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.

Las Vegas concrete coatings contractors, please join us for the upcoming SLABHARD® Garage Floor Systems Training and level up on your concrete coatings game! This training will be held at the Desert Polymer Flooring, Las Vegas Showroom on February 28, 2024, from 9:00 – 2:00pm.

This training will cover the following topics:

Lunch will be provided.

REGISTER NOW!

Looking to build a strong company that is ready for expansion and success? While there are various strategies to achieve this objective, investing in an employee training program stands out as one of the most advantageous steps you can take to bolster your business. The development of such a program holds substantial benefits for both your workforce and the overall organization. Consider the time spent creating this program as an investment with many positive returns. If you’re on the fence, or not sure why you might need an employee training program, here are just a few benefits to consider:

Why Develop an Employee Training Program?

  1. Skill Development: A well-designed training plan helps employees acquire and develop the skills necessary to perform their jobs effectively. This can include technical skills, soft skills, and industry-specific knowledge. As employees enhance their skills, they become more proficient and contribute more effectively.
  2. Increased Productivity: Proper training can lead to increased productivity as employees become more competent in their roles. When employees are knowledgeable and skilled in their tasks, they can complete them more efficiently, reducing errors and wasted time and this yields higher profits from your projects.
  3. Employee Engagement and Satisfaction: Investing in employee development demonstrates a commitment to their professional growth. This, in turn, can boost employee morale, engagement, and job satisfaction. Employees are more likely to feel valued and motivated when they see that their employer is invested in their success.
  4. Employee Retention: The cost of employee turnaround can be damaging to a small business. It can also create feelings of insecurity within your company. One of the best ways to avoid this is properly train and support your employees. Employees who feel supported and challenged are more likely to stay with an organization. A well-thought-out training plan can contribute to employee retention by providing opportunities for career advancement and personal development, making employees less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere.
  5. Adaptability: In today’s dynamic business environment, organizations often face changes in technology, processes, or market conditions. A training plan helps employees adapt to these changes by providing them with the necessary knowledge and skills. Resilience is crucial for an organization’s long-term success.
  6. Consistency and Standardization: Training ensures that employees across the organization receive consistent information and are aligned with the company’s values, policies, and procedures. This standardization helps maintain a cohesive corporate culture and ensures that employees are working toward common goals. On the jobsite, this means that crews have a blueprint for how they work and install from product staging, cleanliness and cleanup, installation steps and customer touchpoints.
  7. Risk Mitigation: If you train your crews properly, they are less likely to make errors that can lead to accidents, compliance issues, lost profitability, customer dissatisfaction, or other risks. Training can include safety protocols, regulatory compliance, and ethical considerations, reducing the likelihood of costly mistakes.
  8. Improved Customer Satisfaction: Employees who are well-trained can provide better service to customers. Whether in direct customer interactions or behind-the-scenes roles, knowledgeable and skilled employees contribute to positive customer experiences.

What Should Your Written Training Program Look Like?

Now that you know the reasons why it’s important to create an employee training plan, we’ll dive into the necessary components of a good plan. It is important that each of the training phases is in a cohesive written document or manual that is provided to the new employee to be used as a reference guide during their training period.

Training Schedule
Plan how long the training process will take. Typically, this this is a 2–4-week process.

Systems Training
The systems training section of your employee training program should provide a complete, step by step guide to the installation and procedures for each system that your company installs.

Truck & Trailer Loading/Unloading Procedures
This section should outline the expectations for loading and unloading company trucks and trailers. If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, it should also include how to handle returning tools and products to your company location.

Customer Touch-Points & Communication
The systems training section of your employee training program should provide a complete, step by step guide to the installation and procedures for each system that your company installs.

Employee Advancement
Be sure to include a section in your employee training program about employee advancement so crew members have a solid understanding of how to move up in the ranks.

Looking for business development tips for your concrete coatings business? Check out our other business development articles.

Starting your journey as a concrete coatings contractor? It’s important that as you begin, you’re working with guidelines that are based on contractor experience and rooted in sound business practices so you can avoid common pitfalls and start out right.  In this article we explore the 10 tips for New Concrete Coatings Contractors that will save you trouble and ensure a strong start in the industry.

Keep Your Offering Simple

Maintaining simplicity in your service offerings is crucial for effectively managing and growing your business. One of your first objectives in developing your business plan should be to carefully select a target market and specific product offerings and concentrate all your resources and efforts in that direction. By doing so, you can channel your focus and expertise, optimizing your business processes and strategies to cater to the needs and demands of your chosen market.

Although it may be tempting to provide a broad offering that will appeal to a large target market, attempting to serve too many markets can have a detrimental effect on your growth trajectory. The inherent complexity of managing a wide range of applications in different markets can potentially slow down your business’s expansion. Moreover, training installers becomes a more intricate and resource-consuming task when dealing with a broad range of applications and market dynamics. Minimize the number of flooring systems and potential options you will offer and be sure to have suppliers setup that can quickly provide materials for your projects.

By adhering to a focused approach and specializing in a specific market and product offering, you position your business for more efficient growth and operational excellence while ensuring that your team of installers can be effectively trained and proficient in delivering high-quality services.

Develop a Sales and Marketing Plan

A sales and marketing plan is a foundational tool that guides your business towards achieving its sales targets, reaching potential customers effectively, and building a strong brand presence in the market. It provides a clear roadmap for your sales and marketing efforts, aligning them with your overall business objectives.

