HOW DO I PICK THE RIGHT EPOXY COATING FOR MY FLOOR

HOW DO I PICK THE RIGHT EPOXY COATING FOR MY FLOOR

HOW DO I PICK THE RIGHT EPOXY COATING FOR MY FLOOR

Unlike installing interlocking tiles or a rubber roll out mat on your garage or commercial floor there are many important factors you should know prior to making an epoxy coating purchase. There is a good discussion here

Epoxy vs Tile vs Mats about the pros and cons of each. But if you’ve set your heart on a super high gloss epoxy floor finish then stay on this page

and we’ll help you decide which epoxy coating is best for you.

There’s a lot to read here(about 5-10 minutes) but it’s well worth your time. Picking the right epoxy coating for your floor is a four step process:

1. Is budget. This determines how high a quality coating you can purchase.

2. What type of look and finish do you want.

3. What level of durability do you want and or need.

4. What condition is your concrete floor in.

If you have never purchased or applied an epoxy floor coating before the first thing you need to determine is what kind of finish you want and what your budget is. If your budget won’t allow you to use the highest quality epoxy then our best advice is don’t epoxy coat your floor. You are better off going to your local home improvement store and purchasing some oil based floor enamel and recoating every year as needed. You will save money with water based epoxies but they peel off your floor very quickly. You will most likely have to grind the floor clean causing you to spending lots of of extra time and money to redo your floor. Same with Cyclioaliphatic epoxies they will save you money but they lose their high gloss finish quickly and easily. You will have to continuously recoat your floor with expensive paint.

So once you’ve made your final decision to go with an epoxy floor coating you first need to determine if you want a color flake finish and if so do you want a light flake finish or heavy flake finish? Or do you want a solid color epoxy finish? This is a question only you can answer.

Once you’ve determined the look you want then you need to determine what level of durability you want and or need. There are dozens of epoxy companies selling a single product to meet the needs of every customer and every type of floor. We think that’s not only the wrong approach it’s just not possible. That’s why we offer so many different epoxy systems, it may be a little confusing but it’s the only way to get the best possible results when dealing with epoxy paints and coatings. So let’s talk quickly about the two most important aspects of epoxy floor coatings and why you use them instead of enamel paint. The first reason is adhesion, epoxy coatings have a much higher adhesion capability then enamel unless it’s a water based epoxy. We won’t get into the why but just know that water based epoxies are just not good at sticking to your floor. Next is the durability, cyclioaplipahtic epoxies are ok at sticking to your floor but have only slightly better durability characteristics then enamel, in fact they most likely will fade, yellow and dull quicker than enamel. We use only 100% Aliphatic epoxies. What is the difference? The short answer is in order to have a low selling price manufacturers need to compromise on the quality of their resins, activators and hardeners not to mention the quantity of each. Aliphatic epoxies are the highest quality epoxies made and we use 100% of only the highest quality materials to make them. When it comes to water based epoxies why do you think they use water, for every ounce of water used an expensive epoxy ingredient is not used. So you can easily see why epoxies such as ours will be significantly more expensive when comparing shelf prices.

We have four levels of durability; industrial grade which is a 4mg abrasion loss rating, commercial grade which is an 8mg abrasion loss rating and a residential grade which is 20mg abrasion loss rating. First let us say that our residential grade is more durable than almost all other so called industrial grade epoxies and we’ll explain why as we go along. What is abrasion loss? It is what happens to your floor coating every time you walk on it or drive a vehicle on it with twisting turning tires. It’s that abrasion that wears your floor out and makes it dull, dirty and unsightly. So you want a coating with the lowest abrasion rating possible. How do you know which is the best. Our industry has what is called a Taber CS-17 abrasion test, all the manufacturers use that test to determine their coatings ability to resist everyday wear and tear. It’s a simple abrasion wheel that has a weight on it and spun for an X amount of cycles, usually 500. Then the amount of material that was ground off is weighted. The lower the amount of mg that came off the better, meaning a coating with a lower mg loss rate can resisted tire abrasion much better than a coating with a higher loss rating. So beware of any coating with high abrasion loss ratings and any coating that tries to sell you a clear version of their epoxy as a topcoat. Epoxies are not topcoats. This is a pure and simple gimmick. You’ll also notice that a lot of companies don’t even publish an abrasion loss rating. This is a sure sign to steer clear!

