We are asked all the time “What epoxy flooring do I actually need?”. Before we go any further though let’s clear up the major confusion for people wanting a new floor:
EPOXY FLOORING IS NOT PAINT.
You will hear people refer to their flooring using the term “paint” such as “Epoxy floor paint” but all of the systems we refer to below are in fact a “coating” of epoxy on the floor.
“Epoxy is a thermosetting resin that is applied as a coating. It is formed when you mix one part epoxide resin with one part polyamine hardener. The hardener acts as a catalyst and is what gives epoxy its strength.” (Shea Walker https://allgaragefloors.com)
The confusion began because sneaky little paint companies selling stuff in hardware stores for DIY guys started to add a little bit of epoxy in their paint as a marketing ploy. So suddenly they could call it “epoxy paint” and make the buyer think they were getting the same material a professional would use. That ends my sermon on Epoxy Coatings vs Epoxy Paints.
5 Main Types Of Epoxy Coating Flooring Systems (ECFS)
- Single Colour Epoxy Coatings
- Partial Flake Epoxy Coatings
- Full Flake Seamless Epoxy Coatings
- Customised Full Flake Seamless Epoxy Coatings
- Metallic Epoxy Coatings
1.Single Colour Epoxy Flooring
2. Partial Flake
3. Full Flake
4. Customised Full Flake Seamless Epoxy Coatings
5. Metallic Epoxy Coatings
Things to consider when choosing are:
QST: What is the Gross Traffic Load (GTL) on your floor? IE will you have small kids crawling on it or large dirty 4WD’s moving on it several times each day?
ANS: Partial flake floors are generally only suitable for light traffic areas. Heavy loads such as 4WD’s place a lot more weight, pressure and stress on the floor so they require full flake epoxy to guarantee lifelong durability and to maintain a great look.
QST: Do you live in a harsh climate where your vehicle gets exposed to extreme weather such as snow and ice?
ANS: Extreme weather places additional stress on a floor if a car is parked on it so Full Flake Seamless Coatings are best if you want durability and a hassle free floor. Garages are full of dirt from your vehicles so full flake floors tend to have a camouflage effect to hide the dirt. Then all they require is a periodic wash with the hose and your floor will look as good as new.
QST: Is your floor for personal use or to be used as a showroom?
ANS: If you are wanting a showroom finish then you will need an excellent base upon which to coat your floor. Single colour floors and Metallic Epoxy Coatings can look great but they tend to show every defect in the floor such as inconsistencies in the slab height. This can be overcome with grinding or a self-levelling compound, but this adds cost. Partial flake isn’t suitable for most showrooms because it tends to look a little cheap. Full flake is a cost effective option for showrooms but just be careful to choose the right flake otherwise your nice new office or retail store may look a bit like a car garage. Just talk to your flooring contractor and get their opinion and google images of the floor you are thinking about to make sure it will look suitable.
QST: If you are chasing a single colour epoxy floor to save money, how good is your substrate.
ANS: Single colours can look amazing, especially if they are matched to a high gloss finish, but unless your slab is perfect they will show differences in the surface height of the slab. When the naked eye looks at a slab it looks pretty flat right? Sure, but chances are high that in some areas the entire surface is not perfect. Unless you then pay to have the surface repaired by grinding, or by adding a self levelling compound, the height differences will show when the light hits them. The slab inconsistencies that are undetectable to the naked eye as plain concrete suddenly stand out when you put a single colour on them and give it a high gloss finish. Sadly then your budget-conscious floor either looks cheap or you have spent a fortune getting the floor perfect to remove the slab inconsistencies.
QST: Do you want the floor to be easy to clean?
ANS: High gloss floors that have a mirror finish look totally awesome. However the minute you drive on them, they mark. If you have a car that is rarely driven and your garage is more of a showroom then you are probably fine to wipe the floor, or you pay someone to do it for you.
Just like this collection of cars in Gosford, Australia. Note the gloss floors, with no tyre marks. When you own over 450 cars though you can surely afford for someone to clean your floors each day after you take your wheels for a spin.
Dark solid colours are also very unforgiving with dirt.
Finally other factors to consider in choosing your epoxy flooring on the sunshine coast are any local Building Code requirements or industry requirements with which you need to comply. Inform your floor contractor about these early so they can recommend the appropriate options.
Make sure you know the answer to how much load your floor will endure. Then consider your budget and how good your slab is. Finally do you want hassle free or a high maintenance floor. Once you have these answers sorted it’s easy to work out which floor is perfect for you.