Is Decorative Concrete Slippery?

Most decorative coatings are meant to be beautiful with rich colors- patterns and textures –all in one beautiful, “eye popping” package! What makes most of these decorative concrete systems really do it all are the high gloss clear coats.  An issue with that high gloss is that it can increase the probability of slip-fall accidents.  Don’t worry though, you can have both with a little compromising.  Sundek can engineer slip resistance material into our Sundek Overlays. We will help you keep the glossy, wet look and still have an acceptable element of safety and still have the ability to clean the flooring easily can be a challenge because:

 

 BEAUTIFUL HIGH GLOSS + SLIP RESISTENT + EASY TO CLEAN = TOUGH BUT DOABLE!

 

First of all let’s consider safety.  That is a bit complicated. Slip resistance – hum? What is considered safe when flat, dry and walked on by a rubber soled athletic shoe is dramatically different from a sloping wet sidewalk and a leather soled dress shoe. This is why the careful product selection process between the Sundek contractor and you, the property owner, is so critical.  Your Sundek Design Consultant will ask you:  What type of foot traffic is expected on this surface?  Leather soled shoes or bare feet?

 

[box type=”bio”] The two main elements involved in slip/fall scenarios are surface texture and clear finish choices- both of which directly dictate slip resistance and clean-ability. Let me explain. Trying to provide a slip resistant surface into the finished Sundek product can often be a two edged sword. If you make the walking surface extremely smooth with a high gloss clear finish, it is easier to clean and maintain. It, however, can be slippery as a hockey rink when the surface is wet! The other side of the spectrum is when you add slip resistant material creating more traction (better safety), it is more difficult to clean the surface. [/box]

The Sundek Classic Texture Effect is the most naturally slip resistant system in the Sundek product line up because of the “hi-lo” effect of the texture.  It is used primarily around swimming pools and other wet environments where slip resistance is a key issue. Rarely is there a need for added slip resistant material in the Sundek finish coat. However in today’s safety conscious world many Sundek Dealers provide slip resistant material to the Sundek finish coat as an added element of safety and peace of mind for their customers. The size and height of the texture can also affect the degree of slip resistance. Low and flat texture is less slip resistant than a taller texture.  Now that we have a grip (bad pun) on the texture aspect and the resulting slip resistance, it becomes apparent that the more aggressive the texture the more clean-ability becomes an issue.2008 Gold Lifestyle - Decorative Concrete

 

Without the help from added slip resistant materials, Sun Stamp overlay, Tuscan Texture effect and Sun Canvas and the other Sundek epoxy systems, all become more maintenance friendly. Because of the relatively smooth texture and the use of protective clear coats tend to lean toward the slippery side.

 

In summary, here are the factors to consider when deciding on texture coat, clear coat and if slip resistance properties are needed:

  1. Type of foot traffic expected on this surface
  2. Type of Finish Coat & rate of application – the more the buildup , the more traction goes away
  3. Size and type texture- very flat and shallow texture provides less traction.
  4. Degree of slope on the walking surface.

Based on your answers to the above questions, your Sundek Design Consultant will use these basic guidelines to help you, our Sundek customer, navigate the slip resistance vs. cleaning dilemma.

  • Let’s start with selecting the right slip resistant aggregate for the job. Synthetic materials such as (Option 1) polypropylene beads or “Shark Grip” type materials are light weight and can easily mixed into the clear or Finish Coat, however these materials are softer compared to hard mineral materials and wear quickly in high traffic areas where there is shoe traffic. These materials are best suited for residential and light commercial applications.  Heavy traffic areas or steep slope situations will require materials such as (Option 2) aluminum oxide or (Option 3) silica sand.
  • The next step is to choose the right size and rate of distribution of aggregate for the job.  Typically larger particle size can be spaced further apart and demonstrate acceptable traction while providing better cleaning properties between particles. On the other hand the Sundek contractor can use a smaller aggregate size and space them much closer to achieve an almost sandpaper finish. This is very effective to achieve great traction, but can become a chore to clean because of the aggressive texture.
  • The trick is to find the right balance. If you are still unsure, your Sundek Dealer can provide a sample based upon your discussion.

