Foolproof Methods for Comparing Epoxy Floor Coating Options
While at first it may seem like all epoxy is the same, once you start diving deeper into the world of Gilbert epoxy garage floor coatings, you will begin to realize that not all epoxy is created equal. Each type has a different purpose or focus, such as water-based or solvent-based epoxy. Some places only offer 100% solid epoxy, and the price points for other epoxy seems to vary greatly. How are you supposed to know what is accurate and what things to consider while searching for the best Gilbert garage floor coating company?
The experts at Barefoot Surfaces have decided to put together a basic guide to help you discern between different types of epoxy and determine which is best for your home. This way, you will be better armed with knowledge should you decide to apply a Gilbert concrete garage floor coating yourself rather than hire a professional.
Epoxy is typically created with either a water or solvent as a carrier agent for its resin. The purpose is to cause stronger adhesion, smoother application, and add some self-leveling properties to make the applicator’s job a little easier. Epoxy application typically works by having you mix Part A (resin) with Part B (the hardener); once this mixture occurs, you have a ticking clock as the epoxy starts its hardening process. It must be applied to the floor before this clock runs out.
If you are the DIY type, this variety of epoxy will likely be appealing to you due to its easy application. The ticking clock runs out at about two hours, which means you do not have to be in a big rush to apply the epoxy to your floor before it hardens. It rolls on very smoothly, similar to paint, which is also a big draw.
Unfortunately, epoxy with carrier agents has some cons that you need to keep in mind. Once the epoxy is applied to your floor surface and begins to harden, the carrier agent will actually evaporate, leaving just the epoxy resins behind. Remember these agents are only added to aid in the application process. However, after this evaporation is complete, your floor will actually be thinner than when you began. This process is referred to as the percentage in volume of solids. The way it works is if your epoxy is labeled as 50% solids, when applied it will be about 6-7 mms thick, but once the carrier evaporates it will lose about 50% of that volume and will only be about 3 mm thick.
>>>WATER VS. SOLVENT
As mentioned, Gilbert polyaspartic garage floor coatings will have either a water-based or solvent-based carrier agent. Over the years, solvent has been the preference because it can be easily applied in cooler temperatures or high humidity, and can also better withstand any contaminates in the concrete surface to which it is applied. Additionally, solvent-based epoxy generally has a slightly glossier surface and can even be more durable.
Unfortunately, even with all these positives, solvent-based epoxy is basically never used anymore. This is due to its high content of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), which means it has toxic fumes during application and can never be applied indoors. If applied in a garage or outdoor space, the applicators must wear appropriate respirators and other preventive gear for safety. Any open flames (water heater, furnace, etc) must be turned off due to the extreme flammability of the solvent.
Due to all these issues, solvent-based epoxy has actually been banned from most states unless it contains a lower VOC content. While this sounds great at first, it actually has led to a lower quality of solvent-based epoxy, which in turn leads to a whole new set of problems.
So, Gilbert garage floor staining companies have turned to using water-based epoxy with essentially every job. Many varieties of water-based epoxy have proven to have as much durability as the solvent-based, and the best part is they do not produce any fumes whatsoever. This makes them much safer to use, whether applied by a DIY-er or a trained professional. Additionally, water-based epoxy has the ability to be applied to damp concrete, as a good sealer and help avoid hydrostatic pressure from moisture vapor transmission.
Lastly, as you may have guessed, 100% solids epoxy actually does not contain any carrier agents that will evaporate. Instead they make a much thicker coating once applied and dried (10 mms or more!). Plus, there are, of course, no fumes, toxic odors, or environmental issues to be concerned about, and the epoxy coating will harden solely by catalyzation.
100% epoxy coatings are typically used in commercial settings or by professional garage floor coating companies. It is resistant to abrasion, debris, chemicals, and stains, and extremely durable – it can last 20+ years!
Unfortunately, the downside to 100% epoxy is that because there is no carrier agent, the drying time is considerably faster. This means you must be able to correctly apply the coating in 30-40 minutes or less, depending on the temperature and humidity of your environment. While it can be done by a DIY-er, it is recommended that 100% epoxy only be applied by someone with experience and training. This type of epoxy is also more expensive, but is worth the investment due to the resulting thickness and durability of your garage floor.
The bottom line is this: do your research before you apply any epoxy coating to your desired surface. If you are not fully confident in your skills or understanding of the process, call the trained professionals at Barefoot Surfaces. We are highly trained in correct application of all types of epoxy floor coatings, and will do an excellent job with your floors.