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Robert Lamoureux: Solutions offered for pitted concrete floor

Your Home Improvements

Posted: August 28, 2009 9:27 p.m.
Updated: August 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
Hi Robert,
I'm a facilities manager at an industrial manufacturing plant.
We have a battery charging station that splatters acid onto the concrete floor which has pitted badly over the years. Are you aware of a product to help protect the concrete? What would be the best way to address this problem? Thank you,

James B.

Hi James,
Sawcut and demo the damaged concrete. When you're sawing through that concrete floor, you have to be careful not to cut through any post tension cables, electrical conduit or any elements that may be buried under there.
Depending on the size of the area, you'll want to pump in and repour with a hot mix of at least 3500 psi. Regardless of your existing finish, put a light broom finish down to help the primer and epoxy bond to the new surface.
Give this 28 days, then come back and apply a vapor seal primer, then an acid resistant epoxy.
They have epoxy's tested to 75-percent sulfuric acid, which is a typical battery composition - on up to 98 percent acid resistant. I'd go large on this one. Do it once, do it right.
While the epoxy is still wet, broadcast some aluminum oxide to provide a slip resistant surface.
If the surface is small enough and damage is minimal, then you can just clean what you've got instead of the break out and repour.
First neutralize the acid splatter with a 10 percent vinegar/water solution.
Pressure wash to remove all of the residue once dry, scrubbing with a steel brush if necessary.
Once you get this area cleaned and prepped, then apply the primer, epoxy and aluminum oxide.

Hello Robert:
I need to replace my roof and I am interested in your opinion as to the advantages and disadvantages of composite versus metal roofing. I have a single-family house with about 2,000 square feet of deck and currently has composite roofing that is over twenty years old. The federal government is giving a modest tax credit for metal roofing, but it would only be a factor in my decision if the choice between the two methods were a dead heat. Thanks for your time and consideration.
Jeff F.

Hi Jeff,
Metal roofs have a lifetime warranty. If you're going to stay there forever, if you have the funds to do it and if you like the look of that metal then it's a win/win deal for you.
A metal roof is easily double what a composite roof will cost you, maybe more. It depends on the type of roof you have. A-frame, hipped, gabled? How many valleys or dormers? The more intricate roof details that you have, then the more cutting that needs to be done which amounts to more time, more waste and higher costs.
So, dollar for dollar if you have the means to do it and if you like the look, then go with the metal.
Personally, just my opinion, I don't like the look of a metal roof. I prefer the three dimensional look of a composition roof. In my mind, it really gives a roof character and comp roofs are available now with 30, 40 and 50 year warranties.
Typically you would look into metal roofing when you have a specific need. For example, if you had bad footings or structural problems, erosion or soil problems, weight concerns or if you lived in a very high wind area. Metal roofing is light weight - only about 1 ½ lbs. per sq.ft. as opposed to 2 - 4 ½ lbs. for comp and once the metal is installed, you can't pull it off with a jack bar. This is not to say that it is maintenance free. Whenever you have a penetration in a roof you have a maintenance issue. You still have to make sure you keep all of the valleys cleaned from leaves, pine needles and debris as you would on any other type roof, and you have to be careful. Where your slates and tiles would break if you walk on them wrong, metal roofs will dent.
Some people think the metal roofing costs more in energy costs because they retain heat. This is not really the case because roofing metal has a very low thermal mass. It will get hot during the day, but it cools very quickly in the evening. Tiles, on the other hand, will hold and keep generating that heat much longer.
I don't know the size of the tax credit you are referring to, but there are a lot of roofing products on the market.
If you're not sure which type of roof you are looking for, contact the different manufacturers and see what is available. Compare quality, cost, durability and aesthetics. See what's good for you.
If you do decide to make the investment and go with the metal, make sure you use a manufacturer's rep with company training for the installation. Don't just hire some guy off of the street that says he knows how to do it. If he's not factory trained, then he's not a metal roofer.

Hi Mr. Lamoureux,
We have an underground parking garage and there is one spot that collects water We heard about El Nino coming this year and we want to install drains. The contractor said since the slab was 18" thick, we needed to x-ray before installing the drains. Is this true? Thank you very much,
Jen G.

Hi Jen,
You have to x-ray before coring into concrete because there may be structural steel, or conduit or post tension cables running underneath that you do not want to cut through. Cutting through electrical conduit or PT cables can be deadly.
An 18" thickness only means the laboratory will have to use cobalt that penetrates from 12" to 36". They use iridium on concrete less than 12" thick.
Just so you'll know, all people and pets will have to be at least 75 feet away from the shot zone.
Sometimes exceptions can be made and barricades can be put up but I would notify all residents that are within 75 that they must vacate their premises during the x-rays.

Robert Lamoureux has 25 years experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contacting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor, after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Send your questions to


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