Abrasion Resistance….The extent to which a concrete surface or decorative coating resists being worn away by friction or mechanical wear.

Abrasive Blasting….Propelling an abrasive medium (such as sand or steel shot) at high velocity against concrete to roughen, clean, or profile the surface in preparation for decorative coatings or overlays. Methods include sandblasting, shot blasting, bead blasting, and sand brushing.

Acetone….Common solvent often used as a carrier for solvent based sealers. Considered exempt from most VOC regulations.

Acid Etching….Application of hydrochloric or phosphoric acid to clean or profile a concrete surface. Used as a less effective alternative to abrasive blasting for surface preparation. Must be neutralised and rinsed prior to final coating application.

Acrylic Resin….A synthetic resin that dries transparent and is resistant to discoloration, moisture, alcohol, acids, alkalis and mineral oils. It is usually made by polymerization of acrylic acid and methacrylic acid.

Acrylic Sealer….A simple, single-component polymer that is either water or solvent based. Single pack acrylic sealers can allow moisture penetration, scratch more easily than others, and provide moderate stain protection.

Adhesion….The property that causes one material to stick to another. Adhesion is affected by the condition of the surface to be coated and by the closeness of contact, as well as by the molecular forces of the unlike substances. Thus, the surface should allow a certain amount of penetration, should be chemically clean and not too smooth, hard or nonporous for good adhesion.

Ageing….Exposure of materials to an environment for an interval of time. The change of a material with time under defined environmental conditions, leading to improvement or deterioration of properties (see weathering).

Air Bubbles….Trapped air or gases below the dried surface sealer. Can be caused by sealer drying too fast due to extreme temperatures or material applied too thickly or incorrectly.

Alkaline Salts….Diluted salts carried to the surface of a concrete sub-floor by water coming up from the ground below. There is no guarantee any treatment will keep the surface free of alkali, but washing the surface with clear water or soda water will lower the alkalinity. Traditionally, muriatic acid has been used, but it too may leave behind residue.

Alligatoring….Surface imperfections in a coating resulting in a wrinkled appearance. Usually caused by incompatibility of a newly applied coating with an existing surface coating or sealer. Also known as orange peel or fish eyeing.

Ambient Environment (Temperature)….The surrounding environment; can refer to ambient air, ambient water, or ambient soil. Ambient temperature refers to the temperature in a room, or the temperature that surrounds an object under discussion.

Base Coat….A base coat, as it suggests, is the first layer like a primer or undercoat. This is the first layer before applying the needed coating. This makes adhering further top coats much easier.

Bleeding….Undesired migration of materials in a coating to the surface of the floor through construction joints or saw cuts. May be caused by moisture in sub-base, not enough open dry time, or the use of no- rinse strippers within the first two years of the installation.

Blister….A raised spot on the surface of a floor similar in shape to a blister on human skin. How soon after installation a blister develops can help determine the cause. Blisters that occur within a few hours are usually due to a concentration of trapped air. Blisters that occur at a later time often indicate the presence of moisture in the substrate.

Blistering….The formation of blisters in toppings or coatings and the loss of adhesion with the underlying substrate. On concrete surfaces, this is often caused by moisture or moisture vapour transmission problems.

Blush/Blushing….Commonly used to describe a sealer or cure & seal that has turned milky-white in appearance.

Bond….The degree of adhesion or grip of a material (such as coatings, toppings, repair mortars, or sealers) to an existing surface.

Bond Breaker….A material that prevents adhesion of materials to a concrete substrate. Common sealer bond breakers include release agents and environmental debris.

Bubbling….The appearance of bubbles in the finish film while a finishing material is being applied. It is caused by any condition that causes air, vapours or gases to be trapped in the film while it’s soft, but after it has hardened sufficiently to prevent the gas from escaping.

Build….The wet or dry thickness of a coating or topping. (Also see high-build coating). Typically measured in mils. (Also see mil)

Build Coat….A finishing material, usually of a transparent nature, used over the sealer or colour coats and under the finishing coats to increase the fullness and sometimes glossiness of the finished work.

