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Urethanes are a great product as a concrete sealer when applied properly.  They are normally the hardiest of all sealers and can provide long lasting floor protection. Awae baed formulas are not more common and perform remarkable similar to their solvent based counterparts.

Walttools WBU is a Water-based Polyurethane Sealer system that provides durable finish in either a gloss or satin/matte finish.  It is a simple to use two- component system that can stand alone or serve as a protective top coat for an underlying coating. It is great for both floors and countertops.  Unlike many other competing urethanes, Walttools WBU system can be use outdoors.

Preparing the surface.  All surfaces should be clean, dry and free of anything that will inhibit adhesion of the sealer.  This is not intended for very hard troweled or polished surfaces.  You will need to either etch the surface or grind/sandblast the surface to achieve a proper profile. If using over another sealer, be sure to note the open time for that product in order to achieve a successful coating. This can be as little as two hours and up to 24. In some cases, you may need to sand the surface to a proper de-gloss stage for proper adhesion. Ideally you want to apply WBU at temperatures between 65-75 degrees and when the relative humidity is near 75% or less.

WBU-M is a 4:1 mix ration and the WBU-G is a 2:1 ratio.  Make sure you have proper measuring containers as well as mixing containers. Both products offer a long pot life reducing the need to panic. . Ideally you want to apply WBU at temperatures between 65-75 degrees and when the relative humidity is near 75% or less.

Coverage:  When properly applied to a proper surface, you can expect 250 sq ft per gallon with WBU- G and nearly 300 with WBU-M. Pre-sealed floor and second applications will yield coverage of about 400 sq ft per gallon.

Precautions. The product should be applied wearing gloves, goggles and a proper mask. Do not apply in an enclosed area without proper ventilation. Wash contacted skin with soap and water.  Do not ingest.

Application method. A non-shedding 3/8” nap roller is the most common application method. Other methods are using a T-Bar microfiber applicator and airless sprayer.

Mixing Instructions:  Two component systems require that you measure and mix Part A and Part B thoroughly so that the sealer will set and cure properly.  For WBU-G, mix two Parts A to one Part B in a container large enough for your material. For WBU-M, mix 4 Parts A with 1 Part B in a separate container. (For large flooring projects, you may you mix all of B into the large container of A).Make sure you leave enough room for color if you are using it. Mixing should be down with a low speed drill and paint mixing paddle.  Avoid churning air into the mix causing it to foam. Mix for 3 minutes.  Pot life for WBU-M is one hour and WBU-G is 2 hours.

Placing the sealer:  You can transfer the material to a paint tray for smaller jobs like countertops or pour the material directly onto the floor in a wide ribbon and begin rolling out the material smoothly. Pushing the material away from you then gently pulling the roller back with only the weight of the roller provides a nice even surface. Do not push the material too far away or you run the chance of rolling it out too thin as you work it back to you.  Rolling up and back once should be sufficient for most applications. It will flatten out evenly and not leave roller marks. Avoid rerolling after 10 minutes as the curing process will begin and if it becomes sticky you will get an orange peel look in those areas.

Second Coat.  Most new applications will require a second coat - Top coats will usually be only one. For the second coat, you need to apply within 24 hours of the first coat.  If you miss that window, you will need to sand the surface with a 120 grit pad the fully haze out the first coat to get good adhesion.

Drying Time:  WBU-M needs 8-12 hours, WBU-G needs 12-24 hours. Before light traffic. Surfaces need to cure for 48-72 hours before allowing commercial foot traffic, vehicle traffic or appliances when working with countertops.

Clean-Up.  WBU can be cleaned before drying with industrial solvents or isopropyl alcohol.  Cured materials will require an industrial stripper such as Walttools Tru Strip or mechanically removed.

Maintenance and Cleaning. WBU sealed surfaces should be cleaned with a mild floor cleaner. You may also apply a sacrificial poly floor wax such as Walttools Floor Shine for regular maintenance.

