Color finish trial on poured concrete floor (C) InspectApedia Ralph Arlyck Poured Finish Flooring Choices for Use Over Concrete Slabs Using Thermal Mass

  • FLOOR, CONCRETE SLAB POURED FINISH - CONTENTS: What poured acrylic or epoxy finish flooring materials are best to use over a concrete floor slab to retain the thermal mass properties of the slab?Ceramic tile over radiant heat floor slab. Flooring materials for passive solar floor slab designs where direct solar gain and passive solar heat storage are desired. Solar Age Magazine Articles on Renewable Energy, Energy Savings, Construction Practices
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about how to choose a poured-on finish for use on concrete slab floors

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This article discusses the best choices for poured acrylic or epoxy finish flooring to use over a concrete floor slab intended to provide direct solar heat gain and heat storage.

Accompanying text are reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss. Our page top photograph shows a gray-color finish applied to a poured concrete floor in a New York home. Photo courtesy Ralph Arlyck, Timed Exposures.[3]

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What Poured Finish Flooring to Use Over a Thermal Mass Passive Solar Concrete Floor Slab

Tile floor over radiant heat and passive solar slab (C) Daniel FriedmanThe question-and-answer article below paraphrases, quotes-from, updates, and comments an original article from Solar Age Magazine and written by Steven Bliss.

What Poured Finish Flooring Products are Available to Use Over a Passive Solar Thermal Mass Concrete Floor Slab?

Question:I plan to build a passive solar home with poured acrylic floors over a thermal mass concrete slab.

I understand tha these finishes can be installed for as little as $2 a square foot [in the 1980's].

How will they affect the solar performance of our passive thermal mass concrete floor slab?

- Gerald Griffith, Columbia PA

Our photograph (above left) shows a modest (limited sunlight) passive solar interior floor, constructed over a poured concrete slab in a Minnesota Cabin on Lake Superior. The designers intended to use a radiant-heated insulated concrete floor slab, but unfortunately the builder installed the radiant tubing improperly and the heat was not usable. (See RADIANT HEAT FLOOR MISTAKES). The insulated concrete floor continues to function as a limited passive solar slab, offering thermal mass that steadies building temperatures even in very cold Minnesota weather.


In the 1980's poured acrylic flooring products were difficult to find but available. Poured acrylic or poured epoxy finish flooring products come in two parts: an acrylic (or epoxy) matrix and a catalyst (hardener).

You can vary the pattern and color of the poured finish floor covering by adding colorants and chips to the material.

The abilities of the surface to absorb and conduct heat both affect how much heat enters the thermal mass passive solar floor slab. Because the acrylic (or epoxy) finish flooring bonds chemically to the concrete floor, heat should flow into the slab better than it would through adhesive-bonded resilient flooring and better than it does through adhesive-bonded ceramic tiles in our photograph of the Minnesota floor above.

The darker the color of your pour-on finish flooring, the more heat will be asbsorbed. Light flooring materials absorb less solar radiation (heat) and are thus less efficient (as much as 40 percent less for pastel colors).

Examples of Pour-on Finishes for Thermal Mass Concrete Slabs

Color finish trial on poured concrete floor (C) InspectApedia Ralph Arlyck Take a look at these contemporary pour-on finishes that work well on concrete slabs.

At left the radiant slab poured concrete floor is shown with the final and satisfactory polished finish. The floor had a milky quality on the first pass but the installers were able to solve the problem and get it looking right. Photo courtesy Ralph Arlyck, Timed Exposures.[3]

  • Fabrikote concrete coatings - [difficult to sort out among product choices]
  • Flex Bon, epoxy seamless poured flooring. This product has been produced in various forms since 1962. Flex Bon® Seamless Floors, Locust & Linden Streets, McKees Rocks, PA 15136, (888) 331-3860 -
    Flex Bon Express consists of a two-part, pigmented epoxy base coat that cures overnight to an extremely hard and glossy finish. Vinyl flakes are also supplied with the kit, and may be broadcast into the uncured base coat to create a decorative terrazzo effect.
  • Martens epoxy Flooring Products, include epoxy floors, acrylic floors, and urethane coatings. Martens Inc., 1685 Monroe Ave., Rochester, NY 14618, TEL: 585-241-6000, FAX: 585-241-6002,
  • Resin Poured Flooring, seamless polyurethane, acrylic, or epoxy flooring products, Resin Flooring North East Ltd, 28 Herons Cour, Gilesgate, Durham, DH1 2HD, UK, Tel: 07720685438. The company provides resin flooring products including epoxy, polyurethane, and acrylic floors.
    Two types of poured resin flooring are available epoxy and polyurethane. Poured Resin Flooring is perfectly flat and available in a wide range of colours with gloss or matt finishes. Poured Resin Floors can be tailored to be your own unique flooring surface. Poured resins have been utilised for many years in industrial applications but with advances in resin technology this can now be extended to domestic, leisure and retail premesis. Poured resin flooring looks sensational in open plan areas, warehouse conversions and domestic situations to name a few. Poured Resin Flooring comes in a liquid form which can be installed on numerous substrates and awkward shaped details or spaces. A seal coat can be applied to this system using polymer beads suspended in resin to create an anti slip flooring surface. Designers, specifiers and architects people dedicated to creating the extraordinary are using Poured Resin Flooring on a regular basis across a wide range of projects due to its durability, aesthetics, fast installation and cost effectivness compared to more traditional flooring materials.
  • Silpro Corporation provides coatings for poured concrete floors that may be suitable where the finish color and texture are in the concrete itself (see Slipro Masonry Lusta). SILPRO Corporation, 2 New England Way, Ayer, MA 01432-1514, Telephone: 978-772-4444, Toll free: 800-343-1501 Facsimile: 978-772-7456, email:, website:
  • Super-Fleck Acrylic Chips, used in garages and basements on concrete (or other surface materials) combine with a top coating such as an epoxy floor finish.

Original article

The link to the original Q&A article in PDF form immediately below is preceded by an expanded/updated online version of this article.



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