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.
So we installed a 50mil urethane cement primer. Additionally, we did a light broadcast of #000 sand. Because urethane cement and epoxy are from different families, it’s not guaranteed that they’ll cross link with a chemical bond. So if you install a light broadcast on the urethane cement, you’re increasing your chances of getting a great bond between an epoxy coating and urethane cement floor.
After the urethane cement was installed and seeded, we swept off the sand, and installed a 20mil epoxy intermediate coat. This epoxy gets nice and hard, and does a great job bonding to the seeded urethane cement.
And once the epoxy was installed, we went over it with a final top coat of aliphatic urethane. This aliphatic urethane top coat has more flexibility than epoxy, which makes it much more abrasion resistant than epoxy. If a tool or piece of equipment is dropped on this aliphatic urethane, it’ll hold up a lot better than just an epoxy coating.
Overall, the floor was installed successfully, and left the customer completely satisfied with their new floor. So even though there’s much more going on behind an epoxy floor, it’s critical to hire an experienced epoxy flooring contractor to verify what is the best system in each situation.