Should you pay more for one epoxy floor system over another? In terms of durability, there’s very little difference in the various types of epoxy systems. Additives such as aluminum oxide, silica, and ceramic increase the non-skid properties and durability of epoxy floor coatings. Other additives like fiberglass will improve the flexural strength and durability of resinous floors.
The areas where they differ are in the viscosity, resistance to chemicals, deterioration from UV light, and catalyzation speed.
Standard epoxy floors will withstand most common household chemicals and automotive fluids. Install a chemical resistant epoxy floor in areas such as the shower, bathrooms, kitchens and locker rooms because it will hold up to urine, bleach and other chemicals.
For more advance chemical attacks, like those in chemical containment areas, chemical manufacturing facilities and battery charging areas, Novalac epoxies provide a worthwhile solution. The floors will withstand chemical exposure but there’s no guarantee that there won’t be any discoloration.
Ultraviolet light is harmful to epoxy and similar resins. Repeated exposure to UV rays will cause the resin to dry out; resulting is a reduction in flexibility and eventual cracking. Other side effects of UV exposure include discoloration and yellowing of the resin.
In general, interior applications take years to become brittle enough to affect the durability of the coating. UV stable coatings are available but they cost 20-50 percent more than standard epoxy. If your flooring will be exposed to UV rays, then the UV stable coating will be more than worth the investment.
After lighting, the level of traffic that the floors will be exposed to would be the second thing to consider. Areas of high traffic will need to be recoated every 4-5 years, so it makes no sense to purchase UV stable epoxy since the surface will be recoated before the yellowing and discoloration takes effect. Conversely, if you’re resurfacing floors in a light traffic area or showroom, you should invest in UV stable epoxy coatings.
Viscosity also affects the price you’ll pay for epoxy. Essentially, the higher the viscosity, the more you’ll pay. Some manufacturers add fillers to the epoxy to lower costs. These low cost solutions are harder to smooth out and level, so keep this in mind if you’re making cost the primary determining factor.
Apart from chemical resistance, the speed catalyzation also determines the amount you’ll pay for an epoxy resin. Speed costs; so the higher the speed of catalyzation, the more you’ll pay for the resin. Standard drying time for most epoxy coating is 8-12 hours, but additives may be added to those same resins to speed up the time required for curing.
You should purchase a fast cure resin if you need to reclaim the space shortly after installation. You’ll have to weigh the time for curing versus the costs and determine which is most important to you. Keep in mind that the additives added to reduce curing time will decrease the UV stability of the epoxy floor systems. Essentially you’ll get a faster cure, but it will cost you in more ways than one.