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Self-leveling Epoxy Flooring: 7 Facts You Should Know

Epoxy floorings are unique kinds of floors. They are suitable for industrial and commercial buildings because of their resilience. They provide long-lasting, safe, and efficient surfaces for warehouses, firms, and industries. These floors are not just beautiful, they can also be modified to suit industrial style. A plus on the epoxy flooring system is how much they withstand denseness thus they don’t wear or tear easily. 

Generally, the epoxy floors are flooring systems with several layers of epoxy. The epoxy is made from a mixture of polymer resins and hardeners. There are different types of epoxy flooring. There is the self-leveling epoxy floor, epoxy mortar floor, quartz-filled epoxy floor, anti-static epoxy floor, and epoxy flake floor. They can be used in different areas. However, we will look at what it is, where it can be used, how to install and other likely questions about the self-leveling epoxy.

What Is A Self-Leveling Epoxy Floor

This is one of the many types of epoxy floors. It is popular and has a high sheen and gloss. It is given the title “self-leveling” because upon its spread over the floor, its epoxy resin coats smoothen out. The epoxy resin tends to level itself and its texture over the surface where it was applied. You may not require a roller to apply its coat on the floor.

 Oftentimes, the self-leveling epoxy is poured over a concrete floor or slab. This causes the formation of a strong, easy-to-care-for, and lasting floor surface. The epoxy resin can also be used on concrete floors with fissures or other linear wrecks. To help create a flawlessly smooth surface.

Flooring with the self-leveling epoxy involves putting together resin and hardener in a container to form a mix. The resulting mixture is then applied to the desired surface by pouring. It spreads, smoothens, and levels out itself till its thickness is about 1/8 inch. Then it solidifies to become waterproof and resilient wear and tear.

How To Install A Self-Leveling Epoxy Floor

Step 1: Prepare Your Concrete Substrate, Floor, Or Surface

In installing the self-leveling epoxy floor, the first step is preparing the surface. This step is important to achieving the desired result which is having a smooth finish. The substrate has to flatten out and be made ready for the epoxy. To make the surface epoxy ready, consider the following as recommended by “düraamen technical bulletin”.

a. How The Concrete Is Positioned

If on the ground or with a shallow foundation, you will require a vapor barrier. This is to avoid moisture/vapor transfer. There is also a need for proper jointing. This is to reduce any form of fissure that may distort the efficiency of the resinous flooring. If the ground is elevated, ensure the pan construction is vented and the metal deck construction is well jointed.

b. The Curing And Finishing Methods

Before applying the epoxy resins, ensure you remove curing compounds of the surface. You can apply a wet cure with a light steel trowel finish. This will harden the surface and reduce the risk for laitance.

c. How Old Is The Concrete

 For epoxy resins to be applied on a hunk of concrete it should have been installed no less than 30days ago. However, in some cases, some primers can be applied over new concrete surfaces. 

d. Is The Surface Integrity Tarnished

Contaminants can hinder how well the resins bind to the floor. They should be removed before applying the resinous flooring. You can use a flaming gun or degreaser to get rid of oil and fat from the surface. Sand or vacuum shot blasting and scarifying can be used to remove sealers, existing paints, and curing compounds.

e. What Is The Current State Of The Floor

You should test for moisture vapor emission on the floor using the standard methods for testing. Laitance and other failures due to moisture can be prevented by doing a prior test before applying the resins. You can also add fresh concrete over a good vapor barrier. A vapor reduction system will be beneficial too where the moisture is excessive.

Additionally, for a firm bond between the surface and the epoxy resins, a clean surface is needed. Ensure to substitute or repair any unsound concrete as it will affect the resinous flooring. The floor should also be leveled before applying the epoxy resins, it shouldn’t be done on an uneven surface. Also, fix all cracks and fissures.

f. What Method To Achieve Finishing

For proper bonding is the epoxy resin to the concrete floor, its surface should be rough with a sand-paper look. You can get this rough finish either mechanically or through acid etching.  To decide on what method to use you should consider ecological control and the type is resinous flooring material.

g. How To Acid Etching

To acid etch you need to first put on your personal protective equipment. This includes goggles, a face shield, rubber boots, and rubber gloves. Next, you should reduce the concentration of the purchased muriatic acid. You do this by diluting one portion of the acid with three portions of water.

Next, sprinkle dilute acid solution over the concrete and ensure the entire surface is covered. Ensure you do not puddle and spread though. Next, use a bristle broom to scrub the solution into the concrete. This will help get rid of laitance and other unwanted contaminants.

Next, wait about 15minutes for a solution to stop bubbling, then rinse the concrete thoroughly with clean water. (Note: the surface should bubble when you scrub through the acid solution. Also, ensure the solution doesn’t dry off before rinsing with water). Next, mop the floor dry to remove excess water and residual dirt. Then allow concrete to dry completely before applying epoxy resin. 

h. How To Mechanically Prepare

Remove all unwanted bodies from the floor surface via any mechanical means like vacuum shot blasting. This is to ensure a good bond between the concrete and the resinous flooring. 

i. Check Temperature

Before installing the resinous flooring system ensure the floor’s temperature is optimal. The room should be about 24°C with the concrete about 10°C

j. Gather Your Materials

Aside from your protection. The following materials are needed for the resin flooring system. They are; Epoxy primer, Epoxy body coat, Self-leveling filler, sandcastle, Epoxy coating, and Solvent-based polyurethane.

