Epoxy coatings have two parts, the base and the curing agent. These components are stored separately from each other, and are mixed just before the epoxy paint is going to be applied. The secret to getting a good epoxy coating is found in the curing process.
Once mixed together, your painting and coating contractor has a limited amount of time to apply the paint before it has dried too much for further use. This time is called pot life, and the drying process is called curing. Although the pot life for epoxy paint can range from ten minutes to an hour, epoxy can take several days to fully cure.
The curing process affects the final finish of the epoxy coating. If the process is rushed by various factors, the coating will not be as tough or as durable as the project requires. Similarly, if the curing times are extended for too long, the final quality of the coating will suffer.
Epoxy paints are best applied within a narrow range of temperatures, typically from 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with an ideal applicant temperature of 65 to 70 degrees. Temperatures outside of this range affect the pot life and drying time of epoxy paints.
Moisture also affects the application process. Like most paints, epoxy coatings are best applied in conditions of average humidity. More importantly, the surface material has to be absolutely dry when the epoxy paint is applied. High humidity will slow down the curing process, although some special formulations of epoxy paint contain additives which allow the paints to be applied in high humidity environments.