Reasons Why DIY Epoxy Flooring May Fail
It’s no secret that epoxy resin is a popular flooring choice for many businesses. Epoxy floors are durable, versatile, and easy to maintain. However, some business owners choose to tackle epoxy flooring projects themselves in an attempt to save money. Unfortunately, these projects often fail miserably, costing more time and money in the long run. Here are some of the most common reasons DIY epoxy flooring projects are unsuccessful:
Poor Surface Preparation
Arguably the most critical step in any epoxy flooring project is surface preparation. This stage ensures that the epoxy will adhere properly and creates a smooth, even surface. Unfortunately, however, when attempting a DIY epoxy floor, many people make the mistake of skipping this crucial step to save time.
The truth is that surface preparation is worth the effort, as it will help ensure a more successful epoxy flooring project.
Any surface flaw or unevenness will be magnified once the epoxy is applied, leading to bumps, cracks, and other unsightly blemishes.
By adequately preparing the floor, you can improve the bond between the substrate and epoxy and avoid common problems like bubbling, chipping, and peeling. In addition, a well-prepared surface will be more resistant to stains and fading.
Adhesion is key when it comes to epoxy floor coatings. If the concrete is not correctly prepared, contaminants such as fatty acids, silicone, and acrylics can soak in deep enough to still present an issue. This can result in a suboptimal bond between the coating and the surface, which can cause decreased performance and durability. With severe contamination, heavily shot blasting, grinding, or cutting may be necessary to ensure proper adhesion. By properly preparing the surface beforehand, you can help ensure that your epoxy floor will perform as intended.
Poor Bond Strength
One of the essential factors of a good epoxy floor is its adhesive strength. Professional products consistently outperform those designed for DIY use in this instance. An epoxy floor should have an adhesive bond strength that surpasses the concrete’s pull strength. Unfortunately, many DIY kits on the market are nothing more than epoxy-fortified latex paint or have so many fillers that they drastically reduce the bond strength of the epoxy.
Insufficient Wicking / Wet-Out
A well-applied epoxy coating should “wet out” the concrete substrate, which means that it should evenly saturate the surface. Air pockets can form between the epoxy layer and substrate when this doesn’t happen, leading to delamination and other problems.
The epoxy must be applied in a thin, even coat for wet-out to occur correctly. Unfortunately, this process is often difficult to achieve when doing it yourself, leading to poor coverage and wet-out problems.
Similarly, coatings that shrink too much during curing can also cause incomplete wet-out, as the shrinking material pulls away from the edges of the pores. Incomplete wet-out can lead to a host of problems, including poor adhesion, premature epoxy failure, and increased susceptibility to peeling.
When concrete is first poured, it is a fluid mixture of cement, water, and aggregate. As the water evaporates, the concrete begins to harden. However, the evaporation process is not always complete, especially if the concrete is exposed to high humidity levels. When too much moisture is present in the concrete, it will migrate upwards towards the surface. This process is known as efflorescence, and it can cause problems for the concrete itself and any coatings that have been applied to it. Efflorescence can force the epoxy layers off the surface of the concrete. The result is an unsightly and potentially serious situation. If left untreated, efflorescence can also lead to the decay of the concrete substrate.
One way to help minimise the effects of moisture is to use a sealant or waterproofing agent on the concrete before applying the epoxy. These products will help create a barrier between the substrate and any moisture present, preventing it from migrating upwards and damaging the epoxy coating.
Humidity in the air during the installation and curing processes can also cause epoxy floor problems. If the relative humidity is too high, it can cause the epoxy to sweat and blister. On the other hand, too low a temperature can cause the epoxy to cure too slowly or not at all. In either case, it is important to control the humidity levels during the installation and curing processes to ensure a successful outcome. There are several ways to do this, including using a dehumidifier or an air conditioner. In some cases, it may also be necessary to use special flooring adhesives designed to work in high or low humidity conditions.
Temperature extremes can cause epoxy failure for a variety of reasons:
- Excessive heat can cause the epoxy to soften and lose its shape. This can lead to cracks and breaks in the material, which allow moisture and other contaminants to enter.
- Extreme cold can cause the epoxy to become brittle and fracture.
- Rapid temperature changes can cause stresses that lead to cracking and other forms of damage.
As a result, it is important to avoid exposing epoxy to extreme temperatures. If necessary, you should use protective measures such as heaters or fans to maintain a consistent temperature.
Product Mixing Issues
Mixing epoxy is a delicate process. If the ratio of resin to hardener is off, or if the mix is not stirred for the proper amount of time, the epoxy will not cure properly. This mistake can cause severe problems down the line, as the coatings will be less effective and may not last as long. In addition, many epoxies are sensitive to the amount of air present in the mix. If there is too much air, the epoxy will not cure correctly and may end up looking cloudy or hazy. In addition, it can cause bubbles and bumps to form in the finished product. These imperfections can weaken the flooring structure and make it more susceptible to damage. Therefore, it is vital to be extremely careful when mixing epoxy to ensure that the finished product will be strong and durable.
Most DIY epoxy kits are often poor quality and only contain enough material for one or two thin coats. Unfortunately, this means that it will not provide adequate protection for your floors and will quickly wear down.
Professional installations provide a more durable floor surface than DIY kits, as the premium quality epoxy available to contractors is substantially thicker than that available to the average consumer. This increased thickness allows for a more even distribution of the epoxy, which results in a coating that is less likely to chip or peel. In addition, a professional installation will typically use two or three coats of epoxy, which will provide even more protection for your floors.
It is important to be careful when using DIY epoxy flooring products as they can fail in many ways. In some cases, the humidity levels or the mix ratio can be off, which can cause the epoxy not to cure properly. In other cases, the epoxy may be too thin and not provide adequate protection for your floors.
Professional epoxy flooring installations offer a more durable floor surface than DIY kits and are less likely to fail. If you’re considering installing an epoxy floor, it may be wise to consult with a professional installer who has the knowledge and experience to ensure a successful installation that will last for many years.
Impact Flooring are experts at supplying, installing and maintaining high-quality resin floors. For more information on our services or to request a quote, please contact us today. We would be happy to answer any questions and advise you on the best resin flooring option for your business needs.