6 Mistakes That Result in Ugly Epoxy Industrial Concrete Floors
Epoxy floor coatings are applied to industrial concrete floors to not only seal the concrete, but also to extend its life and create a beautiful yet tough surface. But there is a caveat: epoxy floor coatings must be installed correctly in order to reap all of these benefits.
All too often, people try to apply an epoxy coating themselves, rushing through the prep work or skipping it altogether. What happens is an ugly, chipping, mismatched floor coating that offers no protection whatsoever.
And yet it is so easy to do it right! Yes, it is a little more time consuming to follow all of the proper preparation steps, but you won’t have to touch-up a properly applied epoxy floor coating for years to come.
For starters, avoid these 6 mistakes.
- Forgetting to apply a primer first. A primer is what truly allows the epoxy to bind to the concrete. It acts as the glue that holds both materials together. Without primer, the epoxy will not stick as well as it should and may easily flake off or pucker. The primer fills all the microscopic pores in the concrete and helps the epoxy latch on.
- Applying the epoxy to smooth concrete. It is essential for the primer and epoxy to be painted over a rough surface for proper adhesion to take place. Use a floor grinder rather than a shot blaster for best results. In the end, you want to achieve a uniform look to the floor, and a shot blaster is more likely to create irregular holes and pits. A grinder roughens the surface in an even way. Once applied, the epoxy itself will give the floor the smooth look that you expect.
- Applying the epoxy when moisture is present. Epoxy and water simply do not work well together. You must ensure that the floor is completely dry and even that the air is not too humid. Moisture, condensation and humidity will prevent the epoxy from bonding correctly to your industrial concrete floor, resulting in chipping and flaking. Use a dehumidifier to pull excess moisture out of the air, identify and fix and plumbing leaks in the vicinity, and be sure the concrete has had a chance to completely dry out after any mopping or pressure washing.
- Applying epoxy to dirty floors. Epoxy (or rather, the primer) will also not bond well to a dirty surface. Any grime, oil or dust on the concrete floor needs to be scrubbed away. Many people choose to pressure wash the concrete due to its relative efficiency, but improper pressure washing can damage concrete, so be careful. Chemical cleaners can work too but should be rinsed well. If dust is the main problem (and after grinding, dust will certainly be present unless the grinder has a built-in vacuum), thoroughly vacuum the surface to remove all particles.
- Expecting high-quality epoxy to fix low-quality cement. There is no substitute for high-quality cement. Even the best epoxy will not be able to fix a crumbling, cracking industrial concrete floor. If you notice that the epoxy floor coating is cracking, upon closer inspection you may find that the concrete itself is cracking. A sturdy foundation, proper concrete mixture, correct water to cement ratio, and careful curing procedure help create a high-quality concrete surface that is less prone to cracking. Epoxies painted onto these surfaces are more likely to look beautiful and offer protection from stains and wear and tear for a much longer time.
- Applying epoxy to anything other than concrete. Once it dries, epoxy is extremely rigid. So is concrete, so the two work well together. Never apply epoxy to surfaces such as wood or metal. You will be wasting your time and money. Wood expands and bends in response to atmospheric conditions, and metal is flexible and easily bends when pressure is applied. Pairing these mobile surfaces with a decidedly immobile epoxy coating will simply crack the epoxy.
Sound Like a Job for the Pros?
Sometimes it’s worth the peace of mind to know that a job is being done right. When it comes to applying epoxy, don’t worry about making these mistakes as you try to do it yourself. Give us a call and our team can help your concrete last a long time thanks to an epoxy coating.