For those who believe that epoxy floor coating hasn’t been around very long, it may come as a surprise to learn that this remarkable floor finish began as a formulation that was invented to make dental fixtures back in the 1930s.
The brainchild of Dr. Pierre Castan of Switzerland and Dr. Sylvan Greenlee of the United States, the very first epoxy products on the market were amber colored and they were widely used as adhesives.
These days, there are more than 50 types of epoxy resins on the market, and while not every one of them is appropriate for flooring, it’s interesting to know that this material has become a favorite of business and homeowners for the past 90 years.
In this article we’ll discuss the pros and cons of epoxy floors, cost of this material type and other details, so let’s get started.
What is Epoxy Flooring?
Fact is, there are two types of epoxy flooring. While the term is used interchangeably, it’s wise to understand where differences lie before you commit to having your epoxy floor installed.
To differentiate them, determine the thickness of the surfaces being compared. Epoxy floors must meet a standard of being at least two millimeters thick, say professionals at EpoxyCentral.com.
Epoxy flooring that measures less than two millimeters in thickness belongs in the epoxy floor “coating” family. In either case, covering a floor with an epoxy product requires the application of multiple layers of this viscous product.
Whether your desire is to give your kitchen floor an epoxy coating or you are renovating a commercial building and require floors capable of standing up to continual abuse, you won’t be disappointed when you discover just how versatile and easy to clean epoxy is.
5 Types of Epoxy Flooring
-Self-leveling epoxy should be your choice if you’re applying the medium over old, damaged, cracked concrete (see picture above).
-Opt for epoxy mortar if the floor is likely to be exposed harsh chemical spills and frequent impact-related assaults.
-Consider quartz-filled epoxy for decorative spaces that must meet slip-resistant criteria.
-Use anti-static epoxy if static electricity is prevalent and flammable materials are in constant use.
-Employ epoxy flakes and chips to create unique patterns that give floors an elegant, decorative punch.
-Commercial- and industrial-grade epoxies are specifically formulated for driveways and garages.
Main Advantages of Epoxy Flooring
- Epoxy floors are affordable. The per-square-foot cost is almost impossible to replicate when compared to alternate materials, and it’s a primary reason epoxy flooring is preferred for highly-traffic areas like garages and warehouses by contractors working with tight budgets.
- Epoxy floors are attractive, clean-looking, brightly reflective and professional looking. They require very little maintenance to keep them clean and they’re easy to sanitize, a major reason epoxy is installed on hospital and clinic floors.
- Epoxy floors are impervious to chemical assaults that would destroy another type of floor. Even spills from oil, bleach, gasoline, automotive products and harsh cleaning products won’t diminish the finish and this material is ideal for floors where the safety and welfare of people are a priority.
- Epoxy floors are so durable, they outlive a long list of other surface materials with the exclusion of concrete. As long as the epoxy finish is properly applied, it will hold up and for those who must stand on it for long periods of time, epoxy surfaces deliver anti-fatigue benefits.
- Epoxy floor colors have evolved from the original amber-colored hue to a limitless variety of color options that produce surfaces that may showcase patterns and designs capable of enhancing traditional and contemporary environments.
Main Disadvantages of Epoxy Flooring
- Epoxy flooring isn’t meant to be permanent. You will have to replace it eventually because despite all of its pluses, wear and tear takes a toll on epoxy floors, especially if heavy things are repeatedly dropped on the surface.
- Epoxy flooring can crack and chip. Even the smallest chip can cause the coating to start peeling away from the floor. Damaged spots, if not repaired as soon as they’re noted, can cause ruts that catch wheels, shoes and other materials that come into contact with the floor.
- Epoxy floors can be slippery. Though widely known as skid-resistant, oil-epoxy can lead to slips and falls. All epoxy floors can turn into treacherous surfaces if they become wet, which is why many of today’s epoxy floor installers are stipulating textured epoxy finishes that offer a better grip.
- Epoxy flooring installation can be a time-consuming, tedious process, requiring hard labor and meticulous pre-application cleaning. Skipping the cleaning process and ignoring cracks will undermine the floor’s integrity and if the floor doesn’t dry properly between applications, it could begin deteriorating fast. Epoxy removal is a laborious, expensive, time-consuming process, too.
- Epoxy emits strong fumes that can range from annoying to so offensive, they can make someone sick. The darker the shade of the epoxy product you choose, the worse the odor will be because hardeners needed to produce dark colors require more ammonia during the manufacturing process.
Cost of Epoxy Flooring
After consulting credible resources, the round-up published by HomeAdvisor.com has the most detailed breakout, so count on these figures to estimate the job you have in mind. These figures do not include geographic pricing differences, but you can use them to ballpark your project’s costs.
-The average cost of coating an existing concrete floor with epoxy products is $2,156, based on a national range of between $1,431 and $2,947.
-The typical per-square-foot cost of an epoxy floor is between $3 and $12; the majority of which is labor cost.
–Materials needed to coat a floor with epoxy product cost between $2 and $5 per square foot.
-The cost of labor to do the job averages $1 to $7 per square foot.
-Choose solid epoxy over water-based epoxy and be prepared to spend three times the amount you would if you opted for a water-based formulation.
-A 250-square foot single epoxy garage floor will cost between $750 to $3,000. If it’s a double garage (400 to 500 square feet), you’ll spend between $1,200 and $6,000.
-Covering a basement or kitchen floor with epoxy runs between $3 and $12 per foot unless you choose a ‘decorative’ product infused with chips or flakes.
-If you intend to make this a DYI project, materials and equipment will set you back between $2 and $5 per square foot.
–DIY kits at home improvement stores are priced at between $50 and $600, at an average cost of $250. These kits do not include sealant, cleaner, de-greaser, patching compounds or application tools.
Other facts you should know about epoxy floor projects
-Epoxy takes at least 24 hours between coats to dry properly and since three coats are required to achieve the thickness you desire, you can expect to spend three 9-hour days to get this project from start to finish.
-If you’re pouring epoxy and urethane sealers over concrete, it’s best to estimate 28 days of curing time before anyone walks on — or anything is placed — on the floor.
-Some driveways may require a 6-month period of curing and sealing to deliver the surface you seek.
-Only apply epoxy products when weather conditions are dry or the epoxy may fail to adhere to the floor surface, no matter how long it cures.
-Professionals say that ideal conditions for undertaking this task require a 24-hour period in which the average temperature is 50-degrees F.
-Give whichever sealer you choose to finish the job at least three full days to dry before walking or driving over the newly-installed epoxy floor.
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