So lets start out with the residential epoxy systems, if you have a garage floor you want to coat and all you do is roll your passenger cars in and out each day then all you need is our standard Armor Chip or Armor Granite kits. These are complete kits with everything you need and come with our military grade high build 100% solids aliphatic epoxy. Armor Chip comes with 8 lbs of multi color flakes that you toss into the epoxy and two layers of our 20mg clear topcoat to seal in the chips and protect the epoxy from abrasion wear. Armor Chip will cover up to 550 SF. Armor Granite is similar but comes with 20lbs of flakes, spiked soles and three layers of clear topcoat. Armor Granite will cover up to 500 SF. We sell half kits for both to fit just about any floor size. If you want the color flake look but want or need more durability for applications other then for a garage or because you have large toys parked on the floor or you do a lot of work in the garage. We offer a military upgrade option for the topcoat to get you down to a 4mg loss rating, this is many orders of magnitude better than any other topcoat out there. Many customers choose this option whether they need it or not, they simply want the most durable finish they can get.

If you’re doing a commercial floor such as a shop floor, hangar or warehouse with medium to light forklift and pallet jack traffic then use our Armor II Commercial Package. This system does not use color flakes. It has a color base coat followed by a color topcoat with an 8mg abrasion loss rating. This will handle most floor applications and if you want a solid color look for your garage floor, Armor II works great in garages. With Armor II you’ll have a floor finish that is very durable and will look like a solid sheet of porcelain when you’re done. Armor II is sold in different size kits starting with a kit that does up to 600 SF.

Next is our Military/Industrial System. This is for floors where cost is not the major factor and strength and durability are. Our ultra package can handle the toughest traffic and consists of a high performance primer, high build military grade epoxy and the 4mg military grade clear topcoat. Primer and epoxy are usually the same color and because we finish with a topcoat you can use color flakes in this floor. This floor can handle heavy forklift and pallet jack traffic and just about anything else.

We suggest you read the rest of the page and once you determined which epoxy system best meets your needs just click on one of the blue links above to go to that product page. If you’ve never used epoxy coatings before we strongly suggest you read the How To Prep & Epoxy Paint My Floor page. It has a tremendous amount of information on it that could save you from having to do your floor twice. We also have several other specialty epoxy systems for certain types of floors such as basement floors and floors in acid environments. You can view these by clicking on the appropriate left hand navigation button.

Now for the final step in the process which is to determine what condition your floor is in. Is it a new floor, old floor, oil stained floor, a floor with moisture or a previously painted floor. These are all factors you must consider BEFORE you purchase and certainly before you apply an epoxy coating or system. Below are some of the most frequent floor conditions we run into and our recommendations as to what extra steps if any are needed to coat your floor properly. The goal here is to make sure your floor doesn’t end up looking like the blue arrow in this picture.

Floors That Should Not be Epoxy Coated: There are certain floors that are better off with other types of floor covering. Floors without moisture barriers or high water tables where you have water coming up from beneath the slab should not be epoxied. The hydrostatic pressure and corrosive mixture of high moisture and lime in the concrete will cause any epoxy to fail. Floors with moisture barriers and low moisture levels can be moisture sealed and then epoxied. What is a low moisture level, sometimes a floor will get a slightly wet looking surface. If this happens on rare occasions you can moisture seal the floor without worrying about future issues. Moisture that gets onto the floor from above the slab will have no effect on the epoxy, in fact our epoxy kits will make the floor water proof. Interlocking tiles are a good solution for floors with serious moisture issues. They provide a new surface quickly, economically and without mold or mildew concerns. If your floor matches the description above please consult with us prior to applying any epoxy floor coating.

Floors that are in a very badly deteriorated state with crumbling, flaking, exposed and corroded rebars or heaving concrete should not be coated. These types of floors should either have a new topping slab applied with a product such as Ardex-15 or have interlocking tiles or the rollout rubber mats applied over them. Interlocking Tiles and Rollout Mats are a great way to cover floor defects that would otherwise be extremely time consuming and expensive to fix. The tiles are strong enough to bridge large gaps and are flexible enough to conform to uneven contours in a floor. The rollout mats are also flexible and can span slightly less large gaps and cracks. The tiles are more durable since they are made from solid PVC up to 5/16″ thick while the mats are made from Polyvinyl Rubber which is extremely durable but is only 1/8″ thick and not as strong as PVC. In fact nothing is as strong for flooring as PVC. Polypropylene is often used in lower quality tiles due it being a much less expensive material to manufacture with. Caution should be used prior to purchasing polypropylene tiles or mats made from regular vinyl. Both of these materials are inferior to PVC and Polyvinyl and will not provide the same level of satisfaction and very often do not save you any significant money.

New or Old Concrete Floors: You must wash off all surface dirt and residues, power wash for best results. Then etch the floor with our acid safe etching solution that is provided in our kits. Etching removes the deep dirt and opens up the concrete pores so that the epoxy has a rough surface to adhere to. Let floor dry 24-48 hrs depending on ambient conditions and then coat with one of our Epoxy kits. Note, etching does not remove grease and oil stains. You must use an oil/grease remover for this. It is important to remove all oil or grease stains as no epoxy can or will adhere to them properly. New floors must cure for a minimum of 30 days before application of any epoxy coating. You must etch new floors in fact we recommend you do an extra strong etching or a second etching on new floors since they have lots of curing residues at the surface that need to be burned out. If using the instant crack repair compound you will patch any cracks or divots after the etching process. If using the standard crack compound you would do repairs prior to etching. The end result is you want a floor that is dry, rough to the touch, as clean as new concrete with no cracks or divots visible. This will ensure a proper bond and a beautiful final finish.

