Many industrial and commercial concrete floors are not protected. As a result they can suffer irreparable damage from many sources. For example, bare concrete can absorb liquid spills, which could allow pockets of undesirable liquid to collect under the concrete. If that liquid is flammable, it could create a fire hazard. If it is hazardous, the soil beneath could become contaminated.

In either scenario it creates a liability that may prove costly to the owner. A chemically resistant floor coating could solve the problem, providing a barrier and stopping the soak from occurring.

First decide which system is right for your needs: water-borne or solvent-borne. A water-borne epoxy floor coating is for protecting the floor under lighter duty applications where there is foot traffic and rubber-wheeled dolly traffic only. It can handle minor chemical spills and light detergent wash-downs with no odor and can be recoated within hours.

Solvent-borne epoxy floor coating is for protecting the floor in heavy-duty environments where frequent chemical spills, heavy rubber-wheeled vehicular traffic or frequent detergent wash-downs occur.

Surface preparation is 80% of any successful application. Before beginning, you have to look at the state of the floor. Be sure to repair any holes or damaged spots before coating. And remember, don't apply an epoxy coating until after fresh concrete is 30 days old.

Concrete should be dry at the time of application to assure optimum adhesion. Be sure to check for excessive moisture beneath the surface of the concrete. Temperature can also be a factor. The product can be applied between 55° and 90° F.

Many concrete floors are coated with floor sealers, curing agents, or hardeners. Some of these products do not allow flooring systems to bond directly to the concrete and must be removed prior to applying the coating. Some of the curing agents may be removed by acid etch. A properly etched floor should have a consistent fine sandpaper finish.

Previously coated concrete floors should be lightly sanded to remove all gloss and to develop a rough surface profile to assure the new coating adheres properly.

Either water-borne or solvent-borne systems are applied by roller. The solvent-borne system must be applied to a dry floor, whereas the water-borne can be applied to a damp or dry floor. Use a phenolic core roller (specifically designed for epoxies). You should also thin the coatings by 10% in the first coat to assure maximum adhesion to bare concrete.

The second coat of a solvent-borne system should be applied 24 hours after the first coat. With a water-borne system, the second coat is applied 3 to 5 hours after the first coat. A nonskid surface may be achieved by broadcasting fine grit sand into the wet first coat and then top coating over. With either system, the floor is now protected and can be put back into service within two days of the final coat.

Aervoe Industries' line of AerKote epoxy floor coatings are low VOC and thin film, and no special application equipment is required. The coatings are available in water-borne and solvent-borne systems in four colors (brick red, tan, light gray, or dark gray). These floor coatings can be applied with a pan and a roller. For information on Aervoe, go to