Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure I have this in the right place but here goes

I've got a home I finished about a month and a half ago, new owners have been in it for a week. The interior flooring is mostly stained concrete. It is an epoxy stain that was applied and covered between drywall hanging and finishing, with a polyurethane sealer over it that was applied at completion.

New owners called me last week to tell me the floor is peeling, sure enough we go by to look and it is. The 5 or 6 spots it was peeling mostly looked like something was slid across them (I'm thinking boxes or furniture)creating a scuff or light scratch where it started peeling but once it starts I can peel it up easily with my thumb nail. It comes up in slivers about the size of a business card and feels like thin plastic. The guy who does my floors thought maybe these were spots that had been contaminated with oil, so I picked a random spot and scratched it with a key. Starting at that scratch it peeled up in both directions.

My cleaning people cleaned it before the final coat and I watched him clean it again with alcohol before the poly.

I've got a house coming up where the owners want to use the same finish as this one, but I can't figure out if something was off about this one or what. Anybody ever come across this problem? Coat to thin maybe?

Building in Central MS we don't necessarily tend to be on the cutting edge...is a poly top coat still a good practice or is there something better? My floor man wants to strip the poly and put another coat of epoxy on it. He says that it won't have the same sheen, that won't bother me if it will be durable.

I'm at a loss.
 

·
GC/carpenter
GC/Carpenter
Joined
·
43,271 Posts
I'm sorry I don't know a lot about your issue, however it seems your flooring guy is willing to stand by his work. I would let him redo it, but I can't imagine that he can redo it the same way he did it before and get any different result.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
475 Posts
Hard to tell from your description if the STAIN is peeling or if it's the finish that didn't want to bond.

A stain wouldn't peel off-------by definition it's penetrated into the pores of the concrete. Epoxy coatings are a different animal than a concrete stain. Are you sure you have your terminology correct? Maybe I'm not expert enough with these floors either although I'm off to repair an epoxy floor in a commercial kitchen tomorrow. What could possible go wrong?

A coating that was applied over a poorly prepared substrate-----not porous or clean enough frequently peels, cracks or flakes away----disbonding from the slab.

Different types of coatings would require different levels of prep up to and including shot blasting to ensure the correct profile for the topping.

Even if it's just a stain you still have to open up the pores-----basically ANYTHING left back on the surface of the slab is going to create problems either with the visual effect or the bond.

There's a lot that can go wrong-----as simple as it looks on a superficial level.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
370 Posts
Could be moisture. Tape a 1 foot square piece of plastic to the bare areas if possible. Wait a couple of days and see if any moisture is trapped under the plastic.
 

·
GC/carpenter
GC/Carpenter
Joined
·
43,271 Posts
painterman said:
Could be moisture. Tape a 1 foot square piece of plastic to the bare areas if possible. Wait a couple of days and see if any moisture is trapped under the plastic.
Or just check with a moisture meter, and get a true reading. :thumbsup:
 

·
K&B Plus...
Joined
·
242 Posts
:oops: You say that an "epoxy stain" was covered with polyurethane? Surely you mean that you used an acid stain and covered it with an epoxy top coat? Or an acid stain covered with poly? I've never heard of either an epoxy stain or anyone (successfully) using poly on a concrete floor. :) (Innovations don't often make it to TN either, so that may not mean anything. ;))

You need to clarify exactly what steps were taken to finish the floor, as well as which exact products were used. While it does sound like your flooring contractor wants to do the right thing here, it wouldn't be prudent to repeat something that failed the first time without assessing the reasons for the failure.
 

·
pro
Joined
·
850 Posts
It's probably the poly just coming up, poly on concrete is idiotic! I'm on the MS gulfcoast and they try and do that crap down here, and over split brick flooring. If it dosent peel it will yellow with age and the sun and then the home owners complain.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the input.

Sorry I didn't make that more clear...yes it is the sealer that is peeling. The stain underneath seem to be fine.

Slab has a proper moister barrier under it so I cant imagine moisture being the problem.

I'm working on getting to the bottom of this. My floor man calls the product he originally put down an epoxy...it was an acid stain. He says he used the urethane sealer recommended by the company that manufactured the stain...I have no way of verifying that he did or didn't, he may have just used a clear poly thinking it would work as well. When I started researching this evening I noticed that that urethane he said he used requires a primer...I wonder if the primer wasn't used and that may be contributing to the problem.

He is working to fix the problem. This is a spec house so I have to be careful with the budget...but this isn't a hack contractor. He spends most of his time doing pool decks and porches in nicer neighborhoods, and does alot of commercial work. I hate to admit it but I've honestly never payed much attention...I always trusted him to know his stuff and honestly kind of felt like they're isn't much to wrong with stained concrete floors. Live and Learn I guess.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,706 Posts
Thanks for the input.

Sorry I didn't make that more clear...yes it is the sealer that is peeling. The stain underneath seem to be fine.

Slab has a proper moister barrier under it so I cant imagine moisture being the problem.

I'm working on getting to the bottom of this. My floor man calls the product he originally put down an epoxy...it was an acid stain. He says he used the urethane sealer recommended by the company that manufactured the stain...I have no way of verifying that he did or didn't, he may have just used a clear poly thinking it would work as well. When I started researching this evening I noticed that that urethane he said he used requires a primer...I wonder if the primer wasn't used and that may be contributing to the problem.