FLOORS THAT ARE SEALED: All sealers MUST be removed entirely. First you should rent a floor grinder and grind the sealer off. You can rent floor grinders now from Home Depot for not a lot of money. As an alternate you can run a buffing machine or sander with a very aggressive grit over the floor to break the surface of the sealer as much as possible. Then use a strong Muriatic Acid solution of 2 parts water to 1 part acid to remove the sealer. Test by sprinkling water on the floor, if it beads up then resand, reetch and retest. Neutralize floor with TSP powder after etching has fully removed the sealer. Depending on the grade of sealer used it may be necessary to diamond grind it off. Most sealers used are a retail grade type of sealer and a good acid wash will do the job. High quality industrial grade sealers will only come via grinding. In any case do not attempt to apply any epoxy paint over a floor that still has sealer on it, you will be wasting your time and money.

Previously Painted Floors: This is a very common situation where a floor has been coated previously with a retail grade floor paint or low quality epoxy. These types of coatings fail to a varying degree. The goal here is to determine if the existing coating can be a suitable foundation for your new epoxy floor. You do not want to go through the time and expense of applying a new epoxy coating only to have it come off with the defective paint under it.

There are two situations you can wind up with. Either a coating that is not properly bonded to the concrete and must be fully removed or a coating that is only partially failing. First test the coating with a good floor scraper, if you are able to get the coating to come off the floor by scraping then you must remove all of it. If scraping only removes a very small portion of it then sand the floor with a floor sander or floor buffing machine using at least a 30 grit pad, if most of the coating is coming off at this point you must make sure to remove it entirely. If only a small portion of the coating has failed then repeat with a 60 grit pad. Power wash off residue. Then use a strong Etching solution to etch the coating and any bare concrete, we recommend one of our Acid Etching kits per 400-500 sq ft. This will expose any weakly bonded coating by scraping the old coating with a good floor scraper this will cause any of the weakly bonded paint to come off. If most of the old coating removes easily then make sure to remove all of it. This coating is not properly bonded to the concrete and is not a suitable foundation for a new epoxy coating.

Use an Industrial floor scrapper to make the job easier, we have one available in our crack& joint repair section if needed. If your coating has survived up to this point you can coat it with our Bonding Primer, this will act as a bonding agent between the old coating and the new epoxy. Not using a bonding primer is rolling the dice on whether the new epoxy will properly bond to the old coating. Here is a set of great images taken by one of our customers when he applied Armor Chip to the previous Home Owner’s Home Improvement Center epoxy.

Workshop Floors For light duty workshops or work shops that are part of large residential garages use Armor II listed below. You can also use the Armor Chip or Armor Granite kits for home workshops if you want the color flake look, but we would recommend that you upgrade to the Military Grade Topcoat which makes their finish as durable as the Armor II system. Colored flakes are not recommend for use with the Armor II system. By light duty we mean a low volume of vehicles per week(30-40) on the floor, low amount of steel wheeled traffic from floor jacks and tool chests and periodic forklift traffic. For medium to heavy duty workshops(50-100) use the Armor Ultra listed below. If you have a high volume auto repair shop with lots of steel wheeled traffic or you are operating a forklift on the floor on a full time daily basis then you need to use the Ultra System. Race Shops are recommended to use either the Armor II for smaller shops and the Ultra System for larger higher traffic shops. This is why we offer so many kits because there are so many variables that determine which is best for you.

Machine Shops: Use similar guidance as workshops to choose the best epoxy kit for your floor. Remember it never hurts to over protect your floor. You can only get into trouble if you under protect your floor by using an epoxy not rated for the traffic loads you will be putting on it. So in general if you have a CNC type machine shop with light forklifts and light traffic volume then Armor II is fine. Again you can go with the Chip or Granite kits if you want the colored flake look but just upgrade to the Military Topcoat. If you have a heavy equipment machine shop with heavy Forklift loads being moved around constantly and lots of steel wheeled traffic then Ultra is a must.

Pitted or Corroded Floors: The Armor Ultra, Armor Chip and Armor Granite Epoxy System use extra thick epoxy that allows you to fill in pitted and corroded areas. Filling in requires additional material so we recommend that you call us to discuss how much additional material you will need. The method of filling in pitted floor areas is fairly simple. You first do a coat of our high build epoxy with a flat squeegee, pulling the squeegee along the floor with enough downward pressure on the epoxy so that the epoxy fills in the pits and small divots but leaves very little material on the floor itself. Let that dry and then apply a second coat of high build epoxy to the entire floor to provide the smooth surface. This is why you need more material. For large, severely pitted or corroded areas we recommend grinding down those areas or resurfacing with our Crack & Joint Compound (available in the crack & joint repair section) to reduce the amount of extra epoxy needed.

