If you have any questions not answered on this page, do not hesitate to give us a call or email us and we will be more than happy to help.
Q: What are Epoxies?
A: Epoxy systems contain two components, resins and hardeners, which get mixed together creating a chemical reaction that converts them from liquid to solid. A two-part epoxy based polymer system is mechanically strong, chemically resistant to degradation of the chemical elements in the solid form and highly adhesive during conversion from liquid to solid. When these two components are mixed together they will react chemically and link together irreversibly forming a rigid plastic like material.
Q: What are Urethanes?
A: Somewhat similar to epoxies but more durable, has excellent gloss and color retention and has UV resistance. Many epoxies tend to yellow in direct sunlight over time. A top coat of Urethane prevents this yellowing. Urethanes also have superior resistance to engine fluids, acids and alkalies.
Q: What are VOC’s and should I be concerned about them?
A: Volatile Organic Compounds and yes you should be at least aware of what they are. They are gases that are emitted from certain materials like paints and sealers that do pose a health risk if exposed for a certain length of time. They generally come from solvents that act as carriers for the actual material you are putting down such as an epoxy. The carrier flash dries off and leaves behind the epoxy. However, the epoxies we use are almost always 100% solids, so the level of solvents is so low it’s not an issue. You can work all day inside with 100% solids epoxies without a problem.
Q: How do I know what floor system is best for my needs?
A: The flooring system you require depends on the environment you are dealing with and the performance features you desire. An epoxy may not be the best floor system for you! But we are there to advise you on what is according to your needs and budget. We also install urethanes, polyaspartics and acrylics.
Q: Will I have to shut down my operation for the installation?
A: A common concern when buying a new floor involves the disruption of your normal operations. Epoxies do need a couple of days to cure completely. You can walk on the floors the next day but may need to wait a couple of days before you can move furniture back on it. We do our very best to work with your schedule so you won’t have to be inconvenienced. We can schedule your installation during shutdown periods, nights or weekends! No fixed equipment needs to be removed. We also install other flooring systems that are a hybrid type of epoxy called polyaspartics that are specifically designed to be quick curing, enabling you to be back in operation with minimal down time.
Q: How safe are the products?
A: We exclusively use high solid systems, which means toxic or flammable fumes won’t be a problem during the mixing and installation process. Our installers are certified and strictly adhere to all safety procedures. In addition, all products come with explicit instructions, Material Safety Data Sheets and clearly labeled packaging. Safety does not have to be substituted for quality.
Q: What type of maintenance should I expect to perform?
A: With epoxy floors cleaning couldn’t be easier. A simple mopping with water and I tiny bit of ammonia cleans the floors great. On larger areas we recommend an auto-scrubber. We also recommend an easily applied floor wax be applied as a protective coating periodically.
Q: Why wouldn’t I just install a big box store epoxy product?
A: A professionally installed epoxy floor by a certified installer will give you a high quality and beautiful floor which will last. The most important part of any concrete surface application is surface preparation. We use top quality planetary and hand-held diamond grinding equipment and shot-blasters to properly profile the floors. We also use only commercial/industrial grade epoxy products which are guaranteed and proven over thousands of square feet of concrete. Big box store generally sell low solid epoxies which are not as strong. Comparing a store bought epoxy vs. a commercial grade; professionally installed floor is like comparing a Pickup to a Peterbuilt…
Q: Are epoxy floors slippery?
A: Yes and no. We’d be lying if we just said no. However, in areas where traction is a concern or there is a likelihood of water, oil or other spills there are a lot of options to solve this problem. We add a variety of different slip resistant additive to the different coats of the floor system which make the floors more skid resistant. And waxing the floors helps also. Texturing a resurfaced floor adds plenty of traction and slip resistance as does installing a double broadcast system.
Q: How dry do the floors have to be to put Epoxy down?
A: All concrete floors not poured over a proper moisture barrier, are subject to possible moisture vapor transmission or hydrostatic pressure problems which can cause a coating system to blister or fail. Before applying a coating system over a concrete floor which is on-grade or below grade, the customer would be informed of this potential problem and given the option to have a qualified moisture testing company perform calcium chloride test to give the proper recommendations.