Step 2: Prime the concrete substrate.

a. Mix The Epoxy Primer

The primer comes in two parts A and B. A is the base and B is the hardener. Open each container and stir before mixing both. To mix, get a large bucket sitting on the floor. Add two parts of the volume of the base to it and one part of the hardener. Be careful not to allow it to drip or pour to the side or out of the bucket. Then mix for about three minutes. Use a low-speed electric mixer. 

Ensure to mix only the amount that will be used in about twenty minutes. Also, after mixing don’t leave material in the bucket for more than five minutes. 

b. Apply Primer

Having finished mixing, pour on the already prepared concrete floor. Disperse the mixture to cover the floor using a trowel. You can also use a squeegee. A gallon can cover twenty-five square meters. Also, back roll with a nap roller.

c. Finish Up

Give primer 30 minutes to cure. It can also be left for up to 24 hours or longer. If allowed to sit for a long period, broadcast with dry silica sand. Do this lightly.

Step 3: Apply The Self-Leveling Resinous Floor

a. Mix The Self-Leveling Filler And The Epoxy Binder

Just as you did with the primer, stir before mixing the epoxy binder. To mix the binder, get a large bucket sitting on the floor. Add four parts of the base and one part of the hardener. Be careful not to allow it to drip or pour to the side or out of the bucket. Then mix for about three minutes. Use a low-speed electric mixer. Then, while still mixing gradually add the self-leveling filler. Continue mixing till both are well-blended.  

Ensure to mix only the amount that will be used in about twenty minutes. Also, after mixing don’t leave material in the bucket for more than five minutes. 

b. Apply The Mix

Pour the mixture over the primed substrate. Spread across with a squeegee such that it moves towards you. Do it in a bi-directional trend and leave a puddle between batches. Also, do a backroll while it’s still wet. Then, allow the spread for about Ten minutes to level. Next, leave to cure overnight.

For optimal results, the room and substrate temperature should be no less than 21°C and no more than 32°C.

Step 4: Grout And Seal The Resinous Floor

a. Mix The Epoxy Coat And Apply

Add two parts of the resin to one part of the hardener and mix for about three minutes. Use a low-speed electric mixer. Only mix what can be used in thirty minutes. And, remember to stir thoroughly before mixing both. Next, pour on the surface, disperse with a squeegee, and backroll with a nap roller. Leave to cure for about fifteen hours. 

b. Mix The Polyurethane Topcoat And Apply

Add two parts of the resin to one part of the hardener and mix for about three minutes. Use a low-speed electric mixer. Only mix what can be used in forty-five minutes. Ensure to stir thoroughly before mixing both. Next, pour on the surface and disperse with a squeegee to give a dry film thickness. Backroll gently with a nap roller. Leave to cure for not less than 24 hours though it takes about 120 hours to fully cure. 

Why use a self-leveling epoxy floor

Here are some advantages of self-leveling epoxy floors

a. Strong and Durable:

Epoxy floors are one of the toughest and resilient flooring systems. It can withstand the pressure and weight of heavy humans. Because of this high-powered ability, it lasts long resisting wearing and tearing. 

b. Not Easily Affected By Harmful Chemicals:

Epoxy floors are resistant to and not easily by chemicals, UV Rays or other harmful sources. This makes them worth the cost and value. 

c. Easy To Maintain:

Keeping the self-leveling epoxy floor clean is relatively easy. Mop the floor and keep clean with soap and water. It is also usually resistant to the formation of mold colonies. There is also the option of using epoxy with antimicrobial agents in it. It is also not easily stained with oil and water logs.

d. Safe To Walk On:

The self-leveling epoxy floor is relatively safe. It gives the feet a good grip and can be walked without causing a slip.

e. Appealing: The self-leveling epoxy floor has an attractive appearance. Its gloss and sheen are cool to look upon. It also brightens the room.

f. It Can Be Used With Existing And New Concrete:

It can be spread on both old and new concrete. Just prep the floor and it’s good to go. Hence can be used both in industries and warehouses.

Disadvantages Of Self-Leveling Epoxy Floor

a. Gives Off Strong Fumes During Installation:

During the mixing and application of the epoxy materials, you may perceive some pungent smells. It is therefore necessary to protect yourself by putting on your mask during installation. However, when fully cured it is no threat to health.

b. Curing Takes Time:

 For the epoxy floor to harden completely it may take no less than five days. This may be a disadvantage if you are in a hurry to live in the room

c. It Can’t Stand Alone:

Epoxy floors are usually installed over other floors. Either on a concrete or hardwood floor. Unlike other floors that can be installed on their own, it needs a substrate.

The Average Cost Of Installing Epoxy Floor

The cost of installation depends on some factors; how large the floor is and how much of the epoxy resin is required. How much preparation the substrate requires. As well as the cost of labor. If the installation is done professionally, it may cost about $1119 to $5999 for 400 to 500 square feet. If it’s on a DIY project it may be $240 to $360 to the same floor area.

Uses Of The Self-Leveling Epoxy Floor

This flooring type can be installed over the existing concrete substrate. It is suitable for bathrooms, kitchens, hospitals, garages, and manufacturing facilities.

Conclusion

Self-leveling epoxy floors are attractive floors. It has its pros and cons. However, they last for years when properly installed.