Epoxy sealed concrete flooring is a popular choice for many homeowners. It’s durable, easy to clean, and affordable – it turns a concrete slab into a thing of beauty and functionality. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect for every situation. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of coating and sealing concrete floors for your indoor setting. With the right info, you can make an educated decision about which option is right for you.
There is a lot to be said for a flooring solution that is chemical, spill, and stain-resistant, so it is well worth serious consideration to use concrete sealing services.
All flooring choices have advantages and disadvantages in some form or another. With few drawbacks and many more benefits, epoxy floors are a good choice for a variety of applications. When considering installing this material at home or at work, you should of course weigh both the pros and cons. A very common application for epoxy flooring in the home context is as a final surface placed on the concrete of the garage.
Two Types Of Concrete Sealing
Types of sealers: Concrete is a porous material that can absorb water and oil, and other liquids. This makes it vulnerable to staining or deterioration over time. Cncrete sealants are a liquid substance that’s applied to the surface of concrete to create an impermeable barrier. This barrier prevents liquids and other materials from seeping into the concrete, which can cause staining or deterioration.
Concrete sealers are available in two main types: penetrating and surface-sealing.
Penetrating Sealers And Surface Concrete Sealers
Penetrating sealers penetrate into the pores of the concrete to form an invisible barrier that’s resistant to water, oil, and other liquids. Surface-sealing sealers form a visible barrier on the surface of the concrete that repels water, oil, and other liquids.
Penetrating sealers are typically made from silicone, silane, or siloxane. They can be applied to both new and old concrete surfaces including concrete pavers. They come in both water-based and solvent based forms.
Surface-sealing sealers or topical sealers are typically made from acrylic, polyurethane, or epoxy. They can be applied to both new and old concrete surfaces.
Epoxy-Based Concrete Sealer
Epoxy-based sealers are the most durable type of concrete sealer. They provide a long-lasting, protective barrier against water, stains, and other types of damage. Epoxy sealers can be applied to both indoor and outdoor concrete surfaces.
Pros of Epoxy Floors:
After a few years, a raw cement garage floor can begin to look a bit worn and stained. As an alternative, an epoxy surfaced concrete garage floor is bright and professional in comparison. The overall appearance of a well-done epoxy floor is very attractive. And keeping it that way is a relative breeze too. Keeping the smooth, even surface clean is extremely easy. It is very easy to clean up accidental messes on this type of flooring since not much sticks to it. So after a quick clean-up, it is straight back to its previous shine.
Helps Maintain Property Value
In terms of maintaining the value of your property in case you ever want to sell it, a professionally done epoxy floor is also a good way to keep the garage looking like new at sale time. Any time you’re thinking about bringing in potential buyers, it’s nice for them to see that your home and its amenities are well-kept. A professional installation of an epoxy floor will make any buyer feel confident that this is a property worth investing their money into.
Many Color Options To Choose From
And with many different color options available, there’s no excuse not to get one installed that blends in perfectly with the overall style of the property. So whether you have cream walls and brown carpet, orange furniture set against navy blue walls – whatever color scheme is used throughout the house will work with the right choice of epoxy flooring.
Epoxy floors cost less per square foot or metre than other types of flooring. The installation costs of this flooring are quite a bit lower than those of other types of flooring because it can be installed directly over concrete and other types of flooring. There are some caveats to this though.
While the overall affordability is very attractive, if you are thinking of a DIY approach, a note of caution is appropriate. The installation process for epoxy floors is not anything that a homeowner can easily do themselves. For one, the floor must be perfectly clean and dry before application. It also needs to be in good working order or there will likely be some problems with adhesion.
All this results in a strong caveat around affordability in that you need to source high-quality professional help to get the job done right. Depending on where in the world you live, this can start to modify the affordability of this type of flooring if this kind of professional service is not readily available or comes at a high price.
Aside from price, epoxy flooring offers another significant and immediate advantage: durability – let’s discuss that next.
Epoxy floors can last up to 20 years without major refinishing work, which means that over time they will actually end up saving homeowners money on maintenance costs in comparison to high-gloss paints that would need to be touched up every few years at best.