See tech data and sds info before use.

How to use Walttools Stampable Overlayment.

Don Ciesielski-Walttools

overlay porch with random rock 2Overlays are a great, but underutilized, segment of decorative concrete. They allow you to take an old, plain, ugly slab or floor and transform it into a textured decorative surface, just like stamped concrete, without starting over. The following is an overview of the process.

It is important that the concrete you are going to use the overlayment on is structurally sound, clean, unsealed, or unpainted. Make sure it also free of curing compounds if this is a newer slab.  The existing concrete should be at least 30 days old. The slab will need to have a good profile so that the Over Eze has a good surface to bond to long term. Typically that is done with shot or sand blasting, grinding or acid etching.  

Clean & Degrease, Prep-

  1. Degrease the concrete surface with C Cleaner. Mix according to the instructions, scrub it into the surface and clean thoroughly with water when finished. Make sure any latent oil or grease is not beading water in spots.
  2. If shot blasting or grinding is your prep, proceed and completely rinse off any dust and residue. If you are not able to do either of those surface treatments, then etch the concrete surface with C Etch, a concrete etcher and remover. Mix according to instructions, work it into the surface and rinse and clean thoroughly when complete. Repeat if needed.  The surface should feel soft like sandpaper.
  3. Protect all adjoining areas with plastic sheeting ir similar material to protect from the application of the overlayment system.
  4. Apply Colloidal Tru Hard. Colloidal Tru Hard is a very economical concrete treatment that will reduce the transmission of moisture up thru the slab.  Most overlayment failure comes from a failure to bond issue. This products is a specialized concrete densifier that will improve the integrity of the slab and serve as a prebonder, improving bond strength overall. Apply in two treatments allowing the first to dry before the second.  Saturate and use a broom to eliminate puddling. Allow to dry for 24 hrs.
  5. Applying the bonder. Mix Flexy Bo bonder 1:1 with water and apply to the surface with a 3/8 nap roller.  Roll thoroughly to avoid any puddling or obvious excess material bands from the roller. Allow to dry 1 to 12 hours before beginning the overlayment. Do not exceed 24 hrs.
  6. If you have any major low points(more than 3/8 inch) from spalling, delamination, etc, you may want to apply a “bond coat”, filling those depressions. This is done by mixing up a batch of the overlay and filling those areas.  You may use a broom to apply some profile to that surface before it cures out.
  7. If you plan to use stencils, you will often color a few batches a contrasting color that will show when the stencil is removed,  this layer is applied very thin, just as described in the following section. You will then place your stencils on this initial surface before applying your second coat.

How to Prepare a Scratch Coat

By Nathan Giffin of Vertical Artisans

 

standard scratch coat profileScratch coats are particularly important in the world of vertical decorative concrete.   I have even said a scratch coat makes or breaks the job.   I say this because in vertical decorative concrete, contractors must lay up a lot more than a regular plaster application.   Most of the time we are laying up over 1” of material and even  up to 3” – 4” of material.   This requires a good rough surface with plenty of aggressive texture to help hold material firm during the application process.   If you have a very smooth scratch coat or brown coat, there is nothing to help with the weight of the mix.  You are completely relying on the chemical bond of the products to hold fast to the wall.   With an aggressive scratch coat, not only do you have a chemical bond but you also have a mechanical bond and this is key for thick applications of vertical decorative concrete mixes.

Scratch coats can be applied by hand, trowel, or sprayer.   The most important aspect regardless of the method of application is that the surface is extremely rough when vertical decorative concrete is to be applied 1” or more.  This is achieved by using a scarifier rake when the material is very soft.

Scratch Coats Require Proper Preparation

There is a big difference in preparing a cement wall vs. a dry wall or stud wall with plywood.

