armorgarage


Shotblasting VS Diamond Grinding

We get asked a lot of times by customers whether they should shotblast or grind their floor. In this post we will discuss the Pros and Cons of each. First lets start with the fact that shotblasting a floor is cheaper than grinding at the outset. The problem with shotblasting is that unless using an aggregate such as sand or doing a heavy flake job you will see what we call lawn mower lines in the finished epoxy. The reason being is that where you overlap with the shotblaster as you go up and down the floor it leaves a line of deeper indents from the shotblasting beads. Then as you apply epoxy those deeper indents hold more pigment and thus show up as lines as you can see in this photo below.

The benefits of shotblasting other than the lower cost is that it gets down into the small nooks and crannies of very dirty floors that are in poor condition. We would recommend grinding after shotblasting to remove as much of the shotblasting lines as possible but when you do this it obviously increases the cost dramatically.

So grinding 95% of the time is the way to go and most times on smaller floors you can rent the floor prep machine from Home Depot which will do the job just fine. For larger floors or extremely dirty floors you will need a larger machine from a tool rental place. When renting a grinder get the biggest grinder you can handle it will make the job easier and faster also whenever possible get the Vac attachment, that goes for the Home Depot machine too. Grinding generates a lot of dust. After grinding make sure to remove all the dust. If time is not an issue you can hose or power wash the floor and while the floor is wet you might as wet scrub some etch in. This will accomplish two things, one it will open up the concrete pores more and second it will clean any low spots the grinding wheel could not reach.

Once the floor is prepped we like to hit it with a good leaf blower just before apply the coating to get the last bits of dust off the floor, you’ll be surprised at how much dust is left. So in conclusion figure to grind rather than shotblast in all but extreme floor situations. Use the floor prep machine from Home Depot on small to medium floors and for larger floors use an industrial size grinder preferably one with at least 3 heads and new diamonds in about the 25-30 grit range. Always try to use a Vac attachment with your grinder, shop vacs won’t work, they clog up in two minutes. Grinding Vacs have pulsating filters to keep them clean as you vac up all the dust. And as always if you have any questions on the condition or preparation of your floor just give us a call or shoot us an email.


ArmorGarage Is Here To Help

Recently we received a call from a large manufacturer that makes a type of caustic polymer that is poured into large vats at 500 degrees. They needed a coating to protect the vats from corrosion and to prevent the polymers from sticking to the concrete. We have many epoxy coatings for a wide variety of applications but nothing that could stand up to a continuous 500 degrees. So we did some research and discovered a company that makes an industrial grade ceramic epoxy coating. There were many other ceramic coatings but they were all residential grade and mostly for use as an upgrade to car wax or other very light duty needs but this one product was geared towards industrial applications. So we called this customer back with the bad news that we couldn’t provide a product to fit their needs but good news that we found a company that most likely could. They were very appreciative and promised that we would get the call for their upcoming flooring projects.

One of the most important keys to a successful coating application is to make sure you choose the right product for your specific application. That’s why we offer so many different types of epoxy coating products, in fact we have a section called Specialty Coatings. There is no one type epoxy fits all product or at least there shouldn’t be. Take a look around our website and be sure to checkout the Specialty Coating section. We also have what we think is the most informative website with regards to epoxy coating product information and how to choose and apply on correctly so you only have to do it once, so take a look at the Need To Know section. If for some reason you don’t think any of our products fit your needs give us a call or shoot us an email it may just be that your application is not listed for a particular product since there are 100s of different uses we can’t list them all. We can double check to see if one of our products will work for you or steer you in the right direction to find a product that will work for you.


TOPCOAT APPLICATION

When applying a topcoat first make sure the epoxy is cured. If you apply the topcoat before the epoxy is completely dry it will end up looking like the image below. Very easy to avoid this, just be patient and let the epoxy dry.

To test if the epoxy is fully dried or not simply press your finger into the epoxy, it should not leave a fingerprint. Next press your fingernail into the epoxy it should be difficult to leave any sort of an imprint. If the epoxy is not completely dry you need to give it more time and or more heat. In the cooler weather overnight temperatures that go below 55 degrees can slow the curing process down. So if your epoxy is a little tacky and the temperature dropped overnight add some heat to the floor and give it more time. This usually solves the issue. Normally we don’t want you going more than 20 hours between epoxy and topcoat but in this instance its ok cause the epoxy has not fully cured yet.

