Australia Parking Services Industry Blog

The Problems and Solutions of High VOCs Carpark Coating

Traditionally car parks have simply been seen as places to park, but over the years operators have realised the importance of appearance and performance and have become much more customer focused.

Part of this new mindset includes “painting” car park floors. Often these were completed with low cost solvent based products and the performance of these paints was predictably underwhelming, however, in fairness to these products they were never designed for the traffic of a car park. Along with poor performance the solvent based content made the application difficult and unpleasant for the contractors, operators and customers alike.

However, this is only part of the story. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are not only unpleasant during the initial application, but can continue to omit odours after they have cured. They can take days if not weeks to fully release, causing ongoing distress to all concerned.

In a bid to overcome this problem low VOCs products, such as water based epoxy coatings, have been used. Unfortunately these only combat the issue of smell and high VOCs and their long term performance is still poor with wear in high traffic areas often occurring mere months after installation. In the long term these products are very expensive as they regularly require recoatings.

Fortunately Flowcrete Australia has a solution that ticks all of the boxes. Deckshield is the market leading car park deck coating system. Designed specifically for car parks, Deckshield has a life span in excess of 15 years. It is also the only system on the market with the prestigious Singapore Green Star rating confirming its low VOCs content and high performance as a car park decking system.

Click here for more information on Flowcrete Australia's Deckshield ED system.

Which coating should I specify for my car park? Part 2…

Last week, we began looking at 5 simple rules to follow when specifying a car park coating material. Below are the final 2 simple rules that will help you choose which coating should be specified for your car park facility.

1 - Check supplier's references and speak with owners/operators who have used their product.

The more thorough you are in checking supplier references, the more confident you can be in your choice of car park coating system.

While a car park may appear to be in good condition after 1 year or less this is not necessarily a representation of a long term appearance. Be sure to check references from 5 years or older, if you were told the system would have a life span of 5 years, you need to check older references as this is what your car park is going to look like.

A typical car park will begin to show some of the following signs as it starts to wear. The coating may begin to wear in areas; this can be particularly prevalent in high traffic areas such as ramps and entry/exit areas. When the system begins to wear in these areas, patches of concrete or system layers may become visible. Another key sign of wear and tear is when the flooring coating begins to lose its slip resistance.

Try to view at least 3 references as this should give a good understanding of the quality of the product. Of course the more references available to you the more confident you can be in the product and the supplier.

2 - Choose a reputable supplier with a proper warranty.

Ensure that the supplier's product you specify for your car park facility comes with a proper warranty that covers the follow key areas:

System technical properties that the supplier has stated including abrasion, slip and chemical resistance and resistance to joint/crack movement.
Period of warranty; ensure this meets your expectations.
If the supplier has claimed the system is waterproof, ensure this is detailed in the warranty.

By checking the warranty provision before you specify the product, you are provided with the peace-of-mind, that in the event of a product failure or issue, you will have someone to call who will deal with your complaint.

Click here for more information on Flowcrete Australia's Deckshield ED system.

Which coating should I specify for my car park? Part 1…

There are many different floor coatings on the market today; however not all of them are created equally. To help you choose which coating should be specified for your car park facility, there are 5 simple rules to follow, below are the first 3.

1 - Always choose a two pack system that is solvent free

Single component systems, both solvent and water based are inexpensive which makes them attractive; however they have not been designed for use in car park environments and will generally offer shorter life spans with limited benefits.

A single pack system may provide an economical initial outlay, but due to the reduced life cycle the overall cost will be much higher as they will need to be replaced sooner than a two pack system.

2 - Ensure the two pack system is 100% solids

Two pack 100% solids solvent-free systems are created to withstand the high traffic environment of a car park. By choosing a 100% solids system, you are ensuring that the product has not been thinned out with solvent.