Vapour Emission Test….a test used to measure the volume of moisture vapour released from a concrete substrate over time (typically 24-72 hours). Too much moisture emitted from a slab can affect the performance and bonding of overlays, coatings, and sealers. Moisture vapour test kits are available that include small containers of pre-weighed, un-hydrated calcium chloride.

Chalking….Loose, powdery substance caused by deterioration of a concrete surface or degradation of a coating or overlay.

Chemical Resistance….Resistance to softening, bleaching or discoloration from common chemicals that may be spilled on the floor. Chemical resistance is most dependent on the composition of the product, the existence and chemistry of the surface coating and the susceptibility of the seams to failure in chemical spills.

Chipping….The condition that occurs when a dried film of finishing material separates from the surface underneath in the form of flakes or chips. It is usually caused by insufficient elasticity or improper adhesion to the base material.

Combustible….flammable material/vapours able to catch fire within flash point when supplied with ignition source.

Coverage Rate….The area that a specified volume of coating will cover to a specified thickness upon drying.

Crazing….The appearance of minute, interlacing cracks or checks on the surface of a dried film of finishing material. Not complete product failure but can be caused by high weathering or elongation.

Crosshatching….Sealer application method completed by rolling in alternate directions within a single coat. Crosshatching ensures complete coverage of the base surface.

Cure Time….Time required to complete the cure process, before the material exhibits maximum physical, thermal, and chemical properties.

Curing….Action taken to maintain favourable moisture and temperature conditions of freshly placed concrete or cementitious materials during a defined period of time following placement. Helps to ensure adequate hydration and proper hardening.

Curing Compound….A liquid that, when applied to the surface of newly placed concrete, forms a membrane on the concrete or penetrates the concrete to retard the evaporation of water.

Degreaser….A chemical solution for removing grease, oils, and other contaminants from concrete surfaces.

Delamination….Separation of a coating or topping from a substrate or the layers of a coating from each other due to poor adhesion.

Densifier….A penetrating liquid chemical hardener applied to concrete to help solidify and densify the surface and provide extra protection from water penetration and staining. Often recommended for polished concrete, because hard concrete produces a better polish.

Dew Point….Dew point temperature is defined as: “the temperature at which dew begins to form.” Dew is the water you find on your grass or car early in the morning. Some things to know about dew point: The current dew point will never be higher than the current temperature. If the temperature is at the dew point and the temperature falls, the dew point must follow. The higher the dew point temperature, the more moisture is in the air. Sealers being applied over a dew covered surface can fail to properly adhere.

Dry Film Thickness (DFT)….The final thickness of a cured coating. It is directly proportional to the volume solids of the coating. Therefore if you apply a wet film of 2.0 mils and the coating has a solids volume of 50%, you can expect the dry film thickness to be 1.0 mils. Dry Film Thickness (DFT) = Wet Film Thickness (mils) x
%Volume Solids.

Dry Tack-Free….The stage of solidification of a film of finishing coating when it doesn’t feel sticky or tacky when a finger is drawn lightly across it in a quick continuous motion.

Dry to Sand….The stage of solidification of an applied film of finishing material when it can be sanded without undue softening, sticking or clogging of the sandpaper.

Dry to Touch….The stage of drying of a film of finishing material when it has solidified sufficiently that it can be touched lightly without any of the finishing material adhering to the fingers.

Drying….The act of changing from a liquid film to a solid film by the evaporation of solvents, oxidation, and polymerization or by a combination of these phenomena.

Dusting….Appearance of powdery material on the surface of newly hardened concrete. Sometimes caused by allowing the surface to dry too rapidly without curing.

Efflorescence….A crystalline deposit of salts (usually white in colour) that forms on a concrete surface when soluble calcium hydroxide leaches from the concrete and combines with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. On coloured concrete, especially darker tones, these white deposits can be particularly unsightly. Prior to sealer application these areas can be treated with an acid washing and thorough rinsing.