When you are designing your next decorative concrete project please take the time to consult with your local Sundek Dealer about the importance of slip resistance and future maintenance. You will be glad you did and will enjoy your new Sundek with peace of mind that you have made the right decision on materials for the purpose of your new beautiful space. [button link=”http://www.sundek.com/dealers/quote” type=”big” color=”orange” newwindow=”yes”] CLICK HERE to have a Sundek expert contact you about your next decorative concrete project![/button]


Save Your Decorative Concrete from the Winter Blues

Pool deck winter

The long, icy cold winter is finally showing signs of retreat as we are entering the spring months. Combine the winter cold with the semi-cold spring period and all you have is bad news for your decorative concrete. On top of that; defects in installation, improper finishing, poor quality concrete materials, and other factors can only further deteriorate the expected life of your decorative concrete surface coat.      


System Series Part 6: The Magic of Metallics

Sundek SunCanvas

Wow!! If you have not yet checked out one of the most incredible processes in decorative concrete flooring – have I got the scoop!!!There’s a whole new magic show available for adding mega “bling’ to your concrete floors — metallic epoxy coatings allow you to “guild” your concrete – simulating the timeless looks of copper, silver, old world bronze, nickel, and other metallic patinas.

 

I’m talking about metallics – and no it’s not a heavy metal rock band. Metallic floors have been around for the past 6-7 years, but are really starting to take off as the materials have been fine-tuned and decorative concrete contractors have grown more confident using these really cool materials.

 

Some of these coatings contain real metallic powders, while others use special reflective pigments. They are especially popular for retail floors, office, and restaurant settings, where a modern, upscale look is desired. To see some of the unique effects possible with metallic coatings, take a look at these stunning projects.

 

20130521_164647

You may recall fro20130521_164029m an earlier blog post, I wrote about stained floors and some of the nuances of working with these types of materials – one of them being that, with stains, their colors are unpredictable. You never know what you are going to get at the end.

 

Really Cool – Metallics give you the randomness and color use of stains but with much more color control.  http://www.sundek.com/products/epoxy-floors/sunmetal-fx

 

You may recall from another one of my earlier blog posts, I wrote about epoxy type floors and the advantages and disadvantages of the various materials. Metallics utilize those very materials as a carrier for the very fine metallic like “dust” particles which are applied to the floor using some very basic tools. Here is an overview of the process:

  1. The concrete floor is cleaned and given a surface profile similar to a fine sand paper finish and then primered with a color tinted epoxy.Why epoxy? Other resin type materials can be used but epoxy has an awesome tenacity for bonding to concrete. Real grippy stuff!!
  2. The colored primer coat will serve also as the background color for the metallic coat. For example we may want to create a very cool and steely look by using a light gray primer coat overlayed with silver and charcoal metallic colors swirled together.
  3. The color primer is allowed to dry and then the floor is coated with another coat of epoxy but this time it is mixed with a colored metallic material that is spread with a trowel or squeegee.
  4. Additional colors can swirled together to form some incredible looks. As the material is still wet and fluid it can be manipulated into some very fluid looks.
  5. Added effects can also be achieved by broadcasting denatured alcohol or acetone which creates a fish-eye effect in the finish. The metallic look is also very compatible with other textures and materials such as stains or textured micro-toppings.
  6. The epoxy metallics also look really sharp with custom saw-cut tile patterns.

What started out as a commercial floor application for warehouses and manufacturing facilities, metallic epoxy floor coatings are the hot new trend that is winding its way into homes as a high-end and exotic looking floor.  Metallics are glamorous and “hip” looking.

 

The next question you might be asking is “Are metallic epoxy floors durable?”

Yes, these floors are considered a high performance floor coatings and designed to last for years. These metallic coatings are just as resistant to oil, salt, chemicals, acids, water, and wear as any other high performance epoxy floor.  Maintenance is easy and the amount of light they reflect is outstanding due to the glossy nature of the surface.  Like any other epoxy coating, they can be a little slippery when wet if you don’t use an anti-slip additive in the final top coat.