With a long lifespan, epoxy floors have a distinct advantage over many other types of flooring. Despite its superiority as a long-term flooring surface, concrete must be properly sealed and maintained if it is to last the distance. An epoxy topping can greatly assist in this situation. An epoxy floor coating is easiest and best on concrete anyway so it really is a marriage made in heaven.
Concrete becomes exceptionally durable with an epoxy floor coating. Another major benefit is that it doesn’t take any additional mortar or glue to get it to adhere to the concrete surface. As long as the concrete is pristine, the epoxy will adhere directly to it.
While epoxy surfacing on concrete is mostly a no-brainer, you can even consider getting yourself epoxy resins for wood flooring with the outcome that it will have that extra durable surface. Be aware though, that wood flooring needs careful preparation and priming before applying epoxy as a finish so you really do need professional advice before proceeding. Don’t just go ahead on your own without consulting someone who knows what they’re doing. There is a bunch of intricate pros and cons and other alternatives to consider when it comes to epoxy on wood.
Resistance To Most Things
Epoxy is often used in industrial settings because of its high level of durable protection against chemicals, spills, wear and tear. The fact that it produces long-lasting results while maintaining its qualities is very attractive in the residential or commercial setting.
Concrete floors coated with epoxy are highly resistant to a wide range of things: oil, gasoline, bleach, transmission fluid, cleaners, and more. In the automotive industry and mechanical garages, they’re frequently used because of this.
Epoxy coatings are non-porous, heat-resistant, and resistant to chemical cleaners and spills. Chemical spills won’t affect their coating at all and they are almost impervious to them.
Perfect For Healthcare Settings
In addition, these floors are also very easy to sanitize because they are resistant to bacteria and germs. Hospitals and clinics use epoxy because of its excellent performance and low maintenance requirements. In these settings, there is a need for floors that are easy to clean and maintain.
A high level of hygienic protection is needed in healthcare environments due to the ongoing threat from contamination – epoxy provides this while also being resistant against most spills and other types of wear-and-tear so it is a great choice.
Easy Cleaning Processes
Epoxy surfaces can be effortlessly cleaned with soap and water – it’s very low maintenance which meets one crucial requirement for such working spaces because they don’t allow bacteria or germs any opportunity whatsoever to spread out. They provide excellent resistance against all sorts of things so you end up not having many problems relating to spillages or damage either when an accident happens (which does happen). When something bad does occur though, cleaning up afterward is a breeze.
Epoxy Flooring Is A Protective Surface
It is waterproof, stain-resistant, grease-resistant, and crack-resistant, so epoxy is the optimum flooring type for many situations. By eliminating the need to continuously clean other options such as carpet or grout and tiles over time, in the long run, can significantly reduce your cleaning and maintenance costs. When one considers the cost of an epoxy surface over the life of the floor, it is reasonably priced considering how long it lasts and the level of protection it provides.
However, you may have noticed a common theme emerging in this blog, that all the protective properties of epoxy flooring are dependent on the competence of a professional installer when it is initially installed. Find one that is reputable and you can’t go wrong. Epoxy done right is a beautiful thing, but done wrong you will have a bit of a wreck on your hands.
Most flooring types do not last as long as epoxy coatings. In its properly installed state, it can withstand many decades of wear and tear without peeling or cracking. Its long lifespan, as well as its durability, makes it popular in commercial and industrial settings, as well as being perfect for the home garage or converted AirB&B space where you want something easy-care for the long haul.
You can also get very creative and decorate your floors with epoxy. In addition to the different colors you can choose, you can arrange the flooring into traditional patterns or create designs that are tailored to suit your needs. This is an economic way of upgrading plain concrete and improving the ambiance of any home or office based on the wide variety of options available.
One additional benefit of epoxy flooring from a safety perspective is its ability to reflect light back into the room. This enhances general visibility in work areas making for a safer work environment.
Cons of Epoxy Floors:
Based on all the above points, it is easy to see that there is a lot of pros when it comes to this subject. But for every list of pros about something, there is always a list of cons, and epoxy flooring is no different in this regard. Let’s look at some of the less-than-ideal aspects of it as a flooring choice.
