Mastering Surface Preparation for Successful Concrete Coating Applications

When it comes to concrete coating applications, the saying “proper preparation prevents poor performance” couldn’t be more accurate. Surface preparation is the first step in a successful coating system, ensuring longevity, durability, and optimal performance.

There are various ways to prep a concrete floor but the proper method in any project is dependent on which coatings application type you’ll be installing. This article explores the various types of surface preparation and the corresponding coating systems for each level of surface profile.

Concrete Surface Profile (CSP)

If you have experience with installing concrete coating systems, you’re probably already familiar with Concrete Surface Profile or (CSP). CSP serves as a measure of the roughness of a surface, crucial for adhesion and coating performance and these profiles vary depending on the application. CSP ranges from 1, being nearly flat to 10 being extremely rough. Most resinous floor coatings for concrete fall between CSP 1-CSP5.

The following is a guide that you can use as a reference.

CSP 1: For surfaces requiring light cleaning and minimal profile, methods such as detergent cleaning, acid etching, power washing, or diamond grinding with 60-80 grit are suitable. This level is ideal for sealers with a thickness of 0-3 mils DFT (Dry Film Thickness).

CSP 2: When a slightly higher profile is needed for thin film coatings (4-12 mils DFT), diamond grinding with 25-40 grit is recommended. This method provides a moderately rough surface, enhancing coating adhesion and performance.

CSP 3: To achieve a more substantial surface profile suitable for high-build coatings (16-40 mils DFT), light shot blasting or diamond grinding with 6-16 grit is effective. This level offers increased adhesion and durability, making it ideal for thicker coatings.

CSP 4: For slurries and broadcast systems with a DFT of 60-125 mils, shot blasting is the preferred method. This level of surface preparation ensures a significantly rough surface, facilitating excellent bond strength and durability for thicker coating applications.

CSP 5: The most aggressive level of surface profile, CSP 5 is achieved through shot blasting or scarifying, making it suitable for slurries and overlay systems with a DFT of 125-250 mils. This method creates a deeply textured surface, providing optimal adhesion and long-term performance for heavy-duty coatings.

surface prep reference guide

Understanding the relationship between CSP levels and coating systems is vital for achieving the desired results for your concrete coating projects. Using the appropriate surface preparation method ensures proper adhesion, minimizes the risk of coating failure, and prolongs the lifespan of the coating system.

However, selecting the right surface preparation method is just the beginning. Factors such as environmental conditions, substrate condition, and the type of coating being applied also play crucial roles in determining the overall success of the project.

If you’d like more information on how to increase the success of your flooring projects, read our other blogs about “Planning Concrete Flooring Projects Around Weather & Climate” or “The 5 Steps of Successful Project Planning”.

Additionally, proper surface preparation requires adherence to safety protocols and regulations. Personal protective equipment (PPE), proper ventilation, and containment measures must be implemented to ensure the safety of workers and compliance with regulatory standards. It’s important that your crews are properly trained in safety measures for the varied installations they perform.

In conclusion, mastering surface preparation is essential for the success of any concrete coating application. So, the next time you embark on a concrete coating project, remember: proper preparation paves the way for perfection.