Broadcast Systems & Slurries
at sbs Contracting we are used to hearing this line from their clients: “I want a floor that’s slip-resistant, but I also want it to be easy to clean.” Broadcasting or mixing aggregate into resin or acrylic coatings is an easy way to satisfy this common request. Aggregate roughens up floors, giving them the consistency of sandpaper. Some aggregates add a layer of skid resistance without taking away from the effects of existing decorative applications, and others have decorative qualities of their own.
Since liability is a concern in workplaces, aggregate broadcasting is a common application for floors in restaurants, schools and hospitals. In places where skid resistance is crucial but aesthetics are not, such as distribution centers and manufacturing plants, heavy-duty aggregates can provide a high level of strength and durability. In residences, broadcast aggregates can be beneficial on garage floors and pool decks.
The physical process of broadcasting aggregate into coatings is straightforward and leaves little room for error. The key to a successful aggregate broadcasting job is in the preparation: knowing the unique qualities of each type of aggregate and how to choose the perfect aggregate variety for the job at hand.
There are six primary types of aggregate that can be used with coatings: silica sand, aluminum oxide, colored quartz, glass beads, synthetic aggregate and flint silica. All aggregates come in a variety of sizes ranging from coarse to fine, but each type is accompanied by limitations in regards to application method, compatible coatings and maintenance.
For an industrial job where the floor’s primary requirements are skid resistance and surface-quality longevity, your best bet is aluminum oxide. It’s an extremely hard aggregate that does not get polished by wear and tear. Instead, it fractures in the face of intense abuse and maintains its angular, sharp profile.
Silica sand, on the other hand, is semi-angular in shape, wears down after heavy contact and is typically applied in small amounts until the desired level of skid resistance is achieved. Flint silica differs in that it’s round and uniform in size, which leads to a slightly smoother result.
If aesthetics are just as important as skid resistance, colored quartz is the way to go. Available in about 30 colors, colored quartz can be applied in a single, uniform shade or in a combination of colors. To seal in color, manufacturers coat colored quartz pieces with epoxy or ceramic material. The ceramic coating absorbs more resin than the epoxy coating, so you’ll need to use more resin if you’re going to cast ceramic-coated colored quartz into it.
Glass beads and synthetic aggregates are the least invasive types of aggregate that still produce some level of skid resistance. Glass beads, in particular, are practically invisible — they allow you to produce a skid-resistant floor without changing the floor’s original appearance.
Keep in mind that glass beads and synthetic aggregate can be combined with acrylic coatings as well as resin coatings (epoxy, urethane, polyaspartic and polyurea). Silica sand, aluminum oxide, colored quartz and flint silica aggregates can only be used with resin coating combinations.
Another special quality of glass beads and synthetic aggregate is that, due to their light weight, they can be mixed in with coating materials prior to application. The four remaining, heavier types of aggregate must be broadcast by hand (as I like to call it, “feeding the chickens”) directly after applying the coating material. For larger aggregate broadcasting jobs, a heavy-duty industrial blower can be used to distribute the aggregate.
Slurry is a thin mud made with cement and water. Slurries behave in some ways like thick fluids, flowing under gravity but are also capable of being pumped, if not too thick. In most cases, slurry products are applied through the use of a modified water truck. A rear-mounted distributor bar applies the slurry by gravity onto the desired surface. Also, application by means of a drum-mounted sprayer bar on pulverization equipment is sometimes used.
Slurry plays a key role in constructing concrete structures such as walls, as well as decorative elements such as birdbaths and benches. Its smooth, thick texture allows it to fill minute holes and pits in a structure, creating a smooth surface for binding layers of concrete. Concrete slurry has a limited shelf life — you must mix it in small batches and use it immediately.
Created out of one of the hardest construction products known to man, cement slurry is used around the world for any type of large-scale building project where forms are used to create large slabs and
areas of pure concrete. A mixture of sand, cement, water and sometimes line, cement slurry can be used for residential construction as well as commercial projects to create foundations, pour slabs and driveways and more. For more information about Our Epoxy Services or any other services available from SBS Contracting contact us today.