Epoxy resins are adhesive synthetic thermosetting polymers containing epoxide groups. Sound complicated? They’re actually one of the simplest ways to improve your floor and protect it, provided application is carried out by a professional.
According to adhesives.org, epoxies provide a “rigid but tough bond lines and have excellent adhesion to metals. Chemical and environmental resistance is excellent. Most formulations have a paste consistency and can be applied by trowel or extruded as beads. They easily fill gaps and provide excellent sealing properties particularly against harsh chemicals.”
How does floor epoxy coating work?
Epoxy floor coatings work through a special chemical reaction caused when a resin and hardeners are mixed. The result is a robust and rigid plastic surface that binds incredibly well to most floor substrates.
If you’re wondering exactly what it’s made from, it’s actually a few different components. The resin itself is made of acetone and phenol combined with epichlorohydrin (a type of liquid propylene). Phenol originally came from coal tar, but now is usually refined from petrochemicals.
Once professionally mixed, and the chemical reaction is complete, the epoxy needs to be cured. After 24-48 hours (temperature/humidity dependent) it becomes strong, stable, non-reactive barrier for flooring. Once hardened, epoxy is known to withstand reactions with most common chemicals, making it the perfect choice for industrial floor applications.
How is a floor epoxy coating applied?
In its liquid form, epoxy is roughly the consistency of maple syrup. It can be poured onto a level or semi-level surface and spread across cracks and other floor abnormalities.
Epoxy coatings can also be coloured before application, or mixed with small particles to create a vibrant flake flooring effect. Colours might be used for more than just for interior design tastes, including to designate zones and safety walkways.
Epoxy might also be mixed with graded sand or quartz crystals to create a hardwearing, non-slip surface. Mortar epoxy flooring is thicker than the self-levelling mix and is usually troweled into place and levelled manually. Its texture makes it ideal for wet areas in commercial kitchens, public bathrooms, and risk areas in warehouses, showrooms or commercial tenancies.
What preparation is required for an epoxy floor coating?
All surfaces need to be clean and dry before epoxy application. At Kleenit, we use our commercial high-pressure cleaning equipment to do the job right. If there are large cracks or chips on a concrete floor, these will need to be filled. Smaller cracks are less of a concern, however, they will show through in a clear or semi-clear application.
Oil and grease stains can also show though epoxy applications and interfere with the bonding long term. In say, a commercial garage, we’d work to use an acid removal technique prior to cleaning to clear grease from the porous material.
Any fixtures that may need to be removed in future will need to be taken out and stored at this time also, which may include rack shelving and furniture.
How do you cure floor epoxy coating?
‘Curing’ is the process of getting the epoxy floor coating to harden consistently. In most Australian climates, this will occur naturally in a short amount of time, especially in the warmer months. In cooler areas, heating lamps or blankets may be needed to accelerate the process (where a faster turnaround is required).
Where to get started with floor epoxy coating
Epoxy floors are relatively straight-forward to apply with an expert on the job. The steps above many differ in your situation, so it’s worth getting a quote for your epoxy floor coating job. Kleenit offers free estimates for epoxy floor coating in Australia, so get in touch today.