While concrete is very durable, if left unprotected it can be susceptible to corrosion, dilapidation, cracks and discolouration. When this occurs it can compromise the integrity of the structure, reducing its lifespan and making it an eyesore. However with the correct preparation and surface coating, old and damaged concrete surfaces can be made almost new again. Here we discuss how the application of the correct epoxy resin can make concrete great again.
Knowledge is key
According to Chris Bauer, head of flooring at Hychem, one of the main challenges to concrete rehabilitation revolves around education and quality.
“When rehabilitating concrete surfaces the final result is dependant not only on the quality of the product used but also the quality of the installation. You can have the best product on the market but if the surface isn’t prepared or the product installed correctly you won’t achieve optimum results,” Mr Bauer said.
“At Hychem, we work closely with a network of licensed installers that have been selected due to their extensive experience applying coatings.
“We also pride ourselves on our market knowledge, and being able to advise clients on what the best products are for their application. We have open communication with both the installation contractor and the end user to ensure that the client gets the product they need and not what they think they need.
“The fact is, even if you use the best product on the market, it may not be the best product for your environment, which can be disastrous and costly.”
Another important factor that needs to be taken into consideration is the conditions that a product will be subject to.
“As a manufacturer and formulator, Hychem has tailored its products to suit Australia’s different climatic conditions,” Mr Bauer said.
“We are conscious of the fact that Hychem products will often be used in the middle of winter in Tasmania and the peak of summer in Queensland. Because of this we rigorously test our products to ensure they consistently perform across a wide variety of temperatures ranging from 10°C to 40°C.
“As we also manufacture our own products in Australia we are able to deliver products quickly and provide personalised solutions. For example, if a product was required urgently but was not in stock, we could adapt an existing product, or we could create an entirely new one.”
Concrete flooring is subject to a variety of conditions depending on where it is installed. Conditions such as heavy traffic, and exposure to harsh chemicals, acids and weather conditions can cause unprotected concrete to breakdown over time.
When concrete flooring breaks down it becomes unsafe, unhygienic, and unsightly.
According to Mr Bauer there are a number of flooring options available to rehabilitate concrete flooring depending on the specific needs of the client.
“Hychem offers a range of resins for a variety of applications such as kitchens, garages, wineries, airport hangers, bridges, schools and hospitals.
“For example Hycrete PU has excellent antibacterial and acid resistant properties which is ideal for areas where food is prepared.
“Our flooring solutions are also customisable and can be tailored to meet very specific requirements if needed.
“This means we can rehabilitate corroded concrete floors to make them not only better than new but also better able to complement and handle the daily activity it is subject to.
Water and wastewater
Water and wastewater infrastructure is subject to numerous chemical and atmospheric conditions that can cause concrete to corrode. Mineral acids, hydrocarbons, caustic solutions and aqueous salts can cause a lot of damage in a short period of time.
As this infrastructure ages and deteriorates there is a greater emphasis placed on rehabilitation. Epoxy liners such as Hychem’s TL5 are well suited to relining and rehabilitating these concrete structures.
According to Colin Murphy, Product Manager at Hychem, TL5 is perfect for rehabilitating old water and wastewater infrastructure, making it look brand new and extending its life into the future.
“TL5 can be applied directly onto damaged concrete and has a coverage of in excess of 6mm in one application which means only one coat is needed.
“It is also solventless, has excellent resistance to dilute sulphuric acid, and excellent adhesion and impact strength.
“We designed TL5 specifically to provide long-term fast-turnaround protection of water assets and has been tested for over 20 years in Australia’s varied and harsh environments.”