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.

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Efficient, Effective and Consistent: An Overview of Graco Pumps for Self-Leveling Placement

Graco Self-Leveling JobWhat if you could cut mixing and application time in half when installing self-leveling material? A Graco Self-Leveling Pump makes it much faster and easier to apply self-leveling overlayments and underlayments.

It can be an exercise in frustration to hand mix bag after bag of self-leveling cementitious topping, then slowly apply it bucket by bucket on a job site. Instead of placing overlays and underlayments this way, Graco offers pumps for self-levelers that ensure smooth, even mixing and easy application in a process that’s much more efficient.

Tackle Jobs Large and Small

Graco Self-leveling Pumps can handle even the largest jobs, which previously meant hauling pallets full of bags across job sites repeatedly, then prepping, pouring and leveling along the way. Instead, site workers can now establish a location for a mix station, engage the self-leveling pump action and deliver fully mixed compound across the area needed.

Workers can easily load four bags a minute into a pump, where it can be mixed with aggregate and liquid to proper consistency automatically. Application is simple, as the material is pumped out to where it is needed.

Consistent Application

There’s nothing worse than coming back to check on a job and seeing a lumpy, inconsistent mix that will have to be redone with huge expense in manpower and materials. That said, consistency is never a worry with this pump.

Every application with a Graco Self-Leveling Pump is smooth and even. Pump vertically or horizontally over long distances and know the application will be consistent every time. You’ll never worry about the results of a job, because it will always look great.

Compact and Movable

The entire pump setup is compact and easy to operate, right from the first time it’s used. It requires very little square footage. You can fit the pump, a mixer and a small generator in the back of a pickup truck.

Graco MP40 Mixing PumpSave Time and Money on Every Job

You’ll see big cost savings from purchasing this efficient pump. Take it to the job site and set it up anywhere in short order. Mix the right amount of compound every time, so you never have to deal with the cost or hassle of wasted materials.

The pump makes it much easier to hit completion deadlines and keep projects on track. Even under intense time pressure, your crew can drive it to the site and tackle a large job within a short time frame. Quality will never suffer in the process, because you can rely on it to produce an even finish.

This means you can blast through jobs and save time for your crew. Over time, you’ll see a major cost savings for your operation. Contractors who use these Graco self-leveling pumps are able to cut work time in half or even more, due to the fast set-up and application it offers. We offer a comprehensive selection of single component pumps designed for mortar, cementitious and heavily-filled materials, transfer pumps for moving A and B materials to reactor proportioners, and hydraulic and hydraulic piston pumps for factory and outdoor use.

Runyon Surface Prep Rental & Supply is a full-service sales and rental facility uniquely dedicated to the concrete polishing industry. Our uniqueness comes from providing our customers with a diverse equipment, product and supply portfolio. We offer training and support, such as technique workshops on prep, polishing or removal, and maintain a well-stocked inventory of consumables ready for your projects at a moment’s notice. Rather than perform contract work ourselves, we consult on job sites when necessary. With the backing of our vendors, Runyon Surface Prep offers support at any level, to assist in helping you get things done. We can deliver or ship wherever you need, or you can pick up from our facility.

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: justin@runyonsurfaceprep.com

What Could Dust Extraction Cost You?

Dust extraction on a jobsite must be handled carefully, or the mistake could mean steep OSHA penalties.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) takes airborne and surface-borne dust very seriously because of its severe risks to job site workers and public safety. Every year, more than 2 million construction workers are exposed to materials that contain silica, including concrete and stone.

Prolonged exposure to silica dust – or even short-term exposure in some cases – can cause a condition called silicosis, which compromises respiration. In affected people, scars form deep within the lungs, limiting the breath and increasing the risk of lung infections like tuberculosis. There is no cure for silicosis.

In 2016, OSHA updated the Crystalline Silica Rule, establishing tougher standards for respirable crystalline silica, including an enforcement schedule that’s in effect for construction sites, industrial settings, maritime operations and contractors. The standards are much stricter than those set by OSHA’s original silica rule in the 1970’s.