Q: What if we do have moisture in our floors?
A: Usually we can control or mitigate the amount of moisture that comes through the floors to an acceptable level so that it can be sealed without worrying about it blistering or blushing.
Q: How does your product differ from regular concrete for overlays?
A: Well, to start with, we don’t use regular concrete. We use what is called modified cement. It is a white Portland based cement that is fortified with acrylics and copolymer resins.
Q: Okay, what’s the difference between concrete and cement?
A: Concrete and cement are often confused with each other. Think of Cement as glue with sand. More specifically, it’s a hydraulic product that sets and hardens when it chemically reacts with water. It’s kind of considered the glue that holds everything together. Concrete then, is cement that has some form of aggregate, like gravel or crushed stone, in it. Pretty much everything you see, from sidewalks to pool patios to house foundations, is concrete.
Q: Why is what you use better?
A: There are a lot of answers to that question. First, cement that has been fortified /modified with acrylics and copolymers is much stronger than regular concrete; roughly twice the compressive strength of regular concrete. Compressive strength, or PSI, is the most popular and important rating of concrete. Our products are also 2-3 times stronger in Flexural Strength and Tensile Strength. Second, it’s way more beautiful. When we resurface an area we are basically starting with a new white canvass. To that almost any color, texture or pattern can be applied. Another answer to that question is that it’s cheaper, cheaper than replacement that is. Usually we can repair cracks, chips, spalling and delamination for a fraction of the cost of replacement. And probably the best part of resurfacing that is often overlooked is the fact that it’s sealed. This inhibits the growth of mildew, keeps the surface from wearing down and makes it almost non-porous. That means that in the winter, if you absolutely have to use that salt that we all knows eats concrete, you are putting it on a sealed surface!!
Q: How much of this stuff are you going to put down?
A: This is a question we get on almost every job. Most customers assume we are going to put down an inch or two of product and are concerned about changes in the surface level. We put down between 1/16th and 1/3rd of an inch on a good surface. On areas that need more we can add up to 2 inches without the addition of aggregate.
Q: Is it common for concrete to crack?
A: Certainly, but in most cases we can fix them or minimize them to the point that they won’t be noticeable.
Q: What type of maintenance do your products require?
A: Well that depends. For interior floors it’s a good idea to hit it every so often with a good floor wax like NCL ONE, similar to what we put down as the final step on our interior jobs. Probably once or twice a year would be plenty depending on your personal preference for maintaining a shine. And how often you need to do it depend on the traffic. For exterior surfaces we recommend resealing every 3-4 years, not unlike what you would do with your driveway. This takes us to another important questions which is actually hardly ever asked.
Q: Does regular concrete need to be sealed?
A: The answer is absolutely it does, if you want it to last. Most people think “Well I’ve never sealed my concrete before”. And that’s true, most people don’t. And that’s why there is so much ugly, worn, stained and spalled concrete around. Here’s a test… Can you see all the dark aggregate on the surface of your concrete slab? If so, all that top layer of cement has eroded away. If it had been sealed, this would not have happened.
Q: Can’t I just buy some paint at a big box store and paint it?
A: PLEASE don’t do this. First of all, unless you use the right paint/sealer it will never adhere properly. The other common problem customers encounter is that they don’t understand all that’s involved in preparing the surface to accept new material. The surface needs to be power-washed with a very high power washer, or acid washed to open the pours, or often hit with a mechanical grinder. Short of that, it’s kind of like trying to ice a cake that’s all full of crumbs. I can’t tell you how many jobs we’ve done where the customer finally gives up after painting their concrete every year because it never stops flaking or peeling.
Q: I’ve heard that it’s very difficult to get new concrete to bond to old concrete. How do I know this won’t flake off?
A: Very important question for both of us! The first reason there is a high failure rate is that most masons or concrete people don’t take the time to prepare the surface properly. The devil is truly in the detail. The surface must be thoroughly cleaned via mechanical or chemical means. Next reason why our products adhere where others fail is that our products are created by substituting the regular aggregate in concrete with proprietary polymers, crossed linked polymers and acrylics. The silica, or sand, is replaced with a graded and shaped fine quartz aggregate. Our products bond chemically and mechanically to properly prepared or profiled surfaces.
