If you like the shine and feel of epoxy and would love your flooring to have a similar effect, then pouring an epoxy floor might be the most straightforward thing to do. Adding the right pigment before the pour can give an artistic effect to your interior. But before you decide on the pour, you need to know how much epoxy you need by understanding the right thickness requirements.
An epoxy floor must be 300 to 600 microns thick for it to be stable and durable. A thinner floor will crack more easily, while a thicker one can become uneven and trap bubbles. Pouring an epoxy floor is a high-heat project and must not be carried out unsupervised by a novice.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about having an epoxy floor, including the risks and benefits of having one. You’ll also learn how to convert microns to other units for easier measurement. By the end, you’ll know if you’re ready to have an epoxy floor.
Floor Thickness: A Brief Overview
Floor thickness is measured in microns as standard packing usage but can also be measured in gauge or millimeters, simply defined as light-duty or heavy-duty. Micron is the new metric standard used for precision, and accurate measurements and gauge is more like a traditional imperial measurement unit. The larger the micron, the thicker the floor, and that applies to gauge and millimeter as well. You can easily convert gauge to micron by dividing by four, and dividing micron by 1000 can give thickness in millimeters.
A thicker epoxy floor requires adequate surface preparation, without which the thick layer doesn’t get anchored to the substrate. If the epoxy floor is too thick, it would keep floating above the flooring and would be ineffective in serving its purpose.
Looking into factors such as the condition of the floor, chemical exposure, and traffic through the area is extremely important to figure out the correct thickness of an epoxy floor as one not anchored to the surface produces complications.
A thick epoxy floor consists of a primer and usually one or two coats of paint. The recommended floor thickness ranges between 300 and 600 microns depending upon the number of coats, but if an epoxy floor is thinner than that, it would quickly wear out. Exposure to cleaning products or chemicals would speed up the wearing process.
Thinner epoxy floors are only recommended for light traffic like storage rooms, warehouses with little traffic, or home garages or for the protection of freshly poured concrete slabs free of gouges, pitting, or deep cracks. They would not hold up well in deep cracks in pits and would require a more expensive resurfacing system or thicker patching.
Can Epoxy Floor Get Cracked?
Epoxy as a material has very little flexibility, and epoxy floors are quite rigid. Even slight shifts in the foundation can cause cracks in an epoxy coating which are quite expensive to treat as they require new epoxy layers. It is common to believe that floor coatings can prevent cracks, which is not the case.
Cracking floors are usually a concern when a house’s foundation starts settling, which cannot be prevented by a floor coating. Cracks can show over time even if the settling process is significant enough.
Should You Pour Your Own Epoxy Floor?
You can pour your own epoxy floor but only after learning about the basic dos and don’ts. This is because a failed epoxy coating does not provide the protection and durability it is known for and, once installed, is very difficult to remove.
Therefore, you would be left with unattractive and uneven flooring if the process is not undertaken correctly. If you believe that you can pour your own epoxy floor without any mess-ups, the task is yours.
Improper preparation of epoxy, applying it in undesirable temperature and humidity, and not cleaning the floor before application are some of the common reasons for failed epoxy floors, which can be avoided with a little research and caution.
Things To Keep In Mind When Pouring Your Own Epoxy Floor
Improper preparation of both epoxy and concrete flooring is one of the most common mistakes that ruin the installation of epoxy flooring. Preparing the surface of the room is the first thing you need to do, as improper preparation causes the flooring to peel.
Epoxy does not adhere to smooth surfaces, and thus even a brand new concrete floor needs to be properly prepped. Use an industrial vacuum to remove any oil, grease, or debris, which can cause the formation of round holes in the finish by pulling away. Once the dirt is removed, prime the floor with an epoxy primer suggested by your supplier so that your surface can have a long finish.
Primer gives better adhesion to the epoxy coating as the substrate gets sealed in it, removing any unnecessary gasses or bubbles. Apply the primer in a well-ventilated room in two coats to effectively seal the surface. Use epoxy grout for cracks, holes, and other surfaces with imperfections.
Take help from proper tools to slice the crack before filling in the product to improve the adhesion of the grout. When mixing the first coat, make sure to thoroughly mix the contents in an electric mixer, as weak coatings are a result of poor content fusion. Use a good quality roller for application and recoat the ground after 24 hours.
You can administer the final coat after viewing the surface for any cracks or holes which need to be filled up. Keep in view that an epoxy floor coating has a short pot life and thus should only be mixed in the amount required for one sitting.