Epoxy Sealer….A dual component system that reacts when mixed to form a hard, durable surface over the concrete. Epoxy sealers are excellent for high gloss surfaces but can be very UV sensitive and are not heat resistant.

Film Forming Sealer….A type of sealer that forms a surface film. Film forming sealers are available in various gloss levels ranging from dull up to gloss, and typically enhance the colour intensity of the finished concrete surface.

Film Thickness….The depth of the film when wet (wet film thickness) and the final depth when dry (dry film thickness). Typically measured in mils (1 mil = .001 inches), typical piece of paper = 10 mils, typical credit card = 120 mils.

Fish Eyes….Also called cratering, crawling, holes, spots or flow marks. When caused by surface contaminants the finish is applied over areas in which the wetting agents cannot perform their function. The finish then recedes away from this area reforming into the film. This “crawling” creates round or elliptical areas lacking adequate finish.

Gauge….The nominal thickness of a layer within the material.

Gauge Rake….A rake (or squeegee) with either feet (or notches) used to apply a coating to a pre-determined uniform thickness (aka Pin Rake).

Gloss Meter….An instrument for measuring the luster or gloss of a finished surface.

Grinding….A mechanical surface preparation method using rotating abrasive stones or discs to remove thin coatings and mastics or slight flaws and protrusions.

Hardness….That property of the dried film of finishing material that causes it to withstand denting or being marked when pressure is exerted on its surface by an outside object or force.

High Build Coating….A protective or decorative coating that produces a thick film (usually greater than 10 mils) in a single coat.

High Pressure Water Blasting….A process for cleaning surfaces using a stream of water delivered at high pressure, typically above 2,500 psi.

High Solids….A general term used to denote the presence of a higher than average percentage of solid ingredients and thus a lower percentage of carrier.

Humidity….The amount of water vapours in the air. See Relative Humidity.

Hydrostatic Pressure….Pressure which forces water up through a below-grade slab, generally causing installation problems due to moisture. This occurs when the water table is higher than the slab. Hydrostatic pressure is caused by the weight of the water pressing down on itself.

Hygrometer….An instrument for measuring the degree of humidity or relative humidity of the atmosphere.

Impact Test….A test for determining the resistance to shattering of a dried film by dropping a weight onto the finish.

Incompatible….Not capable of being mixed together without impairing the original properties of the materials being mixed. Mixing incompatible materials usually results in a separation of solid particles, cloudiness or turbidity.

Joint Sealant….A material that minimises both infiltration of surface water and incompressible material into the joint system.

Laitance….A thin layer of fine, loosely bonded particles on the surface of fresh concrete, caused by the upward movement of water. Laitance must be removed before application of a decorative coating or topping.

Lap….To lay or place one coat so its edge extends over and covers the edge of a previous coat, causing an increased thickness where the two coats are present, as compared to the single thickness on either side of the lap.

Light Reflectivity….The characteristics of a material, which determines the degree or amount of light which will be reflected from its surface from any given angle.

Membrane….Formed over a concrete surface to provide protection and enhance colour. Typically clear plastic like acrylic, polyurethane or epoxy.

Mil….A measurement equal to 1/1,000 (0.001) inch. Commonly used to denote coating thickness.

Milky….Having the appearance of milk or showing whiteness. Can be caused by over application of sealers or when a dried transparent film starts to turn white from moisture.

Mineral Spirits….A solvent product used as a thinner and/or cleaner.

Moisture Resistance….The measure of concrete floors directly in contact with the ground that are never completely dry. Note: The moisture content of new concrete is high, regardless of grade levels.

Moisture Vapour Transmission….The migration of moisture vapour to the surface of a concrete slab, caused by vapour pressure differentials in the concrete and the surrounding atmosphere. Can contribute to the failure of impermeable coatings or other floor toppings that do not permit moisture to escape. (See calcium chloride vapour-emission test.)

