Concrete coatings are usually classified as epoxies, urethanes and polyaspartics. A coating differs from a sealer since it is applied on top of concrete creating a glossy build coat finish vs. a sealer that will penetrate and keep a natural finish. Coatings excellent choices for concrete with the need for chemical resistance, acid resistance and abrasion resistance. Although they are labor intensive the finish results can last up to 10 years.
Most Important Features When Purchasing a Concrete Coatings:
- Look for an industrial grade coating with excellent chemical resistance, abrasion resistance, stain and acid resistance.
- Resistance to hot tire pickup, UV rays, heavy equipment / machinery and extreme temperature is a must.
- Look for durable coatings that will not peel, flake or delaminate (usually aliphatic and/or cyclo-aliphatic urethanes, polyaspartics and epoxies)
Most Popular Concrete Coatings Brand Reviews:
Urethane 645: Meets all of the above criteria while also providing excellent dust protection and hardness. High solids coatings with exceptional chemical and acid resistance properties. We found that it was more durable and scratch resistant than all the other urethanes we tested all while creating a beautiful gloss shine. Easier to apply than it sounds while being practically indestructible.
One Day Floors 100%: Polyaspartic coating, fast drying and excellent penetration and bond strength to properly prepared surfaces and are abrasion, impact, and wear resistant with flexible properties. Not as chemically resistant as a urethane coating and the floor must have a minimum surface porosity of a CSP-2.
APF Armor-Rez Jet Deck 200: Three coat high build system that is extremely labor intensive consisting of an epoxy primer, epoxy coating and polyurethane topcoat. Excellent compressive strength and an extreme high build finish; however this product is not extremely UV stable.
So what exactly is an epoxy coating good for? Well for starters have you ever seen a chip floor system? Have you ever seen a floor that holds up extremely well to chemicals, abrasions, and UV exposure? All of these scenarios most likely used an epoxy coating. Epoxies have been used for many years and are commonly applied to garages, warehouses, food preparation kitchens etc. because of their strength to withstand many solvents and chemicals.
Often used in conjunction with vinyl paint chip flakes and urethane top coats epoxies are a fantastic concrete sealing option. One of the downsides of an epoxy is the lengthy cure time. Taking upwards of 7 days to allow heavy traffic can definitely impact a project or large construction job. The most common use for an epoxy is as a primer in a high build floor system. The epoxy is usually first applied as a primer, then another epoxy is used as a base coat ending with a urethane top coat . The use of the three products together builds up the floor to a thick mill for added protection from wear, abrasion and chemicals. Often times epoxies come in clear and colored varieties allowing for decorative finishes with metallic sand or paint chips.
What is the difference between a concrete sealer and a concrete coating? Generally speaking a concrete sealer is a penetrating formulation or a lighter topical solution that either seeps into the concrete or is suspended on the surface. Concrete sealers are usually classified as acrylic sealers, silicate sealers and silane/siloxane formulations. A concrete coating on the other hand sits on the surface of the concrete and builds up and protects through the layers of coatings. Concrete coatings are usually classified as epoxies, urethanes and polyaspartics.
- Silicates: penetrating sealers in either a sodium, lithium or potassium carrier that seep into the concrete, chemically react to form calcium silicate hydrate and thus densifying.
- Silane/Siloxanes: water repellents that form a hydrophobic barrier to seals out moisture while chemically bonding with the substrate.
- Acrylics: water based or solvent based decorative sealers that enhance the surface and repels water.
- Epoxies: coating used to prime or coat concrete to stop dusting, add chemical resistance and abrasion resistance properties.
- Urethanes: coating usually applied on top of an epoxy to add additional protection from chemicals, wear and UV rays.
- Polyaspartics: fast drying urethanes applied on top of an epoxy with a faster tack free dry time
When it comes to garages and warehouses they require a tougher, durable, chemically resistant coating. Urethanes, especially aliphatic urethanes, are stronger, more chemically resistant, UV resistant and have a higher abrasion resistance. If you have an industrial warehouse and you decide that you need to seal it you have two options: a concrete densifier or a urethane coating. Concrete densifiers are excellent choices if you need to harden, dust-proof and increase the abrasion resistance of a warehouse. However if you need extra chemical resistance you need an aliphatic urethane coating.
Urethanes are easy to apply and can last up to ten years if you follow all of the proper precautions and instructions. The first step you need to take when applying an aliphatic urethane is to grind the existing concrete surface. By grinding the concrete you are creating a tougher surface for the products to adhere to so it will not scratch or peel after application. After grinding the concrete you need to mix Part A components to Part B components and apply using a squeegee. By using the squeegee you can elongate the coverage and it allows for the proper mil coverage. After squeegeeing you need to back roll the surface and then let the Urethane dry for 3-5 days to completely set.
Our Take: Urethane coatings that have held up the best for the longest time period are Urethane 645, Superior Industries Aliphatic Urethane , and APF’s Polyurethane 250 High Performance Concrete Sealer.
Have you ever wondered how the concrete floors that make up most large commercial buildings, retail or otherwise, remain so clean? They rarely exhibit signs of water or chemical spillage, as well as cracking or similar such things that mar the visual appeal. These floors are solid, clean, smooth, and never show the degradation that can affect your own concrete in your home or building.
The secret to the protection is not even really a secret. Concrete sealers are what give the concrete floors of commercial buildings their long-lasting strength and visually unblemished surfaces. With the incredible amount of traffic from feet, machinery, products, and pallets, the concrete floors would soon deteriorate under normal circumstances had they not been protected with a concrete sealer.
The best concrete sealer for large commercial floors would be an aliphatic urethane. Aliphatic urethanes are a type of topical concrete sealer whose large particles of sealant preclude the concrete sealing solution from passing into the concrete. Instead, the aliphatic urethane particles will puddle on the surface of the concrete to be spread out evenly during the application process if you are using a broom. If you elect to use a light pump sprayer, the application is even easier, though the result will be the same.
Aliphatic urethanes are concrete sealants that feature remarkable levels of protection against the most extreme conditions concrete could be subjected to. They offer excellent resistance to heat, UV radiation, water damage, chemical spills, abrasions, discoloration, and other such potential threats to the structural and visual integrity of the concrete. For it is true that the visual appeal of a commercial building’s floors is just as important as the structural integrity of said floors – shoppers do not want to be wandering around buildings whose floors are cracked, stained, and dingy.
Aliphatic urethanes are the best solution for the floors of a commercial building. And, if you have a project that needs to be completed overnight, before business begins the next day, you need to choose a polyaspartic concrete sealer. Polyaspartics are the wonder materials of the concrete sealing industry, featuring all of the same benefits of aliphatic urethanes with the added bonus of an exceptionally fast dry time – simply apply the polyaspartic at night and it will have completely dried and bonded to the concrete floor by the morning. Whichever product you opt for, you will be satisfied with the results.