Hard floor surfaces such as tiles, natural stone, concrete etc. can look great, but keeping them looking good and slip-resistant requires preparation and ongoing maintenance.
Choosing the right sandstone, concrete or general masonry sealer can be tricky. There are many factors to consider, please feel free to contact Chemron Technical Sales if you are unsure of which sealer is right for your application.
Take a tiled area around a swimming pool or shopping precinct for example. Although the tiles may have met slip-resistant building standards when installed over time these surfaces can wear smooth. This slippery situation can be exacerbated by foods spills or, in the case of the swimming pool, the build-up of sunscreen etc.
Sadly, slippery problems often only come to light once someone has had a fall.
To manage the slip risk, an ongoing maintenance and testing program needs to be adopted. The maintenance can simply be a regular cleaning program with a suitable cleaning agent, such as U-Beaut or UBC. Periodic testing of high traffic areas by a suitably qualified person will determine the rate of slip risk and enable those in charge to plan a rectification program. The most effective process of re-establishing a compliant slip coefficient of a non-compliant surface is to lightly etch and reseal the surface. This etching process reintroduces the original roughness of the surface and hence the compliant slip resistance. Resealing the surface is important as this will prevent surface penetration of contaminates and will ensure it looks good and is easily maintained. Use a good quality sealer such as Shield IT.
External concrete, paved and sandstone areas
The world is full of hard external surfaces. Whether they are concrete, sandstone or similar materials they all suffer from the same problems of mould and moss growth, oil staining, tree sap and leaf staining – the list goes on. And so, ideally, all these surfaces should be sealed with a suitable, hard-wearing, weather-resistant penetrating sealer. As the name suggests this class of sealer penetrates deep into the surface and seals it against water, oils etc. Because penetrating sealers sit below the surface they don’t wear off in high traffic areas, plus they tend not to alter the appearance of the surface either. So they are like an invisible protective coating that is only evident when water is applied. The water will simply bead and not penetrate. When applied properly a good quality penetrating sealer will last for years.
But what about older external concrete, sandstone, and paved surfaces?
Before older surfaces can be sealed, they need to be brought back to as close to their original state as possible. Depending on the surface’s age and condition this could simply be an application of a suitable algaecide such as Algae Died B and a good pressure wash. However, if the surface has other staining and contamination such as rust, oil, and leaf litter stains then other products such as UBC and Concrete Wash may need to be used. Once the surface is a close to its original appearance as possible a suitable penetrating sealer can be used.
Internal concrete and other masonry surfaces
Internal concrete surfaces can be treated in the same way as the external surfaces mentioned above. However, there are a couple of other issues that may need to be taken into consideration. For example, while penetrating sealer is great for preventing water and oil penetration that doesn’t stop the surface from shedding dust. Shedding dust isn’t an issue with external surfaces, but inside a garage or warehouse, it is at least a nuisance, and often of greater concern, particularly in the food industry. The other consideration could be appearance, a clear gloss topical concrete surface sealer can make a world of difference to the look and feel of a work area or warehouse. A clean topical sealer such as Masonry Sealer can also be tinted to create any effect one desires.
But what about older factory floors?
Older flooring will need to be prepared in a similar way to the older external surfaces mentioned earlier. Although sometimes the aesthetic of an area can be enhanced by seeing the history of a space, and so not completely obscuring marks and blemishes can good. This can be achieved by lightly tinting the clear sealer, this provides a uniform appearance but allows some character of the flooring to show through.
Line markings in warehouses
A good quality topical sealer such as Masonry Sealer can also be applied over the top of line markings as a protectant. It is easier to reapply a clear coat than to redo worn outlines and markings. To ensure your line markings stay bonded to your concrete ensure you prepare the surface and use a good quality line marking product such as Masonry Sealer Yellow.