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Installing an Epoxy Floor

This page show the steps in installing an epoxy floor system.  This page is for informational purposes only.  It makes no claims or warranties for the information provided.  Thanks to American Concrete Restoration & Decorative Coatings for this information and for the excellent job done on my garage.  American Concrete Restoration & Decorative Coatings specializes in epoxy floor systems, acid staining, concrete re-surfacing, anti-skid floors, crack repair, stamped overlays and can handle all of you finishing needs.  You can reach American Concrete Restoration at (708) 205-9664 or (219) 853-8047.  You can also email them at info@americanconcreterestoration.com.  Epoxy floor turn plain concrete into a finished product and are perfect for basements, garages, shop floors, and anywhere you have exposed concrete that needs sealing.


The Process


The preparation of the floor surface is the most important part.  The pictures below shows the grinding of the floor.  This provides a clean porous surface for the epoxy to adhere to.  The system used here creates minimal dust thanks to the large vacuums attached to the grinders. It is critical that all dust is properly removed.  Failing to remove the dust is a common cause of adhesion issues.  All cracks and pits are ground out and filled with a concrete filler.  A polyurethane concrete caulk is added to the expansion joints to allow for expanding and contracting of the floor.    


While the application process looks simple, it is far more complex than one may realize.  Like painting, the corners and edges are cut in first.  The epoxy is then applied to the concrete.  Epoxy consists of 2 parts which are mixed just before application.  There is a limited time which the epoxy can be applied once it is mixed.  Professional installers mix small batches and blend them in as they install they install it on the floor.  They work carefully to ensure that the base epoxy is a smooth surface with no lines or blending marks. 


Aggregates and Flakes
Depending on the application, aggregates and decorative flakes can be added to an application for a desired effect.  Aggregates are generally added for slip resistance.  There are several types of aggregates including aluminum oxide, silica, and others.  Decorative flakes are actually paint chips added to the epoxy once it has been applied.  While there are several types of flakes, professional installers tend to use acrylic paint chips.  Lesser grade chips will burn or curl once a polyurethane sealer is applied over the epoxy.  Decorative flakes can applied is several variations from random to full flake.  Random flakes are lightly spread over the epoxy allowing the base coat to show through.  Full flake applications cover the base coat with a more dense application of chips.  Full flake applications are more expensive and can be more difficult to install in a uniform manner.  The pictures on the left are random flake while the pictures on the right are full flake.


Top Coats
Once the epoxy has fully cured urethane top coats are applied to provide protection the floor.  The epoxy curing time varies by product but is roughly 8-12 hours before it is strong enough for a top coat to be applied.  It can take up to 7-10 days for the epoxy to fully cure.  Urethane sealers cure to provide a hard chemical resistant surface over the newly applied floor.  While the epoxy strengthens the concrete, the urethane provides protection for the epoxy.  In some cases two coats of urethane are applied.  In addition to providing protection, the polyurethane can also be used to add shine or gloss to a floor.  The urethane typically requires 24 hours between coats.  Once the final coat of urethane is applied, it is best to wait 72 hours before using the surface at all.
Cleaning and Care
Once your floor is fully cured and you begin using it, you may want to clean it.  Mild dish soap and warm water work best for cleaning and maintaining your floor.  Commercial cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that will dull and wear the floor's finish over time.  Like any product, the more you take care of it the longer it will last.
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