 

Besides the glamorous decorative effects, the seamless epoxy floor is chemical resistant and easy to clean, making it ideal for concrete floors in medical facilities, restaurants, showrooms, and retail environments.

 

The Bottom Line: If you have an interior floor project that has been begging for something really different and everyday tile, carpet or laminate is just not going to cut it -check out metallic floors with your local Sundek Dealer. I like ‘em!!

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System Series: All About Epoxy Floors!

Garage Floor Slippery

In our last blog we looked at the Sundek SunCanvas (known in the decorative flooring industry as a micro-topping). Lets take a deeper look at another great set of interior flooring options – Epoxy Coatings!

The Early Days….

Did you know? Epoxy coatings were some of the first materials used for interior concrete floor use?

Yes, that’s right! Most of the initial trial and error for epoxy coating systems came from applications on warehouse floors and other commercial spaces starting way back in the late 1940s and 1950s!

 

These floors were vEpoxy Floor Sampleery plain looking with added safety stripes and warnings markers being the only “decorative”elements. Most of these epoxy floor applications were restricted to large manufacturing facilities that needed a clean, dust free environment that also gave off a high gloss for better light refraction. The end results were to ultimately create an improved work environment, safety and improved production.

Jumping forward a few decades…

During the 1960’s 70’s and 80’s, the industry saw an explosion of new materials come onto the commercial flooring market as well as many improvements in the chemistry and performance of the epoxies. We saw the use of urethanes, acrylics and, more recently, the appearance of the polyaspartics. These materials have been around a long time but were restricted to use in large commercial areas or applications such as warehouse floors, assembly lines and light manufacturing. They were never thought of as anything decorative to say the least. My how times change!!!

 

Today….Epoxy use constrained only by the designer’s imagination and contractor’s capabilities!

Today, we see the use of various color combinations, color metallic, colored mineral aggregates, and vinyl chips which can be designed with amazing patterns and graphics!

It is incredible!!! That ugly yet practical warehouse floor just got cool and sexy!! Metallic photo

Now the question is which material or system do I chose for my floor. This goes back the series of questions we have to ask our-selves anytime we are planning a decorative concrete floor.

 

  • How is the floor going to be used – night club dance floor, dining area, auto mechanic’s floor, industrial plant?
  • What are the owners expectations i.e. budget-looks-maintenance
  • Application Conditions –includes installer experience.
  • What kind of shape is the substrate – wood – concrete – another material existing?

The actual material we select will come from using the criteria above. Let’s take a closer look at the top two system types:

EPOXY COATINGS: These materials are very tenuous when it comes to bonding to the surface prepared concrete and make great bond coats for other materials as final top coats.

Pros                                           Cons

  • Bondability                          •  Reactive to UV rays and can amber
  • Versatile applications      •  Scratch easily
  • Good price point                •  Breathability

POLYASPARTICS:  This high tech material that can be used in about any situation and cold weather conditions.

Pros

  • Durable – great for high traffic areas and mechanic’s shops
  • Very fast cure times allowing area to be returned to use in short time

Cons

  • Not real user friendly to install
  • Can be expensive for buyer

URETHANES:  great material for final top coats and provide a lot of gloss.

Pros                                         Cons

  • Scratch resistant              • Can get a little pricey
  • Some slip resistance       • Non-Breathable
  • UV resistant                     • Difficult to strip if needed
  • Very durable

ACRYLICS: another great material for top coating that is very user friendly and a versatile material.

Pros                                  Cons

  • Breathable                  • Not as durable as the others
  • Cost effective              • Requires reapplication under moderate to heavy use
  • UV resistant
  • Strippable

logosundek

The Bottom Line: All of these epoxy & polyaspartic materials can be used in a decorative floor situation combining color techniques, patterns, even some textures – depending on our material selection process discussed earlier. The decorative concrete market today is becoming more and more specialized so be careful when selecting your decorative concrete contractor. Just because he or she is great at doing stamped concrete doesn’t mean he is going to do a great job on your metallic finish for your kitchen floor. I always recommend that you look at a few jobs they have done with the products you are considering.

