Epoxy is a thermosetting polymer that possesses unique material & resistance properties. Epoxy flooring is defined as a type of synthetic resin floor system that is laid on top of concrete substrates as a form of decoration & protection.
The system can comprise various layers of thermosetting resin that are coated, troweled, or poured & applied into a concrete substrate.
Once the floor system forms a strong & permanent bond acting as a decorative & impervious barrier to protect the substrate.
Mechanism of epoxy flooring
The widely used epoxy resins are produced from a reaction between bisphenol-A & epichlorohydrin, which may be obtained in a solid or liquid state.
It is necessary to cure the resin with hardener to convert epoxy into an infusible, hard & rigid material.
Epoxy resins are cured easily at temperatures 5-1500C. The curing of the epoxy resins is transferred the epoxy resins into epoxy thermoset polymers, which hold distinct resistance, versatility, adhesion & durability.
Types of epoxy flooring
1) Epoxy mortar floor
It consists of 100% solid epoxies & quartz sand. Epoxy mortar floor is used when high resistance against impact loads & chemicals is required.
It is also used to repair cracks before applying another type of epoxy floor. Commercial kitchens, restaurants, warehouses, garages, and manufacturing plants are some of the places where this type of epoxy is used for flooring.
2) Self-leveling epoxy floor:-
It is laid over old, new, cracked, or damaged floors to create a smooth, durable & leveled texture on the floor’s surface. Self-leveling epoxy floor increases the aesthetic appearance of the floor.
3) Quartz-filled epoxy floor
It is the combination of stained quartz grains & high-performance epoxy polymer resin. It is employed for decorative spaces that need sanitary & slip-resistant properties.
4) Epoxy flake floor
It has a vibrant look containing colored flake materials incorporated into epoxy flooring. It also provides the surface with grooves to decrease falls & slips.
This kind of epoxy is available in various colors, styles, sizes & textures, using which one can enhance the aesthetic appearance of any floor.
Life of epoxy floor
The life of epoxy floor depends upon usage, application process & application area.
For example; (1) In the warehouse, the life of epoxy flooring is 4-5 years (2) In a manufacturing company, the life of epoxy flooring is 3-4 years, (3) In the home interior, the life of epoxy flooring is 5-7 years.
Process of installation of epoxy flooring
- The step of epoxy flooring is preparing the floor surface.
- The surface must be prepared to accept a new coat of epoxy coating on its top.
- Foreign materials like dust particles are removed from the surface.
- It is followed by grinding, shot blasting & scarifying to have a course surface for better bonding with the mother floor.
- Patching & repairing all the major cracks on the floor is essential in providing durability to epoxy flooring.
- The surface prime coat is applied to the floor. Make sure that the primer makes its way deep into the floor during priming.
- After applying the primer coat, the visible cracks & holes present on the floor are filled with epoxy.
- Further, they should be lightly ground, sanded & re-layered.
- The sealant is tested using more amount of water applied to the floor. If the water is not soaked in, then the floor may be applied with an epoxy coating.
- The epoxy harder is mixed with an epoxy resin & applied over the floor surface in multiple layers in the final stage.
- After application, the floor is cured at the required temperature.
- The curing process is initiated only when the epoxy starts a reaction with another curing agent.
Advantages and Disadvantages of epoxy flooring
Advantages of epoxy floor
There are many advantages of epoxy flooring as compared to another traditional flooring. Following are the advantage of epoxy flooring;
- The brightness of interior areas increases.
- It provides a durable, hard surface that can withstand heavy & continuous loads.
- It is easy to install & doesn’t require any special tools or equipment.
- It is excellent chemical resistance.
- Epoxy floor protects the existing concrete layer from wear & tear.
- It is easy to clean & more durable.
- It helps in hiding cracks when combined with paints & additives.
- It enhances the aesthetic appearance.
Disadvantage of epoxy flooring:-
- One of the major disadvantages of epoxy flooring is that it is only temporary.
- Epoxy floors are relatively skidded resistant but it can also be very slippery when wet.
- Many efforts go into getting floors ready for epoxy coating. The floor has to be cleaned & free from any oil or grease & cracks need to be filled.
- Applying epoxy coating is a time-consuming process. The first coat must be dry before applying the second coat& the drying time can take several days.
- Wet epoxy has extremely strong fumes. They tend to have an ammonia smell after applying.
- Epoxy flooring needs to be installed exactly according to the directions. If not applied according to the direction, then it will not last as long as it should.
- Any moisture trapped below the surface can be a problem as it evaporates.
Uses of epoxy flooring
- Used in commercial & industrial flooring
- New or old concrete floors
- Beautiful enhancement to a hotel lobby
- Fire-proof warehouse floor
- Airplane hangers, manufacturing facilities, distribution facilities, residential & commercial garages, pharmaceutical plants & laboratories.
- Retail stores, hospitals, showrooms, restaurant kitchens, cinema halls, shopping malls, etc.
- Residential living rooms, kitchens, or other rooms.