When looking to paint concrete floors the first thing to consider is whether to complete in house or to use a specialist contractor (or a combination of the two). The choice will depend on a number of factors such as budget and convenience.
Options for painting concrete floors are:
Of the above we would not generally recommend a decorating contractor as from our experience they very often don't carry out sufficient preparation when painting floors (it is very different from painting walls, ceilings, etc as a floor can be heavily trafficked) and they often use products that are less durable or more expensive than most specialist resin contractors would use. There are of course exceptions.
A specialist resin contractor can be a very good option as (providing you get a good one) they will prepare the floor properly and use a good product. However for smaller areas they can be quite expensive. There are effectively four cost centres that they have to consider when they are pricing: product, labour, preparation machinery, and getting to site. Normally only one coat is applied per day so for smaller projects this can result in high labour costs and therefore a high overall cost. If all of the area can't be completed at once this can further add to costs as of course additional labour will be required.
Completing projects in house can be a good option, particularly for small to medium sized projects, or for larger projects that have to be completed in bite sized sections, as you have full control on when the painting can be completed. It is most important to prepare the floor prior to painting and you should seek advice from someone like ourselves who can guide you through it and recommend the type of machinery to hire. Choice of a good product is also important. A good choice is our own FS Epoxy Coating range which has been formulated specifically with ease of use for the facilities manager in mind, while retaining maximum durability. If you have staff who are under employed this can be an excellent option.
The fourth option is to employ a 'preparation only' contractor' and complete the floor painting in house. At first this may seem a strange idea but it can work for a number of scenarios. For instance you may have staff that are not employed to their maximum potential who could complete the painting at very little cost. It can also be an option where not all of the floor painting can be completed at once, although it will be most important that the prepared area isn't contaminated prior to painting. Generally an area of 400 square metres or more is viable for this option. First Solution can assist in sourcing this type of contractor if required. We can of course also assist in the choice of the best and most cost effective product for the job.
The available budget will of course have implications on which of the above options you choose. Also, whether you have staff available to complete the works in house, and have those staff the relevant skills required to complete them?
When looking to paint concrete floors it is necessary to consider the current state of the concrete and whether it has any existing finishes on it. The current finishes will determine the method required to prepare it. We will cover this in a future article.
With regard to the type of floor paint to use there a number of options. The most common are water based epoxies, solvent free epoxies, or single pack coatings. Some more specialist coatings, including ESD coatings (anti-static), peelable floor coatings and two pack polyurethanes are also available. The choices will be covered in a future article.
Terry Hudson – Director