Flake systems such as our Rapid Garage system are installed by throwing colored flakes into an epoxy, polyaspartic or polyurea coating and topped with a clear coat of the same. The system works great as an indoor flooring system. However, problems arise when a flake system is used outdoors. First, the system is a monolithic application with large homogenous areas between joints or saw cuts. On cracked concrete (see discussion above), the crack will stand out on the uniform background and the human eye will be immediately drawn to the crack. Second, the coating material is very sensitive to moisture. Indoor concrete has a moisture barrier under the slab which prevents ground moisture from moving up through the slab. However, exterior concrete does not. The coating materials will break down and turn black over time when exposed to moisture from above (like rain or pool water) or below. A vapor barrier coating can be applied first; however, vapor barriers must be applied to shot blasted (CSP-3 or higher) concrete to be effective (see Surface Preparation above) which significantly increases the cost of the system. For this reason, unscrupulous installers often skip the vapor barrier. Third, these materials are not breathable, which means that ground moisture cannot pass through the coating. Pressure builds underneath the coating (hydrostatic pressure) and will eventually delaminate the surface. Fourth, these coatings tend to break down or turn yellow under UV light, which is not what you want in the Florida sun. Lastly, repairs to flake systems can be unsightly. The flake tends to fade under UV light so any spot repairs using new flake will not match the faded rest of the deck. This system suffers very high warranty claims and is not recommended for outdoor use.
Above Grade Structures and Rusting Reinforcing
Engineers add steel and mesh reinforcing to concrete to compensate in an area where concrete is weak which is being pulled apart (tension). The weakness of steel rebar is that it is susceptible to rust. Rust is caused by chloride ions (salt) in water attacking the rebar. When steel rusts, it expands which breaks apart the surrounding concrete. The soundness of the structure could then be affected. Crumbling concrete is not a significant issue with on-grade concrete because the concrete can be easily removed and replaced. However, when that concrete is an above-grade supported structure, such as a condominium balcony or walkway, it is a significantly larger problem.
One way that engineers and architects seek to delay this attack is by waterproofing the concrete surface. When resurfacing a supported concrete structure, the owner should consult a qualified professional such as an architect or engineer as to whether the surface should be waterproofed as part of the resurfacing.
Licensing, Reputation and Integrity
Licensing – While the State of Florida does not require a license to resurface concrete, some counties and cities do require such a license. This license is usually a flatwork license or a general contractor’s license. Many companies will try and pass off a general business filing as satisfying the requirement; however, it does not.
Insurance – Make sure you request a certificate of insurance from every installer showing both general liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Many small companies will provide an “Owners Exemption” from the state of Florida. However, this exemption is only good for the owner, not anybody else helping the owner. Using an installer who doesn’t have worker’s compensation insurance could lead to the customer becoming liable for lawsuits and damages.
Company History – Many decorative concrete installers will try and pass off their manufacturer’s long history as their own. Manufacturers generally don’t install their materials, they simply sell them to others to install. Your contract will be with the installer, not the manufacturer, so understand who it is you are dealing with. Owners can check the installer’s status and time in business at www.sunbiz.org.
Manufacturer Distributorships – Disreputable manufacturers will solicit unsuspecting entrepreneurs, sell a few zip codes as an exclusive territory, train their installers for a few days, and sell them a large initial material order. These new business owners are woefully undertrained, can’t make a living in the small territory, and greatly overpaid for both the territory and the materials. They go out of business in a short time and the manufacturer repeats the process.
Warranties – Manufacturer’s will only warrant the cost of the materials, which is only a small percentage of the job. The vast majority of the cost of a resurfacing job is labor. That portion of the warranty is being provided by the installer. Long-duration warranties are only as good as the company behind it, which unfortunately is not always very long.
Lead-Gen Companies – Some decorative concrete companies aren’t really decorative concrete installers at all. They are lead-generation companies who collect leads and sell them to real installation companies. They have great looking websites but no installers.
Credentials – Creative Resurfacing is the largest concrete resurfacing company in Florida with locations throughout the state. We have been in business for 11 years, have A+ BBB rating, and are a licensed and bonded Florida general contractor. We maintain full general liability and worker’s compensation insurance. We have worked for the largest hotel chains and general contractors in the country, and have appeared on the long-running television show “This Old House”. Sherwin Williams is our primary material supplier. They are a publicly traded Fortune 500 company with over 1,500 locations.
Concrete resurfacing projects done right will result in a beautiful job that will stand the test of time. If you have any questions, please call us at (888) 402-1152.