Choosing the right concrete flooring system and the right contractor to install your flooring system can be a challenge.
It’s not a job for a painting contractor, a janitorial or cleaning contractor, or your own maintenance/ facility staff. Installing a resinous coating or topping over an old, eroded, or even a new concrete floor requires the expertise of an experienced resinous floor contractor. Installing a flooring system costs thousands of dollars, and you owe it to yourself or your owner to choose the right system and the right installer.
The wrong choice of materials or the right choice of materials installed over an inadequately or improperly prepared surface will fail. And, when it fails, the cost to remove the failed floor and re-install the correct floor properly could easily approach twice the original cost.
Choosing a contractor with expertise and experience in floor installations is essential.
- Always insist on references when considering a contractor. It’s the only proof that your contractor is who he says he is and will provide the quality of work he claims to perform and CALL these references.
- Also pay close attention to stock photos that are on company websites. It isn’t uncommon to find the same finished floor photos on several websites. No stock photos with us!
- Choose a contractor that has been in the flooring business for many of years.
- Anyone can do one or two jobs or take a Elitecrete or Xtreme Polishing Systems Training class and claim to be an expert. The experience and quality of work that comes with being in the flooring industry over the years can’t be fudged.
Determine what type of preparation your contractor uses.
Wet preparation? Acid etching, pressure washing, or detergent washing? Chemical or Mechanical prep? Or does he use “shot blasting”? Anyone whose been in the resinous flooring business any length of time always opts to mechanically prep a floor via shot blaster or planetary diamond grinding.
Unless logistics/ job site obstructions make it impossible mechanical prep is the only way to prep prior to installing A coating. Otherwise, wet preparing a floor and applying a coating is tantamount to washing a car then painting it.
Common sense dictates that a coating will bond much more tenaciously to a profiled or sandpaper finish than it will to a smooth finish. A contractor choosing or recommending wet preparation is indicative of inexperience and should be avoided.
Always compare apples to apples when choosing a contractor.
When buying a floor you are in fact buying thickness (mils). An installer that is offering you a 30 (dry) mils system is giving you three (3) times as much floor as one who is offering a 10 mils system. If your contractor doesn’t state how thick (how many mils) he is giving you, don’t even consider his price.
Spending $20,000 for a floor not knowing how thick it is is tantamount to spending $20,000 for a car not knowing the year, make, and model.
Choosing the Right System
And experienced contractor will guide you in selecting the right system. Some key points to cover are:
- When buying a resinous floor you are buying dry film thickness(mils). You are not buying a number of coats. And you are not buying wet Mils.
- Thicker is better! (pic of worn away floor)
In terms of wear, a 20 mils floor will last twice as long as a 10 mils floor. However, it shouldn’t cost twice as much. Many of the costs of doing a floor are the same regardless of thickness. Preparation costs such as shot blasting, travel expenses, application labor costs, etc. are often the same for a 20 mils floor as they are for a 30 mils floor. Therefore you can often get 50% or even 100% more floor for perhaps 20% to 25% more costs. Think of it as protecting your investment. It’s not uncommon for someone to spend $25,000 ($2.50 per square foot) for a thin film 10 mils floor that will require re-coating in two (2) years.
Our standard systems start at 65mils.
Understand the differences between a non-skid finish and a textured finish.
Virtually all straight coating systems, regardless of their thickness, have a non-skid/grit added to the finish coat. This grit can be aluminum oxide, quartz, glass beads, crushed walnut shells, or a combination of the above. It is almost always added to the last coat of material. This last coat (what we call the sacrificial coat) is usually a solvent based thin film urethane material that cures to 3 or 4 mils (4 mils is equal to the thickness of 2 sheets of printing paper). The only thing containing the non-skid is this thin film finish coat. Within a short while (usually a couple years at best) all of the non-skid is gone. The only way to get the non-skid back into the floor is to re-coat it. Typically this non-skid is broadcast onto the floor at a rate of one pound per 1,000 square feet.
A textured floor on the other hand is achieved by seeding (broadcasting) a blend of aggregates to excess into a heavy (thick) squeegee applied self leveling 100% solids epoxy. These are called broadcast floors and are typically installed at 1/16” thick (65 mils) or 1/8” (125 mils). It has been our experience that these uniformly textured broadcast floors hold up 4 to 5 times as well as any coating system in an industrial service environment.
The aggregate in these broadcast floors adds flexibility and strength to the epoxy much like the stone (aggregate) adds flexibility and strength to Concrete.
Determine How Control joints are assessed
Control joints are there for a reason. Your installer should be able to identify the difference between a construction joint, control joint and a expansion joint and explain how they address them. We honor ALL non construction joints with a semi rigid epoxy joint filler. We have seen several cases where incompetent installers can’t determine the difference and they patch the joint and install a coating over all the existing joints. After a freeze thaw cycle those joints will move causing cracks in the coating along that joint which only get worse seasonally.
Atlantic Concrete Design can walk you through your individual needs to determine what system is right for you. We will follow through with a staff of highly qualified and experienced flooring installation specialists to ensure you get the top quality and long lasting floor system you are looking for. For more information, including a list of references, please feel free to contact me at 917-391-4888 or send us a message for an online quote.