Always use a a roller pan when applying your topcoat this will ensure you don’t get any dull spots from too much nonslip in the spot you poured the topcoat out. Keep the topcoat stirred to keep the nonslip suspended. Another method for the nonslip additive is to broadcast it onto the epoxy and then roll the topcoat over it. When doing this again you want to avoid heavy blotches of the nonslip that can dull the finish of the topcoat. In the picture above you can see the topcoat was applied perfectly as the good areas have an even high gloss. It was just applied too soon. If you do happen to get a small dull spot, it’s easy to fix just lightly sand the topcoat with 100 grit, wipe off the dust and brush on some more topcoat. Don’t worry about scratching the epoxy, the topcoat makes all the scratches disappear.

Typically an epoxy needs 8-10 hours at 75 degrees, as the temperature drops it takes longer to cure. Your topcoat should cure in about 5-6 hours where you cna walk on it and put your stuff back on the floor. However, even though the topcoat is dry to the touch does not mean it is fully cured/hardened. That can take another 48hrs so no heavy traffic till then.

So in cooler weather make sure the floor stays warm overnight while the epoxy is drying and not just during the day. A good trick is to heat the space for a few days prior to doing your job this way the concrete can absorb as much heat as possible and will stay warmer than the ambient air while you apply your epoxy.

And as always if you ever have any questions or concerns before during or after your project just give us a call or shoot us an email and one of our support team members will be happy to help you.


An Amazing Garage Transformation With Armor Granite Epoxy Coating

Below you will see a typical unfinished garage that was transformed by first time users Dan & Debbie H with our Armor Granite Garage Epoxy Flooring kit. They used a standard Pattern 3 that has a medium gray epoxy as the base coat but they changed the color flakes to a custom combination of black, white, charcoal and latte with the military topcoat upgrade. As you can see from the images the change to their garage was dramatic and the floor looks like an actual granite slab. They had no prior experience but yet were able to get this better than professional finish by using our DIY complete epoxy flooring kit. The process is very straight forward and easy to do, the hardest part actually is cleaning out your garage! If you want to transform your garage give us a call we have several different types of epoxy floor coating packages with and without color flakes that can meet any application from just parking your cars to full blown workshops.


When Is An Epoxy Failure Not the Epoxy’s Fault?

PERFECT EXAMPLE OF POOR QUALITY CONCRETE

Take a look at this image and you’ll see that the epoxy has delaminated from the floor in an upward motion. Notice the underside of the epoxy and you’ll see the top layer of the concrete slab stuck to it. notice the granularity of the concrete. The culprit here is the concrete letting loose! This is one of the best examples of sandy or granular concrete we have seen. Usually caused by the contractor using too much aggregate/sand to save some money. The other issue here maybe that there was moisture in the floor and that the moisture pushing up on the epoxy had enough pressure to cause the weak concrete to let loose.

So how do we try to prevent this from happening ? First thing is to always make sure your concrete is 100% dry after etching. We recommend a minimum of 24 hrs to 48 hrs dep[ending on temperature and humidity. If the humidity is very high when you’re floor is drying it will take longer for that moisture to evaporate out of the slab. Secondly take a good look at your floor and if you notice that there is a lot of exposed aggregate or it has sandy type of texture to it use a primer. Our Epoxy Flooring Primer will penetrate into the slab, getting in between the tiny spaces in the aggregate binding them together which greatly strengthens your slab. Also sometimes contractors use pea gravel which are small round stones that are very smooth. This is also a good candidate for the top layer of the concrete letting loose. If you have a pea gravel floor use our Bonding Primer that will bond to the smooth surfaces of the pea gravel thus ensuring a solid bond between your floor and the epoxy.

The good thing is that these types of situations are rare, so chances are you don’t have to worry about this but if you have any doubts just send us a picture and will let you if there’s anything to be concerned about and guide you accordingly. We’ll make sure you use the necessary products so that you don’t have any issues.


How To Do An Epoxy Floor In Sections

In many cases your floor cannot be epoxied all in one shot due to too much stuff to move out or the floor had some repair areas done for lets say for new plumbing. In the case of where you have an existing floor where you cut out some concrete to repair or to install new plumbing. You now have to wait 28 days for the new concrete over the new plumbing to cure but you need the rest of the floor before then. Here’s how you do the floor in sections so you don’t end up with a seam.

Tape off where you need to end the first section then apply the first layer of coating whether it’s a primer or an epoxy. Then apply the next layer and keep back about 12″ from edge of first layer. If you’re using our Ultra Military System you’ll have a third coat to do. So you would apply that and stay back 12″ from second layer. Now you have a stepped layer effect.

