Polyaspartic and polyurea coatings have become a highly popular
chemistry in the concrete coatings industry. They possess some very desirable
properties, such as good chemical resistance, good abrasion resistance, excellent
aesthetics, and they cure rapidly. However, there is one big challenge: some of
the faster curing formulas have a short pot life. This can make installation tricky, so Iím
providing you with tips and knowledge to help you avoid common pitfalls and
ensure your next project is a success.
Know your solids
Polyaspartics and polyureas come in a wide range of solids
contents from 100% to around 70% solids. As a rule of thumb, the lower the solids
the longer the pot life will be. This does not necessarily mean the coating
will cure slower. It means the coating with more solvent in it has a lower
initial viscosity. That lower viscosity means the coating will take longer to
get to an unusable viscosity because it has more ground to cover.
Moisture is a
Water makes this coating cure faster. Out in the field the largest
source of water is humidity. So keep in mind the higher the humidity, the
faster the coating will cure. I have seen this quirk catch many contractors off
guard. Letís say you have installed the coating 10 times at an average RH of
50% with no problems, and the next floor you do the RH is 80%. You have an
entirely different animal, and if youíre not prepared for the change, you can
get into trouble.
Mix often and install
You would think that this would be common sense, but I feel
it bears repeating. With any product, it is better to mix more often and always
have fresh material to put down. But when you are working with a product that
cures as fast as these, I suggest you only mix what you can put down in 10
minutes. It is important to get the material rolled out and leave it alone. This
will help you avoid roller lines. If you are broadcasting color chips or quartz,
it must be done immediately. This means the mechanic rolling and the mechanic
broadcasting need to work close to each other, usually 2-3 feet apart.