A properly chosen floor coating will prolong the life of the industrial or commercial flooring, it will reduce downtime by protecting it, and it will possibly even improve its efficiency.
The key steps to choosing the right coating is first to understand what key properties are required of the coating. Once this is accomplished, you can start looking at specification sheets and determine if the standards quoted accurately stimulate the expected real-world conditions. This should lead to an educated and correct decision. The information for a comparison of the different coating options is generally limited to three possible sources: anecdotal evidence, a salesman’s pitch, or a manufacturer’s specification sheet. The first two can be judged by impression or level of trust and are somewhat subjective. The third can be difficult to judge.
How To Specify Floor Coatings – Standards
Most reputable manufacturers carry out their performance testing as per industry-recognized testing standards. Standards have one purpose: to make a test as repeatable as possible. This does not guarantee that the results have any real world meaning, although many attempt to do so. This fact is important to understand when choosing a material based on a specification sheet. A common mistake is to compare values side-by-side, making the assumption that the higher the value, the better. Without a basic understanding of the true meaning of the numbers, however, an objective comparison is impossible. You must resist the basic human instinct to cast a swift judgment by comparing the quick and obvious numbers when, in reality the not-so-obvious is many times more meaningful and rarely represented by a single numerical value. Reading the standard itself offers much insight. Never take the numbers simply for what they are, and understand that not all standards are created equal.
How To Specify Floor Coatings – General Data
When analyzing a product specification sheet, keep in mind that there are thousands of possible test that could be listed for a polymeric coating. What is listed is therefore carefully chosen by the manufacturer for some specific reason. Perhaps the manufacture feels it is important data for a specific market it is targeting. Maybe it is limited by testing capabilities, but it could also be limited to the strong points of the product intended to make the best possible impression. Regardless of the reason or intent, what matters is that you identify the data that is most critical to the success of your application. If dealing with coatings for chemical service focus on chemical testing, identify how the products are tested, and look into the rigorousness of the testing procedures.
Some basic data items that should be present on any specification sheet are physical properties, such as density, appearance, consistency, viscosity, working life, percent solids and shelf life information. The more details, the better, as these physical properties allow for proper application planning.
How To Specify Floor Coatings – Performance Data
At a minimum, the following general performance data should be present in a coating data sheet.
Adhesion: Cross hatch for thin coatings, direct tension, and lap shear is critical for thick coatings. Adhesion is critical to the success of any coating; a coating that is unable to maintain a tight bond with the substrate stands little chance of successfully protecting that substrate. Adhesion of coatings is highly dependent on methods of surface preparation.
Dry heat resistance: The temperature at which a coating will begin to break down is defined as the dry heat resistance of the material. Exposures to temperatures above this value will cause permanent irreversible damage to the coating, eventually leading to its destruction.
Wet (Immersion) Heat Resistance: Immersion heat resistance is almost always lower than dry hear resistance. When immersed in a liquid, a polymeric coating will generally experience a lower heat resistance due to increased permeation of the liquid as temperature increases. The permeation can lead to blistering, chemical attack, under coating corrosion, and other detrimental effects.
Heat Distortion Temperature: The heat distortion temperature of a material defines a temperature at which the material begins to soften. When a material exceeds its heat distortion temperature, it will lose most of its physical strength and will soften. The heat distortion temperature is extremely important in some situations and meaningless in others.
Abrasion Resistance: Abrasion is difficult to simulate and generalize in a test due to the nature of the effect. Abrasion of a coating can occur by different means, such as fluid impingement, impact abrasion and erosion by entrained solids. Sliding abrasion is often tested by the Taber method in which abrasive wheels slide over a rotating a sample for a given number of cycles. The mas loss is then determined. This method is very effective for comparing sliding abrasion of coatings. There are a several parameters that need to be established and quoted along with the results. When using Taber abrasion for comparison of coatings, all these parameters need to be the same. The parameters are mass of weights, when used, number of cycles, and abrasive condition (wet or dry). Only when all these are the same can two test results be compared side by side.
Accelerated Weathering: This is testing for discoloration, loss of gloss, blistering, flaking, rusting, or other breakdown when exposed to harsh environments. This test can be performed in a test chamber designed to simulate such environments or in outdoor exposures.
As you can see choosing a coating for your project can be a challenging task, a good coating can extend the life cycle of your asset significantly, providing both cost savings and reduction I downtime.
For more information about how to specify floor coatings for commercial and industrial flooring contact Duraamen Engineered Products.