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Achieving an Even Texture with Decorative Chip Floors

December 10, 2020

Anyone that has been in the resinous flooring industry for any amount of time knows that the texture of the floor is critical to the success of a project. At times, it feels like this particular item can be a moving target — especially on flake broadcast systems.

Achieving an even texture across the entire floor is an important starting point. Here are the steps to ensure that a decorative chip floor’s texture is consistent.

First, (I think this should go without saying), a mock up should be performed for every project especially since non-slip is a subjective term. A mock up is the installer’s opportunity to set an end user’s expectations for the finished floor. Once a mock up is approved, the installer now has a set target to hit for the floor.

Unlike a quartz sand broadcast, the texture of a chip system is determined during the clean-up of the broadcasts. A solid broadcast clean up procedure is needed. 

Steps to Properly Clean the Chip Broadcast from the Floor

  1. Collect the bulk of the chips by vacuuming or blowing the chip to a corner with an electric leaf blower and vacuuming. It is important to collect the bulk chip before knocking the chip flat. Scraping directly over a broadcast will not produce a uniformly flat chip texture.
  2. Knock down the chips that are not flat.  This can be achieved by using a flexible floor scraper, drywall pole sander with 80 grit screen, or a stiff bristle brush.  Knock down the chips in four directions to ensure that the floor is scraped evenly. Be careful when using floor scrapers as they can bridge low spots on the concrete surface. For larger areas, a 120 grit Malish brush on a floor sander works well.
  3. Once the floor is thoroughly scraped, the loose chips can be vacuumed up. Make sure to pay close attention to the edges and corners.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the first and second broadcast clean up.

Applying the Grout Coat & Topcoat to the Floor

After the floor and base have been scraped and cleaned, the grout coat can be applied. A 12” flat squeegee and 3/8” x 18” roller are the preferred tools for a grout coat. Now, before I get a bunch of emails or phone calls regarding the 12” squeegee, here is the premise behind it. A 12” squeegee will follow the undulations of the floor and avoid bridging across any low spots that may create a smooth area.

When using Accelera, I find that pushing an 18” red flat squeegee leaves a better texture for a single grout coat application.

The topcoat is the final step. For a smoother finish, prior to applying the topcoat, sand the grout coat using 80-120 grit sand paper. If a more aggressive finish is required, you can use a shaker to sprinkle aluminum oxide into the wet grout coat. The topcoat can then be applied to encapsulate the grit. 

Steps to Properly Clean The Chip Broadcast from the Cove

Just like the floor, the texture of the base is extremely important. The base is meant to be smooth so that it can be cleaned easily. The broadcast method and process for cleaning up the base after each broadcast will play a vital role in the finished texture.

  1. Use a pole sander or palm sander with 80-100 grit sand paper to knock off any loose chips. Make sure to detail the top edge and bottom cove. A piece of 80-100 grit sand paper glued to a piece of PVC pipe that matches the cove radius works well at detailing the cove.
  2. Once the cove is thoroughly sanded, the loose chips can be vacuumed up. Make sure to pay close attention to the edges and corners.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 for the first and second broadcast clean up.

Applying the Grout Coat & Topcoat to the Cove

  1. Depending on what product you are using for the grout coat, the application process will vary. For epoxy, apply a cove base resinous binder / epoxy grout coat using a paint brush. Squeegee off the excess with a 12” flat squeegee. For Accelera, use a weenie roller to apply an even coat making sure to watch for drips or runs.
  2. Once the grout coat is dry, sand the base again using 80-120 grit paper to knock off any chips that may be protruding through the grout coat. Clean up any loose chips and dust and apply the specified topcoat.

The final texture of the floor and base can make or break an install. Taking the time to properly clean up the chip broadcasts will go a long way to ensuring that finished texture is even. 

Author: Dylan Snyder
Dylan is a Technical Services Manager in the West. His role involves working with customers to answer technical questions, troubleshoot issues and recommend the proper flooring system for their application.

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