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Surface Preparation Strategies for Concrete Coatings

History of the Leaning Tower | Leaning Tower Pisa

In 1173, the foundations for the famous Tower of Pisa were laid on the ground too soft to support its weight properly. The resulting lean steadily progressed until the building’s survival was so at the risk that comprehensive renovation work was required to improve the tilt and safeguard the tower’s future partially. In flooring renovation projects, it is crucial to consider what can go wrong to increase the chances of getting it right the first time.

While surface preparation is often seen as one aspect of a more extensive coatings application project, there can be many steps just within that one phase. Factors to examine may include safety protocols, power supply, climate control, pressure washing, chemical treatment, grinding, blasting, and profile measurement — to name some. 

We have put together a guide for 2021 to help contractors discover the best and latest tips for surface preparation success to find proper solutions. Join me as we go over those in this article today.

Event Safety Directors Conference Building Positive - Safety First Clipart  - Full Size Clipart (#1785952) - PinClipart

Safety First

Before commencing any physical surface preparation work, builders should take time to form a suitable plan for all job site safety requirements, both for workers themselves and the neighboring areas. Given recently heightened regulations from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), this step has only grown more important entering the 2020s.

OSHA requires employers to use a hierarchy of controls where there are exchanges or removals at the top of a hierarchy. 

Ideally, many hazards could be engineered out of a project. But for the construction industry, where most duties are performed directly at the Jobsite, this may not be feasible. This leads to a priority on PPE, with a customized plan for each job site.

For concrete jobs, exposure to silica dust is another factor to consider when developing a PPE plan. 

Jobsite Power Distribution Box and Panels | Western Shelter

Powering Up

With a safety plan in place, one of the first steps for contractors performing surface preparation is often determining whether the job site has adequate power to run the necessary tools. For example, if a site lacks a direct power source or the requirements are above what can be supplied through the grid, mobile generators may be needed.

Grinding Away

For many projects, preparing the surface for the next coating system may necessitate grinding, scarifying, scraping, or even entirely removing the prior surface with specialized hand tools. In addition to the traditional walk-behind models, many of these devices are now available in smaller, more transportable sizes. In turn, contractors can access tight job sites and a wider range of potential project locations.

By pairing surface preparation tools with vacuum equipment, manufacturers can offer end-to-end solutions while simultaneously meeting the latest OSHA rules. Progressive manufacturers introduced equipment to help contain or remove this dust long before the regulations were initiated. But since the regulations, manufacturers have upped their game with more effective dust collection equipment, which continues to improve the machines’ effectiveness.

Concrete Wood | The Concrete Protector

Preparation Makes Perfect

The diversity of options available across all these niche areas directly reveals how important surface preparation is. With many coating application failures owing to inadequate prep work, new technologies are being heavily invested in each year to improve and simplify the process.

Contractors with adequate market knowledge to tailor the technical options available to the unique needs of each job site — all while being attentive to industry standards, regulations, and best practices — will be best positioned to thrive in the evolving marketplace. With a broad understanding of the industry and the options available, some contractors might find novel uses for many of these tools and products.

Contractors are the best source of innovation. They find new applications for existing products that were never intended for that purpose. In developing new techniques, they create markets for products that never had a reason to be developed earlier.

By combining that innovative approach with attention to detail on surface preparation, contractors should be able to blast themselves into success in the new year and the decade ahead.

If you would like to know more about proper surface preparation for protective coatings, contact ArmorThane today. With over 30 years in the industry, ArmorThane is the go-to company for polyurea, polyurethane, polyaspartic, and numerous other coating options. 

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