What are Decorative Concrete Coatings, and How Are They Applied?

Decorative Concrete Coating Entryway

Decorative Concrete Coating Entryway

There is no question that decorative concrete coatings have become the most popular solution used by both home and business owners. Even so, some people are not aware of what these coatings are, the benefits they offer, and the way they are applied.

Decorative concrete coatings can also be referred to as decorative concrete overlays. These coatings are an amazing way to transform the appearance and functionality of any concrete surface. Although typically applied to floors, driveways, walkways, patios, and pool decks, decorative coatings can be applied to other surfaces, including fireplace surrounds, countertops, fire pits, water features, stairs, and the list goes on.

In simple terms, decorative concrete coatings are applied to a properly prepared concrete surface. There is a wide range of color options, patterns, and textures. For instance, a patio floor can be coated to create a marbled earth-tone effect, or a skilled contractor can install a polished surface with a family crest design element. There are no limitations with decorative concrete coatings, which is why they are in such high demand.

Once concrete coatings are applied, they completely change the aesthetics of the surface. However, coatings also make the concrete surface stronger, more durable, and longer lasting. That means a patio, kitchen floor, driveway, or some other surface looks gorgeous and lasts for years and years. Even anti-slip ingredients can be added to enhance the safety of a concrete surface.

As for the application process, the first and most important step involves preparing the concrete surface. In addition to patching any cracks and eliminating areas of pitting or spalling, a contractor will ensure the surface is leveled and solid. From there, all dirt and debris are removed and the surface is cleaned using a manufacturer-approved cleaning product or mechanical process like grinding or shot blasting.

With a clean and dry surface, decorative concrete coatings are readied, whether this is a handcrafted textured overlay system, like Tuscan; a spray textured coating, like SunSplash; or another product. During that time, other agents are added, pigments, color, or anti-slip ingredients. Then, the coating is applied using a spray-on technique, roller method, hand-troweling, and so on. Once the entire surface is covered, it is allowed to cure and dry.

Once the first coat is ready, a second coat is applied. Once again, this coat must properly cure and dry. To protect newly applied decorative concrete coatings, it is imperative that a sealer is added. Depending on the desired aesthetic and effect, the sealer can be colored or clear. Once the sealer is dry, the concrete surface looks gorgeous.

An Epoxy Coating Offers More Than Just Beauty

Epoxy Coating in Restaurant Floor

Epoxy Coating in Restaurant Floor

While many people automatically relate epoxy coatings to garage floors as a way to enhance appearance, this flooring system is actually far more versatile. While it is true that epoxy floors look amazing, especially when colored metallic flakes or pigments are added, they offer many additional benefits for residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

Among the top benefits is that epoxy coatings create a nonslip surface. Because of that, this flooring system is the perfect choice for any home or business where spills are common. Whether the spill consists of water, ice, food, or even condensation, the nonslip surface creates a safer environment.

Today, millions of homes, as well as commercial and industrial buildings, enjoy epoxy coatings, including garages, kitchens, restaurants, bars, laboratories, beverage plants, food plants, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and the list goes on.

Another thing that makes epoxy coatings unique to other flooring systems is that they serve as a sealant for concrete floors. Therefore, this flooring system is highly versatile, making it the ideal choice for floors as well as walls, walkways, driveways, and even ceilings in certain situations.

There is also the fact that epoxy coatings are extremely strong and durable. Especially for someone who wants to invest in a long-lasting floor, epoxy is ideal. Once applied, products like SunEpoxy 54 and SunEpoxy 100 convert to a solid polymer. At that point, not only is the chemical breakdown prevented, the floor’s strength intensifies. Compared to other flooring systems, epoxy is much stronger and longer lasting, and it wears incredibly well.

For home and business owners, having a floor that is easy to clean and maintain is always a bonus. Since the concrete surface is no longer porous after the epoxy is applied, cleaning up messes is easy. Typically, sweeping as needed and an occasional damp mopping is all this floor needs. Considering these benefits and the beauty of epoxy coatings, it is easy to understand the popularity of this flooring system.

Fixing Concrete: Common Problems That Need Repair

Fixing concrete with Sundek Coatings

Fixing concrete with Sundek Coatings

Although concrete is strong, durable, and long lasting, there are times when cracks, spalls, flakes, fading, and other problems arise. However, in most instances, fixing concrete is a viable solution compared to ripping the concrete out and starting over again. This is just one reason why concrete has become a top choice for both home and business owners.

