[Posted on June 18th, 2013 by Ashley Aguirre]
Concrete is one of the most resilient and durable building materials available. However, unprotected concrete is vulnerable to deterioration from water, organic matter and other corrosives. Adding a concrete coating in Houston homes helps homeowners for a variety of reasons, and it helps to have some background information on this subject.
Concrete coating in Houston is now designed to protect floors as well as serve a decorative purpose. Coatings can also help concrete floors become non-skid and chemically resistant, and one day may even be able to heal itself. But for now, concrete floors, patios, stairs and other structures can all benefit from the use of concrete coatings. Houston homeowners can extend the life of their concrete surfaces significantly through the use of protective concrete coatings.
How Do Concrete Coatings Work?
Concrete floors and driveways are especially vulnerable to abrasion, thermal expansion or contraction and water damage. Concrete is a naturally porous substance that contains millions of tiny cracks or holes into which water and other corrosive agents can seep. Applying a protective coating will prevent this type of damage to concrete surfaces.
Most concrete floor coatings are made of some type of polymer, a plastic-like material that goes on in liquid form then hardens to form a protective barrier.
There are many different types of concrete coatings and homeowners must decide which is right for their particular needs.
Types of Concrete Coatings
There are hundreds of products that are used as concrete coatings. However, most fall into one of several common categories.
Epoxies are usually used in high-traffic areas such as garage floors. Epoxy coatings are particularly moisture-resistant, drying to a hard, high-gloss shine that is very durable. However, epoxies require precise mixing and application procedures to produce good results and tend to yellow when exposed to sunlight.
Polyurea coatings are often used for decorative effects. They have very fast drying and curing times, often allowing homeowners to use coated surfaces within a day of application. Polyurea coatings are common on sheltered areas such as garage floors and can be colored to give a shiny, beautiful finish. Polyurea coatings tend to be more expensive than some other concrete coating methods.
Microtoppings or skim coats are thin layers that are placed over concrete to prepare it for decorative treatments. Microtoppings are commonly used with interior concrete to prepare it for texture, stain or color, although they can be used with outdoor treatments as well.
For concrete that has become worn in spots or uneven, a self-leveling overlay provides even coverage that levels the surface of the concrete. This is especially useful for patios and outdoor surfaces where level surfaces are important.
Several types of concrete finishes can be applied with spray techniques. This allows the application of various colors and designs that enhance the beauty of the finished concrete.
Stamped concrete techniques allow the creation of an optical illusion: plain concrete is transformed into stone, brick or any other pattern the homeowner desires. The appearance of stamped concrete is so realistic that it is difficult to distinguish it from the real material it represents.
Polished concrete provides a high-gloss coating that mimics a beautiful natural stone finish. This technique is becoming extremely popular for indoor applications.
Special Effect Coatings
There are dozens of special effects that can be incorporated into concrete coatings to give a beautiful finish to flooring surfaces. Coatings are now available that are luminescent in the dark, contain metallic pigment, and even infused with real metal.
With all the varieties of concrete coatings available, homeowners can take advantage of these techniques to achieve beautiful, durable results for any concrete surface.