Epoxy resin floors have become a prevalent flooring option in commercial and industrial workplace environments due to epoxy resin’s broad range of benefits. Resin flooring is not as straightforward as it may seem at first glance, so we will take an in-depth look at the fundamentals and details of epoxy flooring.
What is Epoxy?
Epoxy coating is distinctly different from regular floor paints. Epoxy flooring is a two-part epoxy system combining polymer resins and hardeners.
When mixed, these two components react to form a chemical bond with each other and the floor itself, resulting in a stiff and durable plastic material that is resistant to degradation and bonds exceptionally well to its substrate.
What is Epoxy Flooring?
Epoxy flooring is a synthetic resin floor system commonly laid on top of concrete substrates as a form of protection and decoration. The system is generally applied onto a concrete substrate and can comprise several layers of thermosetting resin, which are poured, coated or trowelled.
Once the layers are fully cured, the system forms a powerful and permanent bond that acts as a protective and decorative barrier to the substrate.
Epoxy is the most widely known resin floor technology due to its excellent mechanical and chemical resistance properties. Another benefit of epoxy floors is that they can be customized with various colours, styles, effects and decorative options.
How Long Do Epoxy Floors Last?
Like with so many things, it depends on a couple of factors how long epoxy floors will last, like how heavy the traffic in the area is or how well maintained it is. Typically, the range is about 10-20 years, but can last up to 30 or 40 years.
Types of Epoxy Flooring
Epoxy floors are highly versatile and can be customized with a wide variety of colours, styles, effects and other decorative options.
There are several different types of epoxy flooring, so let’s have a look at them.
Epoxy Terrazzo Flooring
Epoxy terrazzo flooring is a colourful and decorative take on the durable and seamless epoxy system. Coloured epoxy is mixed with specific aggregates, such as mother of pearl, marble, glass or granite to create a beautiful aesthetic. After the mixture has cured, the flooring is ground and polished to expose the aggregate.
Their appealing aesthetic is not the only benefit of epoxy terrazzo floors because they require effortless maintenance and have an outstanding life expectancy of over 40 years. The combination of aesthetics, durability and lifespan makes this floor system ideal for large commercial spaces.
Epoxy Flake Coating
To create epoxy flake coatings, varying sizes of flakes are scattered over a coloured epoxy basecoat and finished with a tough clear sealing coat. This floor system is very resistant to high foot traffic and chemicals and is easy to clean.
This decorative floor finish is perfect for shops, restaurants, showrooms and schools.
Epoxy Floor Coatings/Paint
Often epoxy floor coatings are called epoxy or epoxy floor paint, with generally uniform single colours and various finishes from matte to satin or glossy. Typically, they are applied in areas with light to medium foot traffic, whether in industrial or commercial areas. Depending on the environment’s purposes and functions, there are many types of epoxy floor coatings, so we recommend contacting a flooring specialist to learn which solution meets your requirements.
An exciting category is self-levelling epoxy flooring. Here, the epoxy is applied in liquid form between 1 and 3 mm, and it has self-smoothing properties, making the installation quicker and easier. This formula is rich in resin and provides a solid, durable finish ideal for heavy-duty environments.
Antistatic Epoxy Flooring
As the name suggests, antistatic epoxy flooring prevents electrostatic charges from accumulating on the floor’s surface.
To achieve this, it has defined earthing points that static charges are transferred to comply with antistatic standards requirements. Different antistatic flooring systems are specifically designed for light, medium and heavy-duty traffic.
Typically, antistatic epoxy flooring is used in laboratories, clean rooms and food processing facilities and is part of ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) prevention in sensitive environments that deal with explosive contents or sensitive equipment, including electronic, aerospace, automotive and pharmaceutical spaces.
Commonly, epoxy screeds are used as heavy-duty underlayment as part of medium- to heavy-duty flooring systems. Various resin flooring, such as anti-slip or self-levelling coatings, are applied on top. The typical thickness of epoxy screeds is between 4 and 6 mm, so it is thicker and typically is trowel-applied. It may be power floated for a smooth and level finish.
Epoxy screeds have excellent impact resistance and high strength. They can also act as damp-proof membranes if anti-osmosis properties are included in the screed.
These properties make epoxy screeds a perfect solution for medium- to heavy-duty industrial environments, like food and beverage processing or manufacturing.
Benefits and Advantages of Epoxy Flooring
Epoxy flooring has many benefits compared to other floor coverings like vinyl, carpet or tiles. It is ideal for floors exposed to extreme temperatures, foot and machine traffic, oil, chemicals and other fluids without corroding or peeling over years of constant use.
Industries using epoxy flooring include industrial and manufacturing, food processing, electronics, pharmaceutical and distilleries.