Next lightly sand with 100 grit a 12″ strip of each layer that will be overlapped when you do the next section. The reason for this is that after 24 hours our epoxies start to seal up and then it becomes like trying to paint over glass. So always rough up an epoxy that you’re overlapping after 24 hours. This insures a proper bond from the first section with the subsequent sections.

Now in the case with the new concrete areas we would recommend you start your tape line 12″ back from the new concrete. Everything else is the same as above. Just be sure to acid etch the new concrete after 28 days before applying any of our epoxy flooring systems.

And of course if you have any questions please feel free to contact us at info@armorgarage.com or 866-532-3979.


What To Do If You Miss A Spot On Your Garage Floor Coating?

So you’re apply your garage floor coating or commercial epoxy flooring and all is going well until you get a few sections along in the application and you look back and suddenly you see to your horror that you have missed a spot!. First thing is not to panic and what every you do do not walk back on the wet epoxy to fix it.

Here’s what you can and should do. This is where those spoke soles come in handy! If you have them and it hasn’t been to long since you noticed the missed spot that walk over to the spot with the spikes and fix. This goes for a missed spot of the color flakes. You can simple add more flakes to a bald spot. If you haven’t noticed it till after you’re completely done and you don’t have spikes. Just wait for the floor to dry and go over and patch it. In the case of wanting to add more flakes you need to apply a very thin layer of epoxy for the flakes to stick onto.

Then apply the topcoat but stay clear of the patched area if you just did it. Don’t wait for the patch to dry since once you go past 24 hrs between coats you need to sand the surface to rough it up. Just stay about 6″ away from the patch spot. Once the rest of the next coat dries you can simply fill in the patched area,

A very common occurrence is missing a spot with the clear topcoat. Since these topcoats are Gin clear it’s easy to do while you’re applying them. This is no issue at all. After the topcoat dries just very lightly sand the epoxy and perimeter clear coat with 100 grit. Then brush on some clear to fill in. To help avoid missing spots dry to have someone looking at the floor from an angle while you are rolling on the clear.

So in sum, don’t panic, having spikes is a good idea for emergency puposes and for applying the flake into the epoxy, they make getting an even pattern much easier, don’t let the main part of the floor dry for over 24 hrs before apply next layer and if you have a more serious issue just contact us and one of our expert support guys or gals will get you back on the right track.


WHY AND WHEN TO USE AN EPOXY FLOORING PRIMER

Sometimes a floor needs an update. It could be that wood is splintering or concrete is cracking. you can reclaim original flooring but if there’s a lot of damage, sometimes new flooring is the answer. It’s easy to find the flooring you want, especially when you can find affordable flooring on sites like reallycheapfloors.com. However, different flooring needs to have different primers. We get asked so many times about using a primer that it deserves a blog post. The majority of Garage Floor installations do not require a primer if you are using a high-quality epoxy. There are times however that a primer is recommended. If your floor has concrete that is old it may be in poor condition from being uncoated for many years. Road salts may have started to break it down. You may have pitted areas, a primer will help in filling in the pitted areas. Your floor may have become what we call chalky or dusty, this is where no matter how much you clean the floor there always seems to be concrete dust or chalk on it when you rub your hand over it. This is where a primer comes into play. It will penetrate into your concrete and bind up the chalky loose top layer of the floor. You should use a shop vac for your floor, thoroughly to get down to the solid part of the floor as best as possible before applying the primer.

You may be doing your floor and your square footage is slightly above the standard kit coverage. Your choice is to buy an additional Add On Half Kit or you can purchase the Epoxy Flooring Primer that will do several things. It will penetrate into the slab deeper which provides better adhesion and it will extend the coverage of the epoxy by up to 20% since the epoxy is now going over a sealed surface. So in addition to giving you another layer of epoxy for a thicker floor finish(thicker is always better) it can also save you some money.

You may have a floor that you previously coated with another epoxy that is failing. If it’s not a Home Improvement Store epoxy you can possibly still save it by coating directly over it with one of our epoxy kits. But first you must sand the floor to clean it and rough it up and then put down a coating of our Proprietary Bonding Primer. This lets our coating stick to any other kind of coating. This is not to be confused with the Epoxy Flooring Primer above which is strictly for bare concrete. The Bonding Primer can be used to go over Wood Floors or Molding prior to applying an epoxy coating to them. Or you may have a plastic or metal drain cover you want to coat with the epoxy to make the floor look really nice. Epoxies don’t stick will to metal or plastic, Bonding Primer solves that issue. However, if you’re wanting epoxy for wooden flooring options, you could look into some of the best wood epoxy coatings available to you.

