You may be working on new floor applications for a commercial developer or maybe you’ve been hired to repair the concrete surface of a rec center. Whatever the case, different concrete coatings provide different functions. Some surfaces are meant to display a company brand and maintain an excellent shine year-round while others are strictly for functionality or repair needs.

As you may know, different concrete coating types will require varying levels of concrete roughness prior to installation (measured by CSP or concrete surface profile). How rough should your surface be? That depends. See the list below and read on for more information.

Concrete Surface Profiles Explained

Value measurements for any concrete surface profile (CSP) range from 1 to 10 or roughness of anywhere from 0.00 mm to 6.35mm and greater; 1 being a value for the finest surface and 10 is a value for the roughest.

The following represent the ranges of concrete roughness required for coating as measured by CSP:

  • Sealers: CSP 1-2, or 0 to .075 mm
  • Thin Films: CSP 2-3, or 0.1 to 0.25 mm
  • High-Build Coatings: CSP 3-5, or 0.25 to 1 mm
  • Self-Leveling Toppings: CSP 4-6, or 1.25 to 3.175 mm
  • Polymer Resin, Concrete Overlays: CSP 5-9, or 3.175 mm to 6.35 mm
  • Concrete Repair Materials: CSP 5-10, or 3.175 mm to 6.35 mm and beyond

Some coats seal better with the right roughness, in which case you may need a scarifier or shot blaster to prepare a consistent grade across your project space.

New to applying concrete coats and finishes? Read on for more information.  

Coating Differences Explained

The function of your concrete coating will vary depending on the client. But more often than not, commercial and residential projects will require concrete coating with some liquid resistance and opportunities for visual appeal.

Here we’ll cover the basic coating types and talk about their differences, to give you a better idea of which route to take.

Epoxy Coating vs Polyaspartic Coating

These are both great options. That said, epoxy coatings tend to be the more affordable option while polyaspartic coatings are long-lasting and may be cured in colder temperatures.

Polyurethane Topcoats

Applying a topcoat is vital especially to commercial operations. You’ll typically see these applied over an epoxy layer. Polyurethane topcoats provide chemical and scratch resistance as well as great gloss retention. They also make for an easier-to-clean surface.

Concrete Overlays

Concrete overlays are made of polymer resins; generally, they are mixes of sand and cement. These mixes are used in providing a greater visual appeal to the concrete surface. If you want to make your decorative concrete overlay last longer, you should roughen your concrete surface appropriately before applying the chosen overlays and pigments.

What Equipment Should I Use to Roughen My Concrete Surface?

Depending on the details of your project, there are a few different products you may want to use.


If you’re doing a reinstallation, then it may be in your best interested to bring a scarifier with you. That way you can not only remove the initial coating, but you can prep the concrete with the appropriate roughness in the meantime.

Floor Grinders

Certain diamond tooling grades will also leave finer levels of CSP over the surface as well. So, if you’re in the CSP 1-3 range, you may only need a planetary floor grinder.

Shot Blasters

For a higher CSP of roughness, consider using a shot blaster. Shot blasters are great for roughening surfaces that will be textured or colored. You’ll typically see shot blasters used in exterior projects like patios or indoor workshops.

Concrete Surface Equipment for Every Stage of Prep

At Runyon Surface Prep, we’re a full-service rental and sales facility with partners around the globe.

Our team specializes in customizing orders as projects demand. We have access to concrete coatings, equipment and accessories that will ensure a complete job that your clients will love. That includes the above-mentioned coatings as well as housekeeping products, power trowels, and much more.

Give us a call or connect with us online to learn more.