Epoxy flooring is one of the best in rooms where you need to maintain constant cleanliness, there is a high probability of mechanical and even chemical damage to the surface, and there is no time for periodic floor replacement. It is not surprising that many industrial enterprises choose this floor covering to equip their workshops. In recent years, more and more people are considering it as an option for home use. This solution has both advantages and disadvantages.
Features and device
Epoxy floors are radically different from all classic types of flooring, as they are installed by pouring a special liquid mass. The composition is based on a polymer base, therefore, after a certain time after pouring, the surface, which, as befits any liquid, takes an ideally horizontal position, solidifies, forming a smooth, but non-slip floor. At the same time, it looks as holistic as possible, since it does not provide for any seams in its design.
The strength of such a hardened material compares favorably with any competitors, since the hardened mass stretches, contracts or bends well. Thanks to these properties, even in conditions of a strong earthquake, the floor covering remains intact and suitable for further use until the concrete base underneath breaks. By itself, the fall of any, even rather heavy, objects has practically no effect on such material.
Given that modern polymers are chemically neutral, epoxy flooring is highly appropriate even in a chemical laboratory.
Advantages and disadvantages
It should be noted that epoxy floors are used more often in industry than at home. Consequently, their advantages should acquire a certain specificity at home, but disadvantages that seem uncritical in industrial premises can play a decisive role in home use. In this regard, it is worthwhile to especially consider the main characteristics of epoxy floors in an ordinary apartment.
So, when used in a home, the following qualities deserve laudable words:
Complete safety of the cover for a person. In your own home, nothing should be a danger to the owners, and even more so - the floors. The chemical formula of the epoxy composition makes it completely neutral, such a floor does not emit any fumes, and therefore it is appropriate even in those houses where there are small children or animals. In addition, this type of coating is non-combustible, so it will definitely not cause or spread a fire
Resistant to most types of external influences… Shocks and wipes, extreme temperatures and humidity, any harsh chemicals, epoxy floors don't care, making them a worthy option when it comes to renovating a kitchen, bathroom or even a garage. Where the owner would be sorry to spend money on any other coating, the epoxy polymer will cope with all the influences
Ease of cleaning and minor repairs. Since this coating does not imply the presence of seams, dirt, bacteria and fungus have little chance of settling in the kitchen or bathroom, and the chemical resistance allows you to wipe the surface with any cleaning agents without harm to the floor. In fact, to maintain cleanliness, the coating must be periodically wiped with a damp cloth - that's the whole care. It is noted that an epoxy floor without mechanical damage can last two decades, so the need for its repair or replacement is unlikely to arise
However, even if the owner somehow managed to damage the surface, it can be quite simply repaired by filling the top with a small amount of the same mass.
However, it is not for nothing that a huge number of our fellow citizens still prefer other floor coverings for repair. The fact is that using epoxy flooring at home comes with a number of disadvantages. Here are the most notable ones:
Expensive material… Naturally, if you wish, you can find more expensive types of floors than those based on epoxy materials, but for a kitchen, bathroom, or even more so a garage, the purchase of expensive and refined materials is unlikely to be justified. For all its high cost, epoxy flooring is only practical, but not chic, so many people prefer to save a lot of money on buying traditional materials, even if they are somewhat inferior in performance
Low design variety… In recent years, developers, in response to growing demand, have created several examples of epoxy flooring for home use, each of which has a certain aesthetic appeal. However, the variety of available options is still small, which pushes the potential consumer into a narrow frame, forcing the entire interior of the room to be customized to the product on sale
Yellowness… Amazingly, a material that does not lend itself to almost any destructive effect is capable of fairly quickly losing its original appearance under the influence of ordinary sunlight. As a result, an expensive purchase can lose its appearance and stop fitting into the interior
Difficulty repairing now and in the future. Installation of a self-leveling floor only seems to be the simplest procedure, but in most cases it can only be entrusted to professionals in their field, because the slightest mistake will lead to damage to the expensive coating. However, even professionals will not make such repairs quickly, because the curing of the epoxy coating in some cases requires almost a week of waiting, without the ability to walk on it. But if the old self-leveling floor gets bored, or, even worse, is damaged during the pouring process, it will be almost impossible to replace it simply because it adheres too securely to everything around
Naturally, other flooring can be laid directly on top of the resin layer, but this will inevitably reduce the height of the room.
Style and design
By itself, the composition used to fill the self-leveling floor is usually monochromatic or completely simply transparent, therefore, for a unique design, you will need a special decor. The best designers of our time usually find a way out by offering a so-called 3D floor, into which some foreign objects are mounted, designed to decorate the interior.
