EPOXY FLOOR PAINT
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The Old Goat's Epoxy Floor Q&A
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The "Old Goat", A.K.A. Professor E. Poxy - M.S. - M.B.A. - epoxy professional since 1994 - Member: NACE (National Assoc. of Corrosion Engineers), SSPC (Soc. of Protective Coatings)
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Question: Garage / shop for Prep
In 2 weeks I will pour a new concrete slab for my new shop. I have read the reviews and instructions on epoxy floor prep and installation. I would like some input on either having a slick finish concrete floor or the epoxy floor. Is there a concrete finishing technique that doesn't require an acid wash or grinding to have the epoxy stick? I have read I need to wait 28 days before applying the epoxy? I want something durable, not slick, and won't break the bank. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thanks
Professional epoxy floor applicators generally shot blast the floors prior to coating them. Acid etching is also an acceptable method, but not used that often. Surprisingly most home owners just sweep and vacuum the floor the apply the epoxy. Most of the time this 'marginal prep' works for them - but no professional applicator would dare risk such a min. approach. Personally, for DIY folks, I like water blasting or water jetting really good.
Note that fresh concrete floors have a weak crust of dust, sand, etc. that comes to the top of the cement when it is being poured. It is important to remove this weak crust before applying the epoxy which needs to be in contact with 'solid concrete'. Note too that if your floor is crumbling or dusting this too could be a real problem.
Yes, it is recommended to let your new floor cure for a month or longer to get all the water out of the mixture.
Question: Epoxy floor for Workshop area
I live in a 3 story townhome. The bottom story is a 2 car, side by side garage, then a 3inch step up to an additional laundry/workshop area that measures about 15x18'. The next two stories up are living areas. Recently a pipe broke in the ceiling of the workroom area. Insurance wants to rip out the ceiling and vinyl flooring in the laundry/workroom area. I'm thinking of replacing the vinyl with an epoxy flooring. I am a DYI person so I am hoping I can recover the workroom area with Epoxy.
My concerns are:
A - Timing - We won't have more then a few days to get a new floor in, so we can move back into the room. Ideally, I'd love to have the floor coated in a day.
B - Fumes. Part of the floor extends to a staircase landing that goes to the 1st floor. Are the fumes terrible if they seep into the rest of the house for a day or two?
Ideally, I just want whatever will be quick, durable for a motorcycle lift, and easy to apply.
First realize that there are several kinds of epoxies that can be used - solvent free, water based, or solvent based. Also you floor could be a one to seven coat system. The use of color paint chips, or a quartz broadcast epoxy floor adds steps and options.
Sounds like you would be best served by a single coat of Industrial Floor epoxy. It is a solvent free epoxy without any fumes.
Question: Epoxy floor for Workshop area
I have some cracks and chips in my concrete flooring. What can I use to repair it? It's only about 2 years old but the harsh winter weather takes a toll on it. I need something that can hold up to the freezing/thawing/freezing cycle.
The professional fix for damaged concrete is epoxy mixed with sand. This forms sort of an epoxy cement. Use lots of sand and a cheap solvent free epoxy. The sand does all the work. The epoxy holds it all together and provides the bonding. You can use a marine epoxy or a cheaper epoxy called - Epoxy Mortar Patch. A 1.5 gal unit of Epoxy Mortar Patch will make about 2.5 gallons of repair epoxy when mixed with lots of sand.
Question: Bubbles in my Epoxy Floor Workshop area
I followed each step of the process to the fullest (used diamond bit to get old paint off/etched the slab/filled holes with epoxy shield patch repair). I etched yesterday early in the day and today I began the last step of my process. I put down the epoxy. I did see some bubbles come up, rolled them out and then finally spread the flakes. Apparently I did not wait long enough because there was massive outgassing happening. Now, I need to know what do next? Do I sand out the bubbles and get another kit? If I sand out the bubbles, can I just use another coat of expoxy coat? Will more bubbles come up? Any help would be appreciated.
The bubbles are caused by air in the concrete. As the room heats during the day the air in the concrete expands and pushes through the epoxy forming bubbles or crator (popped bubbles). Note the most contractor built garages have the concrete 'vibrated' down to remove air and give a smooth hard finish, thus generally bubbles are not a problem here. However, bubbles are common in DIY poured sheds, barns, workshops etc. where the cement is just poured and leveled smooth.
The best approach is to always apply an epoxy floor when the temperatures are falling (late in the day) instead of during the day when they are rising. This is not just the air temp but also the slab temp. A good plan is to coat say 9 pm to midnight or so. When the temps are falling the air is contracting and will actually help draw the epoxy into the slab.
So what to do if you have bubbles? About all you can do is grind them down and recoat with a fresh layer of solvent free epoxy. With a solvent free epoxy, there is no shrinkage during cure (no solvents to flash off) so wet thickness equals dry thickness. If you bury the bubbles with wet epoxy they will not re-appear as the epoxy gets hard.
