How to Know if You Have the Right Surface Profile
Updated: Jan 21
So how do you determine whether a surface is the proper roughness to allow the coating to soak in? To answer that question you must have a thorough understanding of concrete surface profiles (CSP).
The surface profile is the measure of the average distance from the peaks of the surface to the valleys as seen through a cross sectional view of the surface of the concrete.
Selection of a surface profile is dependent upon the type of surface being prepared, the type of system process, and the type of service the structure will be subjected to.
In particular, the type of use the floor will get will also determine the degree of profile required. Having the proper profile will ensure that the surface will accept the application of polymer based products and allow the polymer to mechanically bond to the concrete.
So how do you know whether you have the correct surface profile, in accordance with the manufacturer's specifications? Well the most trusted and useful metric is the ICRI Technical Guideline No. 03732 CSP comparators which provide both visual as well as tactile evaluations and are thus less subjective than other CSP evaluation methods.
The ICRI Technical Guideline No. 03732 CSP numbers range from CSP 1 (nearly flat) through CSP 10 (very rough) and correspond to the method used in the preparation of the surface.
To achieve each grade progressively more aggressive methods and equipment are used to produce more rough and textured profiles for applying one or more of the sealer, coating, or polymer overlay systems, up to a thickness of 1⁄4 in. (6 microns). To accurately replicate each grade,
The International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) designates the CSP’s and produces a set of 10 pictorial and physical samples (as seen below). These samples are used to evaluate if the surface profile is in accordance with the project specifications.
CSP’s greatly aid in communication of project objectives and requirements. Molded replicas profiles provide clear visual standards for purposes of specification, execution, and verification.
These benchmark profiles may be referenced in specifications, material data sheets, application guidelines, and contract documents to effectively communicate the required surface profile.
Based on the material provider’s data sheet, which the contractor should provide, a CSP can be identified that will determine the method of surface preparation needed for the project. The ICRI provides charts that relate CSP’s to materials to be applied and surface preparation method (as seen below).