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Garage Floor Coating Lingo

Garage Floor Coating Lingo

After achieving the proper CSP, checking for hydrostatic pressure, and ensuring that there is no moisture present in the substrate; apply your base coat of Polyurea at the appropriate Mil thickness while broadcasting appropriate media to rejection. Then sand, apply your intermediary clear coat followed by your final clear coat with fine tabular alumina mixed in.

Somewhere along the line, people decided that if they used acronyms, scientific terminology, and words that are not familiar to people in the context they are being used, people would think you were really smart and buy more products. While accurately explaining the process is a necessary evil, so is explaining what these terms mean and doing it in a way that is not condescending or intended to make people feel stupid. That is one reason why we have a glossary of terms in our Polyurea garage floor coating instructions.

Generally speaking, coatings fall into one of two broad categories. Epoxy and Urethane. Epoxy is generally a two-part (Meaning you Mix A & B together) product. Urethanes are technically two-part products, but in many cases that second part comes from the air or moisture in the air. In some cases, it is simple evaporation. The solvent or water evaporates leaving the urethane behind. Think about Polyurethane that you use on a wood floor, for example. In the garage floor coatings world, there are many urethanes that are used, but four are relevant for this discussion. You have MCU, or moisture-cured urethane. It is just what it sounds like. It is a urethane that cures by a reaction with the moisture in the air. Aliphatic urethanes are usually used to topcoat epoxy. They are resistant to the portion of the Sun’s rays that can damage a floor. We call this UV resistance. We linked the term to its definition, but all you need to know is it is a UV-resistant topcoat. Polyurea is a type of urethane that makes an outstanding garage floor coating or topcoat. In the case of the AWF Polyurea products, it has the UV resistant properties of an Aliphatic, but no chemical mixing is required and it can be applied right to the floor — you don’t need a primer or epoxy first. Polyaspartic, speaking non scientifically, is a professionally applied, thicker product similar to Polyurea. It is harder to work with but some feel it is superior in performance. We do not believe it is appropriate for DIY applications.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the products used, let’s look at some of the terms that are used in the industry.

Media or Broadcast Media

A fancy word for whatever it is you are throwing (Broadcasting) onto the floor to give it some additional color. In most cases, it is a 1/2″ ‘paint flake’ but other products like quartz, mica, and even metallics can be used.

Coating
A product used to coat something. In this case the garage floor or a coating that is on the garage floor.

Coating System
A coating system is a combination of coatings products,

Mil

A Mil is not a millimeter. A Mil is a measurement used in the coatings industry to describe the thickness of a coating or a coatings system.

1 Mil = 1/1000th of an inch
100 Mils = 1/10th of an inch
250 Mils = 1/4 of an inch

Most garage floor coating systems are between 10 Mils and 30 Mils

CSP or Concrete Surface Profile

Simply put it is a scale that measures how rough the floor needs to be to install the coating. For example, Polyurea needs a CSP 1 – 2 which can easily be achieved via acid etching. Grinding the floor will make it a little rougher. Depending on how aggressive of a grind, you will get a CSP 2 to a CSP 3. This is just fine for epoxy products and lighter grinds are also okay for our Polyurea or TruAlloy products. The left image is after etching concrete. The middle image is a grind. The right image is a shot-blast, which we do not suggest for the average DIYer

concrete surface profile

Random Broadcast

Random broadcast means you broadcast flake onto the coating but you don’t completely cover the coating. Typically it can be as light as you like or up to 1 pound per 100 square feet. You can do more, but you will probably need more coats.

random broadcast garage floor

Full Broadcast

With a full broadcast floor, you completely cover the coating with the flake or media of your choice. To put this in perspective, a random broadcast Polyurea kit for 500 square feet might includes 5 pounds of flake. For Full Broadcast, it would be over 80 pounds of flake. Full broadcast floors are beautiful and tough but they are also harder to install. Very doable. Just more work.

Full Broadcast Garage Floor Coating

Two Part

As the name implies it means there are two parts to the coating. But in the context of coating, two parts means there is a Resin (the part that gives the floor the color) and a catalyst that makes the resin part cure. Using this definition our epoxy products are two-part, while our Polyurea and MCU (TruAlloy) is one part — this is true even though the base coat of Polyurea requires you to mix in a pigment pack! Why? The pigment pack is not part of the cure. It just gives it color. Like when you buy paint and they put it in a machine that adds the tint.

Pot life

Pot life is how long you have before your coating becomes unusable. One thing that is really important is with a two-part epoxy, the pot life is based on pouring the product on the floor in ribbons. If you leave it in the can you will have an expensive, likely smoking, paperweight.

Recoat Period

This is how long you have between coats. There are two components to a recoat period. The first is how long you have to wait. This is usually a range. The second is the maximum amount of time you can wait. For the sake of simplicity, we suggest you measure the maximum from the START of the first coat (or whatever coat you are recoating) until you are finished with the next coat. For example, the recoat period for our AWF Polyurea is 2-6 hours but should never exceed 20 hours. If you accidentally exceed your recoat period, STOP. Call us and we will explain the steps to take.

Hydrostatic Pressure

Hydrostic Pressure is what most people mean when they say a moisture issue. It is not a puddle on the floor or even a wet spot. It can be as simple as an unseen gas coming through the floor from moisture below.

Moisture Test

This is how we test for hydrostatic pressure. There are lots of ways to do it. There is a semi-accurate calcium chloride test, relative humidity tests and sheet tests. All of them are most accurate if done after a hard rain. A sheet test is basically taping clear plastic on the floor for 24-72 hours and seeing if there is condensation or darkening.

Anti Skid

ANti skid is anything you add to the topcoat to make it more slip-resistant. We generally use a product called tabular alumina, which is basically a very fine powder that comes from a mineral.

Substrate

Simply put whatever you are applying the concrete to.

Square Feet

A square foot is 12″ by 12″. We never suggest going off of blueprints. Measure the width and the length of your garage. Multiply them out and that is your square footage. For example, a 20×30 garage is 600 square feet. It is easy to remember because x on a calculator is multiply.

There are a lot more terms and a lot of lingo that is used. This will give you a good head start!

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