BEST PRACTICES FOR DESERT WEATHER CONCRETE COATING APPLICATIONS

By BulletProof Brand Concrete Coatings, Specialists in Concrete Coating Applications in Desert Heat

 (Phoenix, Arizona; Las Vegas, Nevada; Albuquerque, New Mexico)

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Hot Arizona Sonoran Desert conditions during summer can lead to concern during high-performance floor installations. Due to the quick rise in desert temperatures, the application of polymer-based floor coating materials can be a real challenge. To address potential heat-related issues, here are common sources of concern and rules of thumb to overcome them.

 

Heat will cause polymer coating materials to cure or dry faster. Rising temperatures during application can create some unique problems, such as outgassing & the subsequent formation of bubbles in the coating system. High temperature may cause material to flash harden in the bucket before one gets to pour it on the substrate and utilize the material. Varied substrate temperatures throughout the substrate can cause blushing or color variations as the material cures. Temperatures need to be monitored before and during the application and curing processes to mitigate such concerns. 

 

It is important to monitor ambient (air) temperatures when working inside or outdoors. The forecast for the location and duration of the upcoming project is paramount. When working indoors, it is best to work in climate-controlled, air conditioned spaces, keeping the ambient temperatures at 70º F or less for 24 hours prior to the application. During application however, all fans & blowers should be shut off to prevent dust & debris from falling and becoming permanently lodged into the coating system.

 

For each project, the concrete coating materials should be stored ideally at a consistent temperature, within 24 hours prior to its usage, under 75º F if possible, and kept at a consistent temperature throughout the application process. Materials may be immersed into a cooler filled with ice, in advance,  in order to keep the materials cool and increase the pot life (working time), as long as the materials are not allowed to freeze.  Generally, for each 18º F rise in temperature, a polymer material’s pot life (and cure time) will be halved. For outdoor projects, work areas may be tented off in order to provide shade while working in direct sunlight.

 

During concrete coating applications, polymer materials will begin to warm upon contact with the substrate to meet the slab’s temperature. A hot surface that is baking in direct sunlight will mean less time to apply the material and may flash cure. The concrete slab is a semi-permeable membrane which can create osmotic pressure, releasing air or moisture as it warms. It is best to plan to apply polymer floor coatings in the early morning hours or as temperatures are falling.

 

The pot life i.e. working-time of a two-component polymer coating material is the time it takes for its viscosity to double, once mixed, given a certain temperature, relative humidity and volume. Most material specifications will provide an amount of working time an applicator has, based on a fixed temperature, relative humidity & volume. Higher temperatures mean shorter working times to get the material on the floor. Apply the product immediately after mixing. Do not allow the materials to sit in pails or trays for extended periods of time beyond the pot life.

 

We do not recommend that our BulletProof Brand products be thinned or cut with water or solvents as it reduces the efficacy of the materials and results in an inferior coating system.  Some other companies recommend thinning their materials to artificially increase pot life, and some applicators will do this to stretch their materials to cover more square footage resulting in thinner mil coatings which are compromised.

 

Here are some more helpful guidelines. Do not apply polymer materials in direct sunlight when possible. Avoid southern exposures in the middle of the day. Work on western exposures in the morning hours and eastern exposures in the afternoons. Do not mix more material than can be applied within a 10 to 15 minute timeframe, hence, work in small batches, especially with epoxy coatings or polyaspartic materials. It is helpful to have a second applicator who can continuously mix while the first applicator applies the material. Never apply polymer materials to a weak, unprepped or non-profiled substrate.

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Provided by BulletProof Brand Concrete Coatings, Specialists in Concrete Coating Materials for the Desert Heat