At a quick glance, installing concrete or coatings may seem easy – it’s just a simple gray slab, after all. However, it takes immense skill and precision to do it right. Temperature, humidity, concrete formulation, cure time and numerous other factors influence how your concrete substrate – the concrete slab beneath your flooring – performs. A faulty substrate causes any coatings you install on top of it to fail as well, which can lead to pricey repairs.
With decades of experience in the industry, we have seen every concrete issue imaginable, fixing floor coatings that aren’t performing optimally and treating the substrate to reduce or mitigate future problems. These four issues are the most common:
Moisture is the number one cause of flooring failures. Too much moisture or inconsistent temperatures between the top and bottom slab of concrete can cause a slab’s corners to turn up and separate from the bottom slab. Moisture doesn’t bode well for floor coatings, either. Extra moisture can damage the coating’s bond with the concrete and may cause blistering, water stains or bacterial growth.
These issues require extra costs to fix problem areas or redo the entire floor. Your contractor should be able to recommend floor coatings that address and mitigate moisture in your concrete substrate to avoid future problems.
Cracks can be caused by numerous factors, including subgrade settlement, shrinkage during the drying process, excessive loads, and expansion and contraction due to temperature changes. Some cracks are purely aesthetic, while others reveal a deeper issue. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to address cracks prior to installing a concrete coating.
A skilled contractor will be able to determine the root cause of the crack or cracks and recommend a solution.
Improper Concrete Grading
Concrete grading, or the slope of the concrete, is essential for ensuring proper drainage. For commercial or industrial spaces and even residential patios, improper grading can be devastating, resulting in flooding and costly repairs.
Ask your flooring contractor if they have experience with concrete grading. Depending on the space, the contractor will take a look at your floor and recommend adjustments before installing your coating of choice.
Caused by temperature issues, wind and humidity, blisters occur when air bubbles are trapped below the concrete’s surface while it dries, making the floor look bumpy – not an ideal canvas for a floor coating. Blisters also create a concrete surface that is not sound and will eventually fail and peel or flake away from the slab.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about blisters if your concrete substrate is completely dry. If the concrete is still wet, your contractor should have a protocol to check for and prevent blistering.
Picking the Right Contractor
Choose an experienced contractor who will conduct a site survey prior to starting your project. During this survey, they will point out potential issues and create a plan to resolve those issues. Doing so might increase your project timeline, but it’s a smart move that will save you time, money and hassle down the road.