A Comprehensive Guide on Epoxy Flooring 2024

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4 April 2024 - 16:47, by , in epoxy flooring, No comments

Epoxy resin floors stand as a favoured option in various commercial and industrial environments, largely due to their diverse and beneficial properties. Despite its popularity, the details surrounding epoxy flooring can often appear complex and somewhat unclear. To address this, the team at Painters has crafted a concise guide.

Within this guide, you will find an exploration of the essential aspects of epoxy flooring, including the different types available, the advantages it offers as a flooring solution, and other pertinent information that can aid in understanding and choosing the right epoxy flooring for your needs.

What is Epoxy Flooring?

Epoxy flooring is essentially a synthetic resin-based floor system, designed to be applied over concrete substrates to offer both protection and aesthetic enhancement. This flooring type involves multiple layers of thermosetting resin, which can be coated, trowelled, or poured onto the concrete surface. As these resin layers cure, they create a durable and permanent bond with the substrate. The resultant floor system not only acts as an impenetrable barrier but also enhances the visual appeal of the space, safeguarding the underlying concrete while elevating the overall aesthetics.

self-level epoxy-flooringillustration of standard self-levelling epoxy system with primer

Epoxy is renowned as one of the most prominent resin floor technologies, praised for its excellent mechanical and chemical resistance. It also offers extensive customization options in terms of colors, styles, effects, and decorative finishes. However, the terminology surrounding epoxy flooring can often be confusing, with terms such as coatings, flooring, and screeds frequently used interchangeably, despite having distinct meanings and applications.

To clarify these distinctions, the Resin Flooring Association (FeRFA) provides an insightful Guide to the Specification and Application of Synthetic Resin Flooring. This guide categorizes the various types of synthetic resin flooring, such as sealers, coatings, self-levelling systems, and screeds, and explains their unique characteristics and uses.

Table description and comparison of types of synthetic resin flooring (sealer, coating, self levelling, screed)FeRFA: Synthetic resin flooring categories

With proper separation, let’s take a deeper dive into the different types of epoxy floors.

Table explanation and comparison of types of synthetic resin flooring (sealer, coating, self levelling, screed)

Types of Epoxy Flooring

In terms of aesthetics, epoxy floors are celebrated for their seamless finish, highly versatile and available to be made in a wide range of colours, styles, effects and decorative options. These aesthetic qualities make them ideally suited for both industrial and commercial settings. Epoxy flooring comes in several distinct types, each tailored to meet specific needs and preferences.

In the following sections, we will explore these various kinds of epoxy flooring in greater detail, highlighting their unique properties and potential applications.

Epoxy Terrazzo Flooring

Epoxy Terrazzo Flooring

Epoxy terrazzo flooring offers a colourful, decorative, durable and seamless flooring surface. This type of flooring is made with a mix of coloured epoxy and selected aggregates (such as marble, mother of pearl, glass, granite, etc).

Application & Lifespan

After setting the mixture, the flooring is ground and polished, exposing the aggregate and providing a smooth, decorative and hard-wearing floor finish. Epoxy terrazzo floors are not just highly decorative and very durable, they only require simple upkeep and have an outstanding life expectancy.

  • Residential Applications: Can last over 30 years with proper care and maintenance, owing to minimal foot traffic and wear. Its longevity, combined with timeless aesthetics, makes it an investment that enhances the value and appeal of residential spaces.
  • Commercial or Industrial Settings: In commercial environments, such as airports, hospitals, and educational institutions, epoxy terrazzo can easily withstand decades of heavy use. Its lifespan in these settings can exceed 40 years, thanks to its ability to endure high volumes of foot traffic, rolling loads, and general wear and tear without significant degradation.

Things to take note

Consider Weight: Due to its composite nature, evaluate the structural support of the installation area to ensure it can bear the weight.

Epoxy Flake Coating

Epoxy flake coatings are made with varying sizes of flakes scattered over a coloured epoxy base coat and finally finished with a tough resistant clear sealer. It creates a decorative floor finish that is easy to clean and has good resistance to foot traffic and chemicals.

Epoxy floor treatments are sometimes also referred to as epoxy paint or epoxy floor paint. The finishes usually come in a uniform single colour, and their finishing can be chosen to be matte, satin or glossy.

Application & Lifespan

Epoxy floor coatings are usually used for areas with light to medium level of activities, and these can be for industrial or commercial areas. Since there is a long list of varieties and choices for epoxy coatings, it is better to check with a flooring expert to get the best-matched flooring.

Dependent on the environment’s purposes and functions, there would be a suitable flooring option available to meet the requirements. The epoxy flake coating choice is ideal for shops, showrooms, restaurants and schools among many other commercial venues.

  • Residential Applications: Up to 15-20 years or more, depending on foot traffic and use.
  • Commercial or Industrial Settings: Around 5-10 years, but this can vary widely based on the volume and type of traffic, as well as the environment (chemical exposure, physical impacts, etc.).

Things to take note

Flake Retention: Understand that the long-term retention of flakes requires proper sealing to prevent peeling or flaking over time.

