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flaking epoxi

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The 7 reasons why an epoxy floor can fail

Epoxy coatings are fantastic materials that allow you to create large, totally continuous surfaces, without the need for joints. This type of flooring is an ideal surface for multiple fields of application, whether commercial premises, parking lots or industrial areas that demand high performance. 

finish for industrial floors becosan

However, resin floors can fail and in this article we look at the possible causes of failure.

Resin floors provide great advantages and improvements over a traditional concrete floors. They greatly increase their chemical and aesthetic performance in a diverse range of situations to which they may be exposed.

There are many factors that can create problems at the time of application of a continuous epoxy resin floor. Normally product manufacture takes place in an environment where temperature, humidity etc. can be tightly controlled.

The application of a resin coating constitutes a complex manual process, with many variables that can chemically interfere with the materials used often with the applicator completely unaware.

For this reason, making a good choice of a qualified applicator, with extensive experience in this field, is crucial.

As concrete flooring professionals, we know that unfortunately not all floors make good candidates for an epoxy flooring. Here are the 7 reasons why an epoxy floor can fail:

1. Bad preparation of the support surface

Before applying the first layer of epoxy resin it is necessary to prepare the surface to maximise adhesion.  All joints must be carefully cleaned and the floor must be completely dust free.

bad preparation epoxi

Failure to inadequately prepare the floor will result in the epoxy flaking away in a very short period of time.

2. Humidity

Solvent based epoxy systems do not bind well on wet media. It is important to ensure that the surface is completely dry and that there is no rising or residual moisture from the floor itself.

damp problem on epoxi floor

The floor can be checked with moisture detection equipment but some humidity can rise though the fall after measurement has taken place.

Often, humidity can be caused by rising damp from water held in the water table below the concrete floor.  In almost all cases it is wise to install a waterproof membrane to trap any humidity beneath the floor.

3. A weak substrate

This is a common problem caused by poor quality concrete.  The floor could be old and over used giving a friable surface.  The concrete could have been made with too little cement or too much water. 

These problems can result in the epoxy coating being stronger that the concrete support in which case, once again, the epoxy coating will quickly peel away.

removing epoxi coating

4. Not using primer or using an incorrect primer

Once the floor has been thoroughly cleaned and before applying the epoxy coating an epoxy primer must be applied. 

Failure to apply the correct primer can result in poor adherence of the epoxy coating.

5. Contaminated floors

These problems are more common in the reconditioning of old floors. Floors in hazardous environments can become polluted with chemicals and oil making it difficult for epoxy to adhere.

If the contamination is superficial, there are effective decontamination methods such as the use of decontaminating chemicals but if the degree of contamination is very high, the options are drastically reduced.

It may be that a heavily contaminated floor would require complete replacement to meet environmental standards.

6. Defective resin mixtures

Improper curing or prolonged tackiness long after the material should have dried may be due to the use of mixtures in incorrect proportions or with insufficient mixing times.

Manufacturer’s instructions must always be strictly followed to obtain a good result with each mixture and ensure that they are homogeneous throughout the application.

7. The use of pavement before it has chemically cured

When a new concrete floor is laid it requires about 28 days of “curing” before an epoxy coating can be applied.  Failure to wait the required time will result in poor adherence of the coating.

Once the coating has been applied it will take a further 7 days before it will be ready for industrial use.

You have seen that there are plenty of potential problems with epoxy coatings of concrete floors.  However, there are alternatives. 

Chief amongst them is to treat the floor with the Becosan System.  This system chemically changes the concrete surface to leave a hardened, polished and dust free surface that will last far longer than any epoxy finish.  Check out the Becosan system.

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