If you had 1ltr of a 100% solids coating and 1lt of a 70% solids coating, laid over the same area, the 100% solids coating would be approx 30% thicker than the 70% system. Unlike a 100% solids system, a 70% solids system has been diluted with solvent. This solvent will evaporate and leave you with a weaker, thinner floor coating on your car park.

Similar to the problems that arise from a single pack system, the initial expenditure outlay of a less than 100% solids system will be lower; however this floor will not stand up to the heavy traffic demands of a car park and the maintenance costs will be significantly increased.

3 - Check the supplier's product data on their recommended system.

In the world of floor coatings, one product does not fit all environments. Ensure that the supplier's product data specifies that the system is a car park system, not a product that can be used on car parks, workshops and factories. Each individual environment has specific requirements and the flooring system should be specific to the environment's operating conditions.

If your car park facility is exposed to the elements, ensure that the product you select contains UV Resistant properties to protect your car park floor from fading, discolouration or breakdown.

If your want to ensure your car park facility is a safe environment for visitors, be sure to consider the effects of poor weather. Tyres carry rain water and moisture into a car park facility, so a high level of slip resistance is a necessity to protect visitors from slips and trips. You should require a system that meets or exceeds the ASNZ-4586 standard.

If you want to protect your structure, consider you requirements for chemical resistance. Engine oil, battery acid, petrol and brake fluid can all affect the integrity of your concrete.

If you want to brighten the car park environment and improve the aesthetics and brightness for visitors ensure that the product you specify features light reflective properties.

If you are trying to achieve a green star rated or environmentally friendly car park facility, check if the product is low in VOC's and solvent free?

Click here for more information on Flowcrete Australia's Deckshield ED system.

Why should I consider putting a protective coating on a car park floor? Part 3

Here Sean Tinsley explains how a resin car park deck coating can help to improve safety -

Anti Slip:

High quality coatings can incorporate anti-slip aggregates and to meet local regulations significantly reducing the owners risk and liability. The degree of anti-slip can be tailored to the requirements of the owners or facility management.

Light Reflection:

This is particularly important in basement car parks, which historically have been very poorly lit. High quality coatings should possess light reflective properties and provide a gloss finish which would significantly improve the overall lighting of a car park. The glossy nature of the coating allows the light to bounce off the floor surface creating better lighting than an untreated concrete.

Drainage:

Ponding or Pooling is the result of water ingress in car parks. When water penetrates concrete structure damage can occur including cracking and corrosion of the reinforcing steel. This can turn a car park into a dangerous safety hazard. In order to avoid this pooling effect within a facility; falls, gradients and specialist drainage systems should be incorporated into a facility design.


Click here for more information on Flowcrete Australia's Deckshield ED system.

Why should I consider putting a protective coating on a car park floor? Part 2

Next up Sean Tinsley gives us the lowdown on how functional resin decking systems are -

Staining:

Solvent free 100% solids coatings are impervious and offer high chemical resistance so any car fluids will not stain or mark the surface of a coating.

In comparison uncoated concrete will mark and stain very easily as concrete is porous. Once the fluids have penetrated the surface they are almost impossible to remove leaving unsightly staining, particular on a car park bays where oils can leak from the cars.

Ease of Clean and Lower Maintenance:

Using Bare concrete exhibits dust, which is significantly increased when trafficked. The dust is then picked up by cars and pedestrians and transported around the car park and into adjoining areas.

For commercial car parks (offices and shopping centres) this dirt picked up from the car park to the shopping centre can significantly increase the cleaning within the area. High quality coatings are non dusting and offer a surface which is significantly easier to clean and maintain.

Liquid spills can easily be removed with a mop and bucket, dust and general debris can be easily removed with a simply scrubber offering the car park operators and owners lower cleaning and maintenance both inside and outside the car park.

Click here for more information on Flowcrete Australia's Deckshield ED system.

Why should I consider putting a protective coating on a car park floor?