Question: Bubbles in my one part polyurethane floor
So, long story short I decided to dive into the deep end with my floor. I wanted metallics so that's what I did. All went reasonably well, and I was in the home stretch till my urethane (or polyurethane) dried.
I was left with thousands of tiny pinhead sized dots. My supplier is looking into this but figured your wisdom would also help.
One part low solvents polyurethanes generate bubbles - especially in thick coatings. It has been a problem for low solvent poly manufacturers for years. The quest for a solvent free poly has been derailed over this issue.
The lesson is not to deal with vendors that don't know, or will not tell you, what can go wrong. Too many floor coating sharks on the internet. One day they sell shoes at the mall, the next day they're 'floor coating experts.'
Question: Subject: epoxy questions for applying epoxy coatings to my basement floor
From: Julie, 2014 4:05 PM
I have a few questions on which products to order for my basement floor.
Basement is approx. 23x23 ft. Basement has dewatering system underneath the concrete, around the perimeter. Basement is basically dry, except for during and after heavy rains the concrete above the dewatering system sweats and the concrete is damp. The floor has been patched here and there. Several areas are really hard. Other areas are porous.
I completely sanded the floor with a diamond disc grinder, and the areas that have been patched around the perimeter had chips break off and need epoxy patching .I would like to epoxy coat the floor so I can use the basement for a framing room to frame photos, and for dry storage. Would also like to eliminate possibility of moisture, radon and musty odors seeping from floor. Would like to do this only once, so would like to do it right.
I have read your website and am interested in know which types of products (and how much) to purchase. (please note product names are not correct)
-Sealer for bare concrete?
Please help me decide what I need to order.
I love all of the information on your website, I just can't seem to sort this out myself.
Thank you so much,
Tired of the ugly floor and dampness
Your floor sounds like the classic 'problem basement floor". I understand that one of the larger epoxy paint company used to refuse selling epoxy paint for basement (below grade) applications because of the potential problems.
Start with an internal concrete sealer (our Bio Vee Seal) - 1 gal for 200 sf. it soaks into the concrete and clogs the pores - reducing moisture issues and that damp, musty smell while leaving no coating etc. on the surface (see epoxyproducts.com/vee4u.html.
For patching use our Low V epoxy (a clear watery epoxy that bonds to dry or damp surfaces - order at epoxyusa.com) mixed with sand to patch any problem areas.
Then you have a choice of solvent free floor epoxy or a water based floor epoxy (differences at epoxyproducts.com/b_floor.html). The water based Water Bond floor epoxy is more forgiving of moisture etc. but goes on thin and doesn't hide anything. It would need 2 coats over your patches because it will look different going over epoxy vs going over cement. On the other hand, the solvent free Industrial Floor Epoxy will hide everything, but has more possible issues with adhesion, especially on a floor with moisture issues. The thick non porous solvent free epoxy will stop any moisture movement and the radon associated with it.
You might order small amounts of the above and do a test area. See how it looks and holds up before doing (risking) the entire project.
Question: What is the best approach to coating my very smooth garage floor?
I'm looking for a good product for my garage floor it's around 950 sq. ft. The concrete is very smooth, looking for something that could last and protect, the surface in northern Indiana weather.
I would proceed very slowly, especially with a very smooth surface. contractors would "shotblast" (using a shot blast machine) or grind your floor to remove the top surface and give it some 'profile.' Other options are acid etching and or high pressure water blasting. The problem is you don't know if you have done enough prep until after the fact.
If it were my floor I would decide what sort of prep I was willing to do - how far would I go? - and then purchase a 48 oz unit of a solvent free floor epoxy (Industrial Floor Epoxy - www.epoxyusa.com) and apply about a square foot over where the tires are parked.... (tire 'pickup' will lift poorly bonded paints and epoxies. I would then sit back 3 or 4 moths and see how it goes. If problems appear, then time to reconsider - if great results, you can paint floor in the cooler fall weather.
High Quality Commercial Grade DIY Floor Project
"I have been looking for a good Commercial grade garage floor Epoxy system with color flakes and had a hard time till I stumble onto your web site. Most of the product that I find out there are the lower grade product that I’m not interested on, by the way this is for my own personal use in my 550 square foot, standard two car garage, that is the reason I want a good system. I understand I can purchase from you such products. I will need some advise on what you’ll recommend based on my needs. I see you carry two types of epoxy at two different prices. Please I would greatly appreciate if someone could get back to me with the type of product and all the necessary material to do an epoxy flake floor system with a clear top coat finish. Thank you."
- Franco 1/15
Thank you for the kind email. The simplest system is simply to roll down a coat of epoxy and sprinkle some colored flakes on top of it. You are wise to seek a more commercial/professional system, but still within a DIY budget and skill set.
