We recently asked Harvey Chichester of Durall Industrial Flooring (www.concrete-floor-coatings.com) about some common questions relating to coating concrete floors. Here's what he tells his customers:

Concrete Conscruction: What's a good way to get a skid-resistant finish on a new concrete slab?

Harvey Chichester: Both concrete and wood floors can be flow-coated with 100% epoxy and colored quartz to make hard, skid-resistant surfaces. Colored quartz is close to the hardness of diamonds and provides a highly skid-resistant surface. Commercial breweries, coolers, and freezers have been using these systems successfully for decades.

Concrete Conscruction: What is the key factor in making such an application successful?

Harvey Chichester: The key to sealing or repairing floors is using colored quartz hinges on preparing the existing floor surface to ensure a permanent bond. A common mistake is to assume that a new floor does not need extensive preparation. Unfortunately, new concrete floors are dusty for the first few years as microscopic bits of concrete laitance come off with wear. If the flow-coated floor has adhered to those moving substrate particles, then it may move when they do.

Even the highest grade adhesives, the hardest minerals, and the most diligent application won't be effective if the floor peels off. Look at the bottom of any coating removed from a floor. What is stuck to the back of that coating? Is it cement or is it dust and dirt? If it is cement, then the coating application was successful at adhering to the concrete. If you observe dust and dirt, the surface was not properly prepared before applying the coating.

Concrete Conscruction: Can you give us some tips on applying the quartz. Is there any way to avoid wasting the material that doesn't stick to the surface?

Harvey Chichester: An important trick of the trade is to apply colored quartz by hand using a low-angle throw. Low angles allow the colored quartz to skip over the floor until wet, uncovered sealant is encountered, at which point the quartz sticks. The low angle method helps avoid bald spots and ensures that the colored quartz is not exhausted prematurely.

In most applications after the first coat, as much as a third of the material can be recaptured by sweeping and then reused. Although swept-up colored quartz often has dirt in it, the dirt particles can be screened out by pouring the recovered quartz through a residential kitchen stove filter. These filters are particularly handy because they have an aluminum frame and fit neatly on a 5-gallon pail.