Here, Sean Tinsley, Managing Director for Flowcrete Australia takes us through the design benefits of selecting a new resin finish -

Aesthetics:

Historically car parks were simply an area to park your car between appointments. Now car parks are the first chance visitors get to view your property.

First impressions count and having a clean, well-lit, colourful, user friendly car park cannot be underestimated. Improved aesthetics by coating a car park, adds positively to the visitor's experience.

Customer Friendly:

Using colour coding, car park operators/owners can easily identify the different areas within a car park providing a much more user friendly environment for the patrons.

In a multi-storey car park the different floors can be identified with different colours for instance. Parking bays and drive aisles are most often coated in difference colours to differentiate between the areas.

Pedestrian walkways, lift lobbies and stairwells are also identified in different colours and demarcation to inform pedestrians and warn vehicular traffic.

UV Resistance:

An exposed deck of a car park will generally have significant exposure to the elements.

Discoloration, deterioration and flaking are common signs of UV exposure. This exposure can reduce the lifecycle of a floor coating whilst removing the aesthetic edge and design properties.

In order to protect a car park structure that is exposed to harsh and aggressive conditions, a heavy-duty, UV stable and elastomeric waterproofing system is needed.

Click here for more information on Flowcrete Australia's Deckshield ED system.

What are the main considerations when specifying a protective coating for an external car parking deck?...

It is well known that the top deck of a multi-storey car park is the structure's most vulnerable spot. Open not only to the elements, the top deck has to deal with oils, acids, de-icing salts and sustained or prolonged UV exposure - particularly in hotter climes.

To perform in such punishing conditions, a specialist heavy-duty, UV-stable, water-proof and elastomeric deck coating system, which is double the thickness of those used on intermediate or lower decks is recommended.

Here, Sean Tinsley, Managing Director for Flowcrete Australia - one of the country's leading experts in car park surfacing and flooring design, talks us through the main factors to consider when specifying coating materials for top decks.

UV Resistance

It is non-negotiable that any system used to surface a top deck environment must offer UV resistance. Without this the flooring material will fade, dis-colour or even breakdown. Polyurethane systems perform much better than epoxy-based coating on the top deck; they are tougher, more resistant and offer a significantly better service life.

Slip Resistance

Safety within a car park environment is paramount; slippery floor coating materials can lead to accidents and/or injury. An anti-skid and slip resistant system that either meets or exceeds The Australian / New Zealand Standard ASNZ-4586 is recommended.

Crack-Bridging Properties

Car parking structures are constructed with large clear spans that have minimal supporting columns in order to achieve the maximum number of parked vehicles. This means they are susceptible to flexing and moving like no other building. Flexible, crack-bridging polyurethane coatings are recommended for top deck environments in order to prevent fractures and damage to the surface.

Water Resistance

When it rains, it can pour and there is no shelter for exposed top levels of multi-storey car park buildings. In order to prevent water ingress into the concrete slab, impermeable and watertight polyurethane coatings are once again recommended to provide a waterproof solution.

Environmental Considerations

Innovations in flooring technology have seen many environmental improvements to polyurethane coating systems for top deck car park installations. Many systems are now solvent-free, low in VOC content and come backed by independent 'Green' star rating organisations.

Flowcrete's Deckshield ED offers clients working in the car parking sector all of the above properties and more. Approved by the prestigious Singapore Environmental Council, the system comes with a 10 year warranty as standard and has been independently tested to BS EN 1062-7.

Some 3 million square metres of the material has been installed to date having been specified at landmark locations across the globe for in excess of 20 years.

Click here for more information on Flowcrete Australia's Deckshield ED system.

Car Park Refurbishment: How can this be achieved without disrupting operations?...

Refurbishing a car park, particularly the flooring, is often viewed as a major challenge. However choosing the correct flooring systems and application team can turn a challenge into simply another day at the office.

Car Parks can be very busy places, with both public and private parking, sometimes within the same zones. Therefore planning a refurbishment takes lots of planning and very careful consideration on the type of flooring system suitable, not just for the refurbishment but the long term.

