Did You Underbid the Job?
I would venture to say that every concrete polishing contractor has felt this pain before and would like to never feel it again. What can be done to limit this from happening again? A mock up would limit the chances of this happening again. I’ll tell you why.
First of all a mock-up is generally a 10’x10’ finished product that show you and your client what the concrete polishing job will look like. Generally, it is good to do a 10'x10' mock up on larger polishing jobs.
One benefit is that it lets your client know what the final job may look like. This will set their expectations to what will be reality. There are so many contractors out there selling polished concrete and the client is usually misinformed about what polished concrete really is. This will help dispel any misconceptions your client may have about polished concrete.
Another benefit is that a mock up will help YOU to know how many steps it will take to get the job done the clients’ satisfaction. You will know how hard the concrete is, what tools to use, the hardness of the slab and if there are any exceptional qualities about the slab you are working on. You will then know what your TRUE COST is to do the job! No more guess work!
Another good tip about doing a mock up is not to spend an inordinate amount of time on the mock up. If you do, your client will expect the entire floor to look just as good as the mock up does. So when you do your mock-up, do yourself a favor and only spend as much time and effort as if you were doing the entire floor.
I hope this tip helps some of you out there to keep your jobs profitable in the future!
To your success!
- Dean Chiaravallotti
- Concrete Polishing USA div. of RSI
- US & Canada: 800-409-9910
- International: 909-795-1123
- 1096 5th St. Unit 204
- Calimesa, Ca 92320
By Phil Davis:
If you are considering putting an epoxy coating on your garage floor, why not do it yourself?
Armed with the correct information you can!
Briefly, I will outline for you the steps to successfully transform your unattractive, drab, discolored, stained garage floor into a beautifully finished, durable, easy to clean, stain resistant floor.
As with any other project, PREPARATION is the key. Preparation can make or break the job. The most common reason for coating failure is lack of preparation. Do not cut any corners preparing the floor and you will be on your way to a successful installation.
STEP 1 – GRIND THE FLOOR.
In order for the epoxy coating to bond well with your existing concrete, it must be clean (free of any oil, paint, coatings, etc) and the pores of the concrete must be opened up so that the epoxy coating can ‘grab’ onto the concrete. How do you open up the pores of the concrete? Professionally, this is properly done by either shot blasting or mechanically grinding the surface. Acid washing is sometimes suggested, but I would not recommend it. It can be dangerous and is not as effective.
The easiest method would be to mechanically grind the floor with equipment you can get from a reputable concrete polishing supply company, like concretepolishingusa.com. All you need is a hand held grinder with a diamond wheel, a dust shroud (to contain the dust) and a vacuum. If you have a good shop vac, you can use your own vacuum. The vacuum hose will attach to the grinder. With this combination, you don’t have to work with billowing clouds of fine concrete dust filling up your garage.
Thoroughly grind the entire floor as well as the edges, as close to the walls as possible.
STEP 2 - VACUUM
You can use the same vacuum you rented to meticulously vacuum all of the flooring area. A good, strong shop vac will also do the job well. You want to remove all of the concrete dust left on the floor so that the pores are open and clean. Do not mop or use water to clean the floor.
STEP 3 – APPLY EPOXY
You will need to buy 2 clean 5 gallon buckets (1 to mix the epoxy in now and 1 later for the clear coat), a 3/8 inch paint roller cover, and a paint frame. Each epoxy manufacturer will have their own instructions on the side of the can. Read those instructions thoroughly and mix the product accordingly in the 5 gallon bucket. Your garage will require more than 1 epoxy kit, but only mix 1 kit at a time. Working time is usually no more than 90 minutes. Roll the first coat on with your 3/8 inch paint roller and allow to dry. Usually 2 coats are required. Your first coat will dry fast. As soon as you can walk over the first coat, you can apply the second coat.
STEP 4 – APPLY PAINT CHIPS
Before your second coat of epoxy dries, you want to broadcast your paint chips into the wet epoxy. You can do this by grabbing a handful and sprinkling them evenly over the floor. You want to cover the floor 100% with the paint chips so you cannot see the colored epoxy underneath.
Do this in stages. Apply the epoxy in a section that you can reach with the chips without stepping in the fresh epoxy. For example, in an area 5 feet deep by 10 feet wide, spread your second coat of epoxy. Stop, go back, and thoroughly broadcast your paint chips over that section. Do not spread your paint chips all the way to the edge of your second coating. Stop about 1 foot back so you can continue spreading your second coat without touching the paint chips you just laid out. Do not allow the epoxy to dry before you broadcast the paint chips into it or they will not stick.
Continue this process until you work your way out of the garage. You are now done for the day. Allow everything to dry overnight and then continue with step 5.
STEP 5 – APPLY CLEAR COAT
Walk into the garage and sweep out as much of the loose paint chips as possible with a stiff broom. You will not hurt the floor at this point. Any loose chips need to be removed. After sweeping the floor, use a strong blower and blow out the rest of the loose chips. Your floor is now ready for the clear coat which will protect your floor and give you an easy to clean, stain resistant floor.
Just like the epoxy application, each clear coat manufacturer will have their own instructions on the side of the can. Read those instructions thoroughly and mix the product accordingly in another clean 5 gallon bucket. Your garage will require more than 1 clear coat kit, but only mix 1 kit at a time.
Roll this clear coat on with a new, clean roller cover. Allow to dry and apply a second coat, if needed. You are done for the day. Let the floor dry overnight and you can walk on it the next day. Read manufacturer's instructions on when you can drive your car onto the finished floor – usually 3-5 days.
Congratulations! You have successfully installed your own Epoxy Floor Coating.