Painting a concrete floor is a serious task and should be treated as such. There are two major concerns that need to be covered. First, concrete needs to be protected from deterioration and contamination since it is highly porous in nature and prone to turning into dust from wear. Second, the aesthetics are an important part of a painting work and in this day and age there are far better solutions than keeping it gray. Whit this in mind, choosing the right coating will make a world of difference and here is what you should take into account.
The first step of the process is to establish the actual state of the surface you will be coating. It needs to be void of any chemicals and dirt that could interfere with the bond of concrete and the coating that will be applied. This goes for any concrete repair material that you use to fill in all the existing cracks and holes. Next, if the surface requires patching, leveling or sloping, it is of utmost importance that the material used for this complies with the one you will use for coating. Cheap material will surely jeopardize the coating regardless how high quality one you chose.
Basically, this is related to the general purpose a concrete floor will serve. In other words it is related to the degree of abuse it is expected to withstand. The degree of chemical exposure, for example, narrows the possible choices since coating materials significantly differ in chemical resistance. Next, abrasion is important too. If surface exposed to steel-wheeled traffic it will require a special treatment. Finally, thermal shocks are an important factor. For example, some materials will suffer from loss of bond when steam cleaned.
Despite the fact that they are not structurally as important as previously mentioned factors additional consideration play an important role when it comes to the outlook of the floor, as well as the owners satisfaction. Aesthetics, for example, surely significantly influence the subjective feeling of satisfaction and some materials can meet both aesthetic and functional requirements. Life expectancy is also a factor, thou it strongly depends on maintenance too. In the end, economics often play an important role and despite all obligatory requirements the budget dictates the final choice.
Material Properties and Application Procedures
Performing a thorough review of properties and application procedures of potential coating materials is another highly important step. Going through application procedures, technical data and performance characteristics is can be difficult due to lack of standard data presentation. Since this step is of utmost importance it is strongly suggested to hire professional assistance in order for the review process to go as smoothly and as precisely as possible given the circumstances.
Choice of Materials
There are hundreds of available polymer concrete coatings. Most frequently used are epoxies and polyurethanes and you should concentrate on them. Polyurethanes are used in thin film, have a great wear and abrasion resistance and average to excellent chemical and stain resistance. However, most are solvent-containing coatings and a recommendation to lower their volatile organic compound content. On the other hand, a good concrete sealer is 100% non-volatile, has excellent chemical and abrasion resistance, and excellent adhesion.
As you can see, choosing a proper concrete coating is a process that requires dedication and knowledge. It is strongly advised that you hire a professional for the entire process, or at least for all the proposed steps that you are not absolutely certain you could do yourself. Remember, every step is equally important, from preparation, choice of coating to aesthetics and economics.