Preparing Concrete Floors for Epoxy Coating
Epoxy floors are an aesthetically pleasing, durable floor surface that has many additional benefits. An important step in the extending the life of new epoxy flooring is proper preparation before the application begins.
The most common problem people encounter when applying epoxy to a horizontal concrete surface is adhesion. Vertical walls need simply to have a coat of primer and a coat of paint. Concrete floors are a horse of a different color. Understanding the importance of preparation is vital in providing a durable, lasting finish.
Surface preparation is the most important phase of an epoxy flooring application. A simple process can turn into a difficult, lengthy repair if the surface is improperly prepared. A clean surface is essential in establishing a strong bond between the concrete and the coating. The concrete surface must be free of dust to ensure optimal durability and long-wearing. Surface debris interferes with proper adhesion
Steps to Accomplish a Clean Surface
- Remove clutter and furniture from the floor.
- With a broom, sweep away any dirt or dust from the floor.
- Sticky material or thick mud should be removed with a metal putty knife.
- A course brush and a chemical degreasing agent should be used to scrub away greasy areas.
- Use a pressure washer (preferably) or a wet vacuum to thoroughly clean the floor.
Common Methods of Preparing Epoxy Flooring
Resinous floors bond best to a surface that has a sandpaper-like finish. Professionals use two methods of preparing the surface, acid washing and machine grinding. Do-It-Yourselfers are enthusiastic about acid washing. No access to heavy equipment is required, making the method less expensive than machine grinding. Some areas have ecological restrictions that prohibit using chemical methods such as acid etching. Using acid is a more difficult means of achieving uniform etching. The process may leave moisture behind that can potentially interfere with adhesion.
Experienced, reputable professionals nearly always use the mechanical grinding method because they want high-quality results. They have access to modern, efficient equipment that works better than an acid washing. Concrete pores are effectively opened by mechanical diamond grinding. That process makes the concrete surface receptive to an epoxy coating. Acid washing does not create the even surface preparation that grinding does. Areas of imperfection are made smooth by grinding. Epoxy floors, properly prepared, provide a surface that is durable and will last for years to come.