09 February 2009

Concrete Surface Preparation (Good Painting Practice)

Benjamin S. Fultz, Concrete Surface Preparation, SSPC Painting Manual, Volume 1, 4th Edition Chapter 3.1.

Concrete Surface Preparation
Benjamin S. Fultz

The unique chemical and physical nature of concrete surfaces dictate that special considerations given to surface preparation. Many of the same techniques used for cleaning steel can be applied to concrete; however, understanding the differences between concrete and steel is essential. Both materials are hard, but steel is ductile, whereas, concrete is brittle. Steel chemically neutral; concrete is alkaline. Steel is dense and nonporous; concrete is porous. Even though relatively homogenous, each concrete placement varies widely in chemical composition and hardness, primarily due to differences in the types (grades) of cements, aggregates, and other additives used in the concrete mix design.
With this in mind, the surface preparation and treatment of concrete prior to applying coatings or linings is affected by a number of factors:
- Concrete composition and strength
- Concrete placement, finishing, and curing
- Concrete age (old or newly placed) and condition
- Coating or lining system to be applied
The method selected for surface preparation varies considerably with each factor. Methods may range from simple high-pressure air “blow-down” to mechanical cleaning and acid cleaning. This chapter will focus on the factors that influence surface preparation and some of the available surface preparation techniques.

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