Types of Epoxy Flooring
When it comes to choosing new flooring systems for industrial use, garage floor coating, or any other outdoor surfaces, epoxy resin flooring truly stands out from other flooring options for many reasons. Epoxy flooring, other known as resinous flooring, is highly durable, customizable, sustainable, and decorative for any surface. What appeals most to epoxy flooring is it’s resistance to high levels of wear and tear, making it the most long-lasting flooring options. If you are considering epoxy resin flooring, here is an explanation of what epoxy floors are made up of, the different types epoxy resin, and where to use specific types of epoxy flooring systems.
“What is Epoxy?”
A primary aspect to epoxy coating is that it is chemically distinct from regular floor paints. Resinous flooring consists of a two-part epoxy system – a combination of polymer resins and hardeners, much like epoxy glue. When properly mixed, the epoxy resin and hardener react to one another resulting in a chemical bond with each compound and with the floor itself. The chemical bond creates a stiff plastic material that is durable, resistant to degradation, and bonds exceptionally well to its substrate.
“What is Epoxy Flooring?”
The most straightforward definition of epoxy flooring suggests a flooring surface that comprises multiple layers of epoxy that is applied to a floor with a depth of at least two millimeters. Confusion typically arises when comparing an epoxy floor and epoxy floor coating. The difference between the two lies in the depth of the epoxy – as stated, epoxy floors are classified as an epoxy coating of at least two millimeters thick. Any epoxy floor less than two millimeters thick is commonly referred to as an epoxy floor coating.
3 Types of Epoxy Floor Coating Explained
When choosing the correct type of epoxy floor coating, it is important to determine first what are their advantages and disadvantages. Epoxy floor coatings are generally categorized by the type of fluid the epoxy is mixed with. The following are the three basic types of epoxy floor coating: solvent-borne epoxy, waterborne epoxy and 100% solids epoxy.
- Solvent Borne Epoxy
Solvent borne epoxy is the traditional kind of epoxy that was first used long before other kinds. The epoxy is mixed with a relatively high amount of organic compound called a solvent that eventually dries up and evaporates when the epoxy is applied, leaving a hard epoxy coating on the floor. While it has its share of advantages, such as built-in cohesiveness and an ability to be applied into a thin film across the surface, it is also very controversial in that solvents are highly volatile. When it evaporates, the vapors can be very toxic if inhaled too much. They are also highly flammable, so that is something you should consider about solvent borne epoxy.
- Waterborne Epoxy
The next type of epoxy is the waterborne epoxy. As its name applies, it is a type of epoxy that is water soluble and uses water as its main carrier, not solvents. These types are not as reactive as solvent based epoxies, and are therefore safer. It is relatively easy to apply in thin or thick coats, and it only needs water in order to be cleaned up. It is used mainly for hydrostatic pressure applications on concrete and concrete slabs (basically, this is waterproofing the concrete slab.) While it is relatively safer than solvent-based epoxies, they still have their own fair share of environmental impacts.
- 100% Solids Epoxy
The last kind of epoxy tries to completely do away with a fluid carrier, and is just pure epoxy. That is why this type is called the 100% solids epoxy. While it avoids the environmental problems that solvent-based or waterborne epoxies have, it is much harder to apply. Without a fluid carrier, it has quite a high viscosity that may be a challenge to apply on any floor. Obviously, you cannot produce thin coats or films with this kind of epoxy. However, it can be very versatile and adaptable in its numerous applications. If you want to use this, it is better to try it out first.
Epoxy Concrete Flooring Systems
Epoxy is one of the most widely known materials among floor coating resins, and is one of the most broadly utilized in the concrete flooring industry. As a concrete covering and protector, appropriately-selected epoxy floor coatings can help preserve the structural integrity of a floor slab and safeguard facility investment.
Cementitious Urethane Mortar Flooring
Our USDA approved, antimicrobial cementitious urethane flooring offers the combination of versatility and strength that many challenging environments rely on. Particularly popular in commercial kitchens and food and beverage processing facilities, our urethane cements and coating systems lend themselves well to a variety of industrial, commercial and institutional floor coating applications.
Self-leveling epoxy floors
Whenever your floors have been badly cracked or mistreated over the years, you’re going to want a self-leveling epoxy floor. Self-leveling epoxy floors smooth out the rough surfaces of cracked concrete floors and provide a seamless surface that is shiny and can be applied in many different colors! They are typically used in:
- Commercial areas that are highly used
100% Solids Coating Floor Epoxy:
This happens to be the most durable type of epoxy material, which a professional installer will recommend and use. This coating will last around 20 years, especially when it is used for heavy human traffic areas where surfaces need protection from possible abrasions, chemical reactions of chemical substances and hot tire marks. These installers will use hardeners that allow the coating to dry into a solid form, while it bonds with the concrete.
Water-Based Coating Floor Epoxy:
This type of coating is more of a primer and sealer because it spreads thinly and doesn’t possess the same resistance and durability as 100% solid coating does. This is the type of coating that is included in a DIY kit that is considered user-friendly than the others. Because of the ability to penetrate a porous surface, it is normally used as a sealer or primer over degreased concrete surfaces. It does give concrete a smooth and glossy surface as well as protective qualities against abrasions, chemical reactions, and stains.
Solvent Based Coating Floor Epoxy:
Just like the name has implied, this type of coating uses solvents when it is used as a floor primer and sealer, just like the water-based type. Solvent-based epoxies will contain solids that range from 30% to 70%, which gives you a really thin layer. Because its nature is a solvent-based floor coating it makes it a less favorable choice, as the type or amount of solvent that is used is normally noncompliant with the VOC or Volatile Organic Compound regulations.