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Self Leveling epoxy floors: 5 frequently asked questions

RAL7040 Self Leveling Industrial Epoxy Floor

Self-leveling epoxy floors (or self-smoothing) are probably the most common type of epoxy floors out there. I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about these types of floors below.

Why are they called self-leveling floors?
The floors are referred to as self leveling since upon application the epoxy resin coating forms a smooth and level texture on the surface of the floor. (unlike applying the coating with a roller or squeegee where you may get a slightly rougher orange-peel texture)

Read this article here on how to avoid the orange peel effect in epoxy floors

What makes them so popular?
These floors  have major operational advantages for industries. The smooth and seamless surface  makes them ideal for the movement of forklift trucks and other vehicles that are shifting heavy loads on a continuous basis. Also the seamless structure makes the floors easier for cleaning and does not allow the accumulation of dirt and bacteria.

Self-leveling epoxy floors also provide a very aesthetic appeal since the glossy seamless look makes the space look bigger and far more attractive.  This why architects love them and often specify them for commercial and retail spaces.

Black epoxy floor mirror effect
Black epoxy floor mirror effect

What is the minimum required thickness to achieve a self-leveling epoxy floor?
My rule is that you should go for a minimum thickness of 2mm (1/16 inches). Any epoxy product under that thickness you are bound to run into leveling problems such as trowel marks, roller marks, dents and other funny looking shapes on the floor. Keep in mind that depending on the substrate you may have thicknesses of 1mm in some places and 4mm (especially in the corners) in other areas of the floor.

An example of an epoxy floor that did not level properly

I have a somewhat rough and uneven cement substrate. Can’t I just pour some self-leveling epoxy to even it out?
No you shouldn’t, as this is not the purpose of self-leveling epoxy. The surface unevenness of the substrate will be likely much larger than the 2-3 mm thickness of your floor coating. You run the risk of adding large amounts of epoxy (at a significant cost!) and not getting any substantial results as the unevenness of the surface will remain. Therefore you should only apply the product on flat and level surfaces.

(Read this article here on applying epoxies on rough substrates)

If you need to even out the surface before you apply the epoxy, you could look into using self leveling cementitious compound. Other solutions could be grinding the substrate or using epoxy grout to fill the substrate unevenness.

Filling cracks with epoxy grout
Filling cracks with epoxy grout

Why are self-leveling epoxy floors so much more expensive than roller applied epoxy systems?

The amount of epoxy consumed in self leveling systems is several times higher than in a roller (or squeegee) applied systems. A two-coat roller applied epoxy system may consume 500-600 gr/m2 whereas a 3mm self leveling system can easily reach 3 kg/m2 of epoxy. Furthermore self-leveling epoxy is usually more expensive than standard epoxy paint since the product needs to be formulated differently. Another very important factor is that for such systems you need to use qualified and trained workers who have experience in self-leveling epoxy systems. So you should expect a much higher cost of labour.

If you want to learn more about self leveling epoxy floors, I strongly recommend that you watch this video below!

If you feel that you have learnt a lot from this article, then why not consider our online training course? At just the cost of one pack of Epoxy Coating, you will get so much more information and value! Click here to learn more

Do you have any questions on self leveling floors? Please leave a comment below and lets see if we can all help answer them. And if you enjoyed this article please take a moment to share or like the article.

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akisapost

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.

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About the Author: akisapost

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.