Working with epoxies in the summer: Beware of the fast curing time

Summertime can be a challenging time to work with epoxies. Warm temperatures affect the working life of epoxies as higher temperatures tend to shorten the workability of the product. Whereas under normal conditions an epoxy may start to cure at 40 minutes, high summer temperatures may significantly reduce this time to less than 20 minutes. If the applications team is not well prepared, a shortened product working life can cause all sorts of problems during the execution of the product.

The question then arises how can we prevent such problems from occurring during the summer months?
First and foremost make sure that the products are always kept in a dry cool place. Never leave them exposed to the sun or inside a van. If you need to have the goods transported the goods by a truck arrange to have the products moved to a cool storage place upon arrival.

Before starting to use the products hold a quick talk with all of your workers and explain to them the situation and how the work will be affected. If necessary assign specific roles to each worker in order to optimize the work-flow of the team. Don’t just assume that the workers understand that high temperatures will affect their work.
You may also want to consider working with plastic containers. Metal containers tend to dissipate heat at a much quicker rate than plastic buckets. If the product is supplied in a metal container you may want to consider pouring the product into a plastic bucket in order to delay the working life. This move could give you a crucial extra 5-10 minutes.

And one final piece of advice. On very hot days it may be in your best interest to delay work at a later time in the evening  where the temperatures will not be as high.

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Akis Apostolopoulos

General Manager at Ktisis
Akis has been involved in the manufacturing and application of industrial floor coatings for the past ten years. He runs learncoatings which is an online resource training professionals on the use of epoxy floors. He is also General Manager of Ktisis, a manufacturer of flooring and waterproofing coatings.