If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably heard about the luxurious, bright, and easy-to-clean epoxy flooring. However, does this gorgeous flooring come with drawbacks that may make it challenging to live in the house? And more importantly, is it suitable for your specific needs?
Here are 12 disadvantages of epoxy flooring:
- Not as comfortable as other flooring options.
- Slippery when wet.
- Long cure time.
- Tedious installation process.
- Challenging to remove.
- Not resistant to wear and tear.
- Not recommended in extremely cold and hot areas.
- Not suitable for all types of floors.
- The chemicals in epoxy are unsafe for your health.
- Requires a lot of maintenance.
- Contact noise when walking.
- Not eco-friendly.
In this article, I’ll discuss the above disadvantages of epoxy flooring in more detail. After reading the following sections, you’ll be better-equipped to decide whether to install or avoid epoxy flooring.
What Is Epoxy Flooring?
Epoxy flooring, also known as resinous flooring, is a system consisting of an epoxy resin and a polyamine hardener. When mixed, these two substances chemically react, producing a rigid, strong plastic material.
The material is then applied as a coating to concrete floors in commercial and industrial buildings to provide a durable, high-strength, smooth, glossy finish that is easy to clean.
Epoxy floors are usually found in basements, kitchens, bathrooms, commercial garages, and industrial buildings because of their durability and resistance to chemicals, grease, and oils. They are also used in hospitals because of their antimicrobial abilities that help maintain sterility.
Disadvantages of Epoxy Flooring
Epoxy flooring has been portrayed as the perfect flooring system. However, like all other options, it comes with its own set of disadvantages you should be aware of before making a final decision.
Here are the top 12 disadvantages of epoxy floors:
1. Not As Comfortable as Other Flooring Options
According to Science Direct, epoxy is a hard material, so it doesn’t have the same cushioning effect as carpet or rubber flooring. This can be an issue if you’re standing on your epoxy floor for extended periods or have children who like playing on the ground
Cushioning floors help reduce fatigue, soreness, and back pain. Thus, if you’re looking for a comfortable flooring option, epoxy might not be the best choice.
2. Slippery When Wet
Epoxy floors are slippery when wet. Slippery floors are a safety hazard, especially in commercial kitchens with a lot of foot traffic and spills.
Slippery floors are riskier for the elderly and children as they often experience issues with balance.
The rate at which epoxy floors dry depends on the temperature in your area. In temperatures of at least 77° F (25° C), your floor will take 9 to 12 hours to dry. On the other hand, if the temperatures fall below 77° F (25° C), your epoxy floor will take more than 12 hours to dry.
If you install an epoxy floor in your kitchen, use non-slip mats or rugs in areas where slipping is highly probable.
3. Long Cure Time
The cure time is the period it takes for the epoxy resin to dry and harden completely. The curing time for your epoxy floor can be longer or shorter than that of another homeowner’s. This is because epoxy floor cure time is affected by various factors like:
- Product type
- The thickness of the coating
The average cure time for an epoxy floor is between 24 to 72 hours. However, it can take up to a week for the floor to completely cure and harden. This means you won’t be able to use your floor during that period.
It’s worth noting that your epoxy will take longer to cure if you live in a colder area.
4. Tedious Installation Process
Epoxy flooring is a complex system that goes through multiple stages. The floor will be of poor quality if one of the stages is missed or done poorly.
Epoxy flooring goes through the following steps:
- Cleaning the concrete and walls.
- Inspecting the floor for paints and drips.
- Scraping the concrete to remove any layer of paint.
- Repairing cracks and holes in the concrete.
- Applying a primer.
- Adding the base coat.
- Adding the topcoat.
As you can see, creating a layer of epoxy flooring is a tedious process. Moreover, you may not be able to accomplish the process if you’re not experienced. You may need to hire a professional for the job, which adds to the installation cost.
5. Challenging To Remove
It’s normal for humans to want change, and many homeowners find great enjoyment and peace in revamping their space every few years. However, the change may not come easily with an epoxy floor.
Epoxy floors are challenging to remove because they’re bonded tightly to the concrete. This makes it difficult to strip the floor without damaging the concrete.
You’ll need special chemicals and equipment to remove an epoxy floor. The process is time-consuming, so you may need to hire a professional.
Removing epoxy is only necessary if you want to transition to a different flooring system. However, if you only want to change the epoxy surface, you can just add another layer on top without removing it.
6. Not Resistant To Wear and Tear
Although epoxy floors are strong, they are not resistant to wear and tear. Over time, the epoxy surface will show wear and tear signs like scratches and dents.
The wear and tear occur due to the fact that epoxy is a hard material. Therefore, a mark is left if something hits it.
You need to be careful with your indoor use of items to prevent the epoxy floor from getting damaged. For instance, avoid using harsh chemicals and abrasive cleaners as they will damage the epoxy surface.
7. Not Recommended in Extremely Cold or Hot Areas
Epoxy flooring is not ideal for areas that experience extreme temperatures. This is because epoxy is a thermosetting plastic that can’t withstand extreme temperatures.
Avoid installing an epoxy floor if you live in an area with extreme cold or hot temperatures. Otherwise, the epoxy will start to crack and peel due to the temperature changes.
