A Concrete Surface profile (or a CSP for short) is simply a standard measure used to determine the profile (some say roughness) of the surface of your concrete floor.
Simply put, it’s a way to determine how well you have prepped the floor, and it’s useful because it’s going to help you determine how well the floor is going to react with your coating or overlay.
Who makes these standards? The International Concrete Repair Institute, who is, more or less, the “governing body” when it comes to Concrete Finishing and the most reliable source to set the standard for these sorts of things.
If you’re new to the industry, it might come as a surprise to you that prepping is by far one of the most important steps for your entire project, if not the most important. And this is why understanding the Concrete Surface Profile is so important.
A CSP Rating is essentially what the name implies: a rating of the Concrete Surface Profile of the project you’re working on. The higher the number, the rougher the surface. The lower the number, the smoother the surface.
For instance, a CSP rating of 1 is a very very smooth surface with almost no preparation at all. Whereas a CSP of 5 will be very rough, and used with thicker coating applications (we will get to this in a bit).
These ratings are very important to understand because they will be directly correlated to what application you are applying and the ultimate success of your project. In fact, floors that fail are overwhelmingly correlated with floors that ignored the concrete surface profile or prep part of the entire process.
So quick advice from a company with decades in the industry: do the hard work up front, because it pays off in the end.
And trust us, if you do this prep work correctly, you will end up with a floor that looks like this:
Let’s go over the different ratings, what grit of Diamond Tooling is needed, and of course what application needs what rating.
We are going to go over 3 different CSP Ratings – 2, 3, and 4.
CSP 2 – 70 to 80 Grit
CSP 2 is the first step up from a perfectly smooth surface.
This is going to be for much smaller applications in terms of thickness.
CSP 3 – 30 to 40 Grit
CSP 3 is the next step up. Used for more “in between” applications in terms of thickness.
This profile is achieved with more medium grits.
CSP 4 – 16 Grit
Obviously, this is a much more etched surface than the preceding two.
Coating applications like Epoxy are going to be the type you want to use this profile for. The thicker, the better.
The different profiles we want to talk about are for Stain and Epoxy coatings. For Polishing, see our Concrete Polishing Kit which takes you through the entire process step by step.
Stained Concrete Floors
When we talk about Stains here, we’re referring to Acid Stain Applications and Water Based Stain Applications. And when people use stain, they typically go over it with an Acrylic Sealer.
(We deliver all of the parts you need for this in our Concrete Stain Systems)
Now what’s important here is how the Sealer is going to react with the surface profile. We went over this in our how to stain a concrete floor video which, if you watch the video, shows how the sealer causes the floor to react and form the color that you stained the floor with.
This is why prep is important. Because the roughness of the concrete is what’s going to react with the sealer, and give you the finish you’re looking for.
The profile is what we call a “hairline” profile. Meaning the concrete will look like it has little pieces of hair.
To achieve this, you will use Diamond Tooling, specifically Diamond Pads at a grit somewhere between 120 grit to 50 grit. These will create the scratch pattern you need for the Acrylic to react with the ground, but to also make sure that the scratch pattern goes away once the Acrylic is applied.
Epoxy Concrete Floors
Epoxy floors are done with 100% Solids, that being Flake Finishes, Metallic Finishes or even just a regular color typed Epoxy Coating. What we do is provide Epoxy Kits that are completely inclusive and come with all the things you need to do your floor.
Remember from up above, we are looking for a rougher profile. In fact, we often call this the “fork” like profile, meaning it almost looks like someone took a fork and went through the concrete with it.
This is going to be a fairly deep scratch, deep enough to place your fingers in.
To achieve this, you will use a 16-30 grit metal bond tool. In fact, we like to use the arrow diamond tools to get this effect.
That’s the scoop on Concrete Surface Profiles. Again, these are so important to understand for your final finish, as it’s going to have a huge effect on that.
Any questions? Leave them below!