Cracks are a common reason for fixing concrete. Cracks typically occur as poured concrete hardens and dries. During that process, shrinkage can force the concrete to pull apart. However, cracks also develop when there is a low water-to-cement ratio. Regardless of the cause, early detection and repair are essential.

Segregation causes a variety of issues, including honeycombs, rock pockets, laitance, scaling, failure to bond, porous layers, and sand streaks. The biggest threat is when larger exposed aggregates are used. Segregation usually occurs from over-mixing concrete or improper handling while concrete is applied.

Bleeding is another reason for fixing concrete. As newly poured cement and aggregate start to settle, excess water rises to the surface. The actual rate of bleeding depends on a number of factors, including admixtures, temperature, air content, sand particle shape, quantity of aggregate fines, cement fineness, cement mix water content, and so on. This is a prime example of why concrete should always be installed by true professional.

Dusting happens when hardened concrete begins to wear away due to excessive traffic. The reason for fixing concrete in this situation is because of mixes that have too much water. However, dusting is also caused by dirty aggregate, segregation, and finishing that is done too soon or too long. With finishing, laitance, which is a gray or white substance, can form on the weak concrete surface that prevents proper bonding.

After fixing concrete problems, the best form of protection is a quality sealer. SunClear EcoProtect and SunClear UltraProtect are two of the best sealers on the market today.

Will Concrete Crack Repair Save My Driveway?

If you stop to think about how driveways are used on a daily basis, it is no wonder that cracks in concrete develop over time. In addition to heavy vehicle traffic, weather pattern changes,  and children playing, driveways are constantly exposed to changing outdoor elements. If your driveway is beginning to show signs of wear and tear in the form of cracks, instead of having an entirely new driveway installed, consider professional concrete crack repair.

Crack repair before and after

Crack repair before and after

Both residential and commercial driveways experience a great deal of abuse. To restore your driveway back to a like-new condition, you have some incredible options. When you schedule your concrete crack repair, consider having your contractor use colors, textures, or patterns. As a result, you will have a fully functional driveway that looks unique in the neighborhood. A resurfaced driveway will also enhance your home, as well as landscaping.

Using the appropriate materials, tools, and techniques, the contractor will first repair the cracks. With that done and the area cleaned, your driveway can be updated with more curb appeal thanks to resurfacing. When going this route, it is imperative that you rely on a trusted source, like Sundek Products USA. The national network of professionally trained Sundek dealers offer a wide range of decorative concrete systems for the resurfacing process, including a variety of coloration, resurfacing and repair products.

One of the more popular ways to save a cracking driveway is with an acrylic spray overlay called Classic Texture. This resurfacing option is perfect once the concrete crack repair is done. There are many additional benefits. For instance, this resurfacing overlay is nonporous, so you never have to worry about damage from rain or snow. It is highly resistant to grease, chemicals, oil, and dirt, and it provides you with a safe, nonslip surface.

Why Commercial Grade Concrete Coatings Are a Good Choice for Industrial Environments

Commercial grade concrete coatings are unique to coatings used for residential applications. Although these coatings are used in many businesses, they are also a preferred choice for industrial environments, such as factories, warehouses, plants, distribution centers, and so on. These concrete coatings are stronger, more durable, and longer lasting than their residential counterparts.

Thin Mil Epoxy Floors by Sundek Products

Thin Mil Epoxy Floors
by Sundek Products

Industrial environments are known for their high volume of foot, equipment, and vehicle traffic. The floors in these environments are also subjected to all types of spills, including grease, oil, chemicals, water, and so on, not to mention impacts. For all of these reasons, it is imperative that you choose a commercial grade coating that not only looks nice but also provides flawless service.

Two of the best commercial grade concrete coatings are epoxy and polyaspartic. These coatings provide all of the characteristics mentioned, and more. For something extremely long lasting, SunEpoxy 54 is an exceptional product offered by Sundek Products USA. This thin-mil flooring system is ideal for warehouses, mechanic shops, and light manufacturing facilities.

If you need a commercial grade concrete coating that is even more durable and stronger, SunEpoxy 100 is a great option. This 100 percent solids epoxy floor is formulated specifically as a heavy-duty coating used for tougher applications. There is also SunOne, a polyaspartic coating system. If you need a coating that cures fast to ensure very little downtime, this is the right product.

When coatings are professionally applied, a hardener or sealer can be added for maximum protection. Especially if your facility has a higher than normal volume of traffic or if your workers use a great deal of potentially damaging substances or hand tools, this is important.

Regardless of which type of commercial grade concrete coatings you are interested in, be sure a qualified professional who uses only the highest-quality products performs the work. That way, you have assurance that the floor will perform in the exact way that you need it to.