Epoxy floor coatings offer unparalleled durability and will resist just about anything you can throw at it— everything from chemicals, to oil and gasoline, to moisture and even UV light.
Some people think of epoxy coatings as a type of paint, but they’re fundamentally different from paint. Conventional paint is made up of a pigment that’s basically watered down by a solvent, to make it into a spreadable liquid.
An epoxy, especially a high solids epoxy, isn’t diluted at all. It goes on in two components: first, the resin, which is a dense, undiluted epoxy, and then a hardener, which “cures” the resin into a rigid, glossy coating.
Epoxy coatings adhere very well to a wide variety of surfaces, and are incredibly strong and durable.
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How much do epoxy floor coatings cost?
As a floor coating, epoxies are higher quality than paint, so it should come as no surprise that they’re also a little more expensive than paint.
How much more expensive? Well, concrete floor paints typically run between $0.15-$2.00 per square foot, while epoxies cost around $3-$7 per square foot.
That’s a big price difference. But epoxies offer a lot of advantages over conventional paint, one of which we’ll discuss in the next section.
How long do epoxy floor coatings last?
Epoxies are extremely strong and durable, compared to conventional paint. In residential settings, epoxies can have a lifespan of up to 30 years; in commercial settings, where they’re subjected to much heavier traffic, they usually last five to ten years.
Of course, an epoxy’s lifespan is affected by a whole host of factors, including whether a topcoat has been applied, surface prep, and the thickness of the epoxy.
Protective topcoats shield epoxy coatings from corrosive elements like UV light or forceful impacts, while proper surface prep ensures that the epoxy can form a strong bond with the substrate. And thickness is more or less self-explanatory; an epoxy coating that’s twice as thick will also last twice as long.
But under almost any circumstances you can think of, epoxy floor coatings will last longer than conventional paint.
Pros and cons of epoxy floor coatings
Let’s quickly touch on some upsides and downsides of epoxy floor coatings.
Epoxy floor coatings can take almost anything you throw at it, including heavy vehicle traffic, and harsh chemicals, as well as subtler corrosives like moisture.
Epoxy floor coatings are sometimes referred to as “lifetime coatings.” While this isn’t technically true— they do have to be replaced eventually, they’ve been known to last three decades in residential settings.
Conventional paint is made up of a pigment and a solvent, and that solvent evaporates as the paint dries— leaving behind a (very) thin layer of pigment.
Epoxies, especially high solids epoxies, go on thick and retain that thickness through the curing process. That means more coating for your buck, as well as more protection for your floor.
As we touched on above, epoxies are more expensive than conventional paints— as much as three to five times more expensive, per square foot.
Surface prep is necessary
For a strong, durable bond, you’ll want to prepare your floor before applying an epoxy. This can be a laborious, time-consuming process.
A topcoat is highly advisable
Without a protective topcoat, your epoxy floor coating can be broken down by UV light, which will quickly reduce it to a chalky texture.
Why you’ll want a non-slip epoxy floor coating
If you look at photos of floors with epoxy coatings, you’ll notice that they sport a high gloss, smooth finish. And the fact is, epoxy floor coatings actually are as slick— literally— as they look.
That’s why, for safety reasons, you should also include non-slip additives in your epoxy floor coating.
Should you use a 100% solids epoxy floor coating?
Whether a 100% solids epoxy floor coating is for you is going to depend on your unique circumstances. But epoxy floor coatings have one big advantage beyond the ones we’ve covered above: they’re low VOC.
Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) are chemicals that form ozone, and conventional paint is a major source of them. As an ozone precursor, VOCs are monitored by the EPA, which means they fall under strict government regulation.
If your facility is large enough, you may have to consider your VOC output, as going over EPA limits can incur large fines. One of the easiest ways to cut down on your VOCs is to use low VOC coatings— like epoxies— rather than high VOC conventional paint.