The cleaning step is one of the most important measures you can take when preparing a surface for installation or renovations. Yet, it’s not uncommon—even for professionals—to have missteps or even skip this step altogether, especially if the surface appears clean to the naked eye. Primarily as it relates to the concrete coating process, there are several reasons why a clean surface is a must-have as you move forward with your project.

At Runyon Surface Prep, we provide a wide array of surface prep products for sale or rent that are ready to ship on a global scale. We also offer training services for certain equipment as well as educational content. For this post, we’ve highlighted three key reasons why you should give your surface a thorough cleaning prior to finishing. 

Reason 1: Safety

Obvious, right? Wrong. For many workers this is an overlooked attribute when it comes to cleaning, perhaps because the dangers are hiding in plain sight. It’s easy to remember the hard hat or the mask and glasses. Well, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) 27% of nonfatal injuries at the workplace relate to slips, trips, and falls.

In other words, tripping and slipping hazards are easy to miss if you’re not careful. Floors in industries like manufacturing and automotive, for example, may have clear liquids and oils that are difficult to notice, especially in low-lit environments. The last thing you need at the start of a job is an injury. Additional potential safety hazards combated by a thorough cleaning include silica dust, glass, acids, and other miscellaneous dangerous substances.

Reason 2: Bonding

There are two Bs associated with bonding that surface prep professionals fear most: blistering and bubbling. When liquids or general moisture are still on your surface when you coat with epoxy resin or polyaspartic coatings, the coat will blister from the liquids pushing themselves through the coat via osmosis. And some materials may also cause air pockets in your coat, which then lead to bubbling. Bubbling can also occur if small cracks or large pores aren’t treated prior to coating.

Bubbling and blistering aside, the bonding itself will suffer without a surface cleaning prior to the process. You may find that the integrity of the coating is quickly diminished or that the bond itself doesn’t take well. If you intend on coating your concrete, you’ll likely need to do more than a simple sweep and mop.

Reason 3: Quality

Speaking of integrity – your final product should speak to the quality you set out to exhibit when you started the job. Even if the coating manages to survive excess substance or air pockets underneath, you’re still compromising the quality of the work, which won’t reflect well on you or your team. Granted, not every residential or commercial flooring job is seen by passersby or guests. But maintaining an appealing aesthetic and standards of quality will go a long way in the everyday impression of the surface and of a company brand.

Cleaning Solutions

You may find much of what you need lying around your shop or even at home. But a true clean, especially over large spaces, will require something with a little more fortitude. Common solutions for cleaning concrete surfaces prior to installation include:

  • Auto scrubbers
  • Industrial vacuums or dust extractors
  • Microfiber cleaning mops and pads
  • Heavy duty brooms and dustpans for initial clean

Some substance may not be removed from the floor with a mop or even scrub. In that case, you may want to use a floor grinder with light duty abrasives (or heavy duty if necessary) to grind the material off the surface without creating unwanted pockets or grooves.

Every Step Covered With Runyon Surface Prep

At Runyon, we carry an extensive catalog of surface prep equipment and accessories for purchase or rent. From the initial cleaning or floor removal stage to the final coat of that beautiful new surface, we aim to be your one-stop partner providing solutions for a wide range of your project needs. Some of our products include Von Arx scarifiers and shavers, Key Resin coating products, Husqvarna grinders and extractors, and our own line of Terrazzo and natural stone tooling.

Learn more by giving us a call or emailing us using our online form.