What you need to know about epoxy flooring
Do you want to know all about epoxy flooring? if so, let’s begin.
“Not all epoxy coatings are the same! That’s the reason we made this guide of what you need to know about epoxy flooring. A large number of cheap products are also available in the market to cheat you, therefore a careful evaluation of different products is required to choose the one which is the best. Now the question is, how to choose the epoxy floor coating?”
Have you seen wonderful glossy floors or classy floors with a matte look? This is all thanks to the epoxy flooring system that made it possible to create an unmatched, attractive, and seamless reflective surface. Epoxy Flooring is highly recommended to use in your garage, hospitals, hotels, and even in your home.
You might have heard about the three terms- epoxy paint, epoxy coating, and epoxy flooring. However, what is the differences between them? First, we need to understand the following:
Epoxy Flooring Paint
It is one part oil or water-based just like an ordinary garage enamel or semi-gloss, as well, epoxy paint is used for walls or ceilings but is not recommended to use on the floor as it bears lots of vehicle and foot traffic.
Epoxy Coating and Epoxy Flooring – What is the difference?
The high-quality epoxy coating consists of 2 parts epoxy. Which differs from ordinary epoxy paints as it consists of just one part. There is another slight difference between the epoxy coating and epoxy flooring, so, when the thickness of the applied epoxy is less than 2mm it is known as an epoxy coating. When the thickness is more than 2mm it is known as epoxy flooring.
What is Epoxy Flooring Made of ?
Epoxy is a combination of part A and part B. The part A is the resin and part B is the hardener. When the hardener is mixed with the resins a chemical reaction takes place and results in a rock hard, glossy, rigid plastic material, that’s how the final product achieved is strong, durable, water/oil/germ-resistant, and decay-resistant. It also bonds exceptionally well to concrete, wood, and steel. The best thing about the epoxy flooring is that you have several options of colors and patterns to choose from. You can also choose among the solid, multi-color metallic epoxy coating, flakes, and quartz.
Epoxy Flooring: Material List
According to the patents.google.com, the chemical composition of epoxy contains the following:
- At least one silicon epoxy resin,
- Minimum one hydroxyl-containing compound
- At the very least one anhydride curing agent
- One ancillary curing catalyst
The optional compound could be one of the following:
- A thermal stabilizer
- A UV stabilizer
- Coupling index agents or
- Refractive index modifiers.
Which Epoxy Floor Coating is the Best?
When deciding which epoxy coating is best you need to know the basic qualities that are present in a good epoxy. Keep in mind that you can choose the best epoxy among the rest. Now, let us briefly understand what these qualities are.
Criteria to Choose the Best Epoxy Coating
Easy to Clean
A good epoxy floor coating is the one that is stain proof and easy to clean.
100% Solids based
The best floor epoxies are 100% solid based; 50% solid epoxies are bad because that means 50% of the coating will evaporate as it dries up.
The best epoxies require floor preparation. Marketers that are claiming their epoxy does not require any floor preparation are deceiving you.
3-in-1 Epoxy is a Marketing Hype
Primer, epoxy, and topcoat are three different things and all three are required to have the desired result. 3-in-1 epoxies (primer, epoxy, and topcoat) are nothing more than marketing hype and should not be used.
Make sure that you use a primer before the first coat. Primer soaks deep into cracks/uneven surfaces and seals the floor. It also saves your epoxy from being wasted. You can increase the epoxy coverage by 25% using a primer.
Urethane Top Coat
Epoxy provides thickness to your floor but the layer that comes in direct contact with the traffic and tires is the Top Coat. When urethane is present in the topcoat, it makes it hard, reflective and resistant to UV rays, water and oil, so, make sure that your epoxy contains the topcoat.
Pot life is the maximum time limit under which you have to work on epoxies once you mix both parts. The longer the pot life is, the cheaper the epoxy. Typically, the pot life of a good epoxy is 45 min at 70°C. Any epoxy with pot life above an hour is of cheap quality.
