Introduction to Concrete Surface protection

Why is concrete surface protection required?

Concrete is the most commonly used material in the construction industry, but it is very susceptible to wear and chemical attacks from various types of chemical compounds. Concrete surface protection is the solution to the abrasion and damage to which a concrete surface is subjected.

There are various scenarios in which concrete surfaces require protection.

Environments that require concrete surface protection

  • Polished concrete

Polished concrete is popular because it is very durable, and it will keep looking great even with minimal attention. It is therefore widely used for flooring in high-traffic areas like hotel lobbies and supermarkets. However, liquids such as wine can leave stains on the surface, and lemon juice can eat away the top because of its acidic nature. Sand or debris brought in on shoes may scratch polished surfaces since these particles are abrasive. It is also necessary to protect polished concrete surfaces in the construction phase because they are vulnerable to damage at such times. EpiMax offers a range of sealers, densifiers and finishing grouts for polished concrete applications.

  • Water and wastewater

The need for potable water has been on the increase worldwide, and as a result, the amount of wastewater generated is also on the rise. These increases pose a challenge for water and wastewater management. Effective concrete protection systems are required to assist water and wastewater utilities in cutting down their cost of infrastructure management. EpiMax’s cost-effective protection systems aim at reducing water utilities infrastructure management costs.

  • Industrial concrete

Concrete is a composite material that is strong in compression but lacks the capacity to withstand abrasion. Concrete is porous when not protected, and even mildly active compounds can easily get absorbed and attack the cement structure within the concrete, leading to early deterioration.
Hard particles generated by mechanical action can also abrade concrete surfaces, contributing to its breakdown. Unless industrial concrete is protected, it can be subjected to a range of mechanical and chemical abuse that put the heavy-duty industrial environment at risk. EpiMax has proven methods for improving the performance of industrial concrete.

  • General flooring

Working floors in most commercial and industrial facilities are made of concrete. The floor surface has to endure the wear and tear of constant traffic in addition to the impact of attack from chemicals and thermal shock.
In recent years, sophisticated processes to protect concrete floors have been developed. Protective coating or surfacing is now the norm to prevent concrete structures from deteriorating or getting contaminated. Moreover, these floor enhancements facilitate ease of cleaning and maintenance. They also improve aesthetics and physical performance. Which product to use depends on the evaluation of the concrete floor. EpiMax provides an evaluation of service conditions to define physical requirements and select an appropriate flooring system.

  • Compliance with environmental regulations

Floor coatings in areas where children and the elderly are often present must comply with environmental regulations. This is to prevent the negative impact of volatile organic compounds (VOC) used in some coating products. In the architectural coatings industry, low VOC coatings and adhesives are now the only accepted option for concrete floor coatings.
Additionally, commercial clients working on projects now require Green Building Council of Australia certification in most cases. An increasing number of consumers are also becoming aware of the adverse effects of volatile organic compounds and are opting for environmentally friendly products. At EpiMax, a range of low and zero VOC coating solutions for odourless application and minimal emissions is available for different end-user needs.

  • Harsh environments

Extreme weather conditions accelerate the deterioration of concrete. Steel and concrete structures in the heavy industry sector are subjected to abrasive and highly acidic conditions necessitating their protection. Leaking drains and spill onto floors are common in this sector, and chemicals can easily slip through porous concrete slabs to contaminate groundwater beneath the facility. Unless the floor is protected, many structures in these industries will be doomed to premature failure. EpiMax has very effective systems for steel protection in abrasive and highly vulnerable conditions.

Benefits of concrete surface protection

Protection of concrete surfaces has distinct benefits and they can be summarised as follows:

  • Polished concrete will be low maintenance and dust-free if suitably protected.
  • Concrete surface protection prevents future deterioration and solves the corrosive wet space challenge
  • Industrial concrete protection improves structural integrity and reduces maintenance costs.
  • General flooring protection provides a much safer and cleaner working environment.
  • In harsh environments, concrete floor is protected against high acid exposure and very abrasive conditions.
  • When floors in occupied spaces are coated with low or zero volatile organic compounds, there is little or no disruption to daily activities because the VOC coatings produce very low odour.

Conclusion

Concrete is very durable but it has material limitations. Exposure to certain conditions as well as design and construction practices can cause concrete to deteriorate. Concrete surface protection is required, and this will vary depending on the project, environment and end-user.

EpiMax has the expertise and experience to provide concrete protection solutions that work.

Published by Ashley Bryan

Owner of WebsiteStrategies Australia and Webstrategies New Zealand

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