Epoxy Self-Levellers

Self-levelling (SL) epoxy flooring is a type of flooring that has self-smoothing properties once poured onto the substrate. Generally, self-levelling systems are applied between 1 to 3mm and applied in liquid form for fast installation, resulting in a smooth, seamless finish. The epoxy self-levellers is ideal for shops, warehouses, restaurants and schools among many other commercial venues.

Application & Lifespan

The resin-rich formulations of epoxy SL provide a very strong durable finish for heavy-duty demanding settings. These settings can vary from industrial to commercial and even residential spaces.

  • Residential Applications: Up to 20-30 years, depending on factors like foot traffic and maintenance practices. Their longevity makes them an excellent choice for high-use areas in homes.
  • Commercial or Industrial Settings: Typically 10-15 years, but this can vary significantly based on the volume and type of traffic, as well as environmental conditions such as chemical exposure and physical impacts. The variance is due to the harsher conditions often found in these settings.

Things to take note

Curing Time: Plan for downtime, as these floors need time to cure properly before they can be walked on or fully loaded.

Antistatic Epoxy Flooring

Antistatic epoxy flooring provides a seamless, hard wearing coating that stops electrostatic charge from accumulating on the surface of the floor.

Antistatic floor systems should be compliant with antistatic standards requirements (eg. ANSI/ESDS2020, IEC 61340-4-1), and are intended to safely transfer the static charge – that can be generated from a person – to defined earthing points. There are specific antistatic flooring systems especially tailored for light, medium and heavy-duty traffic.

Application & Lifespan

Antistatic epoxy flooring is widely used in laboratories, clean rooms, and specialised food processing facilities. It is usually used as part of ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) prevention in environments containing sensitive equipment or explosive contents, with environments that include the electronic, aerospace, automotive, and pharmaceutical sectors.

  • Residential Applications: While less common in residential settings, when used, they can last over 20 years with proper installation and maintenance.
  • Commercial or Industrial Settings: In environments with regular foot traffic and equipment use, antistatic epoxy flooring typically lasts between 5 to 10 years. The lifespan can vary widely depending on factors such as the volume of traffic, the nature of the activities conducted on the floor, and exposure to chemicals or physical impacts.

Things to take note

  • Grounding Requirements: Requires professional installation to ensure proper grounding connections for effective static dissipation.

Epoxy Screeds

Epoxy screeds are part of a medium- to heavy-duty flooring system, and they are widely used as a heavy-duty underlayment to receive a variety of resin flooring (such as anti-slip coatings, self-levelling epoxy coatings, etc). As a thicker type of flooring layer, an epoxy screed’s usual thickness is between 4mm and 6mm. Because epoxy screeds are thicker, they usually are to be trowel-applied, and may be power floated to produce a smooth, level finish.

Epoxy screeds have high strength and good impact resistance. Anti-osmosis qualities may also be included in the epoxy screed to act as a damp-proof membrane.

With these qualities, epoxy screeds are ideal for flooring systems in medium to heavy-duty industrial environments, such as manufacturing, food and beverage processing, and several others.

The specification/selection process of epoxy flooring is influenced by the expected functionalities and protection needs based on the frequent activities and operations of the facility.

Application & Lifespan

Epoxy screeds have high strength and good impact resistance. Anti-osmosis qualities may also be included in the epoxy screed to act as a damp-proof membrane.

With these qualities, epoxy screeds are ideal for flooring systems in medium to heavy-duty industrial environments, such as manufacturing, food and beverage processing, and several others. The specification/selection process of epoxy flooring is influenced by the expected functionalities and protection needs based on the frequent activities and operations of the facility.

  • Residential Applications: While not commonly used in residential settings due to their industrial nature, they can last over 25 years when applied in home garages or workshops.
  • Commercial or Industrial Settings: In these environments, where the flooring is subjected to heavy loads, chemical exposure, and constant traffic, epoxy screeds can last 10 to 15 years or more. Lifespan can vary based on the specific conditions and maintenance practices.

Things to take note

  • Thickness Variation: Be mindful of the desired thickness, as it significantly impacts the screed’s performance in different industrial applications.

Benefits and Advantages of Epoxy Flooring

Let’s explore the unique benefits and advantages of epoxy flooring. Epoxy flooring has several advantages and benefits compared to other floor covers such as vinyl, tiles or carpet.

Aesthetics & Design

Epoxy flooring transforms plain concrete floors into striking surfaces with a high degree of aesthetic appeal. Its seamless nature allows for a smooth, uninterrupted finish that can brighten and enlarge the appearance of any space. With an extensive palette of colors and finishes, from high-gloss to matte, epoxy flooring can be tailored to suit any design theme.

The addition of decorative flakes, colored microchips, and metallic pigments can create depth and patterns, mimicking anything from granite to marble, or even bespoke artistic designs. This level of customization makes epoxy flooring a popular choice for commercial and residential spaces alike, where both functionality and style are paramount.

Maintenance & Cleaning Ease

One of the most significant advantages of epoxy flooring is its ease of maintenance. Its seamless and impervious nature means there are no cracks or crevices where dirt and bacteria can hide, making it an ideal choice for hygienic environments such as hospitals and food processing plants. Spills can be easily wiped up without staining, and routine cleaning requires nothing more than a mop and a mild detergent.

