We showcase two resin coating projects that serve as examples of what can be achieved with epoxies.

When it comes to the world of resin coatings, there are some unique projects that exceed their client’s expectations, both from a performance and aesthetic point of view. Here we showcase two such projects, which aim to inspire readers with new ideas in terms of installation techniques and offering how to’s when it comes to overcoming challenges that arise on the job. Furthermore, we highlight what can be achieved when partnering with the right companies (all of which are available in SA), the skills to carry out the task at hand, and the dedication to delivering a beautiful final floor.

Installation of a decorative epoxy floor at a Baskin-Robbins ice-cream parlour – the first in Australia to receive a completely new look. It entailed 52.2m² of flooring and was part of a larger remodelling project to open a new Baskin-Robbins at an existing retail location.

Baskin Robbins’ graphic designers steered away from the traditional pink and blue corporate colour palette and designed a warmer motif called Heritage Wall. It included the image of an ice-cream embedded in the floor. FLOORChef’s Jack Josephsen worked with Wayde Gneil from coatings supplier Artepoxy on this project. Baskin Robbins gave the go ahead for Gneil’s panel called Marbled Designer Dessert, a two-toned pattern that looked like ice-cream swirling underfoot.

Installer’s Initial plan:
A two-man crew would prepare the existing concrete floor, apply a liquid self-levelling compound and install an epoxy coating.

On the job:
1. Grinding uncovered several existing floor levellers and a section of terracotta tiles adhered to the concrete slab. The crew had to cover the entire floor with a levelling compound to prevent any adhesion problems. They chose a specific product based on its cure rate and initial hardness.
2. This leveller had to achieve a high strength very quickly as other trades would bring in wheeling equipment across the floor the following day. The risk involved in this approach is that the leveller doesn’t always flatten out perfectly; however, the irregularities in the floor added to the 3D effect of the two toned Marbled Designer Dessert system.
3. The crew applied a thin mist-like pass of water-based primer with stiff brushes or brooms to force the material into the concrete properly.
4. The next morning, the crew ran a floor sander over the cured levelled compound to break down trowel marks.
5. The floor was vacuumed, small imperfections were filled with a thickened resin and then vacuumed again. The next step involved applying the first of three resin-based toppings. The crew applied a single resin that works as a finish coat but also performs as an intermediate and base coat as well as other flooring roles such as sealing, priming and patching. It comes in pre-packaged, ready-to-mix-and-pour containers.
6. This colourised basecoat was then applied by pouring thin threads of coating, about 10.3 cm wide, onto the floor. The threads were spread with a 45.7cm trowel squeegee and backrolled to achieve approximately 0,3 mm dry film thickness.
7. Once the basecoat dried, the colourised intermediate coat was prepared. The recoat window is 18 – 24 hours at 25°C.
8. A darker pigmented resin coat was then prepared and 15.2cm wide ribbons were poured.
9. 10.2 – 15.2cm circles of the darker pigment was poured onto the still wet ribbon. The circles were about 30.5cm apart from one another.
10. A magic trowel was used to gently squeegee figure eight patterns to create the desired soft swirl effect in a single pass, totalling approximately 0,6 mm dry film thickness.

Top Tip:
“Applicators often use powdered pigments when doing decorative epoxy coating,” says Jack Josephsen from FLOORChef in Australia. “But that can lead to uniformity issues. Since different powders have different densities, you’re not always getting the ratios you think you’re getting. Premade liquid kits help achieve more reproducible results.”

Resin Surfaces Limited (RSL) worked in conjunction with main contractor, Balfour Beatty, to produce over 2 000m² of their decorative floor finish, RS Terazzo. The local project built by Balfour Beatty is a brand new treatment facility for the Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester.

RSL was approached to specify an appropriate flooring system, which needed to deliver some distinctive properties such as being durable, seamless, hygienic and attractive in order to fit in with the aesthetics, design and function of the building.

Installers’ initial plan:
RSL specified RS Terrazzo, a heavy duty, decorative terrazzo effect floor produced from marble aggregates combined with an epoxy resin system in order to create a seamless floor. They altered the formula to produce a bespoke product. This was achieved by formulating a new aggregate blend, introducing white, grey and black marble along with granite aggregates. They also incorporated an unusual reflective mirrored glass giving the end product an unusual and added effect.

On the job:
1. The contractor needed to prepare the subfloor in order to provide a mechanical key for the system to adhere to.
2. The surface was primed with a liquid, damp proof membrane product that allows further surface finishes to be applied to new concrete by suppressing any moisture which is contained within the substrate.
3. RS Terrazzo was laid at 10mm and the ground down to 8mm as this exposed the aggregates which are within the resin matrix.
4. The surface was then sealed and given a contemporary matt finish.
5. RS Terrazzo was applied in the main atrium along with other areas such as treatment rooms, which meant that high levels of hygiene and cleanliness must be maintained.

More than just a splash of colour
Deciding on colour is not a decision that should be taken lightly, as it can have a significant effect on consumer behaviour. It’s important to know what colour truly means to your customer, and how it affects your customer’s behaviour. This is supported by science, as colour addresses one of our basic neurological needs for stimulation. To tap into the benefits of carefully chosen colours, and to avoid the mishaps of ill-advised colour selections, here are some interesting facts to bear in mind:
1. Experts on consumer psychology, Neurolay, suggest 85% of shoppers place colour as a primary reason for why they buy a particular product.
2. Colours are often selected to encourage customers to linger longer in a store, restaurant etc.
3. Colours are usually chosen because they match a brand or the interior décor. It is therefore crucial to consider the colours chosen for a brand carefully, as these will be carried through all elements of marketing, from the website right through to the store.
4. Product packaging, branding and consumer awareness all operate on different psychological principles. To maximise success with colour, it is necessary to understand these principles in order to anticipate and plan how customers will react to the colours that have been selected.
5. Specifically flooring related, when it comes to colour and technique selection of an epoxy floor, you must be able to give a client what they want based on common descriptions they use, such as wanting a floor that is “warmer”, “cleaner” or “brighter”. Understanding the role of colour and different application techniques enables you to create decorative epoxies with striking effects.

There are several companies in South Africa who have the knowledge, experience and expertise to assist you in achieving the same types of applications, and who are able to assist at any time during any phase of a project to achieve your goals or offer guidance when faced with challenges. Take advantage of this pool of knowledge and turn to the industry experts who can turn your dream installation into a reality.

Acknowledgement and thanks are given to the following for the information contained in this article: Coatings Pro Magazine Jan 2016 (Aussie Crew Licks Baskin-Robbins Floor Project); Jack Josephsen from FLOORChef Australia; www.resinsurfaces.co.uk; www.neurorelay.com; www.epoxyschool.com; www.floorchef.com; and http://udel.edu)