Best Practices To Maintain Epoxy Floors
Sweep Your Floor Regularly
Regular sweeping keeps dust, sand, girt, and debris under control as they can scratch the epoxy surface. High trafficked areas should be swept daily, and less trafficked ones at least weekly. Make sure to do a thorough cleaning by removing any furniture or rugs to prevent the floor underneath from getting scratched. If there is heavy equipment across the floor, sweep first so that dirt doesn’t get trapped underneath the equipment leaving scratches.
Clean Stains And Spots Properly
Although epoxy flooring is water-resistant, it is essential to clean up any spills promptly with a wet and dry vacuum. Some stains may require more effort than using a vacuum, but do not leave them be. Harsh chemicals and scrubbing pads should be avoided at all costs, so should citrus and vinegar-based cleaners.
These harsh chemicals can affect the shine and durability of your epoxy floor by breaking down the epoxy catalyst. The use of kitchen sponges and gentle cleansers is advisable to scrub away hard stains that do not go away with a vacuum.
Be Selective With Cleaners
Many cleaners possess harmful and harsh substances that strip your epoxy floor of its shine. Soap can also build upon the floor and affects its quality. You can clean up by simply using a mop or deck and some warm water. A hard foam mop and some hot water can be used to strip the buildup if your flooring is particularly soiled. You can also use a mixture of 2 to 3 ounces of clear ammonia per gallon of water for one final mop.
Deal With Serious Chemicals Seriously
It is common in some environments for car and industry-related chemicals to form spills on flooring. You should deal with these serious chemical spills promptly and adequately. Use shop or paper towels to wipe up antifreeze, oil, gasoline, or similar chemicals and dispose of them accordingly. Other harsh chemicals containing household cleaners, paint, and abrasive liquids should also be cleaned up immediately, as letting them sit on an epoxy floor causes fast wear and tear.
Avoid Using Sharp Objects
High-quality epoxy floors are resistant to puncturing and scratching, but you should still avoid contact between your floor and sharp objects. Do not drag objects that can puncture the flooring and ensure that liquids and dirt do not get into any scratches that may have formed. Although epoxy floors can bear a lot of scratches before showing signs of wear, you still need to take necessary precautions to enhance its life and quality.
3 Best Resins For Epoxy Floors
Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield Floor Coating
Rust-Oleum EpoxyShield Floor Coating is an expertly crafted 2-part formula ideal for coating concrete floors. It is five times tougher than a single application epoxy coat, and has low odor and VOC gloss. Since it is designed for garage floors, it can obviously handle foot traffic; epoxy that doesn’t get damaged from a vehicle’s weight won’t buckle under foot-weight.
After 24 hours of application, you’ll be able to walk on it without denting or scratching the coat. And if you let the coat sit without impact for three days, you’ll be ready to place heavy furniture on it. It has over 600 reviews on Amazon because most people buy it off-amazon from Rust Oleum’s own website.
But since the prices are the same, I prefer getting it off of Amazon, where the reviews are verified. With nearly 700 reviews, the product has a 4.4 out of 5 stars rating, of which “easy to use” and “value for money” properties are rated the highest. You can now see why this is a no-brainer for epoxy floors.
ClearEpoxy Resin Coating for Floors
This industrial grade epoxy has incredible grip over any naturally rough surface. Even a relatively smoother surface can be roughed up and covered by this resin. Given that most floors are made from stone, wood, or metal, this epoxy coating has almost universal floor-covering compatibility. That said, it isn’t the best if you have tiled floors, vinyl flooring, or any other glossy surface already covering your concrete floors.
ClearEpoxy Resin Coating is self-leveling which makes it easier to apply (read: harder to mess up), and is designed to cover concrete flooring. While the manufacturer suggests that the coat can be applied over previously applied epoxy, I wouldn’t recommend that as this coat works best on rougher surfaces. It has a global average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars, with “durability” being its highest valued specific trait (4.3 out of 5 stars).
Rust-Oleum Rocksolid Polycuramine Garage Floor Coating
This product is designed for garage floors by one of the leading paint and construction-grade coating manufacturers in the market. Rust-Oleum Rocksolid Polycuramine Garage Floor Coating is durable enough for any floor that experiences heavy foot traffic. It is a self-leveling coat that’s relatively easy to apply, though requires a skilled worker for best results. More importantly, it is the strongest option on this list with 20 times the average epoxy strength. The drawback is that it is gray in color, which might not be as aesthetic for non-carpeted interiors. But if you can look past that, Rocksolid Polycuramine Floor Coating is the most durable option with over 800 reviews placing it at an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
Epoxy floors can be difficult to pour and hard to maintain, but if you pour the right thickness and treat them with care, you’ll have a floor that looks like a work of art. This will be an expensive proposition, but your flooring will truly look like something money cannot buy.