You may be the type of person who has large toys in their Garage or Man Cave or uses their space as a work shop. Or you may be the type that just wants the strongest, toughest epoxy flooring there is. This where you need and want a primer. If you have a heavy tonnage vehicle like a large Motor Home that can weigh up to 50,000lbs, you definitely want a primer. Any heavy vehicle that will have twisting or turning tires with standstill dead weight on them requires the highest amount of adhesion to avoid the epoxy being literally ripped off the floor. This is where a high performance primer is needed. Our primers are really high quality epoxies that don’t have as much Solids in them as are actual floor epoxies do, to allow them to soak a little more into the slab. They lock deep into the slab and provide a surface that the Epoxy to actually chemically bonds into thus making an inseparable layer of primer and epoxy. If you stopped at our Primer layer you would still have a better coating on your floor than the vast majority of other actual epoxy coatings you can purchase.

So there are many uses and times when you need and should use a primer and often times when you don’t. If you are unsure of whether you should or shouldn’t simply give us a call-866-532-3979 or email us at info@armorgarage.com


HOW HARD IS IT TO DO METALLIC EPOXY VS TRADITIONAL EPOXY SYSTEMS?

We have been getting an increasing amount of callers asking about doing a metallic finish epoxy floor. The first thing we ask is if they have any experience in doing this sort of floor. The answer is always no and that they saw it on YouTube and that it looked fairly easy to do. This is when we tell them it’s not as easy as it looks. It looks easy cause the person doing it most likely does it for a living or has done it many times before. Most of the companies selling metallic epoxy state on their websites or will tell you that their products are not that easy to work with if they’re honest. They say this at the same time as stating that there is no wrong way to do it. While that statement is true because the finish is random, there is definitely good and bad results and sometimes even very bad results. So while it looks like you are just splashing different colors on the floor it really takes skill and experience to get the ratios and the spreading of each color right for it to actually come out looking good rather than an eye sore.

Doing metallic floors are much more labor intensive. You need to grind the floor usually and do a black base coat, then sand it and apply a seal coat and then splash the colors into the seal coat and then sand that when it dries and then you need to apply a topcoat. Some systems use a primer then a black base coat that you sand and then metallic paint that you sand and then a topcoat. Anyway you look at it, it’s a lot more work and the results most likely will not look like what you were expecting. There is skill and artistic talent involved in getting the looks you see on the internet. With traditional epoxy there is no skill level or artistic talent required. Just some good old fashioned elbow grease to clean the floor properly and then just apply the epoxy similar to regular paint. We package our epoxy in turnkey systems to make easy and simple for you to install a complete epoxy flooring job. There is some measuring and mixing involved so that takes a little more consideration than just sticking your roller into the roller tray and rolling the paint on like a semi gloss. But it’s way simpler to do than metallic and 99.999 times out of 100 you are going to be happy with the results. Check out our Epoxy Floor Systems on our Home Page and choose the one that fits your application best or give us a call for some expert advise on which to use.

If you’re truly set on doing metallic, give us a call and we can price our metallic system out for you with a disclaimer that we are not responsible for the results. Also just to let you know that in the New York Tri-State area whenever we get a Metallic job we sub it out to a professional who does only metallic floors. We don’t even let our own professional installers do it! You should take that accordingly.


Why Your Bargain Roof Coating Is Leaking & Why You Can’t Stop It.

Finding and fixing roof leaks is very often a frustrating and futile endeavor. It can also be a very costly endeavor if you go about it the wrong way. Luckily there are insurance companies that can help you with the cost of fixing any property damage you may face. Visiting sites like www.homeownersinsurancecover.net could give you the policies and plans that could cover any home repair or improvements.

First thing you should know is that where you see the water dripping into your home or business is most likely not where the leak is. All roofs are pitched to some degree so leaks can occur on one side of a roof and the water will run to the first opening it finds and leak through. So the source of a leak can be far away from where the actual leak is occurring.

So when you go up on your roof hunting for the source of the leak don’t automatically concentrate on where the drip is located. The best way to find a leak is to walk the roof in sort of a search grid. Up, down and then side to side. You must carefully inspect every inch of the roof. You are looking for any pinhole, crack or split in a seam. Anything that looks like an opening for water to get into. You must also check all HVAC equipment for any loose or damaged panels or shrouds, also check all the curb flashings. These are the usual suspects.