Is your work site in full compliance with the new rule? Here’s why it should be. 

How to Manage Dust Extraction the Right Way

To handle crystalline silica dust properly, follow all OSHA standards for respirators, exposure limits, engineering controls and other measures that directly affect worker health and safety. Monitor exposure levels and stay within the boundaries of exposure limits: 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air at an 8-hour, time-weighted average.

Use a high-quality HEPA vacuum to filter the air and remove airborne particles created by grinding, drilling, mixing, cutting, blasting and other worksite activities. Plan for both wet and dry activities and ensure all workers are fully trained on precautionary procedures in case an emergency arises.

Pullman Ermator, maker of single-phase HEPA dust extractors, recently conducted a cost analysis on what bags, filters and labor could cost you for dust extraction over a year. The first is your initial cost, where your choices include 150 CFM and smaller plastic dust vacuums that are HEPA-ready or HEPA-included.

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*click here for the full PDF guide (courtesy of Pullman Ermator Inc.)

Your annual filter costs depend on the type of vacuum you are using. Single-motor dust vacuums with self-pulsing or shaking filter systems need to be replaced periodically. While a HEPA-ready vacuum needs a filter change every two months, HEPA-included dust extractors run for 18 months without a filter change. Figuring in the price for each type of filter bag, plus the annual labor cost of changing two bags per day during a six-day work week for 50 weeks a year, the HEPA-included models come out on top – even though the filter bag price is higher. In the long run, you could end up paying $3,000 more for a plastic dust vacuum. Purchasing any S-line dust extractor may have a higher initial cost, but you still can save thousands of dollars year after year.

Failure to Comply Penalties Go Beyond Basic Cost

OSHA’s enforcement penalties for the Crystalline Silica Rule come with expensive fines. The lowest level serious violation previously cost the violator $7,000 in fines. In the updated standards, the same level violation costs $12,471 per incident and is likely to trigger a deeper investigation by OSHA and other governmental authorities.

After the first incident, it’s the company’s responsibility to manage abatement procedures and prove to OSHA that abatement has taken place. Otherwise, you’ll face a failure-to-abate fine of $12,471 per day beyond the abatement deadline from OSHA.

The biggest penalty comes from either waiting too long to address issues or allowing them to take place repeatedly, which OSHA considers a willful violation. This comes with a staggering $124,709 fine, which can be doubled, tripled or more if you have numerous serious violations across your enterprise.

Putting Worker Safety At Risk

The cost of non-compliance goes much deeper than dollars. Failure to manage crystalline silica dust can destroy the health of your workers. Part of OSHA compliance is providing medical exams at least every three years to workers who wear respirators for more than 30 days at a time. These standards are set for a reason – to prevent workers’ health and lives from being permanently affected by worksite hazards.

Non-compliance can also ruin your company’s reputation in the industry. When competitors, partners and the public get wind of unethical practices, word spreads like wildfire and it can permanently tarnish a company’s image. Just one violation could severely limit the number of jobs your company is awarded in the future.

To keep your worksite risk at an absolute minimum, contact your Runyon sales rep to examine the site and put protective measures in place. It’s a proactive step towards staying well within OSHA boundaries and making sure dust doesn’t cost you money and lives.

Runyon Surface Prep Rental & Supply is a full-service sales and rental facility uniquely dedicated to the concrete polishing industry. Our uniqueness comes from providing our customers with a diverse equipment, product and supply portfolio. We offer training and support, such as technique workshops on prep, polishing or removal, and maintain a well-stocked inventory of consumables ready for your projects at a moment’s notice. Rather than perform contract work ourselves, we consult on job sites when necessary. With the backing of our vendors, Runyon Surface Prep offers support at any level, to assist in helping you get things done. We can deliver or ship wherever you need, or you can pick up from our facility.

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

Cleaning & Sealing Concrete Driveways and Sidewalks

Ameripolish Strip & Clean Before and After

photos courtesy of Ameripolish

Summer is an ideal time to rejuvenate existing concrete sidewalks, driveways and patios that have been neglected and have had their appearance diminished by the accumulation of grime, mildew and oil stains. With a thorough cleaning and the application of the proper sealer, exposed exterior concrete can be made like new and can be an attractive part of the landscape for years to come.

