Surface Preparation Best Practices for CTS Rapid Set Products

shot blastingRegardless of trade, preparation is often the single-most important step to ensure a professional installation. This is especially true when contractors are looking to install cement toppings. CTS Rapid Set concrete is specifically designed to harden and set within minutes of mixing, which can drastically increase contractor productivity. By setting rapidly, contractors can avoid the typical 30 day cure time many other concrete mixes require. Most CTS products allow contractors to return the next day to begin polishing or coating the placed slab. Preparation for CTS Rapid Set Products can be broken down into two steps: Surface Preparation and Priming the Surface.

Prepping the Substrate: The substrate should be clean, have an absorptive surface, be free of oil, curing compound, sealers, hardeners, or any other material that would inhibit adhesion. The surface should be mechanically prepped, with the preferred method being shot blasting or grinding. The surface of the concrete can be measured using the ICRI Concrete Surface Profile (CSP) of between 3-5. Shot Blasting is typically the easiest method for achieving this profile. See this chart below, which overviews surface profiles.

CSP Inspection Guide

putting down TRU Epoxy PrimerPriming the Substrate: Once shot blasting and/or grinding is complete, the substrate should be primed to allow for maximum adhesion when the CTS Rapid Set is placed. CTS Rapid Set offers both an acrylic primer, as well as a 2-part epoxy primer. The acrylic primer is mixed 1:1 with water and applied to the floor using a soft bristle broom at between 400-600 sq. ft. per gallon. A second coat of acrylic primer might be necessary depending on porosity of the slab.

The second option for priming the surface, is CTS TXP 2-part epoxy primer. TXP offers superior bond strength, one coat application, can withstand interior and exterior applications, and allows for placement of Rapid Set products in as little as 12 hours. The surface is prepared the same way, achieving a CSP of between 3-5. The floor is then cleaned using an auto scrubber. The TXP is mixed at 2 parts A to 1 Part B (2:1) using a slow speed drill mixer. The material is poured onto the substrate and applied using a notched squeegee and back-rolled using a 3/8″ nap roller at around 12 mils thick (0.3mm). After the coating is placed and still tacky, clean, dry silica sand should be broadcast to rejection using mesh #20-#30 sand. Once dry, the excess sand can be removed from the floor.

Once preparation and priming is complete, the floor is now ready for placement of CTS Rapid Set products. Runyon Surface Prep Carries a wide range of CTS products, as well as the tools used to install the products. Click here for our “Build Fast, Build to Last with Rapid Set Cement Products” article, outlining the process and products needed for TRU self-leveling projects.


Flake Floors that Go Beyond the Residential Garage Market

When I hear the term flake floor, the first thing that pops into my head is a garage floor. I’m sure most concrete flooring contractors would agree that this system is most often found in garages for its strength, ability to have a car pulled onto it, protection against oil spills, and so much more. But when you look at typical flake designs, they really only belong in a garage. Typically, most full flake floors are a blend of 3 to 4 colors (equally blended). These colors are formulated to hide dirt, look aesthetically pleasing, and even match color schemes of companies, sports teams, etc.

Having previously owned a decorative flooring company, I’ve done quite a few polymer flake floors, and even a few custom flake blends for customers. Another option I would offer customers is a solid color floor (typically a pigmented epoxy, polyaspartic, etc.) But the problem I always ran into was inconsistency, due to excluding the full flake, thus not leaving as much to “hide” in the base coat. This would require a heavy topcoat and sometimes even another coat to hide imperfections left in the floor that would otherwise be hidden in the flakes.

Runyon Surface Prep has teamed up with Thermal-Chem, a coatings manufacturer, that has also recognized this problem. They have developed a creative alternative for contractors installing these systems. By installing a full flake floor with just 1 color, as opposed to 3-4 color blends, you can achieve a very uniform flooring system that also has a more decorative appearance. The outcome is a more uniform, less busy, resinous floor that can be installed beyond the garage.

Check out some examples of solid color full flake floors:

*Photos courtesy of Thermal-Chem

Runyon Surface Prep Rental & Supply is a full-service distributor uniquely dedicated to the concrete polishing and resinous flooring industries. We carry the full line of Thermal-Chem products – find online here. We also offer training and support, so please reach out if you ever need hands-on product or application training.

You can also contact me directly:

Guide to Cleaning Up Oil Spills on Concrete

Aside from daily maintenance, there are times when unexpected spills happen. Left untreated, they can leave behind discoloration and stain your otherwise beautiful floor. In the case of our warehouse, we had hydraulic fluid leak onto our floor as we were unloading a large piece of equipment. Luckily, we were quick to remediate the situation and document (with pictures) the entire process.

We were unloading a power trowel off a pallet when we noticed a bit of fluid was leaking. Upon further investigation, it was identified as hydraulic fluid and was dripping onto the floor. Our team was extremely responsive in both identifying and stopping the leak.

Runyon Warehouse Oil Spill

We removed as much of the fluid as possible using clean dry cloths. It’s important to remember that polished concrete is not a coating and will absorb the oil, which is why it’s important to get it up as soon as possible. This is also why a dry cloth is the best method to remove as much fluid as you can. The use of mops, auto scrubbers, etc. at this point will only help the fluid penetrate deeper into the concrete.

Once we removed as much fluid from the methods listed above, it was time to use a product specific to oil and stain removal. We chose to use Prosoco Oil & Grease Stain Remover, as this was available in our warehouse and does the job well.

Runyon Warehouse Oil Spill Remediation
Runyon Warehouse Oil Spill Remediation - Prosoco Oil & Grease Stain Remover

The instructions call for the glue like substance to be poured onto the stain and left untouched to dry, which in our case was overnight. The product pulls the contaminants out of the substrate, capturing them in its highly absorbent blend of batter-thick surfactants, solvents and powders.  I attempted to take pictures throughout our workday to track this process.

Runyon Warehouse Oil Spill Remediation - Prosoco Oil & Grease Stain Remover

Once dry, we simply swept up the powdered remains and auto scrubbed the floor as a part of our daily maintenance routine. In all, I believe the biggest contributor to the successful removal of oil and grease stains is to address them as soon as possible. The stain definitely faded in color, but will probably require another treatment or further remediation down the road. Had the concrete not been polished, we would have expected the stain to dissipate completely. Coming from a background in concrete coatings and coating removal, I’ve been curious to compare and contrast differences in polished concrete and coatings. This was a great case study!

Runyon Warehouse Oil Spill - after using Prosoco Oil & Grease Stain Remover