What are the primary reasons for a failed epoxy coating installation?
To get the most out of your investment, you must begin with the core of your endeavour – the installation process. Epoxy floor coatings have grown in popularity among concrete floor coating options due to their durability, appealing finish, and low maintenance level. When epoxy floor coatings are properly installed, they can last and withstand the test of time. However, as with any other floor coating, if applied incorrectly, epoxy coatings can produce unsatisfactory results.
To prevent epoxy floor coating failures, it is necessary to understand why they fail in the first place. The following are the most common causes of an epoxy coating failure.
Top 7 Most Common Reasons Epoxy Coatings Fail
- Improper Surface Preparation – An epoxy coatings kit from any epoxy supplier or large retail establishment will usually instruct the DIY user to clean the floor or etch it with acid. Cleaning alone, however, is insufficient. Cleaning and acid etching, while a reasonable method for concrete surface preparation, do not always work. Acid etching is a viable option on surfaces with pores that are open and accessible enough to allow the acid to react and eliminate the thin cement paste on top, known as laitance. However, acid etching will not work on concrete surfaces that are not porous, oil-stained, painted, or exposed to contaminants such as wax, tyre shine or other maintenance lubricants. Epoxy coatings do not adhere to smooth or unprepared surfaces. Even if your concrete slab has a textured surface due to being rough, this does not guarantee that the epoxy coating will adhere to it. Before the application of an epoxy coating, all concrete surfaces must be surface prepared using a concrete refinishing machine, such as concrete floor grinders and polishers.
1.1 Peeling Floors – Several underlying factors can cause an epoxy coating to peel from floors. The most common cause is inappropriate epoxy preparation or inappropriate epoxy application by epoxy installing under extreme temperature conditions – either too hot or too cold. For appropriate concrete preparation, the surface must be polished and free of oil, grease, debris, and other foreign objects or contaminants. Otherwise, as curing begins, the epoxy will pull away from the floor, resulting in “pinholes” or “fisheyes,” which are round holes in the finish. Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, epoxy does not adhere to a smooth surface. Even brand-new concrete floors require surface preparation. Although acid etching may work for some concrete, grinding the concrete to prepare it for epoxy is the best method.
- Contaminated Concrete – Contaminated concrete is another common cause of epoxy coating failure. Contaminants such as fatty acids, silicone, siloxane, and acrylics can penetrate deeply enough to affect the adhesive abilities of future applications, even if the concrete is properly prepared. To address this issue, you may need to use heavy shot blasting (CSP-4 or higher), or you may choose to cut or replace the heavily contaminated concrete areas.
- Poor Bond Strength – A good epoxy coating has an adhesive strength that is greater than the pull strength of the concrete. Some epoxy coating kits fail here because they are simply epoxy-fortified latex paints with too many fillers. Although these kits significantly reduce the cost of epoxy, they do not include good bond strength applications that can endure constant wear and tear, so using an industrial-grade epoxy coating is highly recommended.
- Inadequate Wicking/Wet-Out – A suitable epoxy coating also “wets out” the surface-prepared concrete, soaking all open pores and surface impurities caused by the surface preparation process. Materials that set too quickly may be too thick to penetrate the pores or dwindle significantly during curing, making thorough wetting of the concrete impossible. This problem is most prevalent in new companies that use the most recent, cutting-edge 1-day coatings. New installers fail to recognise that these materials set too quickly to penetrate the concrete, resulting in premature coating failures, especially in hot, humid climates.
- Excessive Humidity – An epoxy coatings installation on an extremely humid day can have a negative impact on the bond strength between layers of epoxy coatings or the inter-coat adhesion. Excessive humidity will almost certainly result in delamination, cloudiness, and premature or incorrect curing. Before proceeding with the installation of a coating, installers must always consider the current weather conditions.
- Product Mixing Issues – Improper mixing, in which the products are not mixed at the proper ratios and partitions, or the products are not combined for the proper amount of time intended for mixing, will cause the epoxy coatings to fail to cure properly. Furthermore, the amount of air present during the mixing procedure affects many layers.
6.1 Inconsistent Colour – Another sign that something is wrong with the mixing process is if the colour of your epoxy floor coating is uneven. This inconsistency in colour could be attributed to factors such as inappropriate epoxy mixing, oil, grease, or other contaminants, and colour variations in coating kit batches. Moreover, ultraviolet light may play a role in this colour variation. Allowing one set of coating kits to sit in the sun but not the next can cause colour differences between the two.
- Running Out of Epoxy – Purchasing epoxy floor coating kits may result in you not having enough material for the project. This is usually because the epoxy coating installer is inexperienced in the field. Stretching the epoxy coating material to completely cover the designated surface area, for example, is not the best option because it will likely result in the epoxy coating being too thin or not hard enough.
Preventing These Problems
Although applying epoxy floor coatings can be difficult, there are ways to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Specifically, you must ensure that the surface or concrete is properly prepared. Before beginning the floor coating installation, take into account the surrounding environment. You must also properly mix the epoxy to avoid discolouration and air bubbles.
You now understand the fundamentals in case you decide to pursue this business venture for one of your spaces. Before attempting an epoxy coatings application on your own, please consider all of the possible outcomes. You could save a lot of money by doing things yourself carefully, or you could run into a lot of problems and end up spending more money.