Due to the robust and seamless nature of these products, they are normally specified in the harshest of environments and subjected to heavy traffic use. As with all flooring, preparation and installation is the key to achieving a floor that will stand the test of time. This is why corners must not be cut, and applications should be carried as close to the manufacturer’s instructions as possible.
Is Resin The Same as Epoxy?
Epoxy is a type of resin, there are many different resins on the market, all with different chemical makeups. These different formulas give the products unique characteristics that can be beneficial or a hindrance to the project you are working on. Please contact us and we can give you a comprehensive guide of the floor finishes that will suit you best.
Choosing the Right Resin Option for Your Floors
Solid resins are one of the most popular flooring options on the market. They are durable, long-lasting and easy to clean/maintain. They come in a variety of different colours, styles, and textures, so you can find an option that will suit your aesthetic needs perfectly.
These floors offer excellent protection against everyday wear and tear, making them ideal for high traffic areas. Solid resins also come with excellent fire retardant properties, ensuring a safe environment for your workspace.
Solvent-based resins are a great solution for areas that require chemical and stain resistance. These floors offer superior protection against harsh chemicals, making them ideal for industrial and manufacturing environments.
They are also easy to clean and maintain, prolonging the life of your flooring. Solvent-based options come in a variety of colours and styles, so you can find one that fits your space perfectly.
Good ventilation is imperative when you apply epoxy products as the fumes can be dangerous if not dealt with properly.
Water-based resins are a great option for those who want a more eco-friendly solution. These floors offer the same durability and protection as solvent-based varieties, while also being low VOC and free of harsh chemicals. Water-based resins are easy to install and maintain, making them a great choice for those looking for an affordable flooring solution that won’t break the bank.
Water can often be added to these products to make them thinner, this is why water based epoxy primer is very popular. Its low viscous nature allows for the adhesion to porous and non porous surfaces.
Water-based resins also allow moisture to pass through them from the concrete beneath, making them a great option if there is not a damp-proof membrane or the floor has moisture issues.
Preparing for Epoxy Resin Floor Installation
The key to laying any resin floor is to work as clean as you can and be fully prepared before commencing any installation. Sweeping and vacuuming the floor thoroughly first to remove any dirt and debris.
Necessary Tools and Equipment
This is dependant on the type of epoxy flooring solution that you are installing. Thin epoxy floor coatings or primers are usually applied with squeegees, rollers and paint brushes. Whereas with the self-levelling epoxy application, trowels, pin rakes, and spiked rollers can also be used.
Prepare the Concrete Substrate
This step and the choices associated with it will have a significant effect on the success and longevity of the entire floor. Vacuum-assisted diamond grinding, shot blasting, or scabbling are normally necessary to prepare and clean the floor before any epoxy coating is installed.
This is a tell-tale sign to the quality of the contractor that you are using, sub standard installers usually do the bare minimum of preparation. You should always check with your contractor beforehand what they intend to do.
An old method to prepare the floor is to acid etch the floor, this is very outdated, harmful to the environment, and does not produce very good results.
Repair Cracks and Holes
For best results, all repairs should be completed before applying your epoxy resin coating. A coat of epoxy is only a thin layer and will not hide major issues, holes or cracks in the floor. Resin crack repairs are usually carried out by diamond cutting the concrete floor and then filling with a heavy duty crack treatment system.
Holes and other repairs need to be treated with a heavy duty repair mortar. Epoxy repair mortar is the best product for this as any repairs must be as strong as the surface that is being installed.
Prime the Surface
Many of the thinner epoxy resin floor coatings on the market today are self-priming, meaning that they don’t require a primer. These thinner coatings only really need a primer when the surface is overly porous.
However, when installing epoxy self-levelling flooring products, at least one primer coat is recommended. This is to stop air release from the concrete slab, which can, in turn, cause air bubbles that can ruin the surface of your floor finish. This is usually clear epoxy and applied to the floor using a squeegee and paint roller.
The Main Resin Floor Application Process
So, you’ve chosen the best product for your application, the area has been prepared using the manufacturers guidelines, and you’re now ready for the main event! There are a number of different systems, thicknesses and finishes. Below describes a typical High Build Epoxy system that is popular in warehouse and garage floors.
Mix the Components
A clean and well-organised mix station away from the area being installed is paramount when applying the epoxy to a high standard. Without the organisation of this setup, mistakes can be made such as forgetting to add a hardener to a unit of epoxy. This kind of mistake can be catastrophic and take a few days and a lot of money to put right.
Once again the manufacturers recommendation should be followed. But as general rules, pour all of the components (normally two, but in some cases can be three or four) into the largest container provided, making sure all of the material is decanted.
Then whisk on a slow speed, with a whisk and an electric drill, making sure that all of the material is fully mixed and leaving a consistent finish. It is crucial to scrape the sides and bottom of the container while mixing to ensure all components are fully combined.
Once mixed, it is advisable to get the materials onto the floor as quickly as possible in a safe manner. The chemical reaction that is happening begins to heat the epoxy, if a large quantity is left in the container it will begin to overheat and cure the product before it even been applied.
