How to Prepare Cement for Epoxy Coating
Coating your floor is important for many reasons; you do this to improve resistance to chemical elements, it helps prevent concrete sweating and to also have a non-skid surface. With epoxy coating you can also reduce dust and improve on the appearance of your floor.
Prior to the actual epoxy coating, it is important to do some preparation work for your cement. With the right procedure for preparing your floor, you can be assured of better quality and better looking coated floor. Below are the steps that you should follow to prepare your cement for epoxy coating.
Step 1 – Inspect
The location, history and condition of the cement contribute to the amount of preparation needed. The easiest area to prepare is a sidewalk because of the least likelihood of having painting and oil stains on them. Garage floors may be badly stained from oil drips because of the busy nature of the place; this area may have weathered various drips and spills for years. You also have to check if there are waxes, dissolved salts, sealer and spills that can affect your coating process. For new concrete, it is important to cure the area for 30 days.
Step 2 - Sandblast the Floor
Clean the surface and make it free from dirt, oil, grease and wax. Remove the top layer by water blasting the surface. Sandblasters can be purchased at home supply stores or found at equipment rental shops; most shops are happy to provide instructions about how to use the sandblaster. Be sure to wear a protective face mask during the sandblasting process and protect adjacent areas with tarps.
Stubborn stains may require the use of a salt removing mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Oil stains that cannot be removed can be cleaned with oil stain remover or degreaser which can be found at a home supply store. Scrub thoroughly and use gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals that you will use in the preparation.
Step 3 - Clean, Etch the Floor and Rinse
Clean the area either by using Clean-N-Etch or muriatic acid. Make sure that the surface will have the feel of a sand paper after etching. If you decide to use muriatic acid for etching, neutralize the surface with a baking soda and water. Use a face mask to make sure that you are not affected by the smell off the chemical that you will use. Rinse the area well using a hose or by water blasting the second time. This will remove all stubborn dirt and stains that have been stuck on the floor especially with years of use. Be meticulous in the etching and rinsing starting from one corner or part to another.
Dry the area and check if water penetrates fast, otherwise, re-etch the areas that do not respond quickly.
Step 4 - Use a Vacuum Cleaner
Use a wet vacuum and dry the surface to get rid of the water used in rinsing. This will also remove dust, salts and other particles that can affect your epoxy coating process.
When the surface preparation process has been completed, you have to wait for the total concrete dryness. Make sure that you will be using high quality epoxy coating for best results; apply with a paint roller with an attached extension handle.