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Specifying an epoxy floor? Here’s what you need to know

by Ofentse Sefolo
Specifying an epoxy floor? Here’s what you need to know

Epoxy flooring systems are often specified in industrial applications. There are, however, several factors to consider to ensure a successful project, says TAL.

Product selection
Factors like chemical exposure, anticipated traffic over the surface and the service and operating conditions determine the specific product selection and the installation thickness of the compound. Having a thorough understanding of the project environment is critical to ensure the client’s required service expectation is met.

Surface preparation
The process that determines the success of a flooring system, as with most floorcoverings, includes the design and inspection of the substrate. The relevant surface preparation and primer determines the long-term success of the installation.

Cracking, peeling and delamination can occur if the epoxy system doesn’t chemically bond to the substrate. The substrate must be free of all contamination and must be suitably prepared for the epoxy to successfully bond to the substrate. If an epoxy floor is installed over an old surface, the contractor must ensure that all oil, grease or contamination is removed. The surface may need to be chemically stripped or degreased, followed by mechanical abrasion to render the substrate suitable for installation of an epoxy flooring system.

It may happen that the substrate you are using is weaker than 30Mpa. This could lead to delamination of the resin flooring system because of cohesive failure within the substrate itself. Unbound or weak concrete should be removed and made good.

Epoxy installation pitfalls
Installation of epoxy resin flooring systems needs to be effectively and carefully managed. Incorrect installation procedures on site can result in poor performance, an impaired aesthetic of the final floor finish or can lead to installation failure.

If a primer hasn’t been applied, or the incorrect one was used, excess moisture or liquid can build up on the underside of the epoxy flooring system. As this moisture is unable to evaporate, or pass through the epoxy resin, it can cause blistering. A suitable and moisture tolerant primer and/or vapour barrier is therefore an important part of a well-planned multi-level system.

Air can also become trapped in the primer and epoxy flooring system if there are changes in temperature during application or if the substrate is excessively porous. When this entrapped air rises, it will cause a bubble in the surface finish.

Hiring an experienced epoxy flooring installer is highly recommended. In addition to the factors mentioned above, a flooring professional will also give due attention to mixing components correctly, batch sizes, ratios and the use of the correct installation tools and equipment.

For more information, contact TAL on Tel: +27 (11) 206 9700 or via www.tal.co.za.

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