Epoxy formulations have been an essential part of the building industry for half a century. Epoxy floor coatings, in particular, are widely-used in floor applications. Here are some things you may or may not yet know about one of the most important coating materials in existence:
1. Epoxy resins are the secret behind high-performing epoxy coatings.
Epoxy resins are the core materials of quality formulations such as epoxy-based primers, top-coats, and sealants. These resins make it possible for epoxy floor coatings to perform well as floor finishes, protective coats, fire retardants, waterproofing and damage-resistance paints.
2. Epoxy coatings are applicable in many surface types.
Specific flooring applications need specific coating systems dictated mainly by the kind of material used for the substrate. Epoxy floor coatings are one of the few systems that can work in concrete, steel and nearly all types of surfaces.
3. Epoxy resin molecules are cross-linked, hence they are nearly impermeable.
The unique chemistry between bisphenol A and epichlorohydrin organochlorine/epoxide compounds creates a reaction that produces cross-linked epoxies when exposed to amines. The resulting epoxy floor coatings are highly-resistant to water, chemical or air intrusion — a critical ability in corrosion-prone metal or concrete surfaces.
4. Epoxies can combine with other materials for increased performance.
Epoxy-amine systems, epoxy-sulfide systems, aliphatic epoxy systems, and hybrid epoxy systems are some of the common coatings systems created in tandem with epoxy. With amine, glossy surface appearance, better adhesion and fast curing times are achieved. Epoxy coatings systems also work well with alkyds and acrylics.
5. Epoxy floor coatings can protect heavy-duty floors.
Epoxy coatings are resistant to many types of damages. No wonder that they are often applied in areas that are constantly exposed to damage-inducing agents, such as in manufacturing plants, warehouse floors, heavy machinery garages and airplane hangars.
6. Epoxy coatings have impressive adhesive properties.
Epoxy-based coatings have strong adhesive capabilities — 1.5 thousand pounds of adhesive power per inch square of flooring. This translates to floors that can remain intact and in good condition for longer periods of time and even under intense physical loads.
7. Epoxy coatings are good fire-retardants.
Some epoxy floor coatings contain pigments that expand quickly when exposed to intense heat. This expansion forms a thick barrier protection that lasts long enough for the fire to be put out naturally or by a responding fire-fighting team.
8. Epoxy floor coatings are either water-borne, high-solids, or solvent-borne.
Water-borne epoxies are effective in many surfaces, while high-solid formulations cover a wider application area and contain lower VOC amounts. Solvent-borne epoxies are an older technology but are high in VOCs and emit a toxic odor. The latter also requires more cure time and longer post-cleanup activities.
9. Epoxy floor coatings may contain health and environment hazards.
The bisphenol A compound in epoxy resins is currently under scrutiny as a potential health hazard, and solvent-based coats contain high levels of VOCs harmful to the environment and to application workers.
10. Epoxy coatings have their share of vulnerabilities.
Epoxy floor coatings are very dependent on a consistent mix ratio to avoid problems during curing time. Applicators must follow manufacturer’s recommendations to maintain consistency in texture and viscosity. The coatings are also unstable when exposed to UV rays and to temperature changes during the mixing, application and curing stages.
Epoxy floor coatings are high-performing and versatile because of the inherent chemical properties of epoxy. It remains to be one of the most sought-after coatings systems that meet any kind of coatings application requirements.