Tips for Installing Polyaspartic Coatings

Installing polyaspartic coatings is much different than installing other polymer coatings. Not only do polyaspartics tend to have shorter working time than other coatings, but they should also be mixed and staged differently.

To help ensure your jobs involving polyaspartics are a success, it’s important to understand these differences. Consider the following before your next installation:

  • Polyaspartic has an opposite reaction to epoxy coatings with respect to pot life and working time. That means polyaspartics will take longer to gel in a bucket and a shorter time to set after they have been poured out. During application, pour out only as much product as your crew can cut in and fully apply within a few minutes so you don’t lose the wet edge.
  • Do not allow your “cutter” to work too far ahead of the main floor applicators. It’s a typical practice among epoxy installers to perform the cutting in / edge work well ahead of the crew working the squeegee and finish roll. With the faster set time of the polyaspartic, the product along the edges will start to cure before the rest of the team catches up if your cutter gets too far ahead. That means you won’t be able to work the rest of the material into the pre-cut edges, leaving a visible seam or difference in texture and thickness between the main floor and the edges.
  • Use a smaller squeegee. A 12”- 18” squeegee may take a little longer, but it will leave fewer “bird baths” than a 24”+ squeegee. The squeegee person needs to set the application thickness of the polyaspartic and not rely on the roller to redistribute the coating. Relying on the roller to create the finished thickness will lead to over-rolling and an uneven appearance. 
  • Do not squeegee the ribbon of wet material down to nothing. Doing so will leave a difference in cured sheen. Always keep a small pool of wet material in front of the squeegee. And, always start the ribbon pour of the next mix into the wet material that you are currently working.  
  • Set up your workflow to accommodate the faster setting material. If you have the opportunity, given the shape of the area you are working in, try to squeegee on the shorter sides of the room and finish roll on the longer sides of the room. This means if you are working in a rectangular room, the squeegee should be going back and forth parallel to the shorter edges of the room (making more, but shorter passes). The roller should be working parallel to the longer sides of the room (making fewer, longer passes with the finish roller). This method allows the material to be finish rolled more quickly after it has been placed.          
  • Do not attempt to install as a one-man band! Even on a smaller size job, such as a residential garage, the crew should have at least two or three applicators. More crew members should be added on as the square footage increases or the amount of cutting increases. 
  • Remember that higher humidity will increase the set time of polyaspartic coatings. It’s not just the warmer weather you have to think about. Relative humidity (RH) can have a huge impact as well, requiring the application process to move even more quickly. Installers should use a digital psychrometer or hygrometer on every job prior to installation, during application and when curing. It’s important to understand that elevated RH acts as a catalyst and will shorten the working time of polyaspartic coatings.
  • Select the correct ROCK-TRED polyaspartic formula for the jobsite conditions. Use P-200 when temperatures range from 0° - 40°F, P-100 from 40°-70°F, and either P-50 or P-80 for 55°+. If you don’t have the correct formula and are forced to install the coating on a job with higher temperature and/or in higher humidity, you will want to do the following:
    • Reduce the mix size to only as much product as can be applied before it starts to gel
    • Cool the material down prior to installation. Do not cool it past its reported temperature ranges on the Tech Data Sheets or allow it to freeze.  

Rock-Tred manufactures a successful line of polyaspartic coatings called Chem-Thane, which has five formulations to meet various performance requirements. Learn more in this blog post breaking down each formulation.