Laying it Down: Epoxy Application Step by Step

September 21, 2022

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Durable and versatile, epoxy coatings are used in various commercial and industrial settings. They’re a top choice in facilities where performance, looks and chemical resistance are a priority. 

However, the protective properties of epoxy floor coating rely on proper timing and component proportions. Otherwise, their enhancing effect is greatly diminished.

Learn how epoxy coating is applied effectively by the pros, from the pot to the finished product. In this guide, we’ll show you how to mitigate the risks and maximize the benefits of this dependable flooring material.

Epoxy Floor Coating Application: A Detailed Guide

From prep work to finishing, here are the steps for applying epoxy coatings on any heavy-duty surface.

Inspect the Area

It is vital for industrial painting and coating professionals to visit the site of epoxy application before choosing which product to use. The experts have to examine the expected use of the surface and the effects of the environment on the finish. They must assess if epoxy paint matches the requirements of the project. Once that is established, they also need to determine the right epoxy flooring solution to employ.

Below are some of the most commonly used types:

  • Clear: Showcases a classic style that aligns with a wide range of projects. This epoxy coating type is known to enhance the beauty and strengthen the performance of concrete at the same time. It is not recommended for high traffic and is mostly decorative. 
  • High-Solid: Highlights the durability of epoxy floor paint. It comes in different styles, colors and finishes to match a wide array of projects. Aside from commercial use, it’s also adopted for residential purposes.
  • Flake: Features acrylic chips or flakes that come in many colors, making any kind of surface look vibrant. 
  • Marbled: Boasting intricate designs, this epoxy resin is in demand in establishments. That’s because it’s fully customizable, allowing businesses to incorporate their logo into the finished product.
  • Metallic: In addition to offering a matte finish to your flooring, it can also be added to a solid epoxy coating to accentuate the surface. Choose metallic pigments in gold, copper, silver and more to add a touch of personality.
  • Self-Leveling: Allows you to refurbish old, damaged concrete floors. It’s perfect for patching up cracks or even refining new concrete floors. It’s also great for your do-it-yourself (DIY) garage floor project.

Find the Right Product

The result of a paint job is determined by what you do before a single stroke of paint is applied to the surface. This entails preparation, which then involves choosing the right products for your surface. 

Epoxy paints are formulated for particular tasks. So applying the correct paint to the project can go a long way when it comes to improving the performance of the finished coating. 

When choosing the epoxy coating for your flooring, the professionals recommend the following options:

  • 100 Percent Solids: An epoxy paint in its purest form, which is mostly seen on high-end floorings. This is the most expensive type as well. Although tough and long-lasting, epoxy coating is difficult to apply since it hardens quickly – as it does not contain water that evaporates during curing. For this reason, it is recommended to leave its application to professionals who are equipped to leverage its fast pot life and efficiency.
  • Solvent-Based: This epoxy paint combines 40 to 60 percent solids with chemical solvents. Priced moderately, solvent-based epoxy coatings are popular because they come in plenty of colors. However, they’re known to emit very potent fumes, so it is advised to wear proper gear during epoxy application to protect the lungs.
  • Water-Based: On the other hand, water-based epoxy resin is made up of 40 to 60 percent solids combined with water. It has lower volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and minimal odor. Like its solvent-based counterpart, it is also easy to apply. These characteristics make it a good choice for commercial, industrial and even residential epoxy applications.

Prepare the Surface

Once the epoxy product has been selected, the painting contractor prepares the surface that will receive a coat of epoxy. Experts execute different levels of preparation depending on the project requirements:

  • Sanding: The lightest form of surface preparation. It is done with an angle grinder or a light floor sander. The sandpaper attached to the disc comes in various grits to help you achieve your desired result. But even with rough, low-grit sandpaper, the scratch on the surface will still be minimal. This method is best for recoating or light paint jobs. 
  • Diamond Grinding: A versatile option that uses a variety of diamond cuts to create a harsher, much deeper floor profile. This feature allows for better bonding of the primer to the floor. Also, this option can handle soft cement to hard concrete, as well as contaminated and messy surfaces.
  • Blasting: The primary purpose of blasting is to cause a profile. It also aims to clean the surface of any stains or old paint that might affect the adhesion of the new application of epoxy. There are two types of blasting you can choose from: Shot blasting is used for floors and sand blasting for structures. This method is much more aggressive, so make sure to follow up with thorough cleaning and drying, after which the surface is ready for a coat of epoxy.
  • Scarifying: For many pros, scarifying should be the last resort because it is a relatively aggressive form of surface preparation. This method digs into the surface and is best for salvaging contaminated floors. Apply this when you need to apply a new thick, heavy-build coat on a surface that is totally clean.

