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.


Build Fast, Build to Last with Rapid Set Cement Products

High-gloss polished concrete with more clarity using the Rapid Set® TRU Flooring System.

CTS Cement Manufacturing Corporation has an extensive history of providing innovative, high-performance cement products to the construction industry. CTS manufacturers Rapid Set® professional-grade cement products made with Rapid Set® cement, a calcium sulfoaluminate (CSA) cement technology. These products are engineered for high performance, versatility, low shrinkage, and rapid strength gain – performance characteristics that allow contractors to save significant time and money, with reduced installation times, labor requirements, and long-term operations and maintenance costs. Rapid Set gains structural strength in one hour. And contractors can build faster, quickly put the structure or area into full service, while achieving durable, long-lasting results. Rapid Set has been used on notable landmarks like the Hoover Dam Bypass, the Pentagon, the Lincoln Tunnel, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, as well as major roadways, airports, commercial and industrial projects worldwide. Rapid Set has grown to more than 50 specialized cement products for new construction, restoration and repair needs – including the TRU Architectural Flooring System which includes TRU Self-Leveling and TRU PC Polished Concrete.

CTS Rapid Set TRU Sell Sheet

This handy one-sheet outlines the key information you need to specify these high performance architectural toppings, from pricing and uses to specs and application procedures, as well as supplies needed to get the best results possible.

Rapid Set TRU Self-Leveling

Use TRU Self-Leveling as a high performance floor topping, for underlayment and resurfacing projects or for all three. Ideal for projects that require a long working time as well as a long life, TRU can both grind and polish stained, dyed, shiny or decorative aggregate flooring.

Mix a 50-pound bag with water. The cement can be applied at a minimum thickness of 5/16-inch, with an average of 3/8-inch. When making repairs less than 6-inches by 6-inches:

  • free the area of loose debris
  • clean the area completely
  • wetting the area and blow away any residual water
  • tape around the area so no TRU cement gets on the polished concrete
  • mix the TRU product “really wet” – you want a lot of the sand, not the cream
  • pour it over the area, a little higher than the rest of the floor to make sure that when you grind it off, you’re cutting down to the sand

TRU PC Polished Concrete Topping

Use Rapid Set TRU PC Polished Concrete Topping as a topping, resurfacer or underlayment. This versatile product is a professional grade, hydraulic cement-based, self-leveling product that can be ground and polished to expose aggregate, simulating the appearance of polished concrete. Delivering outstanding clarity and gloss, you can create a variety of design possibilities by incorporating colors and aggregates.

TRU PC maintains workability for up to 20 minutes and is ready for foot traffic in two to three hours; coatings in 12 hours; and grinding and polishing in 24 hours. It produces a dense surface with high bond strength, is durable in wet or dry conditions, and can be used inside and out.

When making repairs less than 6-inches by 6-inches, follow the same instruction as TRU Self-Leveling.