Step 1. Cleaning

The first step in rejuvenating exterior concrete areas is to remove any existing sealers and the surface grime that has accumulated. Ameripolish Strip and Clean or Prosoco Cure and Seal Remover are great options for this product. Once any sealer remnants have been removed, a deep chemical clean to restore the clean aesthetic can be achieved with a treatment of Ameripolish EZ Etch or Prosoco SafEtch. These products are superior to traditional acid washes in that they require no neutralization and clean-up is as simple as flushing the treated area with water. If oil stains are present, they can be mitigated with the use of products such as Ameripolish Oil Ingester and/or Prosoco Oil and Grease Stain Remover at this point.

Step 2. Sealing

Once the concrete surface is clean and rejuvenated, an exterior grade sealer should be applied to protect the area from becoming degraded again. The sealer used should be UV stable, have resistance to mildew growth and salt damage, and protect against oil infiltration. Ameripolish X-Link and Prosoco GuardEXT are products that fit the bill nicely.

Cleaning and sealing exterior concrete such as driveways, sidewalks and patios is a quick, simple and cost-effective way to enhance curb appeal and the early summer is an ideal time to do it.

Runyon Surface Prep Rental & Supply is a full-service sales and rental facility uniquely dedicated to the concrete polishing industry. Our uniqueness comes from providing our customers with a diverse equipment, product and supply portfolio. We offer training and support, such as technique workshops on prep, polishing or removal, and maintain a well-stocked inventory of consumables ready for your projects at a moment’s notice. Rather than perform contract work ourselves, we consult on job sites when necessary. With the backing of our vendors, Runyon Surface Prep offers support at any level, to assist in helping you get things done. We can deliver or ship wherever you need, or you can pick up from our facility.

Adding Color to Existing Exterior Concrete

ColorJuice 3D Exterior Concrete

photos courtesy of Ameripolish

Adding color to existing exterior concrete is a great option to aesthetically enhance landscaping. However, to maximize the longevity and appearance, the correct coloring products, application techniques and protective sealers must be used.

Since exterior concrete is subject to UV radiation and open to the elements, a coloring product specifically designed to hold up to these factors in ways that interior-use dyes are not capable of is recommended. Prosoco ColorHard and Ameripolish ColorJuice 3D are two products that are UV stable and engineered for exposure to the elements. They both will provide years of beautiful color in exterior applications.

Proper preparation of the concrete to be colored is crucial for the successful application of both ColorHard and ColorJuice 3D. Prior to applying either of these products, any sealers that are present must be removed and the concrete substrate must be cleaned and free of debris. In addition, the use of a mild etching agent is recommended to dissolve latents and salts that may be blocking the access channels into the interior of the concrete. For ColorHard, a deep clean with SafEtch is ideal for this purpose; while for ColorJuice 3D, EZ Etch would be the best choice.

Once the color has been applied according to the manufacturer’s recommended process, It is very important to protect the concrete and its beautiful new hue with the proper sealer. For ColorJuice, one of the X-Link sealers should be applied and for ColorHard, GuardEXT is the product of choice.

With either the Ameripolish ColorJuice 3D system, or the Prosoco ColorHard system, existing exterior concrete can be aesthetically enhanced and protected for the long-term.

Runyon Surface Prep Rental & Supply is a full-service sales and rental facility uniquely dedicated to the concrete polishing industry. Our uniqueness comes from providing our customers with a diverse equipment, product and supply portfolio. We offer training and support, such as technique workshops on prep, polishing or removal, and maintain a well-stocked inventory of consumables ready for your projects at a moment’s notice. Rather than perform contract work ourselves, we consult on job sites when necessary. With the backing of our vendors, Runyon Surface Prep offers support at any level, to assist in helping you get things done. We can deliver or ship wherever you need, or you can pick up from our facility.