Apply Resin Coating
High Build Epoxy resin is usually applied by paint brush to the edge “cutting in” and then the rest of the floor is completed by pushing out with a squeegee and back rolling with a paint roller. At this stage, aggregate can be scattered onto the whole floor to produce a profiled anti-slip surface. Standard epoxy floor paints, in good conditions, should be left overnight to let the floor dry.
There are variables that can have an effect on the drying time. Higher temperatures, airflows, and absorbencies of the subfloor can all help the epoxy dry quickly.
Apply Second Resin Coating
Once the floor is dry enough to walk on without sticking to the floor or without making an imprint, you are ready to apply your second coat. The second coat is usually easy to apply compared to the first coat. The second coat can be applied directly on top of the floor without the need to prepare it within 48 hours.
This means that the floor has a chemical bond; anything over 48 hours requires the first coat to be abraded, and sweep and vacuum the area again before you apply the coating.
As with the first coat use a squeegee and roller to apply the resin in a uniform manner, checking the consumption relates to the correct area that is being covered. Then, give the floor time to cure; wait at least the time that the manufacturer recommends. You should then be left with a beautiful high gloss finish.
The Disadvantages of Resin Floors
Although they deliver a range of benefits, resin flooring is not the most cost-effective choice for a project. It can be an expensive option when compared to other floor finishes. Installation can also be labour intensive and time consuming, requiring more than one person to execute it correctly. Diy resin materials from home improvement stores can be expensive, especially if they need to be custom-ordered.
Can Be Slippery
Resin floors can also be slippery when wet. For this reason, a non-slip additive should be added to the mix before it is poured out on the floor. The use of an anti-slip additive in the resin will ensure that the finished product has a low slip potential, making it safer for pedestrians and personnel.
This anti-slip material can also help to increase traction when walking on wet surfaces, allowing for more secure footing and decreasing the risk of slipping or falling.
It is important to make sure that the resin floor is properly installed. Improperly installed resin floors could be uneven, have voids throughout or be subject to a number of other potential issues. To ensure that the floor is properly installed, use a professional contractor who has experience with this type of material and follow all manufacturer installation instructions accordingly.
Additionally, it could be beneficial to have a final inspection done after the installation is complete to make sure it meets the desired standard.
Health Effects from Overexposure
As with any material, it is important to be aware of the potential health effects that can arise from overexposure and improper use. It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper ventilation and safety protocols while working with this material.
Additionally, the resin floor should be regularly maintained and cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions since dirt build-up can cause damage or create health hazards over time. Proper maintenance of any type of flooring is key to preserving its quality and longevity.
Most Common Resin Floor Coating Problems
Resin flooring is a great option when installed correctly, however the the applications require specific knowledge of potential problems and how to avoid them.
Epoxy Floor Peeling
When epoxy can be peeled off of the floor, it normally means that the subfloor has not been prepared properly. Although epoxy has great bonding properties, it needs a chemical or physical key. A chemical key is achieved when the basecoat that it is being applied to has not cured fully. With regards to a physical key, this is usually a surface that has a profile that is not smooth.
Epoxy Floor Blistering
Blistering normally occurs when a substance is trapped in the subfloor and is stopped by the epoxy coating that has been applied. Moisture trying to leave the concrete or screed can create surface blisters, this is why every floor should be checked for excessive moisture contained in it. If the subfloor reads 75% Relative Humidity or higher, an epoxy damp proof membrane is recommended to combat against these problems.
Much like moisture, oil trapped in concrete or screed can have the same effect. This can be much harder to spot than moisture, however if it is visible and you know its there it can be treated. Please contact us and we can give you some options.
Epoxy Floor Discolouring
Epoxy resins, as with the vast majority of flooring products, are not 100% UV stable. If subject to prolonged direct sunlight, these floors can fade overtime. There are some resins that are highly resistant against sunlight, please contact us and we will gladly point you in the right direction.
How much is resin flooring per m2?
As resin is available in a range of different thicknesses, colours, finishes and grades, this is a difficult question to answer. Subfloor preparation also plays a big part in the price, an area that needs little to no preparation will be considerably cheaper than an area that requires major work. The other consideration is how big the area is; with most resin systems, the bigger the area is, the cheaper the price per m2 is.
At the lower end of the market are thin coatings for use in low traffic areas, these can be as low as approx. £10 per m2. On the other end of the scale are products like 10mm epoxy terrazzo systems that can be approx. £250 per m2 or even more. Please contact us for a complete guide, we can guide you to the products that are widely used in commercial projects like yours.
What goes under resin flooring?
One of the many benefits of resin flooring is that it can go on a variety of subfloors, including, concrete, screed, cement board, floor tiles, wood and metal. However, choosing the correct resin and primer system is the key to a floor that is fit for purpose and will stand the test of time. Call us today, we are always happy to help.
Are resin floors cold?
If laid directly to a cold industrial concrete slab then the resin will be cold, if installed over insulation or underfloor heating then the resin will be warm.