As you go through the process of developing your plan, you will gain a clear understanding of your company’s brand personality, intended customers, how you want to position your business in relation to the competition and understand the value that you’re offering.

Ultimately, this plan should be a reference document that is used by salespeople, management, marketing and design professionals within your organization to inform business decisions. A solid plan should include guidelines on the following:

    1. Design: Color Palette, Fonts and Typography, Imagery
    2. Advertising
    3. Messaging and language to customers and employees
    4. Company Values
    5. Value Proposition
    6. Competitive Analysis
    7. Sales & Marketing Channels
    8. Target Markets
    9. Customer Profiles
    10. Company Brand/Mission Statement

It’s advisable to work with a professional agency or marketing professional to help create a well-rounded marketing plan. They can also help to develop your logo and design guidelines for your business.

Find a Supply Partner Who Will Support Your Business

Establish a vital partnership with a reliable supply partner who can bolster your business operations. Seek out a partner willing to provide comprehensive support, including essential elements such as training programs, sales tools, and valuable field support. A supportive supply partner can play a pivotal role in equipping your team with the necessary knowledge and skills, empowering them in the sales process and on jobsite installations. Moreover, they can offer valuable insights and hands-on assistance in navigating the field, addressing challenges, and optimizing your business strategies. This collaboration ensures that your business has the right resources and expertise to succeed and thrive in the competitive market landscape. with training, sales tools and field support.

Find a Mentor in Your Field

Finding a mentor in your field can significantly impact your business success by providing invaluable guidance, support, and a wealth of experience to draw from. It can accelerate your learning curve and improve your decision-making, ultimately contributing to the growth and sustainability of your business. This can be someone in your market or another successful contractor in another state, a supplier or salesperson.

A mentor can work to guide you as you find your footing in the industry. They can help you mitigate costly mistakes as they draw from their own experiences. Additionally, mentors usually have an extensive network within the industry. Through your mentor, you can gain access to valuable contacts, partnerships, and potential clients that can help your business grow.

Implement a Good Accounting System as Quickly as Possible

Implementing an accounting system is essential for maintaining financial order, compliance with regulations, strategic planning, and ultimately ensuring the success and growth of your new business. It allows you get the full picture of your business’s financial health regarding business performance, job profitability, overhead expenditures and cash flow. Having a good accounting system also makes the management of invoices and payment of vendors a much less arduous task. It’s also important to note that lenders and financial institutions may require detailed financial records to approve loans or funding. An accounting system provides the necessary documentation to support the loan application process.

Invest in High Quality Equipment and Create a Maintenance Schedule

Investing in high-quality equipment for a concrete coatings business is paramount for several reasons. First and foremost, having quality equipment ensures efficiency. High-performance tools and machinery are designed to handle the demands of the job effectively, leading to increased productivity and reduced downtime.

Additionally, durable and reliable equipment tends to last longer, reducing the frequency of replacements and repairs. This, in turn, lowers maintenance costs and enhances overall cost-effectiveness.

Furthermore, specialized high-quality equipment can offer advanced features and capabilities that may be necessary for complex projects, enabling the business to take on a broader range of jobs and meet varying client requirements. Ultimately, investing in top-tier equipment is an investment in the success, efficiency, and reputation of the concrete coatings business.

Clients often associate well-maintained, high-quality tools with a professional and trustworthy service, contributing to a positive reputation for the business. Be sure to research the type of equipment you’ll need to address your various project needs. Choose high-quality brands and create a proper maintenance program to ensure longevity of your equipment.

Develop an Employee Training Plan

Developing an employee training plan offers numerous benefits for both employees and the overall health of your business. Standardized training equips employees with the necessary skills, knowledge, and tools to perform their jobs more effectively and efficiently, leading to improved job performance. It also creates consistency, increases productivity and enhances employees moral and satisfaction. This in turn, reduces turnover, which can be a costly issue for any business owner.

Although there is an initial investment in training, it can lead to cost savings in the long run by reducing errors, minimizing downtime, and improving operational efficiency, so be sure not to skip this step.

Join and Be Active in Trade Associations & Industry Tradeshows

In a previous post, we discuss “The Top 3 Tradeshows for Concrete Coatings Contractors” and the benefits of attending these events. Attending events and being a member of trade associations in the industry offers a variety of benefits for individuals and businesses. These include networking opportunities, market research, partnership opportunities and learning and education. Industry focused trade publications, newsletters and shows can help you keep a pulse on trends, expand your connections and knowledge and gain an edge over competition.

Attend Trainings

Most materials suppliers in the industry offer regular trainings on the materials that they sell. During these trainings, they demonstrate proper mixing and installation techniques, give you tips to use on jobsites and troubleshooting information that may come in handy when issues arise. Trainers will also discuss new trends in the industry so you can stay current. These trainings are often free, and they are a great way to network. Sending your crew to regular trainings is a great way to continue educating and can be a valuable part of your employee training program. See DPF’s Training Calendar.

Keep Your Prices Up

Far too frequently, new contractors underbid projects to secure a portfolio of projects. While this tactic may yield some benefits initially, it can prove detrimental in the long term. Low bidding on projects attracts customers who prioritize cost over quality, potentially leading to dissatisfaction and strained relationships. Moreover, continuously accepting low-budget projects can undermine the financial health and sustainability of the business, hindering growth and limiting the ability to invest in quality resources and skilled labor. It’s crucial to strike a balance between building a portfolio and establishing fair pricing that aligns with the true value of the services provided, ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future for the contracting business.