Floors impact your lifestyle. Whether doing yoga in your den, cooking in the kitchen, hosting a dinner party in your dining room, or moving stuff, flooring plays a vital role in the feel, look, and functionality of your space.
Flooring is your home’s most extensive surface, it lays the foundation for the look, texture, style, color, and pattern of the entire space. As such, your surface underfoot should reflect your style, be functional, durable and easy to maintain.
An excellent choice of flooring that caters to a variety of needs is epoxy floors.
What is an epoxy floor?
Epoxy floors are synthetic flooring systems made of hardeners and resins. The mixture is toweled or coated on top of the concrete substrates to form a resinous and seamless, rigid plastic flooring.
Over the years, epoxy flooring has gradually grown in popularity due to its versatility and beauty.
Well, thinking of installing epoxy floors? Here, the pros and cons of epoxy floors.
Epoxy floors are economical as they are easily applied directly over any existing concrete or other flooring types without a complete overhaul, thus saving on installation costs.
Additionally, the reapplication/replacement costs are much lower, giving you great value over the lifetime of the floor.
The cost of epoxy flooring includes installation and materials. The materials pricing is calculated per square meter and the percentage of epoxy mixture ratio, while the installation cost depends on the pricing of the hiring of trained technicians. Most companies charge per square root.
Epoxy coatings also require low maintenance and repairs, thus giving them an added life-term value boost.
The chemicals used to make the epoxy resin materials are highly durable and resists environmental degradation.
It can also resist cracking, wear, corrosion, and peeling making it ideal for high traffic environments like factories, auto shops, patios, medical facilities, garages, kitchens, labs, and retail stores.
A cured epoxy floor can withstand moisture and heat, while long-term curing makes it gasoline resistant.
However, an epoxy floor is not UV resistant, but adding an epoxy coating may prevent direct sunlight from affecting its look, thus lasting longer.
Additionally, the ingredients used in epoxy coating like urethane may make it more scratch and abrasive resistant.
Easy to customize
You can quickly achieve a customised look with an epoxy floor.
Epoxy comes in a huge variety of colors and styles. You can have beautiful and unique effects such as geometric patterns, flake flooring, metallic, and logos.
So whether you love a brilliantly colored floor, honed stone or a glossy finish, you can use epoxy flooring to achieve it.
While epoxy floors’ longevity varies on wear and tear, location, and purpose, it’s guaranteed to last for years if installed professionally.
Additionally, adequate maintenance like regular care ensures epoxy flooring retains its beauty and remains in perfect condition for many years.
Although epoxy has numerous advantages, it also has its downside, including;
Strong application fumes
When wet, and during the installation process, the epoxy floor produces a strong toxic fume smell due to the chemicals used when preparing the components.
Since the fumes are toxic, they can cause some side effects like inflammation of the throat, nose, and eye and lung irritation.
What’s more, the darker shade of epoxy contains more hardened chemical components than the lighter ones making them more hazardous.
However, fully cured epoxy flooring doesn’t produce fumes unless it’s further sanded, causing the epoxy resin dust to blow into the air space.
Complex preparation, installation and long curing time
Preparing the existing floor for epoxy application can be tedious and complicated. The process involves cleaning and freeing the current foundation of any solvents, oil, and grease before starting the application process.
Additionally, cleaning and filling cracks requires multiple attempts to prevent the floor from an uneven finishing and avoid adherence issues. For example, basements with moisture problems may become hard for the epoxy floor to adhere correctly, thus causing lifts and affecting the floor durability.
The application process becomes time-consuming since it includes applying the first coating, which needs a minimum of 24 hrs to dry and the final layer can take upto a month to cure completely. The epoxy mixture should also be applied within 40 minutes to prevent it from hardening.
For epoxy flooring to become steady you need a long curing time; a minimum of 72hrs. But, for areas with a humid climate, curing can take upto 30 days.
This can be highly inconveniencing for property owners.
Slippery when wet
Although epoxy floors have a degree of anti-skid elements, they are prone to being slippery when wet. The non-porous materials used on resin epoxy floors creates a smooth and dangerous surface on oily and wet surfaces.
Applying epoxy floors on homes with the elderly, kids, and pets poses a significant danger of falling and injury.
However, using mitigation measures can reduce the slippery, but it’s quite expensive, and may diminish its look. Such mitigation measures include:
- Using silica sand on the epoxy coating to create resistance;
- Adding aluminum oxide additives to give the epoxy mixture maximum grip;
- Adding the shark grip on the final epoxy coating to increase texturing and resistance.
Epoxy flooring is not a standalone floor; it needs support from the wooden floor, concrete, or steel, making it a temporary flooring solution.
Epoxy floor can wear away fast, especially in a high traffic environment, leading to chips and cracks. For epoxy flooring to retain its beauty, reapplication and re-touches are often required.
Complicated removal process
Due to the frequency of epoxy wear and tear, especially in high traffic areas like the kitchen, garage, or basement, you may need proper maintenance for the flooring to stay durable and retain its beauty.
However, sometimes removing the whole floor becomes the only solution, and with epoxy flooring, the process is complicated due to the machinery needed to remove the coating.
The removal process includes using the stripper’s chemical solution to soak in and dissolve the epoxy coating, then use a scraper blade to push off epoxy layers and a shovel to scoop off the waste. And finally applying safe discarding measures of the epoxy waste to prevent toxic fumes from affecting the environment.
Difficult to DIY
Most individuals prefer DIY home projects to cut costs, but installing epoxy floors needs a professional touch since it needs accurate chemical mixtures. Besides, it’s tedious and time-consuming and requires a certain level of knowledge to prevent unevenness and ripples. So for beautiful results, leave epoxy floor installation to trained professionals.
Some epoxy floor pros include beauty and ability to customise and reflect your style. It is also highly resistant to the elements making it durable. However, epoxy floors are difficult to install and require a professional touch. Do you think the pros outweigh the cons? Let us know what you think.