Metallic epoxy floors are taking off like crazy. What started out in the US as a fad, are now spreading to all corners of the world. In the past two years I have slowly immersed myself into metallic floor coatings.
And after hundreds of experiments, most of which failed… I feel confident enough to share what I have learnt so far. So here follows my guide on how to apply metallic floor coatings.
Preparing the Substrate
Preparation of a metallic epoxy floor does not differ much from any other type of epoxy flooring. The basic principles are the same: You need a flat clean surface (preferable concrete). Make sure you have ground the surface so it can be ready
After grinding you will need to apply an epoxy primer to ensure adhesion between the coating system and the floor.
A very important point to keep in mind is that metallic floor coatings are very very sensitive to dust, uneven surfaces, holes. The slightest deficiency can cause a surface defects. Therefore through cleaning and wiping is essential throughout the coating process.
The Metallic floor system
I strongly recommend applying the metallic coating on a dark substrate. The reason being that the dark substrate will bring out the reflective qualities of the metallic floor. Think of the glass and mirror effect. When we black out one side of the glass, the glass looks like a mirror. The same happens with metallic pigments
Many metallic colours like blue, silver, icy white won’t look good on a floor if the base is not blacked out. For some other colours like bronze or gold the difference will be less pronounced.
Once the black base has dried, you can then proceed to applying the metallic layer. The metallic coating is composed of three components:
A- the clear resin component
B- the hardener
C- the metallic colouring component – this can be either in powder form or paste form. Personally I prefer powders. Most companies should supply the recommended amount for the corresponding resin.
Mix the three components together with a mixer and at a slow pace. Don’t mix too fast as this will cause bubbles
Applying the system
You are free to apply one colour, or a combination of colours. Each colour should be mixed in its own separate epoxy pack. Do not try to mix in two colours in one pack, as very often the stronger colour of the two may dwarf the weaker one thus eliminating the multi-colour effect.
In total aim to apply about 500-700 grams per square meter of metallic product. If you apply less than that amount, you may run into coverage and fisheye problems. If you apply more product than the recommended amount the increased thickness could end up blocking the light and hiding the metallic effect.
Again I want to remind you any dirt, dust or particles caught in the coating will cause surface defects like comets. make sure you have cleaned everything properly.
To apply or not to apply a topcoat
As the metallic will be prone to scratches you can apply a clear topcoat to protect the surface. However there are all sorts of problems associated with clear topcoats, that you can read about here.
If you do decide to go ahead, the most preferred topcoats are PU based (or urethane as they are called in the US) and polyaspartics. Make sure that the selected topcoat is UV resistant, and scratch resistant. However beware clear topcoats are dust magnets! Before applying make sure you have cleaned thoroughly (I cannot emphasize this enough)
Some important points about the products: Some people mistakenly assume that any clear resin and any metallic pigment will do. This is wrong and risky. Most clear resins that are sold as raw materials have not been formulated properly. You could face a bubble or a cratering disaster. Also not all pigments are compatible with epoxies. It’s taken me years of trial and error to figure these things out.
So what are your thoughts? What have been your experiences with metallic floor coatings? Please share below, and if you enjoyed this article please share it with your friends. It helps me continue publishing these articles
Get our Contractor's Equipment Guide for installing Epoxy Floors!
Latest posts by akisapost (see all)
- The Hidden Costs in Flooring projects - June 27, 2019
- The importance of Back Rolling in Epoxy Flooring - March 3, 2019
- Epoxy Disasters: 7 Mess-ups that made me a better Epoxy Professional - January 14, 2019