PROGRESSIVE EPOXY POLYMERS, INC.


APPREHENSIVE? New to Epoxies? (They can be $$$). Let's talk (603 - 435 - 7199 or EMAIL) and put yourself at ease with a 1 on 1 conversation about your project, which products will work best for you, and how to use them. After purchase "handholding", support, and encouragement are also available anytime. We freely share our 20 plus years of epoxy experience and problem solving experience.  If our owner, Paul Oman, is not available he will return your call quickly. Emails are answered all day long. Without potential customers, repeat customers, and friends like you that want some free, quick advice, New Hampshire based Progressive Epoxy Polymers, Inc., a Better Business Bureau member, would not exist. Thank you in advance and thank you for visiting epoxyproducts.com. We appreciate your interest in our company.

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EPOXY FLOOR PAINT

 

Does Your Floor Have A Vapor Barrier?

 

It would seem that painting a concrete slab or wall should be a simple task with minimal problems. This is often so, but things change when the concrete is on damp ground, below the water table, or in direct contact with moisture.
 

 

Vapor Barrier - moisture issues in epoxy garage floors
 moisture transmission and vapor barriers for epoxy floors
 


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Paul Oman, MS, MBA - Progressive Epoxy Polymers, Inc. (floor epoxies, marine epoxies, underwater epoxies, repair epoxies)

Member: NACE (National Assoc. of Corrosion Engineers), SSPC (Soc. of Protective Coatings)

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applying epoxy floor paint

It would seem that painting a concrete slab or wall should be a simple task with minimal problems. This is often so, but things change when the concrete is on damp ground, below the water table, or in direct contact with moisture.

THE PROBLEM

Concrete is not the hard, dense, impermeable mass we tend to imagine it to be. It's a mineral/salt rich, porous material full of tiny channels and voids. These pathways are just right for the migration of fluids and vapors. Migration is due to simple physics - forces working to achieve temperature, humidity, concentration, or pressure (hydrostatic) equilibrium.

But there is more to it than simple equilibrium induced fluid migration. Dissolved metal salts in the migrating water can form relatively large calcium/potassium silicates (in a typical alkali-silica reaction) upon reaching the concrete surface. This ‘swelling' can result in pressure build-ups of well over 1000 pounds. That's a lot of pressure for any coating bond to resist.

Added to this situation is one more wrinkle. Nearly all coatings lose bond strength, or simply will not adhere at all, when applied to a damp, wet, or saturated surface. How dry is your concrete surface? Chances are it contains more moisture than the coating manufacturer would recommend for optimum adhesion.

 


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EPOXY FLOOR PAINT

Vapor Barrier - moisture issues in epoxy garage floors
 moisture transmission and vapor barriers for epoxy floors



VAPOR BARRIERS

The pre-construction solution is to use a vapor barrier under the concrete. This vapor barrier is nothing more than a heavy plastic sheet. Unfortunately contractors or owners often discover that no vapor barrier was used or that the vapor barrier has probably been torn or damaged, possibly when the concrete was poured. Older buildings and garages often do not have a vapor barrier.

Do You Have A Vapor Barrier? Sometimes it's easy to tell if you're lacking a much needed vapor barrier. There could be water (smelly water) under the carpet or wood floor sitting directly on the concrete. If the surface is painted, there might be water filled blisters in the paint. Pop them open and they may literally squirt water several feet into the air. If the concrete is not covered, it could be covered with tiny crystals, the result of mineral salts being left behind by the migrating moisture.

One way to test the exposed concrete for moisture migration is to tape a sheet of plastic (several square feet in area) to the floor and see if water condenses under the plastic. A lack of condensed water doesn't rule out a possible problem. Moisture migration might occur only after rainstorms, spring thaws, or other occasional events.

TREATING A VAPOR BARRIERLESS FLOOR

How do you fix a floor with a vapor transmission problem? There are lots of partial solutions, but no ‘sure thing' short of pouring new concrete over a new vapor barrier.

A ‘Breathable' system is one common solution. This lets the moisture pass through. Depending upon your requirements, especially if you're just looking for an attractive surface, this may be all you need. There are a growing number of porous rugs, paints, and other surfaces on the market.

Next are special sealers (
such as Bio Vee Seal - http://www.epoxyproducts.com/vee4u.html) that soak into the concrete and form crystals within the voids and channels inside the surface of the concrete. This reduces permeability and porosity of the concrete, generally restricting the flow of fluids, but not vapors, through the matrix. If the concrete is exposed, this treatment is easy and quick and just might ‘densify' the concrete enough to solve, or greatly reduce, the problem. A product like this might also assist in the bonding of regular paint or epoxy which would normally fail, by lessening the amount of mineral salts, etc. the can migrate to the concrete - coating interface. When used in this (untested) fashion, the Bio Vee Seal would become a primer of sorts.

Finally, there is at least one line of rollable epoxies and floor epoxies that can bond to wet or damp surfaces (http://www.epoxyproducts.com) so well that they can resist the pressures (over 1000 pounds) that can build up on the surface of the concrete at the coating interface. This approach offers a simple, roll on, impermeable barrier on the inside surface of the concrete. By sealing the concrete surface, moisture, concentration, and pressure equilibriums would be reached inside the concrete which would stop the flow or movement of moisture, although not its presence.

Bond adhesion, however, is influenced by more than just moisture levels. A good, strong bond requires careful surface preparation. The surface must be clean, dust free, solid (not chalking or deteriorating), and have a good profile (microscopic peaks and valleys) to permit maximum surface contact. The presence of pre-existing coatings, sealers or grease/oil spills could preclude a good bond also.

CONCLUSION

Moisture and salts can and do migrate through concrete slabs as they seek equilibrium with the environment above the concrete. The resulting pressures and condensing water vapor can ruin painted floors, rugs, wooden flooring and almost anything placed over the concrete. After-the-fact solutions include using a breathable surface coating, reducing the porosity and permeability of the concrete and/or using special epoxies that can bond sufficiently well to moisture rich concrete so as to successfully resist the forces that can develop.

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PROGRESSIVE EPOXY POLYMERS, Inc

 

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Marine Catalog

 
* home page of marine catalog section (blue background)

* table of contents page for marine catalog section

 
Section One MARINE - CLEAR EPOXIES

Section Two FILLERS THICKENERS ADDITIVES

Section Three THICKENED EPOXIES - EPOXY PUTTIES, ETC.

Section Four EPOXY PAINTS (barrier coats)

Section Five URETHANES AND NON-EPOXY COATINGS

Section Six NON-SKID DECK COATINGS

Section Seven MARINE REPAIR PRODUCTS

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Section A EPOXY PAINTS

Section B FLOOR EPOXIES (regular and non-skid products), SEALERS, ACCESSORIES

Section C THICKENED EPOXIES - EPOXY PUTTIES, ETC.

Section D CLEAR EPOXIES

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Section H SURFACE PREPARATION PRODUCTS

Section I MISC. ACCESSORIES
 

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Vapor Barrier - moisture issues in epoxy garage floors
 moisture transmission and vapor barriers for epoxy floors
 

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