Advice for installing epoxy flooring
Want to give the concrete floor in your basement or garage a clean look but still retain the high durability and sheen of concrete?
Epoxy coatings can give your concrete floors a clean, finished look. The hardened, high-gloss polish resists scuffing and abrasions, and it can last up to 20 years.
Before using epoxy coating on concrete, consider that if the concrete is new, it will need to have cured for at least 30 days. The concrete must also be totally free of moisture before coating the surface to ensure the epoxy adheres correctly.
The process for preparing and applying epoxy is similar to that of painting. In addition to curing required for concrete products, the surface needs to be cleaned. This is especially true with new concrete, which usually has a crust of dirt that needs to be removed. The surface also needs to be clear of oil, grease, wax or previously applied sealers containing these products. Sometimes air can rise from the cement, causing bubbling on the surface. This can be avoided by adding a layer of primer first.
There are three main types of flooring epoxy. Each of these epoxy systems are water-based, and low in odor and VOCs:
1. One-part system: Several manufacturers now offer user-friendly, ready-to-use epoxies that don’t require mixing before application. Their performance is considered comparable to two-part systems, resisting hot tire marks, chemicals, oil, grease and gasoline stains. Newer varieties also are considered UV-stable and won’t yellow or chalk when applied to exterior slabs, such as driveways.
2. Two-component breathable epoxies: Many epoxies can’t overcome moisture issues, such as concrete slabs with high moisture evaporation rates, but newer two-component systems can be used after as few as five days after it cures.
3. Fast-setting epoxies: Many epoxies require a minimum of 24 hours of drying time between coats and need to be cured for several days before the area can be used. Newer epoxies can dry within 20 minutes and cure in as few as 12 hours.
Though installing an epoxy flooring could be tackled by a proficient DIY enthusiast, it’s a project that can be completed more quickly and cleanly by an epoxy flooring professional. When choosing a company to hire, research reviews on Angie's List and make sure you check references, insurance and bonding, and licensure, if necessary.