The technology is quite simple - the floor is simply laid in two layers … The lower one is chosen in color - the color that the customer considered suitable as a base. First, such a base is poured and waited until it thickens a little - not until it hardens completely, but only clearly stops flowing. Usually this happens already on the second day after pouring, which means that it's time to start decorating.
The decoration is carried out using objects such as coins, multi-colored small pebbles and even colored sand. Decorating elements are neatly laid out on top of the slightly hardened bottom layer, forming patterns and any desired shapes. After the bottom layer finally hardens and “grasps” these decorative elements, a fixing transparent layer is poured on top, through which both the color of the lower layer and all the decorating elements will be visible.
Thanks to this, the artistic value of such a flooring increases significantly, and the repairmen have the opportunity to deviate from the standard colors offered by manufacturers.
Required tools and mixtures
While pouring an epoxy-based floor seems like an easy task in general, it will require a variety of tools and materials to complete. First of all, of course, the mass itself, which, after hardening, will become the floor. It should be noted that the bulk mixtures are not only epoxy, however, it is precisely those varieties that are made on the basis of epoxy resin that are distinguished by maximum durability and resistance to all types of damage. Another thing is that this type of mass is extremely expensive, even in comparison with other self-leveling floors, so that any attempt to choose a cheaper product can result in serious losses in quality.
In addition, cement mortar and primer are compulsory materials for pouring. A concrete base, and a two-layer one (from the bottom - a semi-liquid layer to level the level, from the top - a finishing layer) is necessary so that the floor covering has a reliable support, while the primer gives maximum adhesion of the mass to the concrete, so that the coating does not peel off and does not break.
At the same time, both an old (but well-preserved) screed and a carefully repaired wooden floor can act as the bottom layer of a concrete base, however, the finishing layer of cement is always laid.
Finally, if the screed is being poured from scratch, additional waterproofing may also be needed. The selection of tools depends on who is filling the self-leveling floor and on what area. Repair of industrial premises often involves replacing the coating on an area of hundreds and thousands of square meters and is carried out by serious contractors who use special equipment - different types of grinders and industrial vacuum cleaners for cleaning surfaces.
In a home environment, many men today prefer to try to fill it on their own, and in this case, of course, the toolkit is somewhat more modest. To perform such tasks, you need a drill with a special nozzle for stirring liquid building materials, a large capacity (at least two buckets in volume), spatulas of different shapes, an aeration roller with spikes and the same spike paint shoes.
The durability and reliability of an epoxy poured floor depends very much on how well the cement screed base was made. If one already exists, and it is in a normal state, you can use it, having previously performed minor repairs - expanding the existing cracks and carefully filling them with mortar. Similarly, an old wooden floor can serve as a basis, but its cracks are sealed with a special wood putty, and also carefully sanded.
If the concrete screed is nevertheless made from scratch, it is recommended to make the bottom layer semi-liquid. Thanks to this, the top will fit perfectly horizontally. After the bottom layer is ready, the top, finishing one is applied. Requirements for it - reliability, perfect horizontal orientation and cleanliness.
Therefore, after the top layer hardens, it is thoroughly vacuumed (professionals do this with heavy-duty industrial vacuum cleaners), and also cleaned of any dirt and grease, including with the help of solvents. In some cases, additional grinding of the concrete surface is also used, because any irregularities in the base will greatly affect the consumption of the mass for pouring. After that, the base is thoroughly impregnated with a primer, and twice.
The second layer of primer is applied only after the first one has dried. Only after both layers are completely dry, you can start pouring.
How to do it?
Epoxy flooring includes several different types of mass, however, the pouring technology is generally the same. An epoxy-based pouring coating, which in the future will form a self-leveling floor, is thoroughly mixed in a large vessel to the very bottom, and then simply poured onto a concrete screed and, using spatulas, is evenly dispersed over the entire area of the room.
The self-leveling properties of the liquid help somewhat during installation, since there is no need for strict leveling of the surface, however, experts still recommend disperse the mass. In terms of its composition, such a floor is always two-component; in it, a fast-setting epoxy resin is diluted with a liquid hardener. For example, we can say that a water-epoxy floor dries due to evaporation of water, and epoxy-polyester coatings, respectively, due to polyester fumes.
