What Are Polyaspartic and Polyurea Coatings?
Polyaspartic and polyurea coatings were developed over 20 years ago to coat steel to prevent corrosion. The high performance led to experimenting as a concrete coating. They start as two components that are mixed together basically like an epoxy and rolled on a concrete surface. Colored pigments can be added and decorative chips or quartz can be broadcast into the wet coating. The top coat encapsulated the quartz and chips yielding a decorative result.
So simply they are a polyurea coatings that protects the concrete garage floor. However they are much more sophisticated. When polyaspartic esters are added to a polyurea the capabilities change depending on the desired result. For example, adding polyaspartic esters will increase the cure time. Use less and the cure time can be decreased. Adjusting the capability of the product means that in the hands of a professional there is finally a solution for the concrete floor.
Instead of using an off the shelf product that is one size fits all, the product can be adjusted to fit the application. This has resulted in a solution in Minnesota that has extreme temperatures and issues that are different than anywhere else.
How They Stop Moisture Pressure
The concrete garage floor typically has extensive ground moisture and freeze issues that trap moisture in the ground. When ice and snow start to melt the moisture gets underneath the slab and pushes upwards through the airholes and veins in concrete. This happens everywhere but is extreme in very cold climates. Polyurea and polyaspartic blends have been created that have the unique ability to wet or absorb into the concrete rather than just sticking to the surface. Provided the surface is ground the right way with professional grinding equipment the pores of the concrete are opened allowing the polyureas to soak into the surface. When they cure they become part of the floor and a permanent moisture barrier.
How They Fix Damaged Concrete Floors
Salts that are pushed to the surface from moisture pressure settle on the floor and start breaking down concrete. This combined with de-icing salts from cars and trucks that are tracked onto the floor rapidly deteriorate concrete especially in Minnesota. Adjusting the ability of a polyurea to absorb into the surface means badly damaged floors can be fixed. Since the polyureas can soak into porous concrete they become part of the floor. With the right blend the concrete will break before the polyureas. What may seem hopeless can now be fixed.
Flexibility Can Be Adjusted
Due to the extreme conditions resulting in cracked concrete the polyureas can be adjusted to be thin enough to fill a crack all the way to the bottom, not just at the surface. Flexibility or elongation as it is referred can be increased so the filler will move with the concrete. An additional feature is that polyureas will cure deep in the crack even when their is moisture in the walls of the crack. Cracks are like vents for moisture vapor. The ability to permanently fix a crack in the concrete floor prevents moisture pressure and salts from delaminating the top coating.
Creating a Non Slip Surface.
Conscientious polyurea coating professionals add a non slip feature into each coat. For floors with high traffic there will be some wear and every coating will wear to some degree. By mixing the right size particles into each layer the coefficient of friction (non-slip) will always exist. Many coatings are too thick to build non slip particles into each layer and are braodcast only at the surface. Non Slip Particles in the surface will dislodge from use and become slippery fast.
The Final Decorative Coats
Abrasion resistance can be adjusted so that the floor with extreme surface abuse will endure over the long term. However when sand, dirt and de-icing salts hit the surface every floor will get some degree of wear. Polypaspartic polyureas have the unique ability to be slightly sanded and recoated restoring the surface like new.