Oil Stain Floors: Floors that are heavily stained with oil such as service shops or older floors that had leaking oil drip on them for years are very difficult to clean and most likely will need our Oil Stop Primer. For lightly stained floors you can use an oil & grease remover, for large heavily stained areas you must coat these areas with our oil stop primer. This primer is specially made to adhere to oil. It’s available in each of our epoxy kit sections. We recommend that you remove as much of the oil as possible with an oil remover then acid etch the floor and let dry then apply the oil primer to the stained areas. For small heavily stained spots you can use Tide Detergent to effectively remove those stains. If a majority of the floor is stained it is recommended that you oil prime the entire floor. Let primer dry overnight and then apply any of our epoxy kits. Note: if using a light color epoxy such as Beige or white it is recommended that you epoxy prime the entire floor to maintain an even color finish since the oil primer is black in color.

Floors That Need To Be Done In One Day! For this you’ll need to use either the Armor Mats or Armor Tiles. Both of these flooring products can be installed in a matter of hours. If you want to epoxy your floor and be back in service the same day you’ll need to use our fast dry-one day epoxy kit. You’ll have to diamond grind the floor so that you can apply the epoxy immediately when done. This is a complete two step kit and drys extremely quick so that you can start in the morning and be using the floor at the end of the day.

Basement Floors. These are the toughest floors to coat properly due to cracks, being covered with mastic or having water coming up from underneath. Moisture coming up form underneath is the worst problem since the rising water acts like a hydraulic jack and will push off any coating on the floor. Before coating any basement floors, do a moisture test by taping a 4×4 piece of plastic on all four sides, wait 48 hrs, if moisture is present under the plastic you must use our wet basement floor kit. If no moisture is present use our dry basement floor kit.

For VCT, Ceramic, Porcelain, Terracotta Tile Floors. Our kits work great over any type of VCT Tile! Secure any loose or broken tiles, fill in any missing ones with cement patch or other cheap VCT Tiles. Sand down tiles lightly to roughen up and to make sure any factory coating is removed. If your tiles contain Asbestos, DO NOT sand as this will release Asbestos particles into the air. You can use chemical cleaners to strip the tiles clean and then rinse well. You can clean and etch the tiles with our Acid Etching Kit. Then coat with our Coat-All Epoxy Kit. Your old VCT Tiles will now be Permanently encapsulated! This kit is also good for coating over ceramic tiles, glass tiles, porcelain tiles or terracotta tiles.

Wood Floors. Wood floors can be coated with our epoxy kits. Simply sand the floors to remove any dirt and factory coating then prime with our Special Primer and coat with the epoxy kit of your choice. We recommend you call us for wood floor applications to review details just to be safe.

Cracks, Expansion Joints and Uneven Slabs. We have a whole section for these issues and we have a product for each condition. Hairline surface cracks will be filled by our epoxies. Larger cracks must be repaired with our crack and joint kits. In most cases the Instant Crack Repair kit will do the job. You simply mix Part A and Part B together and putty knife into the crack scrape smooth and then in 15 minutes you can epoxy right over the repair. No waiting 24 hrs for the compound to cure. Expansion joints and saw cuts can be filled or can be left as is. Keep in mind that these features have been put in your floor for a reason. On new floors we strongly recommend that you do not fill them in with a compound that hardens. Your new floor has not settled yet and will crack right in the middle of your new epoxy job if you fill in the Saw Cuts. Trust us you will not be happy if that happens! You should simply finish the Saw Cuts with the epoxy and having them look like Stone Slab Joints. Epoxy finished saw cuts add dimension to the floor and enhance the final appearance by looking like actual stone slab joints.

There is a difference between an Expansion Joint and a Saw Cut or Control Joint. An Expansion Joint is one that has a material in the joint. We recommend that expansion joints not be filled in and simply coated over. If you want to fill in the Expansion Joint then you must use our Flexible Joint Sealer which you can purchase from the Crack & Joint Repair Product page. This will bond with our epoxies and still remain flexible enough to handle your floor’s expansion and contraction. Saw cuts can be filled with either the Instant Crack Kit or the Crack & Joint compound which you mix with locally bought Play Ground sand to form a mortar that you apply to large cracks and divots. Let it cure over night and then you can sand or grind smooth if needed prior to applying our epoxy. After filling cracks or expansion joints, etch the floor and repaired areas then coat unless you are using the Instant Repair Compound then you etch first then apply the Instant Crack Repair Compound. See the Crack & Joint Repair section.

