Thick vs Thin Film Systems

Choosing the correct concrete coating system is critical to the life and durability of the coating and the concrete itself. One factor to consider when choosing a coating system is thickness.

Thin-Film Coatings -

There are no industry-wide standards for measuring coating thickness, but generally, a thin-film coating is not reinforced and is applied by airless or conventional spray, or by brush or roller. One example is acrylic coatings, which are used for color and aesthetic appeal. Textured acrylic coatings, or acrylic elastomers, are efficient for outside use, while epoxies or polyurethanes are adequate for indoor use. Although not a critical defect, some pinholes may occur in thin-film coatings, which can be fixed with epoxies, polyurethanes, vinyl esters, and other linings.

Thick-Film Coatings -

A thick-film coating is generally reinforced or heavily filled and is applied by spray, trowel, specialized spray equipment, or other means. Thick-film coatings are good for industry use and heavy wear. They are primarily used for extra protection and primary and secondary containment. These concrete coating systems have a low permeability and strong chemical resistance. Silica aggregates are most common in thick-film coatings. Metallic or carbon fillers can be added to help conductivity, while fiberglass can be added to reinforce the coating. With thick-film coatings, there is a risk of shrinkage during solvent evaporation. Using multiple coats, reinforcement, and other means can help decrease shrinkage. A pigment can be added to the concrete coating in order to increase color, gloss, and texture in both thick-film coatings and thin-film coatings.

Concrete Coatings Unlimited has knowledgeable experts to ensure the most effective concrete coating system is installed. Many factors, such as traffic, exposure, and resistance, are important to consider when choosing a concrete coating. Thin-film coatings are good for indoor and aesthetics, while thick-film coatings are good for an industrial or harsh outdoor setting.