Here is a suggest system (with a few options included):
1) Surface prep: folks go from simple sweeping to Shot Blasting or Grinding. Each floor is different and some floors are not suitable for coating no matter how you attempt to prepare it. We cannot make official recommendations - it is truly your call, but check out our page on surface prep.
2) Epoxy primer: epoxy floor primers are optional and most floor epoxy manufacturers do not require or sell them. That said, many (not all) experienced epoxy floor contractors recommend or require it. They claim better results, better bond, etc. Consider it extra insurance for a problem free project. You might prime and wait a few weeks before continuing. If bad stuff happens (peeling, lifting, bubbles, etc.) it is only the thin coat of primer involved. Recommended primer ESP 155 1/2 gal unit covers about 150 square feet (not for sale in Southern California). Order 4 units for your 2 car garage.
3) Roll down a coat of solvent free Industrial Floor Epoxy. A 1.5 gal unit will cover just under 200 square feet. Colors are light gray or beige. Order 3 units for your 2 car garage. apply with a short roller. Order 2- 4 rollers. Let the epoxy cure for one or more days.
4) Order colored chips direct from the chip manufacture. You pick color and percent of each color. 100% chip coverage requires 1 pound of chips per 7-10 square feet. That said, most 2 car garages use two or three 10 pound bags of chips. Order chips direct from Chips Unlimited.
5) Next a clear middle coat of epoxy or polyurethane is applied and the chips are sprinkled onto the wet coating and then application roller is rolled over the chips and coating (called back rolling). The roller picks up the chips and re-deposits them. Add more chips as needed, fix mistakes with a paper towel wipe-up. Epoxy middle coat: thicker, no odor, but all epoxies yellow without special top coating. Two part poly middle coat: thin to start with, but also roll on thin not thick, smelly, leaves some texture from the chips, not for sale in California, doesn't yellow. If using epoxy - Order 4 units of Low V Floor. If using 2 part poly - Order 2 - 3 units of Acrylic Poly UV Plus 2 part poly.
Note that the added materials for the epoxy middle chip coat add about $400 to the total cost compared to the Acrylic Poly Plus middle coat.
6) The clear topcoat over the chips in step 5 is the same Acrylic Poly UV plus. Two coats rolled on thin if going over an epoxy/chip, middle coat. Order 4 units of Acrylic Poly Plus (2 coats). One or two coats if going over the same Acrylic Poly UV plus used with the chips in the middle poly/chip layer.
LOTS OF ADDITIONAL EPOXY FLOOR INFO - ARTICLES - WEB SITES - AT THE EPOXY FLOOR LINKS PAGE
PRODUCT SUMMARY - 2 part poly middle coat with chips: 4 units ESP 155 primer; 3 units Industrial Floor Epoxy; 4 units Acrylic Poly UV Plus; optional short nap rollers (2-4) for the Industrial Floor Epoxy layer.
PRODUCT SUMMARY - Low V Floor clear epoxy middle coat with chips: 4 units of ESP 155 primer; 3 units of Industrial Floor Epoxy; 3 units of Low V Floor Epoxy; 4 units of Acrylic Poly UV Plus; optional short nap rollers (2-4)
PRODUCT SUMMARY - 20-30 pounds of chips ordered directly from Chips Unlimited.
COST ESTIMATES - (either system) - about $3 to $4 per square foot plus Chips (chips are under $150)
THESE PRODUCTS (LESS THE CHIPS) AT OUR THIRD PARTY, PRIMARY
CLICK HERE. OR CALL 604 435 -7199
DID YOU KNOW...
Epoxy coatings are used because of their outstanding chemical resistance, durability, low porosity and strong bond strength.
Epoxies consist of a ‘base' and a ‘curing' agent. The two components are mixed in a certain ratio. A chemical reaction occurs between the two parts generating heat (exotherm) and hardening the mixture into an inert, hard ‘plastic'.
Epoxies yellow, chalk (or more commonly least lose their gloss), in direct sunlight (UV). The yellowing can be a real problem. For pigmented epoxies select colors that are dark or contain a lot of yellow (such as green). Even clear epoxies will yellow and cloud up. Often epoxies are top coated with latex or urethanes that will retain their color and attractive gloss. This is particularly true if color coding or matching company colors is important.
Epoxies will harden in minutes or hours, but complete cure (hardening) will generally take several days. Most epoxies will be suitably hard within a day or so, but may require more time to harden before the coating can be sanded.
By their nature, epoxies are hard and brittle. Additives can be added to epoxies that make them less brittle, but generally at the loss or reduction of other positive epoxy properties such as chemical resistance.
Other clues of cheap epoxies include ‘induction time' (after mixing the two components the mixture must sit for several minutes to ‘self cook' before being applied).
