Weatherproof and improve durability with concrete paint
Concrete has been used in construction for literal millennia. It is the reason for the survival of so many Roman structures to this day, such as the Roman baths at Bath which include concrete in their construction. However, unprotected concrete will deteriorate when exposed to aggressive environments, like industrial areas, coastal areas, or areas with extreme weather variations. The reasons for coating concrete can be anything from protection to aesthetics and there is a concrete paint for each application.
In this article we will take a look at the various coating options for concrete, the appropriate paint products, and where to find suppliers and applicators in the UK. Whether you need concrete paint for interior and exterior walls, driveways, balconies, factory or garage floors, we’ve got you covered.
A guide to the different types of concrete paint
One of the key reasons for coating concrete is its porous nature. Left unprotected concrete can absorb water, salts, acids, and other substances to which it is exposed, and deteriorate. If there is reinforcing steel within the concrete, these elements can lead to corrosion and failure. The job of the concrete paint in this case is to seal and protect the concrete from water, weather, chemicals, and other harmful factors the environment may contain. But concrete paint may also be used to beautify a substrate, to create an easy-to-clean surface, or to brighten up a warehouse or factory and improve safety. The different types of concrete paint are the following:
Usually a two component coating, epoxy paints are the go-to flooring paint for factories and industrial facilities, in fact they are the most common flooring finish for concrete floors in the UK. It comes in solvent- and water-based varieties, as well as 100% solids, and anti slip additives and aggregates can be added for a non skid finish. The downside to an epoxy paint is that is not UV stable, and will chalk and fade in sunlight. Epoxy is also available as a self-leveling paint.
Coating qualities: Hard-wearing, water resistant, chemical resistant, abrasion resistant, heavy duty, durable, hygienic, easy to maintain, range of colours and finishes.
Suitable for: Workshop, garage, warehouse, and showroom floors, schools, prisons, hospitals, car parks, cold storage.
A two component coating, polyurethane is often used for external applications or in environments with a high UV exposure where epoxy does not work. It provides protection against medium to high foot traffic and high wear situations, and is a flexible coating solution. Water-based, solvent-based, and 100% solids varieties are available. Less common in industrial setting than epoxy paints because they have weaker impact and chemical resistance.
Coating qualities: UV stability, durable, water resistant, chemical resistant, abrasion resistant, flexible, hygienic, easy to maintain, range of colours and finishes.
Suitable for: Warehouse, hospital, storage floors and more, exterior finish for balconies, patios, pool surrounds, car parks, use as a UV stable topcoat over an epoxy paint.
The relative “new kid on the block”, polyurea has made a name for itself due to its outstanding physical properties. It is a hot spray applied coating with a dry time of only seconds, meaning there is a very short return-to-service time. Polyurea provides a monolithic, waterproof coating which can also cure at low temperatures. The other benefit of polyurea is its flexibility and tensile strength; polyurea can stretch with a substrate without damaging, unlike the other traditional coatings.
Coating qualities: Waterproof, chemical resistant, abrasion resistant, no VOCs, UV stability, fast return to service, thermal resistant, flexible.
Suitable for: Secondary containment, bridges, tank coatings, car park decks, waterproofing membranes, foundations.
Industrial, domestic, and specialty concrete paint
Not all paints are suitable for all environments. Some coatings are simply underqualified for the job if applied in the wrong places. By the same token, some coatings are overqualified. A heavy duty industrial polyurea would be entirely inappropriate for domestic use or a home garage. Epoxies and polyurethanes are appropriate for garages, driveways, balconies, flooring for kitchens and pools, and come in a range of strengths.
Concrete coating can be formulated to give it anti slip or antimicrobial properties. In healthcare and food preparation industries an antimicrobial coating is often regulated. For anti slip properties, an aggregate can be added (not to all paint, always read the specifications), or choose a concrete paint with an anti slip profile.
If you do not have a concrete floor but would like a concrete-look on you floor or walls, you can always use concrete effect paint. It is available in the UK from brands like Dulux. The concrete effect paint gives any surface the textured look and feel of concrete.
The factors that affect which concrete paint to choose
Ultimately your choice of concrete paint will come down to which coating best meets all the requirements of your specific project. Factors which will affect the coating choice include:
- Particular needs of the structure – do you need waterproofing, chemical resistance, or is it aesthetic?
- Location of the structure and accessibility restrictions – for example, polyurea application requires special spray equipment, and other coatings require warmer temperatures to cure.
- Pre-treatment – whether cleaning, acid etching, or repairing, different coatings will require slightly different degrees of preparation.
- Application method – this again is a coating specific requirement.
- Environmental impact – low VOCs, no VOCs, region-specific regulations, encapsulation, and containment, all these factors need considering.
- Required lifetime of the system – what conditions will the coating need to withstand, and for how long?
Things to keep in mind before applying concrete paint
- The concrete substrate needs to be free of moisture. Damp concrete will affect coating adhesion and lead to a coating failure.
- The concrete substrate needs to be sufficiently porous for good adhesion – smooth concrete may require extra preparation such as acid etching or sandblasting.
- The concrete substrate needs to be cured, free from defects, dry, and clean – no contaminants such as oil, algae growth, loose particles.
- Concrete paint works best as a coating system. This means for premium results it can include up to five layers, for example – a primer, a sealer, undercoat(s), topcoat(s), and a final sealer.
- Environment and use are two of the most important aspects of a coating choice. For example, a balcony coating needs to be UV and weather resistant, a driveway coatings needs to be oil resistant and suitable for traffic.
Where to find concrete paint products and applicators in the UK
There are many brands and companies that provide concrete paint for customers in the UK. In the table below is a representative selection of products, as well as an indication of price. For the best results from a coating, we recommend hiring a trained professional. Applicators for industrial coatings including polyurea operate across the UK. If you would like more information, or have a project which needs concrete paint, our experts are here to help. Just get in touch through the “Request a quote” button and let us, in cooperation with our coating partners, connect you with the best coating solution for your needs.
|Concrete paint product||Product description||Product application||Price|
|Coo-Var Profloor 2 Pack Epoxy Floor Paint||A two pack water-based epoxy that is extremely hard-wearing and suitable for interior and exterior surfaces subject to heavy duty traffic and wear.||Can be used with trucks, vans, and forklifts.||£110/5kg at coverage of 6-10m2 per kg|
|Rust-Oleum Floor Paint||A single pack polyurethane to dust-proof, seal, and beautify a concrete floor. For interior and exterior surfaces.||For foot traffic.||£55/5L at coverage of 8m2 per litre|
|Sikafloor 405||A one part polyurethane for light to medium mechanical exposure. Waterproof, highly elastic, UV resistant, weather resistant, and slip resistant.||For balconies, terraces, footbridges, stairways, galleries.||£130/5L at coverage of 0.9-3m2 per litre|
|Sikagard Wallcoat N||A two-part, water-based epoxy resin for interior concrete walls from Sika, with good chemical resistance, mechanical resistance, and easy-to-clean properties.||Production facilities, storage, car park, and logistic areas.||£265/20kg at coverage of 0.15-0.28kg per m2|
|Teamac Industrial Floor Paint||A single pack floor paint with a semi-gloss finish. It is fast drying and durable with a high degree of opacity. Suitable for foot and light truck traffic.||Garages, outbuildings, sheds, barns, warehouses, washrooms.||£35/5L at coverage of 13-15m2 per litre|