8. Not Suitable for All Types of Floors
Epoxy flooring is only suitable for concrete floors. If you have a wooden or tile floor, epoxy flooring is not an option.
Epoxy needs an entirely smooth surface to adhere to. Otherwise, it won’t bond properly with the floor, which will cause it to peel and crack over time. Remember, you don’t want to invest your hard-earned cash in installing epoxy only to have it cracked within weeks or months. Therefore, avoiding epoxy flooring is wise if you have tiled or wooden floors.
9. The Chemicals in Epoxy Are Unsafe for Your Health
Epoxy is made of two main ingredients: resin and hardener. The resin may be Bisphenol A, Bisphenol F, or Novolac. These ingredients are mixed to create the epoxy flooring system.
The problem is that both ingredients are toxic. According to the Chemical Safety Facts Organization, inhaling the fumes from these chemicals can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, asthma, and headaches.
You need to be especially careful if you’re installing epoxy in a small space. The chemicals can build up and cause health problems if there’s not enough ventilation.
10. Requires a Lot of Maintenance
Epoxy floors require regular maintenance to keep them looking good as new. For instance, you need to regularly clean the floor with a mild soap and water solution. However, you should be careful not to use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners as they will damage the epoxy surface.
You also need to sweep and mop the floor regularly.
If there’s dirt or grime on the floor, you need to scrub it with a stiff brush. You should also be careful when brushing to avoid damaging or leaving marks on the floor.
11. Contact Noise When Walking
Epoxy floors become hard after curing fully. The hard surface produces contact noise when walking due to the hard epoxy flooring contacting your shoes.
This noise can be annoying, especially if you’re trying to sleep or concentrate on something. In some cases, the noise can even cause hearing problems if too many people constantly walk on the floor.
12. Not Eco-Friendly
Epoxy floors are not eco-friendly because they contain harmful chemicals. These chemicals can leach into the soil and groundwater, causing environmental problems.
Moreover, epoxy floors are made of petroleum products. Therefore, they contribute to air pollution and climate change.
Factors To Consider Before Installing Epoxy Floors
Epoxy floors are not ideal for everyone. There are several factors you need to consider before deciding whether or not to install an epoxy floor. The main factors are:
- Climate: Think about the climate in your area before installing epoxy floors. If you live in an area with extreme cold or hot temperatures, epoxy floors are not the best option.
- Type of floor: Epoxy floors work well on concrete floors. However, if you have a wooden or tile floor, epoxy is not an option.
- Size of the room: If installing epoxy in a small room, ensure enough ventilation. The chemicals in epoxy can be harmful if there’s not enough ventilation.
- Maintenance: Epoxy floors require regular maintenance to keep them looking good as new. Therefore, if you’re always busy, hiring someone to clean the floor regularly will be necessary.
Types of Epoxy Flooring
Epoxy flooring comes in different varieties.
The common types are:
- Quartz-Filled Epoxy Floor: It combines stained quartz grains with a clear epoxy resin to create a durable, slip-resistant floor. Such floors are ideal for high-traffic areas such as restaurants, hospitals, and schools.
- Epoxy Mortar Floor: It’s made of quartz sand and solid epoxies. The floor is ideal for areas that require a smooth and level surface resistant to harsh chemicals, such as laboratories and industrial kitchens.
- Self-Dispersing Epoxy Floor: It’s made of epoxy resins and self-dispersing pigments. The floor is slip-resistant and easy to clean. This type of floor is ideal for constantly wet areas such as bathrooms and showers.
- Epoxy Flake Floor: These floors contain colored flake materials inserted in a clear epoxy resin to make them more aesthetically pleasing The floor is ideal for residential and commercial areas that require an attractive floor.
How To Install Epoxy Floors
Installing epoxy floors is a complicated process that should only be done by a professional.
The process involves:
- Floor Preparation: The floor is prepared to incorporate the new coat of epoxy. Preparation involves cleaning the floor to remove dirt, grease, and dust. All cracks and holes are also filled with an epoxy filler. The floor also goes through grinding, scarifying, and shot blasting.
- Priming: The floor is primed with a self-leveling primer to create a smooth surface. This is necessary to ensure the epoxy flooring adheres to the floor.
- Re-Layering the Floor: Re-layering involves sanding, grounding, and testing for sealant. The testing involves pouring enough water on the floor. The floor is considered ready for epoxy flooring if it doesn’t soak the water.
- Epoxy Coating: The next step is to apply the epoxy coating mixed with a hardener. This is done using a roller, brush, or sprayer. The thickness of the coating depends on the type of epoxy used.
- Curing: After applying the epoxy coating, it’s left to cure for a period determined by the temperature in the area. The colder the temperature, the longer the curing time. During the curing time, the epoxy hardens and becomes durable.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do Epoxy Floors Last?
Epoxy floors can last up to 10 years in garages, patios, and other residential areas with great care. However, it’s worth noting that the climatic conditions in a location also affect how long these floors last. Epoxy floors will not last long in extreme weather conditions.
What Will Damage an Epoxy Floor?
Gas, oil, and car chemicals can all damage an epoxy floor. Therefore, you should be careful when handling these chemicals around the floor. Otherwise, epoxy floors are pretty resilient to most substances and spills.