Concrete Floor Coating Terminology

Floor Coating Terminology

You have made the decision to finish off your concrete floor. You have done your research and are looking for a bit more information. There is typical lingo that goes with each industry you encounter; floor coating is no different.

Here is a list of common floor coating terminology that goes along with the concrete floor industry. Hopefully it will be helpful to you in finding the right coating solution.

Floor Coating Types

Neat Coatings

Neat coatings are systems that are applied in 1, 2 or 3 coat applications. The same material may be used throughout or each layer may differ. The thickness of these systems typically ranges from 10 to 60 mils. Neat coating systems include:

    • Clear
    • Translucent
    • Solid pigmented colors
    • Metallic pigments

    Random Chip/Flake

    Random chip coatings are the same as neat coating applications, except that vinyl acrylic, colored chips are lightly broadcasted into the last pigmented layer. Subsequent clear layers are applied to encapsulate these chips.

    Often, this type of system is completed where UV resistance is not a high priority and the chips are only to break up the overall appearance.

    Single Broadcast

    Single broadcast coatings consist of a full broadcast of plain sand, decorative vinyl acrylic color chips or colored quartz into a wet polymer. Once dry, a topcoat is applied. Using different polymers for each layer, the system can provide additional protection and the broadcasted chips (or quartz) create greater aesthetics.

    Double Broadcast

    Double broadcast coating systems apply a 2nd full broadcast of sand, chips or quarts into an additional intermediate layer of polymer.

    This greater depth greatly enhances impact resistance, compressive strength and longevity. This system is common in higher traffic environments.


    Novolac epoxies are used in secondary containment, when extremely high acid and/or solvent resistance is required. Typically completed as either neat or broadcast systems, these special polymer coatings are very common in food processing and chemical storage areas.

    Glossary of Concrete Floor Coating Terminology

    Abrasion Resistance – The ability of a coating to resist degradation due to mechanical wear.

    Accelerator – A substance used in small proportions to increase the speed of a chemical reaction. Accelerators are often used in the coating industry to hasten the curing of a coating system.

    Adhesion – The degree of attachment between a coating film and the underlying material to which it is in contact.

    Aggregate – The stone matrix in concrete.

    Ambient Temperature – Room temperature or the existing temperature of the surroundings.

    Blistering – The formation of blisters in coating by the local loss of adhesion and lifting of the film from the underlying substrate.

    Bonding – The attachment between a coating film and the underlying material to which it is applied.

    Bubbling – A temporary or permanent film defect in which bubbles of air or solvent vapor are present in the applied film.

    Cementitious Coatings – A coating containing Portland cement as one of its components held on the surface by a binder.

    Chemical Resistance – A coating’s resistance to solvents, acids, and alkali testing done under watch glass for 24 hours.

    Coating System – A number of coats separately applied, in a predetermined order, at suitable intervals to allow for drying and curing, resulting in a completed job.

    Corrosion – The decay, oxidation, or deterioration of a substance due to interaction with the environment.

    Cracking – Splitting of a coating film, usually as a result of aging.

    Degreaser – A chemical solution or compound designed to remove grease, oil, and similar contaminants.

    Delaminating – The separation between layers of coats due to very poor adhesion.

    Drying Time – Time allotted for an applied coating film to reach a set stage of cure or hardness.

    Epoxy – A synthetic resin, derived from petroleum products that can be cured by a catalyst or used to upgrade other synthetic resins to form a harder, more chemically resistant film.

    Etching – The treatment of a surface with an acid in order to dissolve loose particles or provide a profile.

    Filler – A compound used to extend or bulk a coating to provide extra body or hiding power.

    Gloss – The sheen or ability to reflect light.

    Grit– An abrasive blasting media obtained from slag and various other materials.

    Impact Resistance – The ability to resist deformation or cracking due to a forceful blow.

    Mastic – A term used to describe heavy-bodied coating.

    Orange Peel – The dimpled appearance of a dried coating film resembling the peel of an orange.

    Peeling – A paint or coating lifting from the surface due to poor adhesion.

    Polyurethane – An exceptionally hard, wear resistant coating made by the reaction of polyols with a multi-functional isocyanate.

    Portland Cement – Mixture of clay, limestone, shale and gypsum. When combined with water and aggregate, the result is concrete.

    Satin Finish – A descriptive term generally reference to paints with 60° gloss reading between 10 and 40.

    Sealer – A coating used on absorbent surfaces prior to a finish coat.

    Shot Blasting – Abrasive blasting with round iron shot, or any material which retains its spherical shape, for peering purposes.

    Spalling – Erosion of the concrete surface, exposing coarse aggregate.

    Substrate – The surface to be coated.

    Vapor Barrier – A moisture impervious layer which prevents the passage of water into a material or structure.