My next blog will get into the details regarding some of the most popular interior epoxy floors on the market today.

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System Series Part 4: Concrete Micro-Toppings SunCanvas

The Decorative Concrete industry has exploded over the past 15-20 years! The evolution of new and exciting decorative concrete products and application methods grows each year. At Sundek, we have more than kept pace over the past 20 plus years, but rather served as an industry leader in the decorative concrete industry for the past 40 years!   Adapting to new markets and improving existing products is what we do best.   One of our more recent innovations is our new product line of Sundek SunCanvas which is generically classified in the industry as a micro-topping.

Sundek SunCanvas

Sundek SunCanvas

The beauty of the amazing SunCanvas material is its ability to transform an ordinary interior concrete floor into a dazzling traffic-friendly surface that is complimented by a variety color stains, metallic, custom graphics and finished with a durable clear finish. SunCanvas is a perfect renovation tool

for older floors that are in good condition – that is crack free and structurally sound. It is also a great solution for new floors in good condition looking for a consistent and beautiful finish.

You are probably asking yourself, then why apply a coating? Why not just stain or color the existing concrete, if it is in good condition? The truth is that the majority of older concrete floors are not in a stain ready condition that will exhibit the satisfactory results you are looking for your property!

 

What is a Good “Use Case” for SunCanvas?

 

Ghosting Effect

Ghosting Effect

Glad you asked! SunCanvas is perfect for a floor where tile or carpeting was removed. SunCanvas will cover over the ghosting effect left behind from the previous flooring material. If a contractor would have tried to stain the floor in the photo shown here, the tile lines would “ghost” through on the floor if it were simply stained or dyed.

 

Instead, Sundek’s SunCanvas comes into play for this solution. The floor is completely surface prepared by machine grinding and then followed by multiple coats of SunCanvas applied with squeegees and trowels. Each coat of SunCanvas is lightly sanded after it dries to remove any trowel lines and then the floor is then recoated until the final surface texture is achieved. Now we have a floor finish that is smooth and consistent!   The surface is now ready for any number of color choices which are typically a stain of some type. Many Sundek Dealers will use the SunH2O which is a water-based acrylic stain or an acid-based stain like Sun Acid.  Both materials have their advantages

  • Sun Acid provides a very organic – mottled look
  • Sun H2O offers a more consistent look and a wider selection of colors

Another popular look today is the use of metallic color which provides a real WOW factor to a floor. With the use a micro-topping like SunCanvas, an old floor can be rejuvenated into an amazing show piece. I am seeing more of the metallic looks now being used in garage floors and high-end commercial real estate.

Sundek SunCanvas

Sundek SunCanvas

As with any stain floor the surface must be protected with a clear finish coat to protect it from the wear and tear of everyday foot traffic. The clear coat will also make the stain colors “pop” adding depth and richness to the final look. Clear coating your surface also makes it elegant and an easy to maintain finish.

The selection of clears can be a tricky proposition and will all depend on three factors:

  1. Intended use of the floor
  2. Overall look you are trying to achieve
  3. Long term maintenance

My preferred choice of clears has been a high-solids urethane applied in two coats. I like the urethane because it is more resilient than an epoxy clear or polyaspartic clear. By resilient I mean,

  1. It is more scratch resistant
  2. It provides some degree of slip resistance
  3. It will not amber or turn yellow in direct sunlight over time

The Bottom Line: Keep in mind when you are considering staining your decorative concrete floor that using your existing concrete floor as your starting “canvas” may not give you the expected results that you’re looking for from that magazine picture or a friend’s house. Sundek’s SunCanvas gives reliable and predictable results! If you are considering a new look on a floor area that currently has carpet or tile, check with your local Sundek Decorative Concrete Coatings Dealer and discuss SunCanvas as a great option for your floor!!!

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