We are continuing our fundamentals series by digging into the fundamentals of surface preparation, specifically, applying coatings to concrete slabs. To learn more about this topic, be sure to watch the video below!

What Is Surface Preparation?

Surface preparation is simply the process by which a concrete slab, also called a substrate, is prepared to accept a coating. Coatings are often epoxy, polyaspartic, or urethane, and often a concrete slab needs to have a specific surface profile in order for the coating to absorb and adhere with the slab.

What Is a Surface Profile

A concrete surface profile (CSP) is a universally accepted unit of measure related to how rough a concrete slab is. It’s a numerical scale from 1 to 9 with 1 being a smooth, “trowled” finish all the way to a 9 which has very steep “peaks and valleys.” Typically, most surface profiles don’t go past five.

  • CSP 1: Smooth, troweled finish;
  • CSP 2: Diamond grind; rough but not highly textured;
  • CSP 3: Shot blaster; 60 grit sandpaper-like texture;
  • CSP 4: Shot blaster; 30 grit sandpaper-like texture;
  • CSP 5: Scarifier; deep grooves and texture

What Is a Scratch Pattern?

Some people use the term scratch pattern and surface profile interchangeably. However, the surface profile is the more standardized method of measurement, and the scratch pattern is simply the pattern left by a diamond abrasive pad.

Why is a Concrete Surface Profile Important?

Any coating you apply will have an ideal concrete surface profile that will ensure the best results, and generally, the manufacturer will not only have the CSP recommendation, but also how to achieve that profile (concrete grinder, shot blasting, etc).

Why is this important? As a coating cures, it will react with the slab, and, depending on what type of coating it is, a tension will develop as the coating tries to “shrink” during the curing process. The right surface profile ensures that the coating will grip the concrete rather than drawing up.

Contaminants and Coatings

A general rule when it comes to coatings is that, prior to application, you need your slab to be dry, clean, and free of debris and contaminants. Anything on that slab that is not designed to react with the coating will turn into a blemish. Water, silicone, concrete dust – any of these on the slab will lead to flaws in the finished result.

Get the Equipment You Need for Proper Surface Preparation

To learn more about surface preparation, including how to test for humidity within a concrete slab and other key information, be sure to watch the video above. You’ll have a much better understanding of how coatings bond to slabs and will be more prepared to tackle your next project.

Ready to purchase a coating or surface prep equipment? Reach out to our customer service team today to learn more about our variety of equipment and accessories and find the right one for your company. Speak with a product expert today by calling  815-472-9754.