With modern ticketing systems in most major car parks, the operators can quite easily establish what the peak and off peak times are. This is a great starting point for any flooring refurbishment. A few questions that car park operates often ask are:

How long would sections of the car park be out of operation?

This depends on the system and the application team. However, typically 1000m2 can be completed and handed over in 4 days. Depending on the area and configuration of the car park, this equates to between 50 and 90 car park bays.

How do you control noise?

With modern polyurethane systems, the application is carried out using industrial size paint rollers so there is no noise. The only noise generated is that of the floor preparation equipment. These are generally less than 70dB, in real terms this is low enough not to cause disruption to the general public.

How do you control smell?

Modern resin flooring systems are solventless and therefore the 'smell' is simply that of a new paint. They are very low in VOC's and toxicity and can be safely installed in close proximity of the general public or in confined spaces.

How do you complete the entry/exits when there is only one?
Quite often car parks only have 1 entry and 1 exit so refurbishing these particular areas can be challenge. However, with modern acrylic resin systems this is not a problem.

Typically resin systems take approx 24 hours before they can be opened to vehicular traffic. Certain acrylic resins take less than 90 minutes to fully cure. With this technology available tackling single entry/exits is much easier. Refurbishments of these areas are typically started at the end of an evening and are finished overnight so they are traffic ready for the next morning.

Will I lose customers?

No, although some disruption is inevitable, most customers are very pleased with the final result. Unfortunately car parks are generally not that inviting with dirty and badly lit areas. Some customers simply want to park their vehicle and leave as soon as possible. Refurbishing the floor surface can have one of the biggest transformations that a car park can have and can often add value to the operators by bringing in more customers.

Strong Presence at APC 2012 Signals that the Australian Parking Services Industry Has Not Lost Momentum...

Here, Sean Tinsley, Managing Director for Flowcrete Australia reflects on the recent Australian Parking Convention in Sydney...

As I walked around the Parking Association of Australia's 13th annual Australian Parking Convention event I was once again amazed by the breadth of individuals and organisations involved in the parking services industry.

Ranging from car park management and maintenance companies through to representatives from education, airport and government authorities as well as product manufacturers like ourselves, it came as no surprise to learn that all exhibitor spaces had sold out in record time - a good sign of a strong trade show.

Held at the Sydney Convention Centre, the three-day event kicked off with a welcome reception by keynote speaker Joy Addison, Secretary for the Parking Association of Australia, which was staged just in front of the Flowcrete Australia booth.

Celebrating another year of strong growth it remained clear throughout the opening address that Australia's love affair with the car has not faltered in the last twelve months.

As expected, the show was very well attended, with individuals and company representatives in search of the latest technology and innovations in car park maintenance and construction.

With this in mind, APC 2012, seemed the ideal location to launch our new external deck traffic coating system. The new and improved formulation incorporates a new waterproofing membrane, which has been designed to an offer an enhanced level of protection to external or exposed decks of multi-storey car parking structures.

Protecting against water ingress into the concrete structure as well as prolonged or significant UV exposure over time, the new formulation represents our most effective outdoor polyurethane resin coating solution for car parking decks.

There was a lot of buzz at our booth about the new solution and the improvements it offered over our previous coating material. Our booth itself had been decked out to show just how the product would look and feel in-situ, providing a tactile surface for attendees to walk over and experience first-hand.

Whilst at the show, we had the opportunity to listen to key note speakers address pertinent topics related to industry trends. Once again, Green standards were at the forefront of discussions as was security and safety in the parking environment alongside facilities management and maintenance innovations.

With the demand for parking growing faster than capacity throughout the country, APC remains proof that we as an industry are dedicated to providing effective, low-cost and sustainable solutions that will tackle this problem head on and enable the parking services industry to continue to grow."

For information on the products and services launched by Flowcrete Australia at APC 2012, please see our Deckshield car park deck coating range.

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