Q: Can all concrete be resurfaced?
A: I wish I could say yes but the fact is that, in many cases, the concrete is too far gone to fix economically. Could we fix it? Sure! But the material we use is expensive, so sometimes it’s just not cost effective. You don’t want to pay 25% more to resurface a bad slab than it would cost to have it replaced with a new one. And we won’t be shy about telling you that either.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Trying to answer that question precisely would be like guessing how many fingers you’re holding up over the phone. Many factors go into determining the price including condition of existing surface, type of overlay you want and how elaborate you want it. But click here for a more detailed discussion on price. Generally $5-15.00 per square foot
Q: What other benefits are there to concrete resurfacing?
A: Well here are a few really substantial reasons to resurface:
1) When you have, let’s say a pool deck replaced with new concrete, consider for a minute the total cost of replacement. You need to pay to have a crew rip out the old concrete. You need to pay to have the contractor dispose of that old concrete. Then you need to pay to have your lawn redone after they’ve driven all their heavy equipment over it. When we resurface your concrete all you pay for, usually, is the cost of the resurfacing.
2) For exterior jobs all surfaces are sealed with a high strength clear sealer. This makes it extremely resistant to salts, which some people still insist on using in the winter, oils and other stains. It’s virtually non-porous which makes it mold resistant and simple to clean. Usually just a garden hose and maybe a little mild detergent will clean it fine.
3) It adds value to your home. No doubt about it!
As concrete polishing is still considered kind of new there is a degree confusion of what it is. It is not just a shiny surface. Years ago people may have referred to a floor that was waxed and buffed as “polished”. But today it means something entirely different. See here for more on what it is. And see below for some commonly asked questions.
Q: Can any concrete floor be polished?
A: No. Most can, provided they are good sound floors. The best floors for polishing are ones that have been professional finished and mechanically troweled which creates a nice hard uniform and flat surface. Even most minor imperfections don’t cause much concern. But, there are some things that polishing won’t fix. (Think the expression; You can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear) Areas that had tiles, carpet glue or mastic on them for many years often show ghosting from those applications. Floors that had oils and mechanical fluids soaking into them for years will still have those stains there when it’s done being polished. Large pop-outs from old walls also can create visual imperfections. Some we can fix or hide, some we can’t. Almost all concrete floors can be made to shine but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to look that great. Often customers call looking to get a polished concrete floor like a Home Depot or some other big box store. But, many of those stores were built for what they are and not rehabbed so they are starting with nice floors. An old rehabbed floor can look entirely different. Look at some of the pictures on our site and I’m sure you can locate a few that don’t look that great. Oh yeah, they shine but they just aren’t perfect.
Q: What kind of maintenance is required for polished concrete floor?
A: Polished concrete requires very little maintenance and does not require any topical sealers to keep it protected. For regular maintenance we recommend regular dust mopping with micro fiber mop. For wet mopping we recommend a cap of dish washing soap to a bucket of water.
Q: Where is polished concrete flooring not suitable?
A: Polished concrete flooring is very versatile and can be used virtually for any commercial, industrial or residential applications. However, polished concrete is not a non-porous surface. Therefore it is susceptible to staining from acids, vinegars and other solvents and dyes. It is also not considered “food grade” which means that health departments don’t usually approve it for certain food service areas.
Q: Can polished concrete floor be Acid Stained or Dyed?
A: Yes. There are a wide range of different stains and dyes available.
Q: Are polished concrete floors slippery?
A: Well my stock answer is that all floors that are shiny are slippery when wet. But keep in mind polished concrete, unlike epoxy, is not non-porous, which means it has natural slip resistance. Also if it was a real safety concern do you think every big box store in the country would be using it? Polished concrete floors meet OSHA standards for what they call slip-coefficient of friction or SCOF.
These are just a large handful of questions we get on a regular basis. Many other questions are answered somewhere else on our web site. But if you still have a question, then PLEASE email us and ask.