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High Slab Moisture and Need to Get the Epoxy Down

High Slab Moisture and Need to Get the Epoxy Down

We were working with ML Bell @MLBellBuilt on a project where we needed to install a quartz broadcast epoxy system in some bathrooms for a camp in Goochland, VA.  When we conducted our pre install inspection we found the slab moisture content well in excess of tolerances for a standard epoxy.  We discussed the issue with Bell and quickly resolved to pour a urethane concrete instead of an epoxy for the first broadcast.  This enabled use to go right over the damp slab without fear of failure.  We were able to get the floor down without delay and with minimal cost increase.  They now have a floor with the same look as specified that will resist just about anything the campers or nature can throw at it.  Thank you ML Bell for being open and responsive to an issue that many of us face on a daily basis, but too often choose to ignore.

Urethane concretes permit installation over green concrete and can handle elevated slab moisture.  They can be finished with quartz, flake, mica, and various other decorative options.

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What is urethane cement and why do I want it in my commercial kitchen?

What is urethane cement and why do I want it in my commercial kitchen?

For years the standard for commercial kitchens has been quarry tile with epoxy grout.  Quarry tile is a great option and has proven itself as a durable surface for the harsh environments found in a kitchen.  Just because something works well and appears to be the norm, doesn't mean that there isn't a better option. 

How do those grout lines look in 5 years?

How much time do you devote to having to clean the grout?

How often do you have to have someone come back and fix grout that has degraded?

How has the use of enzymatic cleaners in food service environments affected the life of your epoxy?

Enzyme cleaning solutions can lead to the breakdown of epoxies in short order.  When the enzymes react with the fatty oils they leave behind lineolic acid which can contribute to swelling, increased porosity and degradation of the epoxies.  This can happen to standard epoxy floors as well in this environment.

Polymeric Cementitious Urethane Floor Systems (Urethane Cement) can address and mitigate those problems.  Essentially it is a water based polyurethane (often derived from castor oil) combined with a portland cement and graded aggregates.  Several chemical reactions take place within this system to make it extremely resistant to chemicals (including lineolic acid), thermal shock, and impact. They also provide some degree of sound deadening.

Todays systems typically contain zero VOCs and have little to no odor during installation.  Flow applied systems can be installed with relative speed decreasing down time and reducing the install time for large areas on new construction projects.

These systems can also be installed over "green" concrete and are much less sensitive to slab moisture issues (some manufacturers have developed decorative systems using urethane cement as the base to mitigate moisture concerns.)

Once consideration with urethane cements is that they are not typically UV stable and will change color with time.  There are some color stable options, but they do increase material cost.

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