Properly Preparing For Epoxy Floors

Whether we realize it or not, floors are an essential part of our everyday lives. Unfortunately, we tend to pay little attention to our floors, often neglecting them to the point of ruin.

For those who are looking for a simple solution to extend the life of their concrete floors, epoxy flooring can be an effective and low-maintenance solution.

Although, how can you really tell that your flooring is being installed correctly? After paying the money for a company to come in, you want to make sure you get the quality work you’re paying for.

For those who want to make sure their floor is prepped properly, which is the most important part of the installation, we’ve collected a detailed explanation of the things to keep your eye on.

What is Epoxy Flooring?

preparing for epoxy flooring

Before we get too far into the installation process, and more specifically, the prepping process, let’s take the time to go over what epoxy flooring actually is. Concrete floors, while durable, do tend to take on damage over time. To help mitigate these damages, and keep your floors looking newer for longer, epoxy flooring can be installed.

Epoxy is a resin that will act as a sealant, when applied. In terms of benefits, it largely depends on where you’ll be installing the floor. For warehouses or workplaces, you’ll love that epoxy coatings will improve safety with their resistance to slipping (once anti-slip materials are added). They are also chemical resistant, easier to clean, and beautiful to look at.

For your personal garage, you’ll love that it’s easy to clean and maintain, and also that it is available in a wide range of colors.

Before You Start Prepping

While epoxy installation doesn’t take that long, there are a number of steps you’ll have to go through. When it comes to the prepping process, we’re going to break it down into two sections. These can be done by yourself, or you can make sure the company you hire is doing things right.

Pre-Prepping The Floor

Before you or a company begins prepping, you or they will want to take the time to properly examine the work surface. For proper epoxy installation, it will need to be started with a completely clean and porous surface.

That means you must make sure there is no oil, paint, wax, or rubber residue. Everything will have to be stripped completely off of your concrete floor.

epoxy flooring

While you, or they are making sure that there’s no residue left on your floor, this will also be an opportunity to look for water damage, as well as repair any surface damage you can find.

This means that cracks will have to be repaired, and holes will have to be filled before you, or they get into the installation process.

After that process has been completed, you may see your contractor perform a water droplet test. While this may seem a little arbitrary, it’s an important step to confirm that the floor is ready to be treated.

Simply put, the water drop test will show that all previous material has been stripped from the concrete. When bare concrete gets wet, it will turn dark, signaling that the material is porous.

If there’s still something coating your concrete, making it non-porous, then you will not see the concrete darken.

Prepping The Floor

Now that we’ve confirmed that your floor is ready to be prepped, it’s time to get the installation process rolling! There are a few different ways to have your floor prepped, and the methods will vary from company to company.

To prep the floor for epoxy, some companies will use a method known as shot blasting, while others will use diamond grinding, or scarification. These tend to be the most effective methods, although they can take a bit of time to complete.

Most diamond grinders allow easy switching out of diamonds. They can handle all types of floors from soft cement to hard concrete. They can also strip old paint layers and clean out oily patches of the floor you are prepping.  Diamond grinding is a good option as it leaves a much deeper and harsher scratch profile of the floor (compared to sanding, for instance) and this, in turn, enables better bonding of the primer to the floor.

You may see companies try to use acid washing, in an attempt to prep the floors. While this method can save you plenty of time, it can prove to be unreliable.

After this stage is complete, there will be one final wash of the floors to make sure the surface is ready for an epoxy coating.

Conclusion

Epoxy coatings can be a great way to extend the life of your floors. Whether you’re looking for a new looking garage floor for your home, or are looking to brighten up your workplace, there are plenty of reasons to coat your concrete in epoxy.

It is important to remember that the prepping process is just as important as the installation of the epoxy itself, and these stages need to be handled with the utmost of care.

Finally, the thicker the system that you plan to apply the deeper your preparation needs to be. Vice versa also applies. If you scarify the floor surface, you need a thick coating to cover that surface. Bear in mind that a thin epoxy coat will not be able to fully cover the heavily scarred floor profile.

When you hire a professional epoxy flooring company to install your epoxy, take the time to make sure your surface is prepped and cleaned properly, ensuring that you’ll be able to love your new floors for many, many years to come.