Although many believe that a self-leveling floor is the very mass with which the surface is poured, in fact, it consists of a huge number of components, from a concrete base and epoxy resin to various decorative inserts. For the overall quality, the quality of each individual element is important, since the same soil, chosen on the "cheap and cheerful" principle, can lead to further flaking of the coating, as a result of which it will last for a few years.
A separate point is the inclusion of additional materials in the mass solely for aesthetic purposes - for example, small natural stone. Often for the same purpose, wear-resistant paint can be used, crushed to small pieces or to crumbs.
Sometimes, for additional protection, enamel is also applied over the epoxy floor, but in general this move seems superfluous, and it is not a fact that such protection is stronger than what it is designed to protect.
Epoxy floors are somewhat limited in color palette, which forces designers to dilute the material with different inserts. However, given the most popular places for using such a mass, a somewhat negligent attitude towards interior diversity is forgivable. The most popular colors of the epoxy floor are white and transparent, and the former is more often used as a bottom layer, on top of which, after its partial solidification, any decorations from "foreign" objects - from coins, pebbles, colored sand, are laid out.
In the same quality, that is, in the form of a base, a mass of any other color is used. Decorative inserts are poured from above with a transparent mass so that they can be seen, but at the same time they were protected from damage, and the floor as a whole had an even horizontal.
With all its qualities, it is not always worth making a choice in favor of an epoxy floor. High performance is a plus, however, in an ordinary bedroom, they are hardly needed in full, and the highest cost and a relatively small selection of design solutions forces the use of epoxy-type coatings only where difficult conditions are provided.
At home, such floors should be poured in the room where there is high humidity and the possibility of using caustic and polluting substances, as well as where a high mechanical load on the floor is likely or heavy and sharp objects may fall. I.e the real area of application of the epoxy floor is limited to the bathroom and kitchen, less often such a solution is appropriate in the corridor and toilet.
If we talk about private households, then such repairs are also relevant for the garage. As for living quarters, experts recommend pouring a different type of floor in them - for example, polyurethane.
If you study the reviews about the use of epoxy floors in industrial conditions, then all comments, of course, have a positive connotation, because it was for such conditions that this coating was created. The use in the conditions of apartments and private houses is mentioned less often, but it is this topic that is more important for us.
If we put aside complaints about the too high cost or complaints that the cheaper option did not live up to expectations, it turns out that for home conditions, epoxy flooring is a kind of panacea for all ills. Firstly, it is extremely durable, after all, for the entire existence of this type of material, it has not been established how long it takes for it to become unusable.
What is the floor will remain intact even after decades - this is a fact, so even significant costs for its installation should not stop the consumer.
When used in a kitchen or garage, an epoxy floor is very good for the ease of maintaining cleanliness, because such a coating is seamless, which means that dirt and microbes have nowhere to hide. In addition, the high resistance of the material to the effects of any caustic chemistry allows owners to use any cleaning product, if a certain complex contamination (the same paint) does appear.
However, those people who like to change the interior often should be careful. Due to the high adhesion of the coating to the concrete screed, an obvious plus in durability turns into a minus for subsequent repairs, since it simply will not work to remove the old floor and the new one will have to be laid directly on top.
This may not seem to be a problem if the ceilings in the house are high, and all the doors are made with prominent thresholds, but in the conditions of an old apartment this will somewhat complicate the task.
An important critical point is the fact that with constant exposure to sunlight, the epoxy floor burns out rather quickly … If this is not so critical for the garage as for the bathroom, then the owners may feel ashamed of the kitchen.
It has already been said above that saving on building materials in this situation will result in a significant loss of quality. Cheaper epoxy coatings can fade much faster or adhere slightly to the screed. The most often criticized in this vein are polyester-based blends. It should be noted separately that all components play an equally important role for the reliability of repairs, so there is no point in buying the most expensive self-leveling floor if everything else is chosen according to the principle of austerity.
Successful examples and options
Many consumers are still distrustful of such flooring, while the more progressive part of our fellow citizens already use this material in their own apartment, and sometimes even fill it with their own hands.
For example, the kitchen is the place where even a "boring" epoxy floor demands maximum aesthetics. Most often it is still monochrome, but here is a great example of how creativity adds coziness to "industrial" renovation.
In the bathroom, if they decorate the epoxy coating, they do it necessarily with a three-dimensional effect, fully revealing the underwater theme. It will cost tremendous money, but it's hard not to admit - the result is mesmerizing.
In the garage, of course, all these design delights cannot be found, because the main thing here is the maximum practicality of use. However, this does not mean at all that the interior of the room should be devoid of taste.
For information on how to make an epoxy floor with quartz sand, see the next video.