When Dr. Pierre Castan invented epoxies for dental fixtures in the 1930s, maybe he never thought it would come such a long way. Yet, today, when selecting flooring for industrial use, garage, or other outdoor surfaces, an epoxy floor is one of the leading choices.
It is ideal because it is aesthetically appealing, durable, easy to customize, and has an anti-slip coating. In this article, we’re going to look at everything you need to know about epoxy floors.
What is Epoxy Flooring?
Epoxy coating is chemically different from regular floor paint. Resinous epoxy flooring is made up of a 2-part epoxy system. It is a mixture of hardeners and polymer resins. The epoxy resin and the hardener bond with each other and the floor when properly mixed. This chemical bond results in a stiff plastic material that is extremely durable and resistant to degradation.
Epoxy flooring, therefore, is a flooring surface made of multiple layers of epoxy. The applied floor depth is at least two millimeters. Often, people experience some confusion when comparing epoxy floor and epoxy floor coating. The major difference is the depth of epoxy. We will look at the differences later in the article.
Types of Epoxy Floors
Aside from gaining popularity in the commercial industry, one can use epoxy for residential areas. It comes in various types, and you can explore various epoxy floor art for your home. Below are a few types of epoxy floor that you can consider.
a) Solid Epoxy Flooring
Are you looking for something simple yet versatile? Then, you can go for solid epoxy floors. They offer a variety of colors which you can apply almost anywhere. These solid epoxy resin floor finishes are ideal for rooms with a solid color and void of intricate or fancy design.
You will mostly find this design in buildings, convention halls, and restaurants. However, it can be a good choice for the kitchen, deck, living room, bathroom, or driveway.
b) Flake Epoxy Flooring
If you want a little more color on your basement floor, garage, or any other room or surface, you can choose flake epoxy flooring.
This type of floor makes uses of acrylic chips or flakes that come in many colors making it more artsy and decorative. As a result, it gives the surface a sleek appearance.
Epoxy flooring contractors apply the multi-colored flakes when the coating is still wet, giving the surface a vibrant look. Apart from making the floor beautiful, the flakes have the added advantage of making the floor less slippery.
It provides more grip, which prevents falls and other accidents. Due to this, this type of flooring is ideal for the kitchen, swimming pool, locker rooms, sports venues, showrooms, and places with high foot traffic.
c) Graveled Epoxy Flooring
Are you looking for epoxy resin floor ideas? You can choose this type. It is customizable and comes with intricate designs. If you are creative, graveled epoxy flooring is ideal for you.
You mostly find this type in stores, buildings, and restaurants as they can add their logo. However, as a homeowner, you can use this aspect to add your designs and decorative details for that personalized interior décor look.
d) Metallic Epoxy Flooring
If you want that decorative look, a metallic epoxy floor finish is the best option. This epoxy coating uses a metallic additive, allowing you to design the floor with different colors, accents, and effects. You may have come across the swirling design, which is the most common. Installers achieve this by spreading metallic pigments using a roller or a brush in twists.
If you want to add a touch of your personality to solid epoxy, you can include the shiny metallic finish. It can be either in gold, ruby, copper, silver, or more. This type offers you a matte finish for decorating living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and other spaces.
e) Self-Leveling Epoxy Flooring
Do you need to cover uncoated areas or existing concrete surfaces? Choose self-leveling epoxy flooring. This type is ideal for smoothening old, cracked, and damaged concrete floors. If you want a refined look, you can apply it on new concrete surfaces. It’s a versatile coating that comes in many colors, making it ideal for residential, commercial, and industrial use.
You will mostly find this type of floor in sports places, office buildings, athletic facilities, warehouses, or showrooms. It is also an ideal garage epoxy resin floor for a DIY project when you want to smoothen out a damaged surface. In residential, you can also use it in bathrooms or kitchens.
Difference between Epoxy Flooring and Epoxy Paint
Many people use the terms epoxy coatings and epoxy paints interchangeably. However, the two are very different. If you are considering epoxy resin floor installation, you need to know the difference between the two.
- Epoxy paint: It is a latex acrylic product with only a small amount of epoxy in the mix. It has better adhesion and durability compared to standard paint. However, it is not even close in comparison to epoxy floor coatings.
- Epoxy Flooring: As we saw earlier, the epoxy floor contains resin and a hardener. Epoxy floor contractors mix these two parts before application. Once they have the mixture, they have a time limit and temperature constraints to apply it.