He is working to fix the problem. This is a spec house so I have to be careful with the budget...but this isn't a hack contractor. He spends most of his time doing pool decks and porches in nicer neighborhoods, and does alot of commercial work. I hate to admit it but I've honestly never payed much attention...I always trusted him to know his stuff and honestly kind of felt like they're isn't much to wrong with stained concrete floors. Live and Learn I guess.
The acid stain may not have been neutralized properly before sealer application.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,732 Posts
How old was the slab before it was sealed?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,558 Posts
Isn't poly for wood floors?

The decorative concrete sealers I have used have all been acrylic or two part epoxy.

A quick google search says that poly can have adhesion problems and sometimes needs a primer on concrete.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,124 Posts
It sounds like your guy is a good guy but why he would call acid stain an epoxy is beyond me. Was the acid neutralized before the sealer? Sounds like he cleaned it well, but if he didn't scrub it w caustic soda or baking soda, it wasn't cleaned properly. I use alcohol for epoxys but never for acids.

Other things might be

1. outside tempature?
2. Age of the slab?

If your floor was gassing it would cause the sealer to bubble.. trapped air underneath will lift the sealer off the floor.
If its peeling off, it makes me think the floor was too cold or it wasn't neutralized.

Its an adhesion issue not a gas issue. Good job on stating there was a vapor barrier in the concrete. That was my first question. Please let us no the result when you figure it out. Believe it or not we do like to hear back, it helps us too.


Sorry for the repeat info...didn't see the second page
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
You guys took time out to help me work thru this so I thought I would update this thread.

This was a learning experience for me, I spent a good portion of the 2 weeks leading up to the weekend we had promised to do the repair researching, asking around locally, and calling manufacturers. The confusion over the acid stain vs epoxy was a mis-communication between me and my floor guy. What I actually had was a acid stain, with an epoxy sealer over it acting as a primer for the polyurethane sealer that made up the top coat.

After weighing my options I still believe that this is the way to go.

After we convinced the manufacturer that their was in fact a primer used between the stain and the poly, we were told that their might have been a condition where an adhesion promoter in the poly was either not thoroughly mixed into the product, or was ineffective...maybe from a defect of some kind or maybe just from sitting on the shelf for to long. Not sure if I buy that but OK. They suggested that stripping the poly and reapplying after making sure to thoroughly mix it would probably be fine...but said for good measure I could also either lightly sand the epoxy to "give it some tooth" or strip it as well and reapply.

After seeing some other houses that were done by my guy around the same time using the same products and same process, that were exhibiting no signs of trouble, I decided that this was a failure most likely of the poly, but still possibly the epoxy.

I decided to go the extra mile to make absolutely sure we wouldn't be back. I ended up putting the homeowner up in a hotel for two nights while we stripped the poly and the epoxy. We tried a floor buffer with a red pad which did OK on the spots it was flaking but nothing on the spots it was not. We ended up going over the whole thing with a "diamabrush" wheel to get down to the acid stain, then smoothing it with a red pad. Some spots where the acid stain was damaged by the floor machine were touched up. It was swept, cleaned with alcohol, the epoxy sealer was applied, then the poly.

It has been about 2 weeks since and it seems to be doing fine, though I know its still early. Previously, a little lite rubbing with the edge of a nickel would make the finish start to loosen in most spots it was tried...this time it is not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,124 Posts
I've thought the same thing about poly going on concrete, however I have a customer that wants to use it in his warehouse, so I've been researching it a lot trying to find a product that I feel comfortable with. It is supposed to be the "most durable, non yellowing, drive a forklift over it all day long superman of a sealer" but I just don't buy it.

I use phylon 1422. Smells like hell but I've never ever ever had a problem with it. Stays shiney always, never peels, its not slippery, I've put it on in all sorts of weather.. I use an airless rig, low speed and spray quick...

Its a solvent based acrylic, great for vertical or horozontal applications, in door or out. Non yellowing, no maintenance. 45-60 $ a gallon

I use Conformal for a natural look or no gloss.
It works great too.

I think I have my customer talked into polishing his warehouse floors, That's really the only thing I feel comfortable suggesting to him that will give a great shine and withstand extreme tempature change, forklift traffic and not give me adhesion problems.

He wanted to do metallic epoxy in his warehouse! I said no no no sir...it will never work and I won't do it. Aside from being 5000 sq feet, there's no way we could keep the floors clean enough to get good adhesion and dirt would be all in the topcoat if the wind blew over half a knot in any direction.

I sure would like to charge someone $40, 000 for a floor but that job has nightmare written all over it.

I'm all ears on suggestions for warehouse floor cleaners and sealers if anyone has any
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
It sounds like the coating was just laid too thin if moving furniture and boxes could create scratches. I would recommend having your flooring contractor lay another coat or use a stronger product. There are also a number of sealing products to apply over the top coat for your future projects.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,124 Posts
I disagree with the last comment.. poly sealers are supposed to be laid thin. The thinner the better. They peel when applied too thick...
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top