Won’t Last As Long As The Cement
One disadvantage of epoxy flooring is that when compared to the lifetime of the cement it is put on, comparatively, it is a temporary solution. Despite all its qualities of durability and resistance, it will ultimately need to be repaired and replaced.
Epoxy floors do not hold up as well to constant everyday wear and tear in certain areas as other flooring solutions. So you will have to reapply epoxy every now and then to keep things looking good over the years. This is especially true for heavily trafficked areas or if heavy items are periodically dropped on the surface of the floor, this is sadly inevitable.
In the case of heavy items being dropped, it is very common for cracks and chipping to occur as a result. As small and innocuous as these chips may initially seem, eventually a large area of the coat can start peeling away as the eventual result. When this starts to develop, wheels on carts and toolboxes tend to get caught when they are rolled over damaged spots, thereby making the situation worse. Whenever this happens, it is time to have the surface repaired.
The life of the coating is also heavily dependent on how much it is walked upon and what kind of traffic passes across its surface. If you’re using your garage as an office or studio space, we recommend that you install separate flooring in those areas so that they are not subjected to continuous foot traffic.
Repair Or Replacement Of Epoxy Flooring Is An Intrusive, Non-Trivial Process
Often the process of repairing or replacing an epoxy floor will require tearing up all the old coating and installing a new layer. This is not as simple as it sounds, especially if there are any other layers beneath that need to be taken into account when this occurs. It can also involve removing furniture and fixtures which would have been attached with adhesive etc.
While epoxy floors are relatively skid-proof when dry, when covered in oil or other fluids they can become especially slippery. A way to manage this is not to use them in areas that are prone to spills or water.
This is true of any type of flooring, though. It just needs to be cleaned more often than other options and the risk can be mitigated by incorporating some non-slip mats into the design or choosing a texturizing option. See the section further down about texturizing approaches.
Preparation On Existing Concrete
Epoxy is tedious to apply to existing concrete floors that have been used previously in its bare state. The effort involved is considerable. An epoxy coating must first be applied to a clean, dry concrete floor free of grease, oil, or solvents. It takes multiple passes to properly clean concrete floors to a level suitable for applying the epoxy. It is inconvenient and labor-intensive to have to go through all this preparation work.
Working toward getting a concrete surface that is ready for epoxy coatings is an elaborate process that takes time and extensive preparation. The time aspect is made worse by the need to allow several days for the material to properly dry between coats and after all the coats are applied.
Because of all this hassle, some opt instead for a penetrating concrete sealer approach as an alternative. This will save you both time and money, but you won’t get many of the exceptional qualities of an epoxy floor in the final product.
Smell And Chemical Sensitivity During Installation
Epoxy fumes are strong when it is in its wet state. There are more hardeners in darker epoxy shades compared to lighter shades, so darker shades will emit more fumes than light epoxy.
The smell is strong and chemical-like, but shouldn’t irritate your eyes or respiratory system as long as you’re in a well-ventilated room. After applying, it typically smells like paint or a new car or some say it has an ammonia smell. however, this should dissipate within several days after the installation has been completed.
Still, some people find the odor overwhelming at first because there’s quite a bit of chemical involved.
For sensitive people, mild to moderate headaches can be expected when working in a space that has just been coated with epoxy, but this should go away by the next day or so.
If you’re sensitive to strong smells, it’s best not to work on an installation while in the process of applying the coats until 24 hours have passed since the application.
Humidity Sensitivity During Application
It is imperative to follow installation instructions precisely when installing epoxy flooring. Floors that aren’t installed properly won’t last as long as they should. It is also pretty easy to scratch the coating.
Any overspray is also very hard to clean from it. You should only apply the coating during those times of the year when the humidity is low. The reason for this is that moisture can negatively affect the durability of the flooring.
Dehumidifiers can be used to lower humidity for a period of 24 hours before the first coat of resin is applied. As much moisture as possible will be extracted from the air, preventing moisture from accumulating underneath the resin finish.
Adherence Issues In Humid Conditions
Prior to applying epoxy, the concrete floor should be thoroughly dried, prepared, and cleaned. Basements are moist environments where epoxy has difficulties adhering. A damp environment on a moist floor can cause the epoxy paint to peel later.