Additionally, the minimum application thickness is 2 millimeters of epoxy floor coat. This aspect makes it ideal for areas with high traffic or areas exposed to extreme temperature or heavy impact.
The main way that epoxy paint and epoxy flooring differ is in their durability. Epoxy flooring is extremely durable, has longevity, strength, and is resistant to chemicals. The two components create a reactive process that cross-links and cures the surface.
Pros and Cons of Epoxy Floors
Each flooring method has its pros and cons, and epoxy flooring is not different. Below is a summary of the top advantages and disadvantages.
Strong toxic fumes
It takes a long time to harden fully
It is not a floor on its own
Slippery when wet
Long Installation process
Cold under feet
Epoxy Floor Advantages
1. Chemical Resistant
Epoxy flooring is ideal for commercial areas as it is resistant to stains and chemicals. You can wipe the spillage without worrying that you will leave a stain. It doesn’t absorb the spillage into the surface.
2. High Resistance
Choosing garage floor epoxy is ideal because it fortifies the area and blocks harmful elements. In addition, epoxy is resistant to shock-meaning crashes that will not affect the concrete. It is also heat and water-resistant. As such, it is ideal for waterproofing, making a good flooring choice for the basement.
3. Lasts Long
If you install the floor properly, it will last long. Some brands offer a guarantee of up to 10 years. It is good to look for the best epoxy resin floor installers to avoid repeating the work.
Epoxy floor coatings for concrete help to enhance its ability to hold the weight. It also adds stability to the surface, helping to carry heavy loads and avoid wear and tear.
Epoxy floor offers protection as it is a sealant. It keeps the concrete below the material from wearing and tearing. As such, it works as a preservation overlay.
6. Covers Damages
Is your old concrete floor damaged? You can use epoxy floor resin to cover these damages. It makes the surface smooth, sleek, and complete. In addition, designer metallic epoxy flooring can add a polished ambiance to imperfections and defects.
The epoxy resin floor price is pocket-friendly. Furthermore, it does not require additional sub-flooring materials, which reduces the installation cost. More so, the fact that it is long-lasting makes it cost-effective.
Many industries and commercial projects choose epoxy floor materials for their safety. Investing in high-quality industrial proxy floor coating, garage epoxy floor, and others gives you a polished look with increased safety. Also, since the surface gets slippery when wet, using anti-slip mixes helps increase traction.
Disadvantages of Epoxy Floor
1. Toxic Fumes
If you are doing DIY interior epoxy flooring, you will notice it has a strong smell when wet. Sometimes, it may emit an ammonia-like smell after you start applying. The emitted fumes are toxic and can have side effects on anyone who is around. They can cause inflammation in the eyes, throat, and nose and irritate the lungs.
However, once the epoxy is fully cured, it does not pose a health risk. To counter this problem, you need to wear protective gear and keep everyone away from the area until it is fully dry. Also, sanding the floor can cause health problems when you inhale the dust.
2. Takes Long to Harden Fully
Once it is installed, it takes several days for the epoxy flooring to harden fully. Epoxy flooring installers advise that the floor should be left to dry for a long duration and in warm conditions. Subjecting it to a slow curing process makes it more durable and stronger.
If you are installing the flooring in a home you are living in; it can be inconvenient. It can take as long as 30 days for some installation.
3. It’s Not a Floor on Its Own
You can not use Epoxy flooring on its own. Mostly, you will find epoxy applied on top of the concrete flooring or steel. We also have epoxied wood floor. This aspect makes the material a temporary flooring solution that will need new coats if it wears. It can be a disadvantage when it happens regularly. To avoid wear and tear, you need professional epoxy floor contractors.
4. Slippery When Wet
Resinous epoxy flooring is non-porous, meaning it creates smooth surfaces. Therefore, when it is wet or oily, the surface can be dangerous. It is a serious disadvantage of epoxy flooring. If you have children or the elderly in the home, it can cause serious concern. However, there are ways you can mitigate this problem. The contractor can:
- Use silica in the final coating to add more grip.
- Get a maximum grip by adding aluminum oxide.
- Use shark grip in the last layer to add texture and resistance.
If the flooring has already been installed without adding any of the above, you can buy containment mats. Unfortunately, some of these methods add an extra cost. Also, containment mats may steal attention away from your cool epoxy floor designs.