The low maintenance aspect of epoxy flooring not only saves time but also reduces the need for harsh chemicals and frequent replacements, offering long-term value and sustainability.

Safety Features

Epoxy flooring can be engineered to enhance safety in the workplace. By incorporating non-slip additives or broadcasting sand onto the wet epoxy, floors can achieve a higher traction surface, reducing the risk of slips and falls.

This is particularly crucial in areas prone to moisture or spillages, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and industrial workspaces. Furthermore, epoxy’s reflective surface can improve lighting in a facility, contributing to a safer environment.

Durability & Resistance

Epoxy flooring is renowned for its durability and resistance to wear and tear. Capable of withstanding heavy foot traffic, vehicle movement, and industrial activities, it’s an investment that pays off in the long run. It resists damage from chemicals, stains, and abrasions, maintaining its appearance and integrity over years of use.

This resilience makes it suitable for demanding industrial environments, warehouses, and commercial spaces where floors must endure heavy loads and constant use.

Environment Suitability

Epoxy’s versatility extends to its suitability across a vast range of environments. From industrial warehouses and manufacturing plants to commercial establishments, healthcare facilities, and even residential spaces, epoxy flooring meets diverse needs.

Its ability to resist moisture makes it ideal for basements and garages, while its hygienic properties are valued in medical and food-related settings.

Green Credentials

Epoxy flooring contributes to healthier indoor air quality and environmental sustainability. Many epoxy formulations are solvent-free and contain low VOCs, minimizing the emission of harmful substances into the environment. This aspect is increasingly important for businesses and individuals aiming for green certifications or simply striving to reduce their environmental footprint.

Additionally, the longevity and durability of epoxy floors mean less frequent replacements and, consequently, less waste.

Unwanted Results of Poor Flooring System Installation: Beware of Resin Floor Failures and Mishaps

Although resin flooring systems bring multiple benefits and advantages, these natural benefits are realised only when the floor system is properly installed.

A critical component to ensure a good floor installation is having a qualified flooring applicator carry out the installation works. Expertise and precision are key aspects of the installation process, which makes it important to use the flooring services of experienced applicators. When planning your schedule, always consider that the installation time can vary based on the thickness of the flooring system and the size of the project.

Resin floor solutions that are applied improperly could result in delamination (chip and peel). This unwanted result is typically caused by poor surface preparation prior to the application of the final floor finish. The substrate has to be properly prepped before any coating can be placed.

Another type of floor failure is the appearance of air bubbles (or blisters) in the resin flooring. This type of failure may be caused by too much moisture in the material. It’s important to be aware of this when adding a coating to a ground-level substrate. For substrates with higher levels of moisture content, please contact Painters to ensure a fit-for-purpose solution.

Floor failure can cause damages to the substrate, so it is vitally important to select the right floor system. Using the wrong type of resinous floor system for a mismatched environment can result in floor failure and eventually substrate harm.

Overall, resin flooring systems can be a long-term, worry-free option when installed by an experienced applicator. And because lifetime maintenance is so easy, resin flooring systems are an attractive flooring choice for a variety of commercial and industrial applications.

How Much Does Epoxy Flooring Cost?

Material supply and installation cost considerations will vary based on size, design, layout and type of epoxy flooring. Total lifecycle costs are usually advantageous for epoxy floors due to their low maintenance mixed with longevity and durability.

Basic Epoxy Coating

Let’s use a simplified example to illustrate how you might calculate a rough total cost based on average prices:

  1. Size of the Area: Suppose you want to apply epoxy flooring to a 1000 square foot area.
  2. Type of Epoxy System and Average Cost per Square Foot: Suppose you’ve opted for a basic epoxy coating system, in contrast to more durable options like an epoxy screed or decorative alternatives such as terrazzo or flake. The average cost is SGD $5 per square foot.

The formula to calculate the total cost would be:

Total Cost=Size of the Area×Cost per Square Foot

Using the values from our example:

Total Cost 1000 sq ft×SGD 5 per sq ft = SGD$5000

Based on the example given, the total cost for applying a basic epoxy coating to a 1000 square foot area would be approximately SGD $5000. Remember, this is a simplified calculation. For a precise quote, it’s best to consult with professional flooring contractors who can assess your specific needs and provide a detailed estimate.

Difference Between Epoxy Flooring and Polyurethane Flooring

Sometimes, there may be some misunderstanding about the difference between some types of resin polymers, such as the difference between floors made of epoxy resins, versus floors made of polyurethane (PU) resins. To clear up this misunderstanding, here is an explanatory comparison between epoxy flooring and PU flooring.

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About author:
William Lim, a distinguished content creator and painting technologist at Painters.sg, brings extensive knowledge and innovation to Singapore's painting service industry. With a background in material science and a passion for sustainability, William specialises in residential and commercial painting, epoxy and waterproof finishes, and colour consultancy. His commitment to blending cutting-edge techniques with traditional craftsmanship has made him a key figure in transforming spaces with durability and aesthetic appeal. Shared through Painters.sg, William's insights bridge functionality and design, establishing him as a trusted authority.

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