Let’s start with interior surface walls consisting of plywood or drywall.    Neither type of wall is good at all for a cementious applications.   Plywood expands and absorbs water to the point of actually flexing out past the two by fours on which it is attached too.  This flexing creates a deflection of the material and leads to massive surface cracks in the finish product.  Drywall is not much better.  It does not flex out but rather just deteriorates and offers no structural support whatsoever.    Both sub straights, when unprotected, can cause many problems.   

Here are the steps to follow to protect common areas like drywall and plywood.  

1.)    Secure the surface with a moisture vapor barrier or a plastic sheeting.  This can be a house wrap or similar product as long as moisture cannot pass through.  If you do not have access to this then common tar paper may also be used.   This step only requires stapling.  A common t-150 stapler will do just fine.

2.)    There are two types of lath.   Fiberglass Lath and Metal Lath.  Metal lath is difficult to work with, particularly having many sharp edges from cutting it.  Wear gloves and eye protection.   Metal lath also rusts and will can eventually cause problems in the structure or in the artwork of your project.  Fiberglass lath does not rust and you can cut fiberglass lath with a pair of scissors.   When applying lath to the wall surface you must always fasten to the studs in the wall if going over drywall.   If you are applying lath over plywood you still want to target the studs but anywhere is really good.   You can use large staple guns, roofing nails, plastic headed nails and screws.  There are also recommended fastening systems available from the producers of the fiberglass lath. Ie. www.SpiderLath.com

3.)    When installing the lath make sure you overlap the pieces by several inches.   This insures full coverage and strength of the scratch coat products.

4.)    When doing decorative ends or open ends do not allow the lath to go all the way to the edge or end.  You should keep the lath back 1” so to avoid exposing the lath after final applications of mud are applied.

Brick, Concrete and Masonry Walls 

These types of walls simply need to be inspected for dirt and debris.   Power washing a surface is a good way to ensure a clean surface.   Some concrete surfaces may already be very rough and able to hold a vertical application; however, it is still good to cover the surface with a fresh coat to avoid exposing the actual base while carving a design.    For instance, if you are covering a brick wall and you do not use a scratch coat, you can expose the brick and joint lines with an aggressive carve or design.   The client will then be able to see the red brick or mortar joints amidst your art work.   Bonding agents are also good for scratch coats over these types of surfaces.   Flexy-Bo is a great bonding agent when considering concrete and brick surfaces.  

Foam Core Construction and Foam Sub Straights 

mortar sprayer applying structure coatWhen using foam substrates, I always us Structure Coat from Walttools.   This mix is specifically designed to fully adhere to the foam and ensure a maximum bond.  One applied properly you have a very solid seamless surface. This mix reaches 12,000 psi in and offers great flexural strength.  When applying with a Mortar Sprayer there is no need to scarify the surface.   The pattern that is achieved with the mortar sprayer is sufficient for an excellent scratch coat.   Once the Structure Coat is dried the surface is ready for the application of your vertical decorative concrete.

Preferred Products for Vertical Decorative Concrete

Walttools Tru-Pac X – For Scratch Coats and Carving / Stamping Coats

For non-foam scratch coats the best product is actually the same as the carving or stamping coats.  Tru-Pac X is a fantastic scratch coat material reaching 5000 psi and chemically bonding to itself in later applications.

Bonders

Walttools Flexi-Bo Bonder 

TI Flexy-Bo is a concentrated re-emulsifiable co-polymer solution designed as a primer for overlayments such as Walttools Over-Eze,Tru-Pac X & V vertical overlay, and standard underlayments.

by Greg Walter-Walttools

concrete sealer surface repelling waterConcrete comes in many different forms and is found in both exterior and interior applications. There are concrete driveways and patios, vertical concrete walls, basement floors, concrete countertops, etc., and all of these surfaces may have varying properties. One thing for sure is that concrete is very porous and can eventually breakdown from the elements (weather and sun), along with physical wear and tear. By sealing and/or waterproofing your concrete surface, you will not only protect the beauty of a decorative surface but truly extend the life of the surface.