HOW DO I PICK THE RIGHT EPOXY COATING FOR MY FLOOR

Unlike installing interlocking tiles or a rubber roll out mat on your garage or commercial floor there are many important factors you should know prior to making an epoxy coating purchase. There is a good discussion here

Epoxy vs Tile vs Mats about the pros and cons of each. But if you’ve set your heart on a super high gloss epoxy floor finish then stay on this page

and we’ll help you decide which epoxy coating is best for you.

There’s a lot to read here(about 5-10 minutes) but it’s well worth your time. Picking the right epoxy coating for your floor is a four step process:

1. Is budget. This determines how high a quality coating you can purchase.

2. What type of look and finish do you want.

3. What level of durability do you want and or need.

4. What condition is your concrete floor in.

If you have never purchased or applied an epoxy floor coating before the first thing you need to determine is what kind of finish you want and what your budget is. If your budget won’t allow you to use the highest quality epoxy then our best advice is don’t epoxy coat your floor. You are better off going to your local home improvement store and purchasing some oil based floor enamel and recoating every year as needed. You will save money with water based epoxies but they peel off your floor very quickly. You will most likely have to grind the floor clean causing you to spending lots of of extra time and money to redo your floor. Same with Cyclioaliphatic epoxies they will save you money but they lose their high gloss finish quickly and easily. You will have to continuously recoat your floor with expensive paint.

So once you’ve made your final decision to go with an epoxy floor coating you first need to determine if you want a color flake finish and if so do you want a light flake finish or heavy flake finish? Or do you want a solid color epoxy finish? This is a question only you can answer.

Once you’ve determined the look you want then you need to determine what level of durability you want and or need. There are dozens of epoxy companies selling a single product to meet the needs of every customer and every type of floor. We think that’s not only the wrong approach it’s just not possible. That’s why we offer so many different epoxy systems, it may be a little confusing but it’s the only way to get the best possible results when dealing with epoxy paints and coatings. So let’s talk quickly about the two most important aspects of epoxy floor coatings and why you use them instead of enamel paint. The first reason is adhesion, epoxy coatings have a much higher adhesion capability then enamel unless it’s a water based epoxy. We won’t get into the why but just know that water based epoxies are just not good at sticking to your floor. Next is the durability, cyclioaplipahtic epoxies are ok at sticking to your floor but have only slightly better durability characteristics then enamel, in fact they most likely will fade, yellow and dull quicker than enamel. We use only 100% Aliphatic epoxies. What is the difference? The short answer is in order to have a low selling price manufacturers need to compromise on the quality of their resins, activators and hardeners not to mention the quantity of each. Aliphatic epoxies are the highest quality epoxies made and we use 100% of only the highest quality materials to make them. When it comes to water based epoxies why do you think they use water, for every ounce of water used an expensive epoxy ingredient is not used. So you can easily see why epoxies such as ours will be significantly more expensive when comparing shelf prices.

HOW DO I PICK THE RIGHT EPOXY COATING FOR MY FLOOR

We have four levels of durability; industrial grade which is a 4mg abrasion loss rating, commercial grade which is an 8mg abrasion loss rating and a residential grade which is 20mg abrasion loss rating. First let us say that our residential grade is more durable than almost all other so called industrial grade epoxies and we’ll explain why as we go along. What is abrasion loss? It is what happens to your floor coating every time you walk on it or drive a vehicle on it with twisting turning tires. It’s that abrasion that wears your floor out and makes it dull, dirty and unsightly. So you want a coating with the lowest abrasion rating possible. How do you know which is the best. Our industry has what is called a Taber CS-17 abrasion test, all the manufacturers use that test to determine their coatings ability to resist everyday wear and tear. It’s a simple abrasion wheel that has a weight on it and spun for an X amount of cycles, usually 500. Then the amount of material that was ground off is weighted. The lower the amount of mg that came off the better, meaning a coating with a lower mg loss rate can resisted tire abrasion much better than a coating with a higher loss rating. So beware of any coating with high abrasion loss ratings and any coating that tries to sell you a clear version of their epoxy as a topcoat. Epoxies are not topcoats. This is a pure and simple gimmick. You’ll also notice that a lot of companies don’t even publish an abrasion loss rating. This is a sure sign to steer clear!

So lets start out with the residential epoxy systems, if you have a garage floor you want to coat and all you do is roll your passenger cars in and out each day then all you need is our standard Armor Chip or Armor Granite kits. These are complete kits with everything you need and come with our military grade high build 100% solids aliphatic epoxy. Armor Chip comes with 8 lbs of multi color flakes that you toss into the epoxy and two layers of our 20mg clear topcoat to seal in the chips and protect the epoxy from abrasion wear. Armor Chip will cover up to 550 SF. Armor Granite is similar but comes with 20lbs of flakes, spiked soles and three layers of clear topcoat. Armor Granite will cover up to 500 SF. We sell half kits for both to fit just about any floor size. If you want the color flake look but want or need more durability for applications other then for a garage or because you have large toys parked on the floor or you do a lot of work in the garage. We offer a military upgrade option for the topcoat to get you down to a 4mg loss rating, this is many orders of magnitude better than any other topcoat out there. Many customers choose this option whether they need it or not, they simply want the most durable finish they can get.

