Whether you like the aesthetic possibilities of using epoxy to coat your floors or want something simple yet durable to cover your garage concrete, you have to look into the material’s durability before deciding you want it for your home.
Epoxy floors are resistant to scratches from foot traffic, heavy object placement, and personal vehicle use, provided a durable countertop epoxy or garage-grade epoxy is poured over a concrete surface. Single-layer epoxy can incur damage from sharp objects being dragged across its surface.
In this article, you will learn more about the contexts in which your epoxy floor is safe and also the ones in which it can incur damage. You will also find how epoxy fares against tiles, wooden floors, and other flooring materials. Finally, you will discover the key advantages of having an epoxy floor. Let’s get started by exploring what constitutes scratch resistance.
Scratch-resistance: A Brief Overview
Scratch-resistance isn’t binary; it is a property that a material manifests on a sliding scale. Some materials are more scratch-proof than others. Epoxy floors, like any floor cover, are more scratch-resistant than certain options and a little less abrasion-proof than others. The question shouldn’t be whether epoxy floors can withstand impact without being scratched; it should be along the lines of how much impact can epoxy floor bear without getting scratched.
While the history of scratch hardness testing goes back to the 1820s, when the earliest tests were developed to understand how scratch-resistant a material is, the exact measure will not help. Here’s what will: knowing whether the everyday impact on your epoxy floors will have any adverse effect on the material.
How Scratch-proof Is an Epoxy Floor?
Epoxy floors are subject to the following impact.
Most epoxy floors can withstand medium-level foot traffic. Premium epoxy systems don’t get scratched even if people are to run wearing heavy work boots or shoes with studs. If you’re planning on pouring an epoxy coat over an indoor hallway, you will find it scratch-resistant enough.
Generally, epoxy floors will not get dented or scratched by the weight of furniture or the impact of putting down a bookshelf or a heavy table. However, furniture with sharp legs and edges can open up the sealant layer atop certain epoxy floors. If you plan on pouring an epoxy layer over a room floor, it is advisable to use furniture padding when dragging a heavy object across a single-layer epoxy floor.
Bicycle / Stroller
For epoxy floors in hallways, there’s a high likelihood of an encounter with wheels. From bicycles to scooters, strollers to rollerblades, the floor is exposed to off-road vehicles. Fortunately, most 2-part epoxy countertop and floor covers can withstand such traffic without getting scratched.
However, you must keep wheeled toys, personal vehicles, and heavy objects off the epoxy even when it is safe for foot traffic. It usually takes the epoxy floor three times longer to be ready for objects and impact other than foot traffic.
For medium-sized cars (and obviously small ones), a garage-grade epoxy coat is strong enough. As long as you wait for the epoxy to be vehicle-ready, you can drive your car on it without denting or scratching it. This is ideal for driveways and garages.
Recreational Vehicles cannot be parked outside during the winter because snowfall can affect a vehicle’s roof. So, can you bring an RV into your epoxy floored garage? Not right away. Epoxy floors can get dented and scratched if a recreational vehicle or a heavy truck drives over them. They need an additional pour for protection, but given that you prepare the surface properly, you should be able to drive a heavier vehicle on epoxy without scratching the floor.
Even though epoxy floors don’t get scratched by polished shoes or fresh leather oxfords, such shoes can leave scuff marks that look like scratches and require clean-up. You might have to scuff-test your shoes and use a doormat to keep dirt marks and shoe polish from getting imprinted on the epoxy surface.
How do epoxy floors compare to other flooring?
Epoxy Floors vs. Tiles
Epoxy floors are more scratch-proof than tiles. Even though certain tiles don’t get scratched easily, their brittleness is a liability because a broken tile is permanently cracked. In contrast, a fresh layer of epoxy can be applied over scratched epoxy to make the floor functional.
Epoxy Floors vs. Stained concrete
Stained concrete floors are tougher than wooden flooring. However, the concrete’s color coating is not anywhere near Epoxy Floors in terms of durability. Epoxy floors will not scratch as easily as stained concrete, though concrete stain scratches can be fixed more easily.
