Category Archives: Epoxy Flooring

PennCoat Inc. offers epoxy flooring services in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey. Contact us today to learn more about our epoxy flooring services.

That Epoxy Floor Starts With Great Prep and a Primer

epoxy flooring contractor

Behind every epoxy floor job is the work and consideration of an epoxy flooring contractor.  And even beyond that high gloss sheen is a lot of prep work, some aggregate, and a hearty primer.  And even beyond that, much more needs to be considered by the contractor, like the temperature of the floor, the condition of the floor, and any contaminants that are penetrating the concrete.

We recently completed the installation of an 1/16″ epoxy floor in a facility in Maryland.  This floor has exposed concrete on a majority of the floor.  About 1/3rd of the floor had an epoxy coating that needed removal.  We used a large, planetary grinder to help abrade the concrete, and then remove the existing epoxy floor.

Once the floor was prepped, we moved in with a urethane cement primer.  Urethane cement is an excellent body coat to start any floor system.  In this specific facility, there wasn’t a vapor barrier beneath the concrete.  This can cause major problems with only an epoxy floor.  Epoxy is very susceptible to moisture transmission.  The pressure between the moisture and the epoxy can cause blisters in the floor.

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Aggressive Floor Prep Work for Epoxy Coatings

removing epoxy coatings

Removing epoxy coatings from concrete is common practice in the epoxy flooring business.  But although common, it never easy, and can often be a big gamble when estimating time and material.

Epoxy coating removal is a necessary step when polishing concrete, or when a failed coating needs to be removed.  However, although saying “removing epoxy” is easy, the actual process is much more difficult.

The most important thing to look for when assessing a demo floor job, is how thick the existing coating is.  Epoxy thickness is measured in mils.  And the more mils of epoxy on the floors, the more difficult it will be to remove that epoxy.

But for reference, a 20-30 mils of epoxy is about as thick as a credit card.  So if you’re able to remove some coating during your site visit, compare it to your credit card to determine how thick the existing floor is.  But keep in mind that the floor temperature needs to be considered.  So when visiting potential job opportunities, be sure to bring your industrial infrared thermometer to gauge the temperature for the floor.

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Painting Fiberglass Cooling Tower for Industrial Facility

IMG_1841

Maryland Commercial and Industrial Painting projects don’t seem to have any limitations with difficulty.  And when we were contacted by a power facility to paint their fiberglass cooling towers, we knew the difficulty level wasn’t trying to decrease.

Fiberglass is a challenging substrate to paint.  Creating fiberglass requires a process called gel-coating.  This process involves soaking layers of fiber inside resinious material.  Collectively, these create a durable, smooth, waterproof, and very strong surface.  Here’s a video with more details:

The gel-coat creates a smooth, impervious surface.  This is great for aquatic equipment, such as boats, water-park equipment, or the top of a cooling tower.  However, the challenge presents itself when it comes time to paint that fiberglass.  And the challenge is that it’s usually not profiled enough for common coatings to bond properly to the substrate.

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Confined Space Safety Considerations Commercial Painting

confined space industrial painting

Confined space is one of the most commonly overlooked hazards in any industrial environment.  But even though it is commonly overlooked, it is still a common situation that facility painters and floor installers get thrown into.

So here’s a recent confined space project that we recently completed, and the safety steps we took to ensure the safety of our installers.

Waste oil is very difficult to hold and contain.  Firstly, whatever is containing the oil, needs to be coated with a product that offers a lot of chemical resistance.  But not only does it need to have a lot of chemical resistance, it also needs to have excellent adhesion because the holding container is going to be so saturated with the oil, that nearly nothing will want to stick to it.  So, as is with any coating project, the prep work will be vital to the performance of the coating.

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Relevant Tint for Intermediate Coats of Epoxy

epoxy flooring with poor hide

Here’s a prime example of why an epoxy floor system needs a fully tinted top coat.What you’re looking at is an epoxy novolac top coat.  And those dark spots are the intermediate coat poking through the top coat.

Epoxy floors are most beneficial when they have multiple layers of epoxy.  Base coats allow for outgassing, intermediate coats add some beef to the system, and the top coat is usually the performance coat.

And as long as each epoxy coat is compatible and installed within the recoat window, you could expect exceptional adhesion between all the coats.

But the one overlooked feature of these floors is the color.  And if your color between the intermediate and the top coat aren’t lining up, then you could have a spotty, unprofessional floor.

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How to deal with Facility and Warehouse Joints

Whenever dealing with concrete, there are always going to be floor joints.  But how do you deal with joints when sealing the floor becomes a priority?  Well, here are some of the most common methods for how to deal with concrete joints.

First, you should know which type of joint you’re dealing with.