If you’re doing a commercial floor such as a shop floor, hangar or warehouse with medium to light forklift and pallet jack traffic then use our Armor II Commercial Package. This system does not use color flakes. It has a color base coat followed by a color topcoat with an 8mg abrasion loss rating. This will handle most floor applications and if you want a solid color look for your garage floor, Armor II works great in garages. With Armor II you’ll have a floor finish that is very durable and will look like a solid sheet of porcelain when you’re done. Armor II is sold in different size kits starting with a kit that does up to 600 SF.

Next is our Military/Industrial System. This is for floors where cost is not the major factor and strength and durability are. Our ultra package can handle the toughest traffic and consists of a high performance primer, high build military grade epoxy and the 4mg military grade clear topcoat. Primer and epoxy are usually the same color and because we finish with a topcoat you can use color flakes in this floor. This floor can handle heavy forklift and pallet jack traffic and just about anything else.

We suggest you read the rest of the page and once you determined which epoxy system best meets your needs just click on one of the blue links above to go to that product page. If you’ve never used epoxy coatings before we strongly suggest you read the How To Prep & Epoxy Paint My Floor page. It has a tremendous amount of information on it that could save you from having to do your floor twice. We also have several other specialty epoxy systems for certain types of floors such as basement floors and floors in acid environments. You can view these by clicking on the appropriate left hand navigation button.

Now for the final step in the process which is to determine what condition your floor is in. Is it a new floor, old floor, oil stained floor, a floor with moisture or a previously painted floor. These are all factors you must consider BEFORE you purchase and certainly before you apply an epoxy coating or system. Below are some of the most frequent floor conditions we run into and our recommendations as to what extra steps if any are needed to coat your floor properly. The goal here is to make sure your floor doesn’t end up looking like the blue arrow in this picture.

Floors That Should Not be Epoxy Coated: There are certain floors that are better off with other types of floor covering. Floors without moisture barriers or high water tables where you have water coming up from beneath the slab should not be epoxied. The hydrostatic pressure and corrosive mixture of high moisture and lime in the concrete will cause any epoxy to fail. Floors with moisture barriers and low moisture levels can be moisture sealed and then epoxied. What is a low moisture level, sometimes a floor will get a slightly wet looking surface. If this happens on rare occasions you can moisture seal the floor without worrying about future issues. Moisture that gets onto the floor from above the slab will have no effect on the epoxy, in fact our epoxy kits will make the floor water proof. Interlocking tiles are a good solution for floors with serious moisture issues. They provide a new surface quickly, economically and without mold or mildew concerns. If your floor matches the description above please consult with us prior to applying any epoxy floor coating.

Floors that are in a very badly deteriorated state with crumbling, flaking, exposed and corroded rebars or heaving concrete should not be coated. These types of floors should either have a new topping slab applied with a product such as Ardex-15 or have interlocking tiles or the rollout rubber mats applied over them. Interlocking Tiles and Rollout Mats are a great way to cover floor defects that would otherwise be extremely time consuming and expensive to fix. The tiles are strong enough to bridge large gaps and are flexible enough to conform to uneven contours in a floor. The rollout mats are also flexible and can span slightly less large gaps and cracks. The tiles are more durable since they are made from solid PVC up to 5/16″ thick while the mats are made from Polyvinyl Rubber which is extremely durable but is only 1/8″ thick and not as strong as PVC. In fact nothing is as strong for flooring as PVC. Polypropylene is often used in lower quality tiles due it being a much less expensive material to manufacture with. Caution should be used prior to purchasing polypropylene tiles or mats made from regular vinyl. Both of these materials are inferior to PVC and Polyvinyl and will not provide the same level of satisfaction and very often do not save you any significant money.

New or Old Concrete Floors: You must wash off all surface dirt and residues, power wash for best results. Then etch the floor with our acid safe etching solution that is provided in our kits. Etching removes the deep dirt and opens up the concrete pores so that the epoxy has a rough surface to adhere to. Let floor dry 24-48 hrs depending on ambient conditions and then coat with one of our Epoxy kits. Note, etching does not remove grease and oil stains. You must use an oil/grease remover for this. It is important to remove all oil or grease stains as no epoxy can or will adhere to them properly. New floors must cure for a minimum of 30 days before application of any epoxy coating. You must etch new floors in fact we recommend you do an extra strong etching or a second etching on new floors since they have lots of curing residues at the surface that need to be burned out. If using the instant crack repair compound you will patch any cracks or divots after the etching process. If using the standard crack compound you would do repairs prior to etching. The end result is you want a floor that is dry, rough to the touch, as clean as new concrete with no cracks or divots visible. This will ensure a proper bond and a beautiful final finish.