5. Installation Process
If you are attempting a DIY project, you will find that the epoxy floor installation process is quite tedious. It entails removing oils, grease, or any solvents. You also need to have ideal humidity levels as moisture can damage the floor.
6. Cold Under feet
If you compare epoxy to hardwood floors, you will notice that it is cold on your feet. This is a similar effect to tiles. However, you solve the problem by using an underfloor heating system on your floor.
How to Install Epoxy Flooring in a Garage
Installing epoxy flooring in a garage is a moderately difficult project. You can attempt a DIY or look for professional installers. Below are the steps to follow.
Step #1: Ensure Your Floor is Suitable for Epoxy
Firstly, test your floor for moisture. Secure a plastic garbage bag on all four sides of the floor for 24 hours. Then, lift the bag gently to see if moisture accumulated. If it is dry, it’s okay to proceed. However, if it is not, your garage floor is not suitable for epoxy.
Next, you need to check for signs of a concealer on the concrete. Pour about 240 ml of water on the surface to see if it beads up. If it does, the floor is also not suitable. If you recently installed the concrete slab, you need to wait for at least 28 days before epoxy resin floor installation.
Lastly, if it’s necessary, remove floor paint. Do not apply epoxy over floor paints as it will not work properly. You can use soda blasting to remove paint from a large garage space. Once you have removed the paint effectively, thoroughly clean the floor with water and remove the remaining powder or debris using an industrial vacuum.
Step #2: Clean and Prime the Floor
In this step, you need to remove grease and oil stains. Use an industrial degreaser to do so and let the floor dry. If you notice areas on the floor with rubber residue from tires, you need to clean it. Fine-grit sandpaper will do the job.
Using an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner to remove residue debris and products is the next step in epoxy garage floor coating application instructions. Once you have done so, use a high-pressure washer to remove the remaining impurities.
Then, you need to etch the floor. You can use hydrochloric acid and ensure you follow the indicated instructions. Once you spray the floor with the diluted acid, you need to wait until it stops bubbling. Using water and baking soda, neutralize the acid and rinse the floor with a lot of water. Leave it to dry overnight.
In the morning, you can check for cracks on the floor and use the epoxy filler to seal them.
Step #3: Choose Your Preferred Epoxy Product and Mix
You can choose between water and solvent-based epoxies. Also, you need to decide if you will use an epoxy primer. Primers help in smoothening out imperfections on the floor. If your floor is highly porous, rough, chalky, or flaky, it is advisable to use a primer.
Buy enough epoxy flooring material for two coats. If you are in doubt, you can take accurate measurements of your garage and get assistance at the store. Finally, you need to get ready to apply the epoxy coating by wearing protective gear. You will need lung protection, gloves, good rubber boots, and eye protection.
Step # 4: Installing the Epoxy Flooring
Using a nap roller, start from the back corner of the room, working towards the exit to apply the epoxy primer. As you do so, do not let the roller become too dry. You can make the work easier by using an extension on your roller.
Leave the applied primer coat for 12 to 24 hours. Keep the room well-ventilated, and avoid stepping into the room as it cures. The epoxy primer and standard epoxy come in two parts. Mix them together one batch at a time right before application.
Epoxy kits come pre-measured, and they have a bucket life of 40 minutes. This means you have a window of 40 minutes before it hardens. The next step in garage floor epoxy application is applying the first epoxy coat. Use the same nap roller and start from the back corner as you move towards the exit. Keep the coat thin and even. Before application, ensure you mix the epoxy immediately. Also, be fast but don’t be sloppy.
Leave the first coat for 24 hours as you wait for it to dry. You should still leave the garage well-ventilated and avoid going in the room as it dries. Before applying the second coat, inspect the floor for any problems. If there holes or cracks, use the epoxy filler and wait for 12 – 16 hours for it to dry.
You can then apply the second coat and remember to add a non-skid product. As the second coat dries, avoid going into the garage before 24 hours are over.
Where Can I Install Epoxy Flooring?
An epoxy floor is ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, garage, basement, swimming pool area, locker rooms, sports venues, showrooms, and places with high foot traffic.
You can contact All American Flooring for all epoxy flooring materials. We have affordable and quality products for your floor. Our epoxy floor installers will also do justice to the material with professional installation services.