Six reasons why epoxy flooring projects fail

Epoxy floor coatings are amazing products that can provide great benefits to industrial and commercial companies. However just like many other great building products if the product is not applied correctly, the installation will fail, causing severe operational problems and headaches to the end-user. By failure I meant that new coating fails to bond properly with the existing substrate.

I have gathered what I consider to be the main reasons why epoxy floors can fail:

1. Poor surface preparation – A surface needs to be properly prepared in order for it be able to bond mechanically with epoxy coating. This means it should be clean, dry, dust-free, and the surface must be ground or shot-blasted before applying the primer.

2. Humidity – Epoxy doesn’t bond well with humidity. Therefore make sure that the surface is completely dry, that there are no pipes dripping and most importantly that there is no rising humidity from beneath the ground.

3. Weak substrate – This is a different kind of problem. The Epoxy resin ends up being much stronger than the substrate (in this case its usually poor quality cement). What ends up happening is that you don’t actually have the epoxy detaching from the cement, but the cement detaching itself from the cement.

4. No (or wrong) primer – Always use primer for industrial floors! Floors experience heavy wear and tear don’t assume the resin will simply just stick to the substrate. Also make sure the primer is suitable. For example when working with marble or tiles your typical epoxy primer won’t do.

5. Incompatible substrate – Ever seen an epoxy coating applied on wood? Total chaos! Make sure the substrate is compatible for epoxies both in terms of adhesion as well as tensile strength. For example wood is far more flexible than epoxies which leads to the epoxy cracking simply because it cannot follow the expansions of the wood floor.

6. Contaminated floors. This problems comes up in old installations (food and drinks factories, car service shops) that want to install an epoxy coating over the old floor. All oils, greases, residues must be properly cleaned before attempting any type of fresh coating. Don’t expect proper bonding otherwise.

There is also a seventh important reason why epoxy products fail. Click on the video to find out..

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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.

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