FLOORS THAT ARE SEALED: All sealers MUST be removed entirely. First you should rent a floor grinder and grind the sealer off. You can rent floor grinders now from Home Depot for not a lot of money. As an alternate you can run a buffing machine or sander with a very aggressive grit over the floor to break the surface of the sealer as much as possible. Then use a strong Muriatic Acid solution of 2 parts water to 1 part acid to remove the sealer. Test by sprinkling water on the floor, if it beads up then resand, reetch and retest. Neutralize floor with TSP powder after etching has fully removed the sealer. Depending on the grade of sealer used it may be necessary to diamond grind it off. Most sealers used are a retail grade type of sealer and a good acid wash will do the job. High quality industrial grade sealers will only come via grinding. In any case do not attempt to apply any epoxy paint over a floor that still has sealer on it, you will be wasting your time and money.

Previously Painted Floors: This is a very common situation where a floor has been coated previously with a retail grade floor paint or low quality epoxy. These types of coatings fail to a varying degree. The goal here is to determine if the existing coating can be a suitable foundation for your new epoxy floor. You do not want to go through the time and expense of applying a new epoxy coating only to have it come off with the defective paint under it.

There are two situations you can wind up with. Either a coating that is not properly bonded to the concrete and must be fully removed or a coating that is only partially failing. First test the coating with a good floor scraper, if you are able to get the coating to come off the floor by scraping then you must remove all of it. If scraping only removes a very small portion of it then sand the floor with a floor sander or floor buffing machine using at least a 30 grit pad, if most of the coating is coming off at this point you must make sure to remove it entirely. If only a small portion of the coating has failed then repeat with a 60 grit pad. Power wash off residue. Then use a strong Etching solution to etch the coating and any bare concrete, we recommend one of our Acid Etching kits per 400-500 sq ft. This will expose any weakly bonded coating by scraping the old coating with a good floor scraper this will cause any of the weakly bonded paint to come off. If most of the old coating removes easily then make sure to remove all of it. This coating is not properly bonded to the concrete and is not a suitable foundation for a new epoxy coating.

Use an Industrial floor scrapper to make the job easier, we have one available in our crack& joint repair section if needed. If your coating has survived up to this point you can coat it with our Bonding Primer, this will act as a bonding agent between the old coating and the new epoxy. Not using a bonding primer is rolling the dice on whether the new epoxy will properly bond to the old coating. Here is a set of great images taken by one of our customers when he applied Armor Chip to the previous Home Owner’s Home Improvement Center epoxy.

Workshop Floors For light duty workshops or work shops that are part of large residential garages use Armor II listed below. You can also use the Armor Chip or Armor Granite kits for home workshops if you want the color flake look, but we would recommend that you upgrade to the Military Grade Topcoat which makes their finish as durable as the Armor II system. Colored flakes are not recommend for use with the Armor II system. By light duty we mean a low volume of vehicles per week(30-40) on the floor, low amount of steel wheeled traffic from floor jacks and tool chests and periodic forklift traffic. For medium to heavy duty workshops(50-100) use the Armor Ultra listed below. If you have a high volume auto repair shop with lots of steel wheeled traffic or you are operating a forklift on the floor on a full time daily basis then you need to use the Ultra System. Race Shops are recommended to use either the Armor II for smaller shops and the Ultra System for larger higher traffic shops. This is why we offer so many kits because there are so many variables that determine which is best for you.

Machine Shops: Use similar guidance as workshops to choose the best epoxy kit for your floor. Remember it never hurts to over protect your floor. You can only get into trouble if you under protect your floor by using an epoxy not rated for the traffic loads you will be putting on it. So in general if you have a CNC type machine shop with light forklifts and light traffic volume then Armor II is fine. Again you can go with the Chip or Granite kits if you want the colored flake look but just upgrade to the Military Topcoat. If you have a heavy equipment machine shop with heavy Forklift loads being moved around constantly and lots of steel wheeled traffic then Ultra is a must.

Pitted or Corroded Floors: The Armor Ultra, Armor Chip and Armor Granite Epoxy System use extra thick epoxy that allows you to fill in pitted and corroded areas. Filling in requires additional material so we recommend that you call us to discuss how much additional material you will need. The method of filling in pitted floor areas is fairly simple. You first do a coat of our high build epoxy with a flat squeegee, pulling the squeegee along the floor with enough downward pressure on the epoxy so that the epoxy fills in the pits and small divots but leaves very little material on the floor itself. Let that dry and then apply a second coat of high build epoxy to the entire floor to provide the smooth surface. This is why you need more material. For large, severely pitted or corroded areas we recommend grinding down those areas or resurfacing with our Crack & Joint Compound (available in the crack & joint repair section) to reduce the amount of extra epoxy needed.

