Specialty coatings are often installed to meet hygienic requirements for the food industry, safety standards for processing, control of electrostatic discharge, aesthetic, or other specific reasons.
Epoxy and urethane systems are essential in some applications, but not all. Seek the advice of your floor coating specialists where specific requirements must be met for the food industry, “clean-electronics” manufacture, or other highly controlled environments.
Advantages of specialty coatings include the meeting of specified requirements, superior performance if applied correctly, and high durability. The main disadvantages of such systems are the high initial cost of the products and processes required for the correct application. Specialty products can be difficult to apply as a retrofit because the penetration and adherence of previous floor treatments resulting in contamination of the new floor coating. The resulting pinholes, fish-eyes and other surface defects may become apparent only after the product is cured.
For a simple warehouse that is used only for storage and is not subject to chemical spillage, wet conditions or heavy traffic, simple industrial concrete paints may be suitable. Advantages include lower initial cost, moderately simple application techniques and adequate performance under most conditions. Paints do tend to chip, fade, and peel off if adhesion is not satisfactory. Painted surfaces show wear and eventually must be touched up or repainted. Where there is little or no impact or wear, concrete paints can offer a low-cost alternative.
A reasonable solution for some applications may be to apply high-quality, simple concrete sealants to concrete warehouse floors. Best done when concrete is new which eliminates or prevent staining, the cost of sealants is but a fraction of expensive two-component coatings and will function more than adequately. Simple sealants will perform under many combinations of operating conditions just as concrete paints will, but without the disadvantage of chipping.
Whether for a storage area, processing area or for specialty uses, floors treated with inexpensive sealants do prevent staining and the necessity for replacement of worn, chipped, and faded coated areas. Concrete sealers properly applied can meet your requirements and your budget. Disadvantages of sealants include the difficulty in trying to seal an older floor that may have been previously painted or has already been badly stained. Sand-blasting, cleaning and etching can eliminate only surface stains from concrete. Sealants are usually transparent, therefore previously painted surfaces may show paint that has penetrated, remaining visible in the concrete after sealing.
The options listed are the best choices if you have to minimize your warehouse coating maintenance budget. But if your budget allows for epoxies or other similar coatings, this is a better way to go because they will last longer, look better and withstand more. Not to mention that if you pay for higher quality coatings up front the cost will pay off because cheaper coatings are really just quick fixes and often have to be redone sooner rather than later.