New or unpainted/unsealed concrete: The floor must be properly prepared to accept the coating by one of the previous methods. Note: Newly poured concrete must ‘cure’ first. Moisture in the floor may cause coating failure. New concrete normally has to cure generally at least 30 days. Test any concrete to be coated by (as previously mentioned) taping a 4’ x 4’ sheet of clear plastic on the floor with duct tape. If moisture under the plastic sheet or floor dampness/darkening appears the next day, then do not coat yet. Older concrete with moisture issues can also create problems. If you have a continuing moisture problem then we recommend doing an inexpensive moisture test and using either a standard primer or a moisture barrier primer.
Sealed floor: First determine if the floor is sealed. Dribble water onto a cleaned spot on the floor. If it beads up, like on a waxed floor, then you are dealing with a previously sealed floor. A sealed floor will resist all coatings. The old seal must be removed. Repeat prep steps until water no longer beads up.
If you plan acid etching, expect to have to repeat the process multiple times or at a higher acid concentration. Sanding a sealed floor prior to using acid etch helps to ‘open up’ the floor and allows the acid to penetrate and etch.
If you opt for the mechanical method choose Diamond Floor Buffer Pads designed for prepping sealed floors.
Oily/greasy floors: Oil soaks into concrete and no standard coating can stick to an oily floor. Sometimes it’s impossible to remove completely without concrete replacement.
A good first step is to use an Oil/Grease Emulsifier which converts oil and petroleum products into a soapy solution which can be rinsed away. After prepping, check with the water drop test to see if it’s still beading. If it is you’ll need to use an special Oil Stop Primer designed to stick to oily floors.
Painted concrete: Painted concrete ideally should be stripped prior to painting, and then etched. Epoxy floor covering adheres to what’s under it, so if the existing coating is coming up, the new system will to. There are excellent cement floor strippers designed to dissolve paint and allow for its easy and safe removal. If you are unable or unwilling to strip your floor, at the minimum it must be power washed, lightly sanded and/or etched and neutralized.
Please note that floors that have some, but not all, of the paint removed, have different ‘porosity’ areas since the painted areas will absorb less epoxy than the areas where the existing paint has worn off or been removed. This can lead to ‘blotchiness’ in surface appearance unless you apply 2 coats of epoxy or prime first with Primer.
Drains and open areas: In areas that are not to be coated completely or where there are ‘edges’ (such as linear floor drains or circular drains) an 1/8” wide by 1/8” deep ‘slot’ must be cut into the floor using a hand grinder, masonry blade, or circular saw with a diamond blade for the coating to drop into and create a ‘clean edge into the slot. Duct tape off the opposite side of the slot you’ve created before applying the coating so the epoxy does not run past the slot. The purpose is to create a clean sealed edge for the epoxy system, preventing water migration under the epoxy coating which can cause the concrete to swell and the epoxy to de-bond. Failure of coating due to improper preparation is not covered by warranty.