Oil Stain Floors: Floors that are heavily stained with oil such as service shops or older floors that had leaking oil drip on them for years are very difficult to clean and most likely will need our Oil Stop Primer. For lightly stained floors you can use an oil & grease remover, for large heavily stained areas you must coat these areas with our oil stop primer. This primer is specially made to adhere to oil. It’s available in each of our epoxy kit sections. We recommend that you remove as much of the oil as possible with an oil remover then acid etch the floor and let dry then apply the oil primer to the stained areas. For small heavily stained spots you can use Tide Detergent to effectively remove those stains. If a majority of the floor is stained it is recommended that you oil prime the entire floor. Let primer dry overnight and then apply any of our epoxy kits. Note: if using a light color epoxy such as Beige or white it is recommended that you epoxy prime the entire floor to maintain an even color finish since the oil primer is black in color.

Floors That Need To Be Done In One Day! For this you’ll need to use either the Armor Mats or Armor Tiles. Both of these flooring products can be installed in a matter of hours. If you want to epoxy your floor and be back in service the same day you’ll need to use our fast dry-one day epoxy kit. You’ll have to diamond grind the floor so that you can apply the epoxy immediately when done. This is a complete two step kit and drys extremely quick so that you can start in the morning and be using the floor at the end of the day.

Basement Floors. These are the toughest floors to coat properly due to cracks, being covered with mastic or having water coming up from underneath. Moisture coming up form underneath is the worst problem since the rising water acts like a hydraulic jack and will push off any coating on the floor. Before coating any basement floors, do a moisture test by taping a 4×4 piece of plastic on all four sides, wait 48 hrs, if moisture is present under the plastic you must use our wet basement floor kit. If no moisture is present use our dry basement floor kit.

For VCT, Ceramic, Porcelain, Terracotta Tile Floors. Our kits work great over any type of VCT Tile! Secure any loose or broken tiles, fill in any missing ones with cement patch or other cheap VCT Tiles. Sand down tiles lightly to roughen up and to make sure any factory coating is removed. If your tiles contain Asbestos, DO NOT sand as this will release Asbestos particles into the air. You can use chemical cleaners to strip the tiles clean and then rinse well. You can clean and etch the tiles with our Acid Etching Kit. Then coat with our Coat-All Epoxy Kit. Your old VCT Tiles will now be Permanently encapsulated! This kit is also good for coating over ceramic tiles, glass tiles, porcelain tiles or terracotta tiles.

Wood Floors. Wood floors can be coated with our epoxy kits. Simply sand the floors to remove any dirt and factory coating then prime with our Special Primer and coat with the epoxy kit of your choice. We recommend you call us for wood floor applications to review details just to be safe.

Cracks, Expansion Joints and Uneven Slabs. We have a whole section for these issues and we have a product for each condition. Hairline surface cracks will be filled by our epoxies. Larger cracks must be repaired with our crack and joint kits. In most cases the Instant Crack Repair kit will do the job. You simply mix Part A and Part B together and putty knife into the crack scrape smooth and then in 15 minutes you can epoxy right over the repair. No waiting 24 hrs for the compound to cure. Expansion joints and saw cuts can be filled or can be left as is. Keep in mind that these features have been put in your floor for a reason. On new floors we strongly recommend that you do not fill them in with a compound that hardens. Your new floor has not settled yet and will crack right in the middle of your new epoxy job if you fill in the Saw Cuts. Trust us you will not be happy if that happens! You should simply finish the Saw Cuts with the epoxy and having them look like Stone Slab Joints. Epoxy finished saw cuts add dimension to the floor and enhance the final appearance by looking like actual stone slab joints.

There is a difference between an Expansion Joint and a Saw Cut or Control Joint. An Expansion Joint is one that has a material in the joint. We recommend that expansion joints not be filled in and simply coated over. If you want to fill in the Expansion Joint then you must use our Flexible Joint Sealer which you can purchase from the Crack & Joint Repair Product page. This will bond with our epoxies and still remain flexible enough to handle your floor’s expansion and contraction. Saw cuts can be filled with either the Instant Crack Kit or the Crack & Joint compound which you mix with locally bought Play Ground sand to form a mortar that you apply to large cracks and divots. Let it cure over night and then you can sand or grind smooth if needed prior to applying our epoxy. After filling cracks or expansion joints, etch the floor and repaired areas then coat unless you are using the Instant Repair Compound then you etch first then apply the Instant Crack Repair Compound. See the Crack & Joint Repair section.


Leave a Reply