Installing epoxy flooring does not require advanced knowledge, but it does take precise technique and time to dry. For someone looking to do epoxy flooring in their home or business, get ready to make your floor stylish, attention-grabbing, and sealed. All you need is the time and the material.
If this is your first time installing epoxy flooring, these tips will hopefully help you deliver the best product possible for the care and effort you’re about to put in.
Tip #1: Work quickly when installing epoxy
Learn the technique beforehand. Understand how epoxy concrete flooring works. When you get going with epoxy, don’t slow down or stop until the job is fully complete. It generally takes no longer than two hours to use the epoxy once it’s mixed.
Tip #2: Never apply epoxy on new concrete
Fresh new concrete should have at least 30 days to rest, and you will likely need to wait even longer before applying any sort of epoxy. Not doing so, and with concrete not fully cured, could mean premature cracking in the epoxy once it’s applied.
Tip #3: Your floor should be structurally sound
If your floor is broken, cracked, and/or has holes, forget to lay epoxy over it. Have a structurally sound floor as best prepared as possible. Any affected areas should be repaired and given the time for the mortar or similar product to cure before applying epoxy.
Tip #4: Remove oil stains from the floor
Oil or grease stains should be removed before working with the epoxy. Do this with a degreaser and a scrub brush. It should not take long. Wipe everything up, rinse it away, and let dry before you start.
Tip #5: Prepare the area properly
Move anything that touches the floor out of there, including shelving units and stationary equipment. Next, use painter’s tape to protect the wall from epoxy. Sweep and mop the floor, and let dry. After the floor’s cleanest and there are no obstructions, you can begin on the next step.
Tip #6: Perform a moisture test first
Moisture may not bond the epoxy properly to the subfloor. Too much moisture during installation can also lead to premature cracking. Use a calcium chloride moisture testing kit to collect moisture data and confirm whether a DIY epoxy flooring installation is possible. If the room has too much moisture, consult a professional.
Tip #7: Wait for the etching product to fully dry
After you apply your etching liquid and the floor is wet, allow it to fully dry before cleaning it again and applying the epoxy. If you jump the gun on it, you may not get the rough surface you expect to have for the epoxy.
Tip #8: Give the base coat a full day of drying
Your base coat of epoxy requires 12-24 hours to fully dry. Always ensure it’s all the way dry before applying a second coat.
Tip #9: If you can’t commit the time, don’t do it
Epoxy flooring installation can take 4-5 days to get done. If you don’t have the time to wait for the epoxy to dry, consider calling a professional to help. Many professional epoxy flooring installers use additives and techniques to speed up dry time and make the process faster than possible from the DIY epoxy you buy at the store.
Tip #10: Install epoxy flooring during warm weather
Epoxy needs ventilation to get the airborne chemicals out of your space. For this reason, it’s best to work in warmer weather. You won’t catch a chill opening your doors and windows to air out your work.
Tip #11: Prevent epoxy from curing too quickly
Cold can cure epoxy faster than is recommended. This is another reason to work in warm weather. This will ensure the time for the epoxy coating to set correctly.
Tip #12: Wear your PPE at all times
There is no excuse not to wear PPE while working with epoxy. Gloves, safety glasses, and a respirator are all necessary. The gloves will protect the skin. The glasses will protect your eyes from splashes. The respirator is there to prevent you from inhaling the fumes that will be emitted. Also, always wear the right footwear to avoid slips and falls.
Tip #13: Decide on the correct topcoat for you
Don’t neglect the topcoat. Choose the right topcoat for you. A glossy clear topcoast is easy to clean but will show imperfections more easily. A matte finish, by comparison, will hide imperfections but won’t have the gloss that many prefer from epoxy flooring.
Tip #14: Don’t expect perfection if you’re not a professional
There is a reason that professional epoxy flooring installers exist. Don’t expect, with a DIY kit, to have it be perfect. You may have bubbles, pinholes, and paint strokes that you wouldn’t get if you hired a professional. The epoxy is also often slightly lower quality and won’t be as durable as what you might get through an epoxy flooring installer.