Floor Coatings - Part 3
Garage Floor Coating or Garage Floor Paint?
There are so many different epoxy flooring products on the
market today, it can be difficult to choose the right one
for you. Some are labeled as “epoxy floor coatings”, and
others as “epoxy floor paint”. Which is the best product?
What are the similarities and differences? Let’s shed some
light on this topic, to try and pinpoint which epoxy
product is best under which circumstances.
Coatings vs. Paint
Is epoxy really paint? No, epoxy, in any form, is not
really paint. It’s comprised of an entirely different
chemical make-up than say, latex wall paint. The term
“epoxy paint” was coined by people searching for epoxy
floor coatings online, through search engines. Epoxy
manufacturers took note of how many people were searching
for the term and decided to advertise accordingly. If the
general public thinks epoxy coating is paint, then
retailers will call it paint, so that consumers can easily
find their products online. Unfortunately, this practice
has created a lot of confusion about what product is most
suitable for buyers.
Types of Epoxy Products
One type of epoxy floor coating that’s available for
residential use is a “solvent based” product. Solvent
based epoxy paint products contain anywhere from 30% to
60% epoxy solids. Epoxy solids are what cure into hard
epoxy. During the curing (drying) stage, the solvents in
these products will evaporate, leaving only the epoxy
solids on the floor and leaving a strong chemical smell.
The evaporation of the solvents also causes thinning and
shrinking of the applied epoxy. At the time of application
your epoxy paint may have a thickness on the floor or 3-4
millimeters. After the curing and evaporating is complete,
you will notice the coating is much thinner, possibly
spotty and in need of another coat of epoxy.
Another flooring option that is available for residential
use is “emulsion resin”, or water-based epoxy paint.
Water based epoxy paint products contain anywhere from
30% to 60% epoxy solids and also a small amount of
solvents. During the curing process the water and solvents
evaporates, leaving only the epoxy solids. Please keep in
mind that if the product you are using contains 40% epoxy
solids, you will lose 60% of the product during curing!
You will need to consider this when deciding on how much
product you will need to purchase. This applies to both
water and solvent based products. One positive aspect of
water based epoxy paints is that because of the lower
solvent content, the chemical smell given off during the
curing process is not as strong.
To eliminate floor coating shrinkage and the need for
multiple coats of product, a buyer can choose the final
type of epoxy floor paint. Called 100% solids epoxy
flooring, it is just that. These products don’t have any
water or solvents mixed in. 100% of the epoxy that is put
onto the floor stays there, there isn’t any evaporation
during the curing process. The products are stronger,
longer lasting and don’t require more than one coat to get
a smooth, even surface. They are also a bit pricier than
the other options. The chemical smell during application
is not as strong as a solvent based product, and the floor
can be cured and safe for foot traffic in 24-36 hours.
100% epoxy solids products hold up better against grease,
oil and other spills, are road salt, acid and heat
resistant, and are water and rust proof.
Which is Best?
To decide which of these products are best for you, just
disregard the word “paint” and get the facts about the
products you are considering for purchase. It all depends
on your personal situation. Would you like to epoxy your
basement floor? A water based epoxy could be used, due to
the lack of stinky fumes and lower cost for an area where
cars won’t be driving. However, 100% epoxy solids would be
best for a garage or workroom floor due to its greater
durability and quicker curing time. A buyer must take into
account the benefits and the downsides of each type of
epoxy floor paint before choosing, to guarantee that the
end result is what was expected.