The best time to recoat epoxy is within about 48 hours after the initial coat. Because epoxies take days to reach full cure, a second coat applied shortly after the first coat will partially fuse to the first coat rather than forming a simple mechanical bond.
End users can thicken epoxy with many things, Tiny glass spheres, known as micro-spheres or micro-balloons are commonly used. Besides thickening, their crushable nature makes sanding the hardened epoxy easier. On the downside, they work like tiny ball bearings, resulting is sagging and slumping. Another thickener is fumed silica (a common brand name is Cabosil (tm)) which looks like fake snow. About 2 parts fumed silica with one part epoxy will produce a mixture similar in texture and thickness to petroleum jelly. Micro-spheres and fumed silica can be combined together.
Fisheyes are areas on a painted surface where the coating literally pulls away for the substrate leaving a coatingless void or fisheye. Often fisheyes are caused by surface contaminants such as a bit of silicon, wax, or oil. I have also seen them on clean plywood where epoxies paints have been used as sealers and the problem might be due to uneven saturation (soaking-in) of the epoxy into the wood. Surface tension plays a big part in fisheyeing. There are some additives that can be mixed into the epoxy that will reduce surface tension. Likewise, on wood, applying several coats of solvent thinned epoxy, instead of one coat of unthinned epoxy, seems to work well. Applying a thick coat of epoxy over a contaminated fisheye surface will bury the fisheye but expect the coating to peel away in the future. As a rule of thumb, always suspect some sort of surface contamination as the primary cause of fisheyeing.
Adding a bit of solvent to a solvent based or solvent-free epoxy is something that most manufacturers would not officially approve of and something that might not work with all epoxies. However, it can be done (unofficially) with the epoxies I deal with. Adding solvent to these epoxies will: 1) thin them out; 2) increase pot life; 3) allows them to flow off the brush/roller a bit more smoothly; and 4) perhaps allows them to ‘soak-in', penetrate, or may be soften, the substrate just a little bit. Not change is visible in the epoxy unless 12% or greater solvent is added. With that amount of solvent, the epoxies no longer cure with a glossy finish.
It is best to use epoxies with a mix ratio close to 1 to 1 as opposed to something 4-1, 5-1, etc. because errors in the mix ratios can be more pronounced with the latter. That said, no matter what the mix ratio is, some epoxies are more forgiving of mix ratio errors than others. One ‘trick' of epoxy vendors with odd or very sensitive mix ratios is to sell calibrated pumps that disperse the epoxy components in exact amounts.
How Thick? How thick should your coating be? Economics play a major role in determining how much coating to apply. One U.S. gallon contains 231 cubic inches. That's only 1.6 cubic square feet of surface at one inch thick and that's also assuming a solvent-free product. If the product is 25% VOC (i.e. 25% solvent) then dry thickness/coverage will be 25% less. Again, assuming a 1/4 inch thick coating (250 mils) maximum coverage will still be only 6.4 square feet per gallon. A solvent-free (100% solids) epoxy coating applied at 16 mils will cover 100 square feet per gallon (note: the wall paint in your office is probably 2-4 mils). While thick coatings sound like a good idea, they use so much product that they must be made very cheaply so that coating 1,000 or 10,000 square feet can still be done at a competitive price. A high quality, fairly expensive product with a coverage rate of 100 sq. feet or more per gallon, on the other hand, will have a low enough cost per sq. foot to provide both economy and top quality.
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MARINE CATALOG LINKS
1) Our marine/boating epoxy site (www.epoxyproducts.com/marine.html) which then links to:
Section One MARINE - CLEAR EPOXIES sometimes called 'goo' ***********
Section Two FILLERS THICKENERS ADDITIVES ***********
Section Three THICKENED EPOXIES - EPOXY PUTTIES - sometimes called 'goo', ETC. ***********
Section Four EPOXY PAINTS (barrier coats) ***********
Section Five URETHANES AND NON-EPOXY COATINGS
Section Six NON-SKID DECK COATINGS ***********
Section Seven MARINE REPAIR (fiberglass cloth etc) PRODUCTS ***********
Section Eight MISC. MARINE PRODUCTS ***********
HOME - INDUSTRIAL (NON MARINE)
Our industrial/commercial/home site (www.epoxyproducts.com/main.html) IF YOU ARE NOT DOING A BOAT RELATED PROJECT, START HERE WITH THIS LINK.
Section A EPOXY PAINTS ***********
Section B FLOOR EPOXIES (regular and non-skid products), SEALERS, ACCESSORIES ***********
Section D CLEAR EPOXIES - CLEAR COATINGS ***********
Section E NON-EPOXY PAINTS COATINGS SEALERS ***********
Section F MIX-IN ADDITIVES ***********
Section G OTHER PRODUCTS ***********
Section H SURFACE PREPARATION PRODUCTS ***********
Section IMISC (rollers, brushes, pumps) ***********
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