Nap….The raised hairs or threads on the surface of a roller, in terms of the direction in which they naturally lie. Typically measured in thickness (eg. 10mm nap roller)

Neutral Cleaner….A mild (pH of 6 to 8) detergent that does not contain strongly alkaline materials and is designed to remove soil.

Neutralise….To return concrete to the proper pH after acid etching, generally by washing the surface with a mixture of water and ammonia or sodium carbonate. Ideal pH is 7.0 (neutral), but a pH range of 6.0-9.0 is acceptable for most coatings. (See pH test)

Non-Slip Coating….A surface coating designed to prevent or reduce the slipperiness of a surface.

Nonvolatile….That portion of a material which doesn’t evaporate at ordinary temperatures; the solid substances left behind after the volatiles have evaporated.

Orange Peel….A finish that exhibits a surface texture resembling the surface of an orange. Normally caused by rolling a finish that has cured excessively which freezes the roller pattern in the film. May also be caused by excessive airflow, the velocity of which freezes waves in the film when it sets.

Outgassing….The release of absorbed or occluded gases or water vapour.

Peeling….A defect in a dried film manifested by large pieces becoming detached from the under surface and coming loose in sheets or large flakes.

Penetrating Sealer….A sealer with the ability to penetrate into the concrete surface to increase water repellency and resist stains. Often used on decorative concrete to provide invisible protection without changing the surface appearance.

Percent Solids….Also referred to as Solids Content, it is the relative weight content of the total product which is not water or other volatiles.

Permeability….The degree to which a membrane or coating will allow the passage or penetration of a liquid or gas.

pH Pencil….Will indicate the acidity/alkalinity level of a slab for subsequent procedures. Water based stains and some sealers are pH sensitive.

pH Test….A test performed on the concrete surface to determine the level of acidity or alkalinity. Typically performed prior to applying sealers or coatings.

pH Value….The concentration of the hydrogen ion in a material. A pH value of 7 is considered neutral. Lower values are acidic; higher values are alkaline.

Pin Holing….A defect in a coating characterised by pinhead-sized holes that expose the underlying substrate.

Polymer Flooring….A system where individual components are combined to achieve a high grade surface. Usually consists of surface preparation, priming, coating, and finish sealing of a surface. The coating thickness and the selection of the system depends on the surface to be applied to.

Porosity….A matter which is porous or contains pores which are able to absorb liquid. Sub-floors, which are porous, are normally concrete and wood. If there is any doubt as to the porosity of a sub-floor, put a few drops of water on the surface. If the water is quickly absorbed, the surface is porous. If the water remains on the surface, the surface is not porous.

Pot Life….Defined as the amount of time it takes for initial mixed viscosity to double, or quadruple for lower viscosity products. Timing starts from the moment the product is mixed, and is measured at room temperature. Pot life can act as a guide in determining working life by providing a rough timeline of viscosity growth.

Primer….The first coat of material applied to a concrete surface to improve bonding or adherence of subsequent coats. (See bond coat)

Profile….The act of preparing a concrete surface to achieve the necessary degree of roughness. (See surface profile)

Psychrometer….A simple form of hygrometer, an instrument which measures relative humidity. The psychrometer compares the dry-bulb and wet-bulb air temperatures.

Pump Up Sprayer….An airless sprayer often used to apply sealers and liquid release agents.

Recoatability….The application characteristics of a polish and the appearance of the film after successive coatings to a surface.

Re-coat Window….Manufacturer directed time in which successive coats of material must be applied to the previous coat. When materials are applied outside the re-coat window, adhesion failures typically occur.

Relative Humidity….Ratio of the amount of water vapour present in the air to that which the air would hold at saturation at the same temperature. It is usually considered on the basis of the weight of the vapour., but for accuracy should be considered on the basis of vapour pressures.

Sacrificial Coating….A final floor finish or wax designed to protect the sealer or topcoat from wear. Usually applied in several coats to act as a shock absorber to scuffs, scratches, and grime.