So, what is the best concrete sealer for your situation? The answer to that depends on what you are protecting and what kind of effects that you want to see on the appearance.
One of the biggest and most notable differences between water based and solvent based sealers is that solvent based sealers will "wet out" or darken the surface but water based will not (EXCEPTION: HEAL AND SEAL and EPOXY). That means your colors and surface will be darker in appearance after sealing. If you like your surface as you see it and it just needs to be protected then a water base product will likely be suitable. Water based concrete sealers in general have very little odor and are water clean, which makes them more convenient to use.

Concrete sealers/coatings come in both water based and solvent based formulas, and as a simple single component or multiple component. Most of them will provide a visible effect and protection to a wide variety of surfaces, but many factors come into play. Below you will find a product selection guide based not only on the chemistry but field knowledge and experience. The concrete sealers and coatings are first separated by interior or exterior use and then types of items being sealed. Sealers from Walttools come in a variety of styles to meet your needs.

Exterior concrete sealers and coatings:

Floors (Concrete drives, patios, walks, porches, pavers, and natural stone) garage floors are not covered here, although they are partially exposed to the elements. You will find them in interior concrete floors.

The Stampsheen sealer line is the most common decorative concrete sealer because of ease-of-use and cost. They are either solvent or water based acrylics. Not all acrylic concrete sealers are created equal. Acrylic is a general term used to describe a group of polymers derived from acrylic acid. There are thousands of formula variations possible with acrylics that affect the overall properties. A formulator may crosslink another polymer to the acrylic or simply add it to the solution, which if not properly selected can alter the final properties negatively. Also, when it comes to other products, especially sealers and coatings, many companies repeat the mistakes other companies have made by reverse engineering or industrial espionage. At Walttools we select the finest raw materials and go through painstaking formulation and testing to bring the best concrete sealers to our customers.

platt ashler1The look of an acid stained concrete surface is attractive for many reasons. Its unique finish characteristics are such that the uneven, ugliness of plain concrete becomes the star of the show. Acid stain will not mask, nor cover imperfections in the concrete, but it will use transform them into something quite attractive. Though professional skills may result in a more professional look, the artistic nature of the process allows the handy DIY’er to achieve a most satisfying look just the same. Just follow some necessary principals and behold the results. Keep in mind this is merely an overview and not detailed instructions. For best results, always reach out to a qualified decorative contractor in your area for your job. Let the experts handle it so you can best enjoy the results.

8in on my patioBorder stamping rollers from Walttools are the perfect decorative tool to set your work apart from the competition.  Borders can add color, texture, and dimension to many types of concrete surfaces.  Some common uses include jazzing up an otherwise un-inspiring plain gray slab, providing a more decorative aspect to control joints or pour breaks, or putting the final touch on a stamped masterpiece.  Stamped borders really set your work off and walttools stamped border rollers make a tough job far easier. Here is an overview of using a border roller:

Overview on Stamped Concrete Process

 

     Why stamped concrete? Stamped decorative concrete is an attractive and economical alternative to natural pavers or just plain poured concrete. A stamped concrete patio can give you the look and texture of a stone patio for a lot less money than the real thing; sometimes less than half the cost of the natural material alternatives such as slate

stamped concrete

epoxy floor installationAn Overview of the Installation Process for Epoxy Concrete Coatings

Epoxy concrete coatings are making big waves in many different circles. Not only do the largest industrial factories want these surfaces supporting their equipment, but homeowners want these decorative concrete coatings installed in their garages and workshops.

So, how do you go about installing an epoxy concrete floor?

concrete contractorAs decorative concrete becomes more popular and decorative concrete products become more innovative, an increasing number of concrete contractors have come onto the scene hoping to capitalize on this trend. Unfortunately, not all of them have the skills and experience to produce the attractive, high performance surfaces that you want.

So, how do you find the contractor that is right for your job?

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