Checking the abrasion rating is crucial. To get the abrasion rating the Taber C-17 abrasion test is performed. The lower the abrasion rating is, the better quality of epoxy. A good quality epoxy has an abrasion rating maximum of 5mg.
Adhesion and Impact Ratings
Good quality epoxies have an adhesion rating of 350 psi and impact rating of 125 inch-pounds.
Epoxy Flooring: Uses
Epoxy flooring is one of the most versatile types of flooring products. You can apply it to multiple places used for various purposes, for example, it can be used in:
- Old or new concrete floor
- Commercial or industrial flooring
- Entrance of a hotel or lobby
- Warehouse floors
- Commercial and residential garages
- Airplane hangers
- Manufacturing and distribution facilities
- Retail stores and showrooms
- House, kitchens, and gyms.
How to Apply Epoxy on a Garage Floor?
There is a four-step process of installing epoxy flooring on surfaces. Typically, epoxy can take about 20 to 30 hours to set and walk on. But for complete curing, the epoxy takes 30 days to completely harden and take its final form. Before understanding the process of installation, you should be aware of what comes in a standard epoxy kit.
Epoxy Kit: Contents
The standard epoxy kit contains the following items:
- A ‘Part A’ that contains resin of the color that you want to install on the floor.
- A ‘Part B’ that contains the hardener.
Epoxy Flooring: Installation Process
Step 1: Preparation of the Surface
Our first step is to prepare the surface for bonding through diamond grinding. This step produces a very smooth surface, eliminates all the imperfections, unevenness and opens up the pores of the concrete so that it can absorb the base layer properly. After that, we use an industrial vacuum cleaner to remove even the finest dust from the floor.
Step 2: Application of Primer
Next, we apply the primer to do all necessary patch and fill work in order to repair cracks and others surface imperfections. The primer also eliminates the risk of bubbles and gases which, if not removed, may create bubbles on the epoxy flooring, and also extends the life of the epoxy and provides better adhesion to the base surface.
Step 3: Application of the First Coat of the Epoxy Base
Our next step is to apply the first coat of polyaspartic or epoxy colored base coat with a full chip broadcast coat.
Step 4: Application of Topcoat
The last step is to apply a polyaspartic protective clear top coat and allow the surface to completely dry.
How to Repair Epoxy Floor Coating
It’s better to call in professionals to do the job for you since it is a technical and time-consuming process. However, if you want to do it by yourself, follow these next steps:
Check whether the epoxy has cured properly or not as per the institutions.
Remove all the dust and oil from the floor.
Use 80-grit sandpaper to sand the floor.
Vacuum and wipe the floor to make sure that no dust is left.
Finally, apply the epoxy and wait for another 12-24 hours.
Epoxy Flooring Global Market
The epoxy adhesives market value globally stood at an estimated 7.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. This market is forecast to increase its value in five years, reaching around 9.6 billion U.S. dollars by 2024.
The statistics show that the global market value of epoxy resin in 2015 was 40% amounting to 7.9 billion U.S. dollars. That number is expected to rise to 11.22 billion U.S. dollars by 2021.
Source: Grand view research
FAQs about epoxy coating and flooring
Q.1.) How much epoxy coating costs?
The cost of epoxy coating ranges from $3 to $7 per square foot, hence, the cost will vary depending on the area of your floor and choice of epoxy.
Q.2) How long do Epoxy floors last?
A good quality and properly installed epoxy can last up to 15 to 20 years but if you go for a cheap one it will lose its attractiveness after only a few years.
Q.3) Is epoxy coating slippery?
It isn’t as slippery as it looks. Generally, a skid-resistant additive is mixed with the topcoat, but in its absence, the coating will become slippery.
Q.4)Can you put new epoxy over old epoxy?
Yes, you just need to clean, specifically, sand and vacuum the cured epoxy before you apply a new coat.