IMG_1335_small[dropcap color=”#000000″]T[/dropcap]he technicians and installers at Garage and Storage Plus are often asked how effective the discount epoxy kits at the big box home centers re. As we all know, big home centers sell (relatively) inexpensive one- and two-part epoxy kits from Rustoleum, Behr, and other manufacturers.

Generally speaking, these discount kits are of inferior quality, although we do not wish to disparage any particular brand. Discount kits have their time and place, such as for laundry room floors and light traffic areas. But, for the heavy duty use required for automobile parking, discount kits generally will not fit the bill. Unfortunately, some commercial installers are using discount kits in order to keep their costs down. If you have received a low-ball bid on a concrete coating job at your home, you should be quite suspicious.

Always ask your installer:

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[list_item]The brand of coating they intend to use.[/list_item]
[list_item]Where the installer intends to purchase it. High-grade coatings are purchased from concrete specialty supply houses and directly from manufacturers. [/list_item]
[list_item]What is the installer’s method of preparation of the concrete?[/list_item]
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It has been our experience, in reviewing and inspecting concrete that is coated with such products, that the discount coatings fail prematurely for two reasons. The first problem with such coatings is that they lack sufficient abrasion resistance. Thus, such coatings are prone to scratching. Scratches dull a coated surface and make it appear lifeless; also, scratching promotes the accumulation of debris in the coating surface. But the more important, and more significant failure that occurs with these coatings is the failure of adhesion between concrete and coating. When a concrete coating fails to adhere to the concrete below, the coating chips away, revealing the concrete underneath.

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IMG_1335_small[dropcap style=”plain”]T[/dropcap]he garage shown at left was coated with an inexpensive two-part epoxy system from one of the big box stores. The arrows indicate some of the larger areas of chipping/failure. The customer stated that this floor was coated 2.5 year previously.

 

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IMG_1335_small[dropcap style=”plain”]T[/dropcap]his photograph shows a close up of the same floor. As you can see, the coating has loosened from the concrete below and will continue to chip away, revealing a larger and larger gap in the coating.

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IMG_1335_small[dropcap style=”plain”]T[/dropcap]o remedy the failure of the coating system, the entire floor had to be ground down to the concrete underneath–at a tremendous expense to the customer, of nearly 4 times the cost of the original job.

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IMG_1335_small[dropcap style=”plain”]T[/dropcap]he same floor, fully ground, and prepared for several coats of high-adhesion, commercial strength epoxy coatings.

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IMG_1335_small[dropcap style=”plain”]T[/dropcap]he re-coating of the same garage, beginning with a hand-painted Texas-themed logo.

We’ll post a picture of the finished garage in the next few days.

 

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The failure of discount coatings is attributable to two factors. First, the coatings themselves lack the commercial strength adhesive properties of more expensive coatings–such as the coatings used by Garage and Storage Plus. We do not use discount coatings on any floor. The greater factor, though, is the lack of proper preparation available with the discount kits. Only some discount kits offer any preparation materials at all–and the kits that do offer it, offer a meager packet of acidic powder. Experienced installers know that acid preparation is an inferior method of concrete preparation.