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Key Considerations for Epoxy Flooring System Specification

cracked concrete floor

Substrate Evaluation: An Experienced Professional Can Recommend a Solution

No other surface in a building undergoes more intense abuse than flooring. Every day, facility floors are subjected to shock, abrasion, chemicals, temperature extremes, and many other potentially damaging influences. Regardless of location, or whether the building serves an industrial, commercial or institutional function, concrete floors need protection. For many specifiers, choosing the type of protective material to fit various conditions can be particularly challenging.

Over the last three decades, the options for concrete floor protection have increased dramatically. The main objectives include protecting the slab from deterioration, environmental contamination, or to deliver some additional benefit such as aesthetic appearance, protection from wear, creating a skid-inhibiting surface, resistance to chemicals, ease of maintenance, and several other factors.

Many materials commonly used to cover concrete floors, such as wood, tile, vinyl sheeting, ceramic, or carpeting, can offer some benefit, but are primarily used for aesthetic purposes. Coatings that are bonded directly to the surface offer superior long-term protection. One of the best solutions is an epoxy flooring system.

Following are key considerations when specifying an epoxy-based floor covering. 

Important First Questions

Before beginning the selection process, it’s important to have the answers to the following questions:

  • Is the surface new or existing concrete?
  • What is the current condition of the slab? Is it structurally sound, clean and uncontaminated?
  • Is there any damage present, including cracks, and can it be repaired?
  • Has the floor been tested for Moisture Vapor Transmission and if the reading is high, what will be the recourse?

Surface Preparation

forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material against the concrete surface under high pressure

Proper Mechanical Surface Preparation

Before applying any type of coating, experienced professional installers know it is imperative to repair any damage and properly prepare the concrete. This applies to both new and existing concrete and help will ensure a long-lasting finish. When it comes to opening the pores of the concrete surface to best receive the primer, mechanical preparation methods often yield the best results. Shot-blasting (forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material against the concrete surface under high pressure) and diamond grinding (removing a thin surface layer using closely-spaced diamond saw blades) are two typical methods.

Environmental Exposure

It’s also important to ensure that the specified epoxy flooring is suitable for the conditions to which it will be exposed, including the curing period. Normally, during the first 72 hours of drying, temperatures between 55 degrees and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and at least 5 degrees Fahrenheit above the dew point are required. Relative humidity of 85 percent or lower is ideal. If the facility in question regularly experiences environmental extremes outside these ranges, special flooring material formulations, including faster curing products, are readily available.

Specification Inclusion Considerations

installation parameters

Well-Specified Floors Perform as Designed & Look Great!

What installation parameters should be included in the floor coating specification? The following are just a few to consider.

  • Performance: What level of protection and other characteristics, such as abrasion, chemical and impact resistance, is required of the epoxy flooring system?
  • Application Methods: What installation method(s) does the coating manufacturer recommend? Product technical data sheets may describe a variety of typical techniques, such as airless spray, brush, roller, squeegee/trowel, etc.
  • Film Build: Fluid-applied concrete flooring systems can range from 12 mils to 150 mils thick and more. What do the facility conditions require?
  • Air Movement: It is very important to have fresh air circulating over the surface during drying, yet dust must be kept to a minimum.
  • Induction Time of Mixed Liquids: This can be critical, especially during cold weather or high humidity.
  • Pot Life: Two-component epoxies have a blended life after being mixed. This should be strictly adhered to, since the blended liquid coating may appear usable, but will display poor performance once installed.
  • Timing and Other Trades: Jobsite coordination is imperative. Coated floors must be isolated and un-trafficked during the curing period.
  • Odor: Will odor be a concern in or around the application area? If so, consider specifying air management requirements and/or low-odor floor coatings
  • Aesthetics: Some epoxies tend to yellow more than others over time. This effect is more noticeable in white and off-white colors. Florock offers non-yellowing, light-stable products for beautifully clear, bright white and light-colored topcoats over the long-term.

Your regional Florock technical representative is available to assist you with facility flooring selection and customized specification. For your convenience, downloadable architectural specs are also available online. For more information, call at 1-800-FLOROCK (356-7625), or 001-773-376-7132 from outside the U.S.


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