Epoxy floor coatings can transform a space, both in terms of design and functionality. Epoxy can extend the life of a concrete slab and offers one of the best flooring lifecycle values on the market. Without the proper substrate preparation, installation and primers, however, epoxy floors can fail.
Here are some of the steps professional installers take to ensure that epoxy floors look and perform as designed:
Professional floor installers need to apply epoxy floor coating to a clean, dry and correctly profiled surface. Experienced installers will know the best way to prepare a concrete surface for the floor system being installed. Mechanical preparation is now the industry standard, with vacuum-assisted shot-blasting or diamond grinding being the typical methods.
All floors, new and existing, must be properly prepared and abraded. Curing compounds and laitance must be removed from new concrete; old coatings, dirt and contaminants must be removed from existing slabs.
When older concrete is saturated with oil or chemicals, installers may need to degrease floors to help ensure proper adhesion of the coating system. In such cases, water recovery with a wet-vac is imperative and all hazardous residue should be disposed of in accordance with local regulations.
Moisture vapor transmission (MVT) that originates under the concrete can move upward through the slab, creating havoc for epoxy flooring or nearly any other type of floor covering. If left undetected and untreated, the presence of MVT can produce blistering in the floor after installation.
To help ensure that the epoxy flooring properly bonds to the substrate and doesn’t become damaged by MVT over time, professionals should test the concrete for in situ humidity and moisture vapor transmission. Florock FloroProof is a unique system that guarantees protection from MVT, based on test results and the selection of correct underlayments, installed by approved contractors.
Epoxy floor coatings are, in themselves, incredibly strong. However, when the epoxy coating is stronger than its substrate, as in the case of weak cement or improperly mixed concrete, problems can arise. A coating system is only as good as what’s underneath. An unstable sub-surface results in a malfunctioning floor topping.
For example, flexible, expansive wood makes a poor substrate for rigid epoxy floor coating systems, which can crack as the wood moves. Sub-floors made of composite board are also not recommended. An ideal epoxy floor coating substrate is a structurally sound, clean and uncontaminated concrete slab.
Seasoned professionals know that one primer doesn’t fit all epoxy flooring systems – and that foregoing a primer when the manufacturer recommends it is a recipe for disaster. Installation of the epoxy primer that’s specifically designed for a given floor system is one way to help ensure that a floor remains well-bonded and has a long usable life.
Beautiful high performance epoxy flooring is the result of a chemical reaction between at least two liquid components, the resin and hardener, which must be combined in proper proportions. The timing and technique of blending, as well as the choice of mixing equipment, all play a role in the success of the final product.