Scarifier….Milling equipment used to clean and profile concrete surfaces or to remove existing coatings. Uses rotary impact cutters held at a right angle to the surface.

Scrubbing….Washing a floor by wetting it with detergent solution, then using a moderately abrasive non-woven pad or appropriate brush, either by hand or attached to a low-speed floor machine, to vigorously agitate the wet surface. This procedure is used when a floor is heavily soiled, and less-aggressive cleaning methods have been unsuccessful. Always rinse thoroughly after scrubbing.

Sealer….Sealers are normally a finish coating used to protect concrete floors from traffic and surface cleaning and should not be used when the slab is intended as a substrate for resilient flooring. They are designed to aid in preventing water and dirt from getting into the concrete from the surface and render the concrete less porous. Sealing is a recommended step for enhancing and protecting decorative concrete colours. Sealing decorative concrete reduces maintenance requirements and helps prevent unwanted staining. Both water-based and solvent-based formulations can be purchased. Some sealers are available in finishes such as gloss, semi-gloss and matte.

Shot Blasting….An abrasive blasting method using round iron shot to clean and profile concrete surfaces.

Solvent….Liquid typically used as a carrier for sealers and curing compounds.

Solvent Based Products….Some stains, sealers and coatings are manufactured using solvents as the carrier for the liquid mixtures. During application, solvents evaporate into the air. Therefore, solvents are considered “volatile organic compounds,” or VOC’s. Where environmental considerations prohibit use of solvent-based materials, water-based alternatives are readily available.

Spall….Concrete spalling, also known as concrete scaling, is the name used for flaking and chipping of concrete that sometimes occurs in new construction. Often caused by a combination of freezing temperatures and improper mixing and creaming of concrete during placement.

Spiked Roller….Pin needle type of textured roller used in application of high build coatings, relieves surface tension by eliminating gas bubbles.

Sprayer (HVLP)….A high volume low pressure spraying device that applies high-solids paints and coatings at low pressure and low velocity, to reduce over-spray.

Sprayer Nozzles….Fitting designed for use with sprayers made from various materials, plastic, steel, brass and more. Nozzle can be made to spray in many different patterns such as fan, cone, flat.

Squeegee….A tool with a flat, smooth rubber blade, that is used to remove or control the flow of liquid on a flat surface. Can also be notched to function as a gauge tool.

Substrate….An existing surface that receives an overlay, decorative or protective coating, repair procedure, or other resurfacing treatment.

Surface Profile….The degree of roughness of a concrete surface achievable with various surface preparation methods.

Tack….The stickiness or adhesiveness of a material.

Technical Data….Contains important specifications and manufacturer guidelines for product usage. Includes such data as coverage rates, recommended applications, product limitations, surface preparation guidelines, mix ratios and required mixing times, pot life, application procedures, cure times, performance data, and precautions.

Top Coat(s)….additional coats over base coat or primer, typically the final coats(s).

Ultraviolet….Light rays that are outside the visible spectrum at its violet end. These rays have a chemical effect upon the dried film of finishing materials. Ultraviolet light is commonly used in curing finishes at the factory for prefinished flooring.

Viscosity….A measure of the fluidity of a liquid material. The more viscosity a material such as a sealer or coating has, the less it flows.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)….Organic chemicals that readily vaporise at normal room temperatures. Concrete coatings, sealers, or cleaning materials that are solvent-based generally have higher VOC contents than water-based materials. Some VOC’s can be hazardous when inhaled.

Water-Based Finishes….This large family of finishes has the common trait of having the solids suspended in water, which is used as the solvent. A clear, colour free finish that is easy to apply with low odour and good stain resistance, fast drying and easy to re-coat.

Wet Film Thickness (WFT)….The thickness of an uncured coating material.

Working Life….The amount of time an epoxy remains low enough in viscosity that it can still be easily applied to substrate in a particular application.

Xylene….A common solvent. Used as a carrier for solvent based sealers. High in odour and flammability.