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How Long Does Epoxy Flooring Last?
One of the most important considerations before choosing the perfect material for your commercial or industrial floor is how long it will likely last. After all, you don’t want to be faced with the hassle of constantly repairing an inadequate floor surface, as this can cause unnecessary downtime in production.
And while epoxy flooring is one of the most popular flooring surfaces in industrial and commercial settings, there are various factors that affect the lifespan of the floor. So, to ensure you know what to expect from your epoxy floor, we introduce the average lifespan of epoxy and explain some of the factors that will affect its overall durability.
What is Epoxy Floor?
An epoxy floor comprises a synthetic resin and is typically laid on top of a concrete substrate. There are several types of epoxy floor, and they serve different purposes, but most people opt for epoxy thanks to its durability, aesthetics, and high performance in industrial and commercial properties.
Although epoxy floors are hard-wearing and durable, various factors affect the lifespan of epoxy, and we introduce these throughout this article. When you notice that your epoxy is cracking or damaged, it’s probably time to install a replacement floor.
Average Epoxy Lifespans for Industrial Settings
You can reasonably expect your epoxy flooring to last for 5-10 years in a commercial or industrial setting. Typically, correctly laid epoxy flooring is hard, abrasion-resistant, and easy to clean and maintain. As such, these characteristics contribute to the floor’s durability and ensure they last a considerable amount of time.
If you install epoxy in a residential setting, it’s not uncommon for the floor to last for 20-30 years, as its usage is much lighter. But ultimately, if you want your epoxy floor to last as long as it should, you need to regularly clean and maintain it to ensure it’s in great condition.
Factors that Influence How Long an Epoxy Coating Lasts
While you can expect most epoxy floor installations to be good for 5-10 years, there are several factors that influence the longevity of epoxy, including:
1 – The strength of the concrete floor
Most epoxy floors are laid on top of a foundational base of concrete. In most industrial and commercial settings, your concrete base should have a minimum strength of 3000 PSI. If it’s any less than this, then it’s not necessarily strong enough to provide the required support to your epoxy floor, particularly if you operate heavy machinery or if your property sees high levels of vehicle traffic.
2 – How well the surface has been prepared
Before epoxy flooring is laid, the concrete surface needs to be thoroughly prepared and smoothened. Any cracks or blemishes in the concrete need to be rectified, and the surface needs to be free from oil, dirt, dust, sand, and other debris for it to be laid correctly. A professional team of epoxy installers will ensure the concrete is properly treated before the epoxy flooring is laid.
3 – The thickness of the epoxy
Just like the concrete base, epoxy can be laid to various requirements. In most cases, the thickness of epoxy is between 0.4mm and 1.0mm. As you probably know, the thinner your layer of epoxy, the quicker it will wear out. You need to consider the intended use of your epoxy floor before deciding on how thick the floor should be.
4 – The quality of the topcoat
If you’re planning to lay your epoxy flooring in an industrial setting or if it will be under strain from vehicles or heavy machinery, it’s advisable to add a top coat to the floor. Urethane is one of the most popular choices, as it resists scratches and abrasions and helps your epoxy flooring last longer without being damaged.
5 – The extent of traffic
Although we’ve touched on this already, the extent of the traffic and heavy machinery that operates on your epoxy floor will affect its durability. If you’re expecting large volumes of traffic on your epoxy flooring, it’s worthwhile investing in a topcoat to provide some additional protection.
6 – The type of industry
Another influence on the longevity of your epoxy flooring is the type of industry your business operates in. Epoxy laid in manufacturing plants or heavy industry operations will suffer more wear and tear as a result. So, while you can clean and maintain your epoxy floor to ensure its durability if it is heavily used, it won’t last as long as it would in other industries.
7 – Exposure to EV light
One of the drawbacks to epoxy flooring is that it has poor UV resistance. If your epoxy is exposed to regular sunlight, it will affect the binders and turn powdery. It’s for this reason that epoxy is usually only laid inside.
How to Extend the Life of Your Epoxy Floor
While you can’t control all of the factors that influence the durability of your epoxy floor, there are some simple things you can do to extend its life, including:
1 – Complete regular maintenance tasks
As soon as your epoxy floor has been laid, put together a cleaning schedule for your employees to follow. Your epoxy floor needs to be cleaned every day to remove dirt and debris. You also need to avoid using chemical cleaners, as they can affect the structure of the epoxy. Instead, cleaning it with a mop, hot water, and clear ammonia should be more than sufficient.
2 – Reapply coating if necessary
If you notice that your epoxy floor is marked or damaged in particular areas, you can opt to reapply epoxy coating if desired. While this can be a relatively expensive undertaking, it may be necessary for some instances to protect the integrity of the floor. And the way that the resin within the epoxy bonds, you usually have to reapply coating to the entire surface as opposed to isolated patches of epoxy.
3 – Work with a professional epoxy installer
While some people are tempted to carry out flooring jobs as DIY projects, this isn’t advisable for laying epoxy. Installing epoxy flooring requires specialist equipment and is a job that is best undertaken by professionals, so it’s important not to jeopardise the project by trying to do it yourself!
Signs That Your Epoxy Floor Needs Replacing
If your epoxy floor has been down for 5-10 years and you’re considering replacing it, here are three signs that now might be the right time.
1 – When scuffs and abrasions appear
Scratches are to be expected on any type of floor, and epoxy is no exception. But there’s a difference between scratches and scuffs. Scuffs and abrasions are deeper and affect the structural integrity of your epoxy floor, and negatively impact its effectiveness. If you notice that there are scuffs and abrasions on various sections of your epoxy floor, then it’s probably time to schedule a replacement.
2 – Localised breakdowns of the coating
In manufacturing plants and warehouses, it’s common for localised breakdowns of the coating to occur. This refers to sections of the epoxy that have split, cracked, or been damaged in any other way. For instance, if you operate a manufacturing plant, it’s common for the epoxy to be damaged in a section where heavy-duty machinery is used or where chemicals and oils are regularly spilt. While some epoxy floors can be treated and repaired, others will need to be replaced, and a new coating applied.
3 – Miniature cracking
As well as scuffs and abrasions, some people notice miniature cracking of their epoxy. This can happen for several reasons, but you will need to do something about it. When cracks appear in epoxy, they always worsen over time and compromise the entire surface if they’re left untreated. Again, you might be able to fix isolated cracks, but if you notice them throughout the surface of your epoxy floor, it’s probably time to arrange a replacement floor.
Epoxy is one of the most popular flooring materials and is widely installed in commercial and industrial properties thanks to its hard-wearing properties. However, as we’ve explored in this blog post, several factors are likely to affect the durability and lifespan of your epoxy floor, so it’s important to bear these in mind before committing to an epoxy installation.
To ensure you get the best out of your epoxy floor, you should opt for a professional installation and apply the correct thickness for its intended usage. If you have any questions about epoxy flooring in general or would like to schedule an installation, we’d be delighted to help you out, so feel free to get in touch for more information.