All About Acrylic Floor Finishes: Solid Content & More
When you're shopping for floor finishes, you'll often observe something in the title or description of the product indicating that it's a "high solids" or "low solids" formula. In many cases, you will notice that the solids content is indicated in a percentage form. In this guide written by the floor care products experts 1877FloorGuy, you'll learn what the complete floor finish solids content in acrylic floor finishes exactly means.
Acrylic Polish Formulas
The complexities or formulas for acrylic polishes are no different than life itself. In fact, the research for this article has disclosed not only the diverse collection of ingredients, but the precise relation each lends to the end result, which for most users is a floor that is easily cleaned, maintained and refurbished when necessary. It is extremely important that you understand the chemical basics of acrylic floor finishes before even discussing solids.
The Solid Content in Acrylic Floor Finish
Most acrylic floor finishes contain a solid content ranging from 16 to 22 percent, while recently the industry has been drawn to high solid content that is around the 30 to 32 percent level.
Solid level - The solid level is the amount of material left, including polymer film, waxes, plasticizers, leveling resins, etc. after everything volatile has left the film, such as water or co-solvents.
Higher level solid content can be more temperamental during application since the skill required during application could possibly be more challenging to achieve a smooth, wet film. It is important to understand that a thicker film (high solid) will often extend the drying and curing time, since the water and solvents will have to travel a greater distance to escape before the surface is ready for traffic.
In fact, it is not unusual that a floor finish of 30 percent solids in a one-coat application will require the same drying and curing time of a two-coat application of floor finish with only 16 to 18 percent solids under identical drying conditions. Factors that can slow the release of water during drying and curing process are high humidity or poor air flow.
Reflectivity is a clearly a function of a smooth surface film. A very thin film can deliver the same level of gloss as thicker film due to the degree of surface flatness when light reflects from the floor. High speed burnishing will often smooth the imperfections in a surface so that it will reflect a greater percentage of light, creating a shiny appearance.
Matte or satin surfaces tend to be rougher, therefore scattering the light rather than reflecting. It is also important to note that any flooring that is textured or porous will require multiple coats of a low solid floor finish to build up to a smooth surface enough to overcome the roughness, uneven texture or porosity so that a shiny appearance is detected, while the same result may be achieved with fewer coats of a high solid floor finish.
Low solids floor finish products are often considered more applicator friendly, but can require additional labor due to the additional coats required to achieve an acceptable surface for your space. Certainly, high solids can deliver equal results with less material and labor required.
Floor Finish Ingredient Categories
Before your buy floor finish, make sure you read up on the basic ingredients to learn about how the finish will perform. Different floor care ingredients will offer different benefits and results for the finished product. For example, choosing a floor finish with modifiers can help enhance gloss and slip-resistance, while opting for a finish with antimicrobial agents will help your floor finish avoid discoloration and other negative results.
Fundamentally, most floor finishes are comprised of five basic categories of ingredients:
- Polymer emulsions - Comprised of one or more monomers suspended in water creating polymer emulsions in very specific or precise ratio, often guarded by the manufacturer as a trade secret for their recipe of floor finish. Polymer emulsions are considered the hub of a floor finish with endless combinations that can impact most performance characteristics including gloss, durability, leveling, clarity, water/detergent resistance, ability to recoat, scuffing and ability to remove.
- Film formers - Essential components of the polymer emulsions that minimize common floor care problems such as poor gloss, streaking, cratering, fisheyes, poor adhesion/powdering, orange peeling, blushing and even poor leveling.
- Modifiers - Polymer emulsions in floor finishes deliver an endless range of performance characteristics. For example, modifiers such as resins, wax emulsions, urethanes, UV absorbers and metal cross linkers can be added to enhance gloss, slip resistance, scuff/scratch resistance or simply boost clarity, hardness, durability and ability to buff.
- Preservatives - Often antimicrobial agents incorporated to ward off attacks of the ingredients in floor finishes, without them, could cause discoloration, destroy the floor finish emulsion and create unpleasant odors. Also, an antifreeze agent may be added to the emulsion to provide freeze-thaw stability.
- Water - Deionized water not only serves as the carrier for all the floor finish ingredients, but also delivers a stable environment that significantly reduces the risk of slight discoloration or compromise of gloss or clarity.
Remember, if you have any questions whatsoever about which floor finish to buy, simply give us a call today at 1-877-FLOOR-GUY or contact us via e-mail.