Seamless, Easily Cleanable Surface
Epoxy flooring is free of seams, joints or ridges as it is poured, making it a more sanitary floor option than tiles or other flooring types. Eliminating cracks and crevices prevents dirt and bacteria from staying behind. An anti-microbial additive can be added to the epoxy for food plants or healthcare facilities. The smooth surface also allows forklifts or hospital gurneys to roll without bumps.
Resistant to Stains and Water
Epoxy’s resistance to liquids and stains makes it an excellent flooring choice compared to laminate, wood or carpeting. Spills can be easily cleaned up and will not affect the flooring.
One of the epoxy’s most significant benefits is its durability. As epoxy cures, it forms tough polymers that create impact-resistant flooring that can withstand chemical spills, impact, heat, heavy machinery and more. Unlike most other flooring types, epoxy flooring can last for decades.
Epoxy flooring offers various options to customize its aesthetics and smooth, shiny and seamless appearance. You can add colours and flakes to the epoxy solution to create beautiful effects, making them an attractive alternative for hotel lobbies or athletic complexes.
Its extreme cost-effectiveness is another significant advantage of epoxy flooring. Compared to most other flooring types, it has a considerably lower cost per square foot. On top of this, it requires low maintenance and will not have to be replaced for many years.
Most epoxy flooring is more than 3x stronger than concrete when rating flexural strength. It is designed to withstand high traffic, extreme temperatures (like in food processing) and heavy machinery.
Safety is paramount for any company and epoxy flooring scores high in this category. It has no cracks or bumps, preventing tripping hazards. You can install an anti-slip coating to reduce the risk of slip-and-fall accidents. This is especially beneficial for high traffic areas, whether foot or machinery.
Due to its durability and resistance to flaking or eroding, epoxy flooring has a very low risk of environmental pollution. The installation also leaves less waste than most other types of flooring, and due to its lack of porosity, it doesn’t require harsh cleaning chemicals.
As it is not porous, has no seams or joints and is resistant to chips and cracks, it is very easy to maintain.
Epoxy Flooring Can be Installed on Different Surfaces
Another benefit of epoxy flooring is that it can be installed on many different surfaces, such as steel, concrete or other substrates.
Epoxy Can Be Used Outdoors
Unlike most other flooring options, epoxy can be used outdoors as well. Combining it with a gravel-like aggregate, it forms a curable and attractive surface that can withstand the elements. It is important to note that epoxy is not UV resistant, so exposure to direct sunlight can cause yellowing or give it a chalky look. This can be avoided by applying a UV-resistant topcoat of polyurea or polyurethane.
Unwanted Results of Poor Epoxy Flooring Installation
As outlined above, epoxy flooring comes with many significant benefits. However, an improper installation can diminish or destroy these advantages.
Improperly applied epoxy floor systems can result in delamination (chipping and peeling), typically caused by insufficient substrate surface preparation.
Related to this, another common issue is air bubbles or blisters. These bubbles can be caused if the substrate is too humid. Ensuring the substrate is completely dry before applying the initial epoxy coating is critical.
It’s also crucial to ensure to choose the correct floor system. Different types of epoxy flooring are designed for different environments, and the wrong system can cause the floor to fail and damage the substrate in the process.
Epoxy flooring systems can he an extremely efficient long-term and worry-free solution when installed correctly. Hiring an experienced company to install the flooring is critical, with expertise and precision vital elements in the installation process.
Epoxy can be used in a wide range of different environments, residential, commercial and industrial. The main applications are:
- Living rooms
Surface Prep is the Most Important Part
As mentioned above, surface prep is critical for any epoxy flooring installation. Too much moisture from the concrete substrate can cause delamination and, with that, peeling and chipping. The surface has to be completely dry, and every part of the concrete must be roughed up by acid washing or shot blasting to create an abrasive surface perfect for the epoxy to adhere to and bond.
TTM Finishes is the leading surface finishing company in Toronto and the GTA. With over 40 years of experience, you can count on us for your painting or concrete floor finishing project. From the painting and refurbishing of industrial warehouses, plants and equipment to custom floor finishing for high-end retail spaces, lofts and apartments – trust us for a long-lasting and durable finish. We guarantee our painting and floor finishing work.
TTM Finishes is fully bonded and insured and only uses high-quality products, environmentally-friendly techniques, professional equipment and WHMIS-trained and certified personnel on all painting and concrete floor finishing projects.
How Much Does Epoxy Flooring Cost?
The cost of epoxy flooring depends on various factors, such as type, size, design and additives. Call TTM Finishes today at 905-850-0335 for a free, no-obligation consultation and quote.