Epoxy Floors vs. Paint
Painted and polished floors are also trendy in certain states. Especially with polished floors, the look can resemble that of clear epoxy, but this closeness is in appearance only. Paint has very little scratch resistance, making even substandard epoxy coating more durable than premium paints. The difference in scratch hardness might not be as drastic with polished floors, but epoxy floors are still the tougher of the two.
Why Epoxy Floors Are a Good Idea
Now that you know how scratch-proof epoxy floors are in the context of daily use and in comparison to other floor coating options let’s explore other benefits of epoxy that might not be on your radar.
Resistant to Household Chemicals
It is obvious that floors are subject to foot traffic and sometimes indoor furniture dragging. But what most people overlook are chemical spills. Chemicals aren’t just foreign liquids stored in a chemist’s lab; they’re in everything from window cleaners to paint thinner and everything in between. Fortunately, floor covering epoxies are resistant to a huge range of household chemicals, solvents, and even acids. This is not the case with concrete polish.
Quicker to Apply/Use
Save for floor-staining, almost every other method of covering the floor for daily use takes longer than epoxy pouring. There are systems that are ready for foot traffic in just eight hours. The only option quicker than this is to throw a thick carpet over an unprepared surface, a practice that cannot even be considered an equivalent. That said, one cannot be hasty when pouring epoxy as systems that aren’t self-leveling might be risky to rush; no one wants an uneven floor.
Easy for Daily Use
Epoxy floors make your life easy: you don’t have to run towards the closest absorbent rag anytime there’s a liquid spill. Being seamless allows them to keep liquids out, while their relatively shiny surface makes it easier to get smudges off them. This convenience is most obvious when comparing epoxy floors to wooden ones because even sealed wood floors have a comparatively higher risk of damage from household use.
Mostly Water Resistant
While epoxy floors are inherently well-sealed, excessive water exposure can cause warping and floor damage. However, unless there’s a flood, your epoxy floor is safe from water damage. Compare that to paint, which can fade upon getting hosed repeatedly, and you can see why epoxy is the floor coat of choice for most concrete floors.
Scratches are visually unpleasant but also have functional vulnerability. The advantage of a premium epoxy coat is that your floor will be impact-proof alongside being scratch-proof. Pouring an epoxy coat over your floor might seem like an expensive option. However, it is well worth the dollar because you’re not constantly worrying about who or what is on your floor.
Good for Floor Heating
The advantages above all feed into a meta-advantage: durable epoxy frees you from stressing over potential damage to your floors. This advantage, however, is different in that it makes your life more convenient. With an epoxy floor, you can get floor heating systems as the melting point of a garage-grade epoxy is quite high.
One can theoretically turn up floor heating high enough to melt epoxy. That said, for temperatures up to 200 degrees, the epoxy floor remains solid. In contrast, the vinyl floor starts incurring damage at one-third of that temperature.
Epoxy Floors Can Be Aesthetic
This advantage is a little thin as one has to sacrifice durability to improve epoxy aesthetics. Artist resins and epoxies are much easier to scratch but prettier to look at. Usually, countertop epoxies and garage-grade epoxies are used to cover floors. Still, you can add pigment to these industrial epoxies and make them more visually appealing. Alternatively, you can stain the concrete to your desired visual look and seal it with a clear epoxy coat.
Epoxy Floor Can Be Recoated, Unlike Tiles
Finally, one of the greatest advantages of epoxy floors is that there is room for repair. While badly poured epoxy is hard to fix, if your previous epoxy floor is wearing out, you can recoat it without having to remove the previous layer. From vinyl to wood and paint to tile, no other flooring option allows such relayering without removing the previous application.
Epoxy floors are seriously scratch-resistant to the degree that you will never have to worry about having a scratched floor as long as your floor incurs daily activity impact from things like walking, moving furniture, dropping objects, and even driving vehicles over the surface.