If by chance you locate the source of the leak and it’s simply a split in a seam or small hole from someone stepping on a screw. Then you can apply some roof cement to fix it but make sure you embed some roof mesh into the roof cement. Roof cement is notorious for cracking and needing constant maintenance. Roof mesh will help extend the life of the roof cement. In general roof cement should be viewed as only a temporary fix. Which is ok for a couple of small fixes. What you don’t want to do is go up on your roof with buckets of it and start smearing everything in sight with it.
This will cause more issues than it solves for sure. When you do this you tend to apply the cement way too thick and then in no time it will start to alligator and then crack or chip off. Then you put more on which works for a short time and then when it leaks again you apply more and it now works for an even shorter time and when it fails yet again you have a much bigger problem.

Same goes for when you apply some bargain water based elastomeric roof coating to try and stop your leaks. They always fail way sooner then you think and if you bought it from a Home Improvement Store they will tell you there is no warranty because you didn’t have it professionally installed. Same goes for a lot of other roof coatings. Most times that great sounding warranty isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. The best thing is NOT to ever have to need to make a warranty claim in the first place. That happens when you use a high quality Industrial Roof Coating vs a water based residential grade elastomeric coating.

You must look at the performance specifications so you don’t get fooled into buying what you think is an industrial grade coating when in fact it’s nothing of the sort. Once you start slopping roof cement all over the place and then put on an inferior coating and then have to recoat because your roof keeps developing leaks you end up going down the proverbial rabbit hole and your situation keeps getting worse until you have to rip the roof off and have a new roof installed at a tremendous cost. All of it could have been avoided with the use of the right coating at the start. Yes it cost you more money up front but in the long run you come out way ahead financially and stress wise.

The biggest reason roofs leak and no matter what you do you can’t seam to find the leak is because the actual roofing material or roof coating you used has become porous and water is actually leaking right through the microscopic pores of the material. This is where reading and understanding the specifications come in handy! One of the items in a specification of a roof coating is Perms. Perms is short for permeability, which is how fast moisture can pass through a material. You may have heard of a Perm test for soil, this is where they test the rate water passes through the surface of the soil. Where land that is mostly clay will not be very permeable as compared to soil that is mostly top soil.

Same goes for materials, all physical materials are made up of atoms and the tighter the atoms the less permeable that material is. All roof coatings have microscopic pores, spaces in between the atoms. The size of those pores determine the perm rating. In the case of roof coatings the smaller the Perm number the better. It means moisture has a smaller opening to pass through. When a coating is new the size of it’s pores are smaller than water molecules thus they prevent the water from passing through, much like the clay did in our soil example. However as a coating ages from the sun and begins to stretch out from constant expansion and contraction the pores begin to widen until they get to a point where they are now just slightly larger than water molecules.

So guess what happens, you’re correct, your roof starts leaking. The worst part about it is that you can’t see this so you have no idea why your roof is leaking. Especially since you put a ton of roof cement on everything in sight. What’s even worse your roof may not leak every time it rains. If it’s cold out the roof coating may contract enough to keep water out or if doesn’t rain long enough there won’t be a lot of water weight on the roof coating so again it might not leak. This makes it even more maddening.

So having said all that what you need to take away from this is that you want to start with a roof coating that has the smallest Perm rating to start with. So as your coating stretches and ages it takes a lot longer for that coating’s pores to start passing water. That is why water based elastomerics and most other roof coatings don’t live up to their claims. ArmorGarage uses the highest quality Butyl Rubber and no water in our roof coatings. Butyl rubber is even far superior to EPDM. This gives our coatings the Best Perm ratings by far, compare our Perm rating to your roof coating. This means ArmorGarage roof coatings will stay moisture proof far longer than any elastomeric, water based or EPDM based coating.

So in sum if you go by just the first cost when deciding to do your roof you will most likely end up worse off then you started. Look at the specs, in addition to Perms, you need to look at Hardness ratings and Elongation ratings and what the roof coating is made of ie: water or Butyl rubber and epoxy. A quick word on silicone here, silicone is a must for ponding water and is the only time you should use it. Silicone is soft and subject to damage very easily and once you use silicone you can never use anything else since nothing can stick to it. So when it fails prematurely as most of them do you will be stuck with having to put the same inferior product back on and worse yet you will find out that that amazing sounding warranty is worthless due to one of the small print exceptions they pin on you.

Knowing what you’re buying will help you avoid being in the position of spending untold amounts of time and money trying to fix an ever growing mess you can easily get into. At which time you call in your roofers Roanoke and they are 99.9% of the time going to tell you that you need a new roof for a gazillion dollars. It’s as easy to predict as if you would ask a Barber if you need a haircut.