How Concrete Is Prepped for Epoxy Floor Installation

March 31, 2013

Epoxy floor installation is a relatively simple process, but preparation is key. In other words, installing epoxy floors correctly means following a series of prep steps to ensure that the newly installed flooring holds up to whatever wear and tear you plan to throw at it. What follows are just some of the ways your concrete floor might be prepared for the installation of one of our custom epoxy floors. Every floor is different, of course. The concrete being prepared for epoxy floor installation (which may be soft, medium, or hard) will first be analyzed to determine how best to proceed.

Examining the Work Surface

In every case, surface prep will entail a very thorough examination of the floor itself. The concrete surface must be clean and porous, and cannot have any traces of oils, sealer, paints, rubber residues, automotive fluids, wax, or resin that will block the epoxy from bonding with the existing floor. Other coatings will also need to be entirely stripped away because polyurethane and latex floor paints will interfere with the installation of epoxy flooring. The installers will also look for signs of water intrusion from underneath the concrete and evidence of moisture vapor emissions. Finally, surface defects like cracks, holes, spalling, lifting, and loose concrete will be marked for repair.

Creating the Best Possible Canvas

To make concrete ready for epoxy floor installation, a water drop test will be performed to ensure that the concrete is truly clean. All this means is observing how the floor reacts to the application of water. A concrete floor that’s ready for epoxy installation will turn dark quickly, indicating that it is porous enough to bond with the epoxy. At this time, old paint may be stripped, particularly if it is peeling or flaking, and loose concrete will be cleared away. Then we use an elastomeric to fill cracks and holes, which ensures that cracks will not reappear once the epoxy floor installation is completed.

The Next Level of Prep

Creating the perfect surface for epoxy to bond with requires creating a smooth, porous profile. JEP Epoxy Floors uses multiple techniques to prep concrete for epoxy floor installation, including shot blasting, which creates three times the surface profile and ensures a strong, long-lasting bond; diamond grinding; and scarification, which impacts the concrete’s surface at a right angle to strip away the top surface to expose a clean, fresh layer of concrete. Diamond grinding is the ultimate way to ensure an amazing bond. Unlike other companies, we prefer this more time-intensive technique over acid washing, which is an unreliable and unpleasant method that’s anything but environmentally friendly. Another cleaning follows the final prep steps, and then the floor is ready.

Only at This Point Does Epoxy Floor Installation Begin

Epoxy floor installation usually begins with a thin primer coat with an epoxy primer that is formulated to penetrate and bond with concrete. From there, we apply the build coat of the epoxy, which is much thicker, and designed to meet whatever needs you have in terms of color, finish, and slip qualities. Curing times vary, but your space will be ready for foot traffic sooner than you think!

If you’re interviewing potential epoxy floor installers, you may be surprised at how many companies aren’t as thorough when it comes to preparing concrete for epoxy floor installation. While it may seem like skipping some steps will save you money, it’ll cost you in the long term when you’re shopping for replacement flooring much sooner than expected.

JEP Epoxy Floors specializes in the installation of commercial, industrial, and residential epoxy flooring systems in Massachusetts and throughout the New England states. Call us for an estimate at 978-546-6843!

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