Moisture is one of the major cons when considering epoxy as your new coating for your home or business. The material can trap humidity beneath its surface which then evaporates and causes problems with buckling and bubbling–meaning you may need to repair or refinish an area where moisture has built up over time. As a general precautionary measure, seal any water-prone areas before applying epoxy so there are no surprises later on down the line!
There are some additional expenses if you intend to work with epoxy yourself. This is one of the reasons why it is best to get professionals on the job instead. In order to ensure that the epoxy sticks, homeowners need to purchase special cleaning acids and chemicals. If you’re working with chemicals, you’ll need to wear long sleeves, long pants, protective eyewear, and a breathing apparatus. It’s not only time-consuming and effort-consuming, but it may also lead to increased costs if you don’t already have those items.
Removing epoxy flooring is a non-trivial process. Changing the epoxy color or design once it has been applied can be a labor-intensive and expensive task, so it is important to get it right the first time. It can be quite difficult and time-consuming to remove the coating when the floor needs to be repaired.
Texturizing To Manage Slipperiness
Another way to help manage slipperiness is to texturize your epoxy floor surface by adding a texture to it.
When texturizing your epoxy flooring, you will need to be mindful of how much slip resistance is required in the space. Textures come with different levels of grip and for high traffic spaces or areas that are prone to spills, there should be sufficient grip provided by textures like herringbone patterns or diamond patterns (though no matter what type of surface is selected, proper cleaning practices must always be followed). When deciding on an appropriate level of slip resistance from a textured pattern, consider the following:
- If you have children who play around this area then more slip-resistant surfaces would likely work best as they can occasionally fall over easily.
- if you are using epoxy flooring in a kitchen, having an increased level of slip resistance may be more desirable as there will likely be water or spills that could occur.
- The heavier the foot traffic, the higher degree of grip desired to ensure one’s safety and also longevity of their flooring.
- If someone has limited mobility or uses wheelchairs then even surfaces with low levels of slip resistance should suffice but it would depend highly on how they move around the space so consult your doctor regarding what is best for your particular circumstance before choosing which epoxy flooring system to install.
Preparing Concrete Floors For Epoxy Coating
A common myth about preparing concrete surfaces is that these should be power washed. This is never a good idea because the pressure of the water can cause cracks in your flooring and it will likely take some time for these to even out again on their own.
The best way to prepare concrete floors is by using an industrial-strength cleaner, such as “Purple Power” or “TSP”. These cleaners will not only remove oils from previous finishes but also ensure that the pH levels on the surface are at their natural state. Rinse thoroughly with water prior to taking any measurements for your project. Any etchings in the sealer should be filled with sandpaper or other abrasive material first before unsealing this area. This prevents any dirt particles from getting under paint coats when you do finally apply them.
Polyurethane Concrete Sealer
Polyurethane concrete sealers are also very durable and provide excellent protection against water and staining. However, they are not as resistant to abrasion as epoxy sealers.
Polyurethane sealers are typically used on indoor concrete surfaces where there is less foot traffic. They are also used on concrete surfaces that are not exposed to the elements. Polyurethane sealers can be applied with a brush, roller or sprayer and will last for several years.
Common Concrete Sealing Terms
Concrete curing services: Concrete sealing and curing services are provided to allow protecting the surface of concrete from weathering and other environmental factors. These services also help to protect and extend the life of concrete by protecting it from water, salt, and other chemicals while still allowing it to be breathable.
Concrete resurfacing: Concrete resurfacing is a process that can be used to repair or replace existing concrete surfaces. This service can be used on both interior and exterior concrete surfaces such as sealing concrete driveways. When it comes to concrete sealing, Sydney, Melbourne, or any major Australian city will have professionals able to provide superior natural look concrete, and also able to protect and preserve the surface as well.
Concrete restoration: Concrete restoration is a process that can be used to repair or replace damaged or worn-out concrete surfaces. This service can be used on both interior and exterior concrete surfaces.
Decorative concrete: Decorative concrete is a type of concrete that has been designed to look like other materials. It can be used for floors, countertops, patios, and more. Decorative concrete is usually more expensive than regular concrete, but it can add value to your home.
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