This phase can also be called the body coat layer phase. It comes after the priming layer, which involves filling visible rents and cracks on the flooring with epoxy, and before the top coat layer phase.

Measure and Mix

Epoxy paints are mixed at the job site. Two compounds, a base agent (resin) and a curing agent (hardener), are mixed together at the correct ratio. Once mixed, the epoxy begins to cure. From the moment the base and curing agent are combined, the painting contractor has a limited amount of time to apply the epoxy to the surface.

Here are some of the tasks you should expect your contractor to be conducting:

  • Like in baking, measurements in epoxy applications should also be exact. So follow the recommended ratio for your flooring requirements (resin to hardener at 1:1, 2:1, etc.).
  • If epoxy is not properly mixed, serious problems may arise during the cure. A slightly off mixing ratio can result in a hot spot. This refers to unmixed components, either the base or curing agent, floating around in the final pour. In turn, this can cause an exothermic reaction early in the curing process, leading to a chain reaction in which drastic cracking occurs. Or, in some cases, the epoxy won’t cure hard at all.
  • Wear proper clothing (personal protective equipment or PPE) and employ tools and safety equipment designed for handling epoxy resins.

Laying It On

Whether you’re applying epoxy on an industrial surface or a garage floor, the process requires a practiced hand. Epoxy coatings are no different from other paints. They have an optimum film thickness that is determined by the amount of epoxy applied to the surface. The painter will brush, roll or trowel the coating into place, making sure it’s not too thick or not too thin.

Professional painters will apply multiple coats for a more lasting finish. This process takes a bit longer since they have to let the epoxy cure for a certain amount of time before applying a second coat. However, they should also be wary of the sweet spot in the curing process. Too much curing may cause the new coat failure to bite into the previous layer, while too little curing may cause the fresh coat to interfere with the previous layer’s curing process.

Final Curing

Once the final coat goes on the surface, the epoxy application is almost complete. Now, the coating has to cure completely – approximately 72 hours. After final curing, the epoxy coating is all set to provide a robust and long-lasting shield for the underlying surfaces. 

It is critical to allow the coat to rest until it’s fully cured. Otherwise, it can be prone to contamination, leading to issues like an uneven surface. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to speed up the epoxy drying process:

  • Purchase a quick-drying epoxy resin. This product contains a fast-acting curing agent in its ratio, causing the epoxy to dry within minutes of pouring. 
  • Warm the material before use. Let your resin bottles sit in a container filled with water that’s hot to the touch. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Increase the temperature in the area where you’ve applied the epoxy coating. Adjusting your thermostat a few notches up can do wonders to your resin drying time.
  • Apply heat to the newly poured epoxy using a hairdryer or heat gun. Make sure the heat is distributed evenly to prevent bubbles and cracks from forming.

Applying Epoxy Floor Coating: Enlisting the Help of Professionals

We cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining the protective properties of epoxy floor coating. In this regard, we do not recommend applying epoxy resin if it is your first time. It’s better to entrust the paint job to a professional with a proven track record in handling this type of coating successfully.

Here are a few reasons you should enlist the services of painting experts for your industrial flooring needs or DIY garage floor epoxy coating project:

  • They know what to look for during site inspection. They’re aware of the details to check before deciding whether or not you need epoxy coating in the first place.
  • They can assist you in choosing the style of epoxy coating that works best for your flooring. If you also need answers or clarifications regarding your options, professionals are positioned to provide you with those.
  • Experienced painters will have a good idea of what product suits your floor. In addition, you can give them a budget to work on, and they can align the solution accordingly.
  • They understand timing and proportions, two crucial factors to consider when applying epoxy coatings.
  • Painting experts can also hit the sweet spot when it comes to curing time.

From Industrial Facility to Garage Floor Epoxy Coating: Let Your Flooring Needs Be Met

After this detailed guide, you should have knowledge to push through with your epoxy coating project – be it commercial, industrial or residential. Yet, it also comes with the recommendation to leave the job to professionals if you are not confident about your skills. 

Considering epoxy floor coating is the type of project that can cost you more to redo, you don’t want to waste your time, money and energy on a project that cannot be undone. 

This is where a professional painting company comes in. At Raider Painting, we understand the importance of getting your epoxy coating done right the first time. Our expert team is equipped to complete the epoxy application, from the pot to the finished product. With our extensive training and experience, we know just how to handle a variety of epoxy paint jobs.

Leave your floor painting or coating requirements to us. We also offer structural steel and machinery coatings, interior and exterior painting and FDA/USDA approved coatings on top of epoxy coatings. Talk to us today to learn more about how our process can help you achieve your desired result.

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