the extremes of weathering the Polycote Easi-Screed system has become synonymous with fast and easy!

Why choose a liquid screed instead of a traditional sand and cement screed?

Speed 

The Polycote Easi-Screed system is now widely recognised as one of the best alternatives to traditional sand and cement screeds. Being able to lay up to 2000m² in a single day together with its speed of cure allowing pedestrian traffic after only 4 hours and vehicular traffic after on 24 hours, makes Easi-Screed one of the fastest and easiest self-levelling cementitious screeds of all time.

Strength

When using traditional concrete or sand/cement screeds, there is an industry standard code, normally between M10 and M55, denoting the average compressive strength for each code, as shown below.

Traditional Concrete CodesCompressive Strengths (N/mm2)Usage
M1010 N/mm²Foundations, Light domestic.
M1515 N/mm²Foundations, Light domestic.
M2020 N/mm²Foundations, Light domestic.
M2525 N/mm²Foundations, Light domestic.
M3030 N/mm²Domestic / light industrial flooring
M3535 N/mm²Domestic / light industrial flooring
M4040 N/mm²Heavy duty industrial flooring installations
M4545 N/mm²Heavy duty industrial flooring installations
M5050 N/mm²Heavy duty industrial flooring installations
M5555 N/mm²Heavy duty industrial flooring installations

The generally recognised period of time for traditional sand/cement screeds

to achieve the above-mentioned compressive strengths is approximately

1 month, per inch thickness of screed laid. This of course would also be

dependent upon the level of humidity and the average temperature range.

Polycote Easi-Screed is available if four different versions, and their respective strengths/curing times. You will note they all reach high strengths far quicker the traditional screeds, thereby ensuring a far quicker return to work.

Product NameEasi-Screed IndustrialEasi-Screed StandardEasi-Screed FlexibleEasi-Screed External
Applied ByTrowel or PumpTrowel or PumpTrowel or PumpTrowel or Pump
Compressive Strength40N/mm²36N/mm²34N/mm²36N/mm²
Pot Life @ 20°C25 mins @ 20°C20 – 30 mins @ 20°C20 – 30 mins @ 20°C15 mins @ 20°C
App. Temperature10°C – 20°C5°C – 25°C5°C – 25°C5°C – 20°C
App. Thickness5 – 50mm per layer2-20mm per layer2 – 50mm per layer5 – 15mm per layer
Initial Cure @ 20°C2-3 hours2 – 3 hours2 – 3 hours6 hours
Overcoat Time24 hours24 hours24 hours24-48 hours

Minimum Thickness

There are in fact several reasons why a liquid pumped screed is far quicker and ultimately less expensive.  In addition to the speed of installation, traditional screeds require a minimum thickness far exceeding that of a liquid screed.  An absolute minimum of 50mm is recommended for a traditional screed and this often increases to 100mm or even 150mm, depending upon the thickness/state of the existing floor, as well as the amount of weight/traffic the new screed has to withstand.  Polycote Easi-Screed can be laid as thin as 2mm and for even the most heavily used areas, Easi-Screed Industrial can be laid at only 7mm.  Not only does this mean far less material required but also means that the existing floor height barely changes, which in turn has little effect on door or ceiling heights.

Furthermore, if only parts of a total floor area require a new surface, a raise in the floor area is, in 99% of cases, completely impractical. Conversely, Easi-Screed will produce a new surface with the transition for the original levels to the ‘new’ level being almost imperceptible.

Dust & Wearability 

Traditional screeds will nearly always result in the dissipation of dust, caused by the fine particles within the screed delaminating.  As these particles delaminate, the loose material almost acts as a grinding layer that exponentially exacerbates the problem.  All Polycote Easi-Screeds are non-dusting and therefore eliminate the huge ongoing issues caused by dust, whether it be general cleaning to damage to stock, machinery, and air conditioning systems.  As far as wearability is concerned, liquid screeds far exceed traditional screeds as they are far more resistant to heavy wear and tear.

Flexibility

Easi-Screed Flexible has been formulated to withstand pressures due to movement, vibration or where underfloor heating is used. The fibre reinforced, protein free design is highly flexible, yet still cures to 34N/mm².

Smoothness

The smoothness of the final finish of a liquid screed far exceeds that of a traditional screed.  This means that the final floor finishes such a carpet, tiles, wood flooring, etc are far easier to lay and in turn ensure a far better overall finish. And talking of the over-laying of the screed with tiles, carpeting, etc, the curing period of a traditional screed often requires an absolute minimum of 3 days before any such over-laying can be achieved.  When considering paint and depending upon the age of the advisor’ the standard advice give is ‘one month per inch’ (thickness of screed) or ‘1mm per day’.  With any of our Easi-Screed liquid screeds, these can be painted, tiled, covered after only 24 hours!

In summary

The benefits of a liquid screed system such as Polycote Easi-Screed are as follows:

  • Speed of installation – up to 2000m² in one day
  • For small to medium sized floors up to 3-400m², Easi-Screed can be quickly and easily mixed on site using a mixing paddle fitted to a standard hand drill. For larger industrial applications, the material can be mixed in much larger quantities and then pumped onto the floor via a large hose.
  • Can be laid as thin as 2mm.
  • Non-dusting
  • Smoother and more level surface. Indeed, Easi-Screed can be laid to a laser-level finish.
  • Cures and ready for trafficking after only 4 hours (pedestrian) or 24 hours (vehicular)
  • Cures and ready for over-laying of final floor finishes after only 24 hours.
  • Much quicker and easier to clean, thereby reducing cleaning times and costs.
  • Almost Imperceptible raising of existing floor heights.
  • Reduces the need for removing existing floor slabs thereby reducing waste disposal costs
  • Reduces noise, dust and inconvenience as well as

Related articles

Checklist For Self Levelling Floor Screed

Types of floor screed.

Thank You

Polycote UK would like to take the opportunity to thank you for taking an interest in these product and application articles and hope they have been some help to you.

We would of course be pleased to answer any specific questions should you wish to contact us directly on 01234 846400 or email: help@polycote.com