FAQ – Industrial Floor Applications

Frequently Asked Questions

Industrial Floor Applications

Q.  Can industrial flooring products be applied as DIY?

Industrial flooring products (e.g. epoxies and cementitious polyurethanes) are not single component products such as household paints.  They are multi-component products that require proper mixing and therefore specialist mixing equipment on site.

Once mixed, a pot life and gel time determines the initial setting time, which is temperature sensitive.  If such a pot has passed it’s lifetime and gel times are not thoroughly considered, the applicator can end up losing the mixed material or yield an unsightly finished floor.

Knowledge of industrial flooring substrates and the preparation thereof is also key to a successful industrial floor.  Specialist industrial floor applicators are therefore required to obtain the desired industrial flooring finish.

Q.  Can these epoxies and CPU’s be applied on a house floor?

To apply any of these products, a sound concrete surface bed is required (minimum 20MPa for thin applications and 25MPa for thick applications) to sustain such a floor.  Most houses, unless initially specified, have got sand–cement screeds or toppings as a floor underlayment.  Sand–cement screeds or toppings do not cure to sufficient strengths to sustain industrial floor applications.

These products (epoxies and cementitious polyurethanes) also have yellowing tendencies when exposed to sunlight or any other UV light source.  Cementitious polyurethanes yellow much quicker then epoxies, but epoxies also present the yellowing effect.  It is in particular noticeable when a loose carpet, for instance covers a part of a floor that has been exposed to sunlight.  Once the carpet is removed, the yellowing effect is noticeable.

These industrial flooring products have an industrial appearance and are more aimed at performance rather than being decorative.  However, they can be applied on a garage floor, providing that the substrate is sound and suitable and the client is aware of the yellowing tendency.

Q.  What chemical resistance is provided by these products?

Cementitious polyurethanes and epoxies in general provide good to excellent chemical resistance to most acidic and alkaline chemicals and hydrocarbon solvents.  There are exceptions such as concentrated nitric acid, concentrated sulfuric acid and sodium peroxides that will attack the chemical integrity of these products.

The resistance to other mild to concentrated acids and alkalis depends on the contact time on the floor.  Epoxies and cementitious polyurethanes provide very good to excellent chemical resistance to most sugars, fruit and wine acids.  A full chemical resistance chart is available on request.

Q.  How long after the final application can the floor be used.

Cementitious polyurethanes presents a relative short curing time compared to epoxies, but the curing of both are temperature sensitive.  At temperatures between 7°C and 16°C cementitious polyurethanes should be allowed to cure for 48 hours before the floor can be functional.  In the same temperature bracket, epoxies should be allowed 72 to 96 hours.  At temperatures above 16°C cementitious polyurethanes should be allowed 24 hours and epoxies 48 hours.  At temperatures below 7°C no reaction will commence, so no curing will take place.

Q.  Can these industrial flooring products be applied to any other surface than cured concrete?

In general epoxies and polyurethanes provide excellent adhesion to most materials, depending on the pre-treatment and preparation of these surfaces.  However, the epoxies and cementitious polyurethanes formulated for industrial flooring applications are recommended only for concrete surfaces, cured to a minimum of 20 MPa for less then 3mm applications and 25MPa for applications of 3mm and thicker.

Q.  How soon after the concrete is placed can the epoxy and cementitious polyurethanes be applied?

A minimum period of 28 days, provided that the concrete has reached the required strength and the relative humidity (RH) in the concrete is a maximum of 80%.

Q.  What to do if there are oil, fatty or grease spills on the concrete?

Oil, fat and grease act as a repellent to almost any coating system.  Oil, fat or grease stains must be removed, using an oil degreaser.  It is impossible to remove all the oil, fat or grease from a concrete substrate and therefore you will need a “direct to oil” primer system to ensure proper bonding to the substrate.  “Direct to oil” primer systems are not a guarantee against delamination of the flooring system.

Q.  What if the concrete floor substrate is not the required strength?

If the concrete floor substrate is not of the minimum required strength, one should avoid applying any epoxy or cementitious polyurethane flooring system to the substrate and rather apply industrial tiles or relay the concrete substrate to the required strength.

Yours in ‘Concrete with Soul’

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