When it comes to overlaying your old cement floor, there are quite a few choices available to you. You might choose carpet, wood, paint, a stamped overlay or something else. One of the most common choices is to use epoxy. Epoxy floors work very well in many situations, from garage floors to hospitals, industrial facilities to veterinary clinics. Of course, there are a few things you need to know about this material before you decide that it’s ideal for your needs. Here are four things you need to know upfront.
1. Different Grades
First, there are several different types, or grades, available in epoxy floors. The most common type is similar to paint. It’s applied with a roller and can be done easily by virtually anyone with the right preparation. There are also two-part epoxy systems that require premixing the ingredients, as well as thick epoxy coatings that offer substantial protection and even comfort.
2. Curing Times Vary
Any coating that you put down over cement is going to have to cure before you can use it. With paint, that curing time is usually a few hours to a day. With stamped concrete overlays, it might be a couple of days before you can safely walk on the surface. Epoxy floors are a bit different, particularly thicker applications. The thickest epoxy flooring will actually require several weeks of curing time. During that period, you need to stay off the floor. For businesses and facilities that need to use that floor as quickly as possible, this might not be the best solution available.
3. Epoxy Can Be Combined with Other Materials
Some forms of epoxy can be combined with other materials to offer the strongest, most durable surface possible. Adding different elements to the mix can offer benefits such as a higher gloss surface, shorter curing times and even better lifespan. However, those additives often ramp up the cost of the flooring, which is something that everyone will need to consider.
4. Epoxy Floors Can Cause Problems
While epoxy is a high quality, durable material for flooring, it’s not without its issues. For instance, some types of epoxy contain high levels of VOCs, which are known to cause health problems. Some other compounds contained in epoxy are also being studied for their potential health risks. Not all problems are related to health, though. Epoxy floors have issues linked to the application process as well. For instance, exposure to significant temperature fluctuations during the installation and curing process can make the flooring unstable. It’s also very easy to make a mistake during the mixing process, which will result in subpar quality for the finished floor.
Epoxy flooring can be an excellent solution for a variety of different situations. However, it’s not ideal for every need. Before you decide that this is the way for you to go, thoroughly investigate all of your options and make an informed decision. A reputable, experienced contractor can help you understand your options and find the right flooring solution.