3 Reasons Why We Prepare Your Concrete Before Adding Your Floor Coating

A professionally installed garage floor coating isn’t just a garage floor coating. The process should include a thorough cleaning of the concrete slab, especially near stained or commonly used areas. The top layer should also be ground away to remove damage and provide a good application surfaces. Professional installers will even level the concrete and repair damage like cracks and spalling so your garage floor looks like new. Without these preparatory steps, even strong polyaspartic coatings can’t fully do their jobs. Here are three reasons why we focus on preparing the surface first:

1. The top latent layer of bare concrete isn’t strong enough for a strong seal.

The top fraction of an inch in your garage’s concrete slab is the weakest part of the floor. It’s the part that had to handle the most impact damage, wear and tear, and chemical exposure over the years. But it’s also that layer that developed the most moisture content while the concrete was curing during the initial construction. It’s structurally weaker than the rest of the floor. That’s why one of the first steps we take is to grind away this latent layer. It leaves behind a coarse, porous surface that our polyaspartic coatings can fully adhere to. Grinding away the damage and contamination also removes the opportunity for future problems without removing anything but a minute layer of the concrete.

Without this step, the concrete surface has too much moisture. This can make epoxy floor coatings look cloudy or milky. Because a lot of epoxy coatings are a solid color, the damage is even more visible. As the moisture tries to evaporate during the summer, the vapor can even make the layers delaminate, or peel.

2. The concrete is full of oils and grease.

Oils and grease cause a lot of problems, no matter what home improvement project you’re focusing on. They’re especially problematic if you can’t see them. But garage floors can pick up a lot of oils and grease, even if the concrete looks unstained. These substances can come from your car, bikes, and lawn tools, or even just the exterior of bottles and cans you store in your garage. The material can seep into the surface layer of your garage floor, so it’s not just a matter of scrubbing it and sweeping away buildup. We focus on removing all of the trace amounts of oil that worked their way into the substrate by pulling them out with cleaners and by grinding away the contaminated latent layer.

If the oil and grease aren’t removed before the floor coating is applied, then you would start to see signs of damage and blemishes. Fish eyes, or bubbled indentations in the coating, are one common sign of concrete floors that weren’t adequately cleaned. 

3. Your tires have rolled plasticizers into the concrete.

Cars are one of the biggest factors when it comes to damaged garages. They carry in a lot of road pollution, including chemicals and salts the tires pick up off the road. The tires themselves even have chemicals that can damage concrete surfaces, especially when they are heated from a drive. Tires are manufactured with chemicals called plasticizers. While they help the tires grip the road in cold and icy weather, they leave behind residue when the tires are still hot. This residue seeped into your concrete floor before you started the floor coating process, and it’s another contaminant like oil or grease that stops some coatings from binding to the floor. If it’s not removed, the tires can start to rip away portions of the new sealant.

A good floor coating needs a good floor and a good coating. Our experts at PolyTek Surface Coating provide both. Visit our site to find out more.