Epoxy can provide a durable, inexpensive, and long-lasting solution for industrial flooring needs; it’s the concrete floor covering of choice in garages, car parks, and countless manufacturing centers. With that said, there is one important caveat to offer about epoxy as a concrete floor coating: It must be installed correctly for it to do its job, and that means adequately preparing the concrete floor. If you plan on installing epoxy as a DIY project, we highly recommend you take a moment to read this post and get up to speed on what proper concrete floor preparation entails.
The preliminary step is to determine whether your floor is even a good candidate for an epoxy coating. If your concrete floor has been badly damaged, it may need to be repaired or replaced before the coating is installed. Inspect your floor thoroughly, and especially pay attention for the following signs of wear and tear:
- Moisture problems, in particular moisture seeping through the concrete;
- Previously applied paints or sealants;
- Concrete additives;
- Damaged concrete; or
- Uneven concrete.
Some of these problems are more serious than others. Previously applied paints and sealants, for example, are usually easy to strip off. If you have moisture problems, though, that’s the most serious issue—and if you don’t resolve it, it will lead to long-term problems, including corrosion of your epoxy floor covering.
Assuming you deem your concrete floor a good candidate for epoxy, the next step will be cleaning it. It’s not uncommon for concrete floors to have dirt, oil stains, and other build-up, but these surface-level contaminants can impede the proper adhesion of the epoxy. In most cases, soap and water alone will not be sufficient for cleaning your floor. You’ll need to use specialized cleaning agents and machines that provide a deep and complete cleaning.
Cleaning your concrete floor is an important start, but there are still some additional steps to take. One of them is profiling your floor. This just means opening up concrete pores, creating a rough surface that makes it easier for the epoxy to penetrate your floor deeply. The result of this is a stronger bond. (This whole process can be likened to sanding a piece of wood furniture before painting it.)
Again, specialized equipment is needed for the profiling process. (There is also an acid etching method that works, though this can be quite dangerous, and is not recommended for beginners.)
The next thing to consider is the surface of your floor. Does it have any visible defects? Any cracks or fissures? If so, these things should be addressed before the epoxy is installed. Simply put, installing an epoxy coating on an imperfect surface will only highlight that imperfection, so really make sure your floor is smooth before you go any further.
Now, this entire process may seem daunting—but is it really necessary? What would happen if you simply skipped out on these preparations?
Well, in the beginning, you probably won’t notice any problem. Your new epoxy floor coating might seem perfectly fine. Over time, though, problems will arise. The epoxy floor covering will begin to peel or detach. When this happens, it’s usually impossible to repair. Your only option will be redoing the floor covering completely—and that means a lot of wasted time and money.
When you prepare your concrete floor for covering, you’re investing in its long-term durability—and you’re eliminating the headache of having to redo things completely. In other words, it’s worth taking the time to get it right the first time.
Of course, preparing and installing epoxy doesn’t have to be a DIY job. You can always call in the pros—and at Concrete Coatings of the Carolinas, we’re certainly available to prepare your floor for epoxy, then to install it as quickly and smoothly as possible. To learn more about this process, we invite you to contact us today.