There are a few different types of joints:

  • Isolation Joints – these joints occur at the perimeter of the slab and where there are openings to allow for columns.  This joint’s depth is the same size as the thickness of the joint.  This allows the slap to move independently from the walls or column of the facility.
  • Construction Joints – these occur in the slab because of the limits placed on the size of the pour.  Like isolation joints, construction joints are the full thickness of the slab, and they are also bounded by removable or permanent forms, like rebarb or dowels.
  •  Control Joints – These are cut into the top part of the concrete slab.  They are usually about 1/2″ or 1″ deep.  Their purpose is to create a weakend plane, predtermining the location of a natural crack cause by shrinkage or settling.
  • Expansion Joints – Expansion joints are used to isolate two structurally independent portions of a building, such as a low rise wing adjacent to a high rise tower.  The joint is formed with the slab, and once set, filled with an elastomeric material

And all these joints are regularly seen from floor installers.  However, the most common joints are the control joints.  And there are a few ways that floor installers can handle joints:

  1. fill them in with epoxy or urethane cement
    1. sometimes an owner will want a completely, smooth and seamless floor.  These requests aren’t uncommon.  But when you their desired floor covers the span of a bunch of control joints, it can become difficult to achieve this.  So the best course of action is to prefill your joints.  Urethane cement is usually an easier material to fill with, because it’s heavier.  But epoxy can work too if you mix it with enough sand.  But epoxy usually needs an additional coat, or else it may sink, and telegraph through the top coat.
    Cut them out, and fill them with a material.
    1. Now, if you fill the control joint, you run the risk of that joint cracking through the floor, which will cause damage.  This is usually a bigger risk for new facilities that are still settling.  If it’s an older facility, then it most likely has settled.  But if the customer wants the control joints to remain, your best bet is to install the entire floor, and fill in the joints with a caulk material.  The caulk material we usually use is polyurea.  Polyurea is nice because it gets hard and rigid.  This makes it difficult for fork lifts to damage the joint membrane with stones or nails.

    Overall, there are really only 2 things you can do with joints, either fill them in, or saw cut new ones, and infill them with a joint material like polyurea.  But regardless of how you decide to deal with them, there are exceptional ways to install them, which can provide better results than others.  But as always, you’ll want to listen to the site owner’s needs, so that you c an provide the best floor that will accommodate his situation.

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ESD Floors vs. Conductive Floors – Which is The Better Epoxy Flooring System?

Although static electricity may seem innocent, it can actually be extremely hazardous in some facilities.  So epoxy floors that dissipate the electric static can not only help preserve products, but it can also help prevent life-threatening catastrophes.

Sometime facilites manufacturer sensitive computer boards.  They have small components that react to small amounts of electrical voltage.  But even a small static charge from a body can product more than enough voltage to damage the circuit board.  So in facilities like this, it’s important to have a floor that can dissipate an electrical charge.

Or, some facilities manufacture chemicals or commonly used products that use highly explosive compounds, like powdered aluminum.  If a spark, or any type of electrical discharge goes off around powdered aluminum, you’re in big trouble.  So not only can discharging floors preserve products, they can also save lives.

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PennCoat Epoxy Flooring Contractors – The Varying Characteristics of Epoxy

The term “epoxy” gets slung around as if there were only 1 type of epoxy used in every situation.  But contrary to the popular misconception, “epoxy” actually comes in a wide variety of hardeners and resins.  And here they are:

Epoxy Resins:

The resins used in epoxy don’t offer variety that the hardeners offer.  There are 3 types of resins:

  1. Bisphenol A Resin – This resin has a lot of viscosity, a moderate amount of flexibility, and a moderate amount of chemical resistance.
  2. Bisphenol F Resin – This resin is similar to the “Bisphenol A” variety, except its flexibility is on the lower end of the spectrum.
  3. Phenolic Novolac Resin – This resin offers a high amount of viscosity, but because it’s a novolac, it will become very hard, which means there is no room for flexibility.  Additionally, it is very chemical resistant.

Depending on what type of application the flooring or painting installer is searching for, they have a variety of epoxy options to choose from.  And a part of that reason is because of these (3) different types of epoxy resin.

Epoxy Hardeners:

Now, although there are 3 different resins to choose from, the epoxy hardeners have the largest range of selection, by offering up to 6 different hardeners.  Each of these hardeners has different sets of properties that they can offer, making the epoxy line-up a smorgasbord of commercial coating options.

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Floor Lines or Aisles – Which Serves Better For the Pedestrian: Part 2

epoxy aisle ways

Now, when you look at an actual aisle way, you’ll see that the aisles offer enough coverage so that they can receive a nice diamond grind preparation.  But, even though the aisle requires a more aggressive preparation, they also will require a more laborious epoxy installation.

In our previous entry, we looked at the benefits of installing pedestrian walkway lines.  And although the installation process is easier and less expensive, compared to the aisles, the aisle will ultimately offer a greater longevity for a variety of reasons:

Better Prep Work:

As discussed in in the pedestrian floor lines, the only prep work is alcohol wiping the floor.  Grinding the floor is always the best method, but a 3″ line does not provide enough coverage to conceal your grind marks.  But, when you’re working with a 3′ wide aisle way, there is plenty of room to adequately grind the floors, and conceal the marks with epoxy.

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Installing Epoxy Floors in the Cold – PennCoat

epoxy on cold concrete

Epoxy floors are great.  But they can prove challenging in cold areas.

Installing epoxy floors are inherently difficult.   Between getting ratios correct, to thoroughly mixing resins and hardeners, and ensuring that there’s an equal amount of aggregate distributed throughout the material are just a few of the problems that could arise.

But beyond the material, there are issues that can arise from the concrete that’s receiving the coating.  And one of the most common issues is concrete temperature.

Temperature can play an important role in the success of an epoxy installation.  The general rule of thumb is don’t go against the tech data sheet.  Most tech data sheets will vary in temperature.  However, if the TDS isn’t readily available, then 50° F is the most consistent number across the board.

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