Epoxy paint is a finish material used in homes and commercial buildings. It is used primarily as a floor covering, and forms a hard, shiny surface upon application. This product is particularly popular in garages and showroom floors due to its strength and resistance to damage. Like all epoxy products, it is a two-part system, composed of both a resin and a hardener, with color added to provide the desired finish.
Overview of Epoxy Paint
Epoxy paint is a two-part coating system used primarily on floors. It provides a very different finish than traditional paint due to its chemical composition. The two components of the epoxy paint are kept separate until just before use. When mixed, these components, which are made of thermosetting polymers, undergo a chemical reaction that forms a nearly impenetrable bond. Once this chemical reaction has taken place, the epoxy floor is very difficult to remove. Removal generally requires breaking down the epoxy bond using either extreme heat or a harsh chemical known as Methylene Chloride.
Epoxy paint offers many advantages over other flooring options. Because epoxy acts as both a filler and a coating, it can be applied to rough or uneven surfaces fairly easily. It is also waterproof, and highly resistant to rust, acid, chemicals, heat, and corrosion. Surfaces coated with epoxy paint are also able to withstand higher levels of traffic and abuse, including cars, forklifts, and heavy equipment. Epoxy is easy to clean, and will not stain when exposed to most substances. Finally, epoxy paint application is extremely durable and long-lasting in comparison to its relatively low cost.
Historically, epoxy paint has primarily been used in commercial settings, especially automotive and warehouse facilities. This is due to the high durability and low maintenance of this material, even when exposed to frequent vehicle traffic and gasoline or chemical spills. Because of its seamless nature, it is also popular in medical and laboratory settings. The lack of seams provides a "clean-room" type of floor, where there are no voids in the floor for mold or dirt to buildup. Epoxy is also used in animal facilities and schools due to the ease of cleaning these floors. Homeowners have begun using epoxy paint in lieu of traditional concrete garages because of their ability to withstand oil and grease stains.
There are three basic types of epoxy paint, and each is categorized by the percentage of "solids," or epoxy, it contains. The most expensive of the three is known as a 100 percent solid. This type forms an incredibly strong floor, and is most commonly used in industrial settings. Solvent-based epoxy paint contains roughly 50 percent solids, which are combined with a variety of chemical solvents. They are moderately priced, and are primarily used in light-commercial applications. Finally, water-based epoxies contain 50 percent solids blended with water. These are the best epoxy paints for home use because they contain no hazardous fumes. Any of these three paints can be found in a variety of colors or textures.
Epoxy paint is best applied over a clean concrete floor. The concrete must be completely dried, or cured, and should also be cleaned and de-greased using a pressure washer. Next, the concrete is etched using a blend of water and muriatic acid. This gives the floor texture and allows it to better hold the paint. Just before application, the epoxy resin and hardener are mixed, then applied using a paint brush or roller. Because this paint dries so quickly, it is important to work quickly once the paint has been mixed. Some users may add sand or aggregate to the surface to give the paint more traction. The floor should be ready for foot traffic within 2 to 3 hours, and able to withstand vehicle traffic within 7 days. It is important to wear a ventilator when working with epoxy to prevent illness or injury.