For decades Lakeside Painting has been one of the Milwaukee and Waukesha areas' leading experts in applying epoxy floor coatings to concrete surfaces. Below we will describe the epoxy floor system, explain where and how it is applied, and then discuss its benefits.
What is Epoxy Floor Coating?
Epoxy is a system comprised of both resins and hardeners. Once these two components are mixed together, a chemical reaction is triggered, resulting in a robust and rigid plastic surface that binds well to the floor's substrate. The substrate is typically concrete, but can be other types as well (discussed below).
An epoxy floor coating requires the application of multiple layers of epoxy. Thinner coatings cost less, but they will likely be a smoother, and thus more slippery. They will also show imperfections in the floor. The opposite is true for thicker coatings. Imperfections will be smoothed out, while the floor won't be as slippery. These are just some of the benefits, which we discuss in greater detail below.
So many manufacturing facilities make use of epoxy coating systems that to list them all would be an endless task. The above list, however, is a good approximation of the facilities we see that demand epoxy coatings.
Benefits of Epoxy Flooring?
Epoxy floor systems are highly durable and long-lasting, able to take the punishment of daily heavy machinery traffic, variable temperatures, chemical abrasion, and constant cleaning and maintenance. Since epoxy floors are non-porous, contaminants like dirt and mold won't be able to settle in. This allows maintenance crews to use normal cleaning devices and solutions to keep the epoxy floor in good shape. This flooring system does not, however, clean itself. Maintenance is key to a long-lasting, durable epoxy floor.
Another big upside to epoxy flooring is its long, established reputation for safety. Epoxy floors aren't slippery, and various non-slip coatings and textured finishes, like flakes and colored aggregates, can be added to make them even safer. Other aggregates that can be added to the epoxy floor include polypropylene or aluminum oxide, quartz, and silica flour.
Epoxy floors also, quite simply, look great. Where epoxy flooring systems of the past might have been all about functionality, in the late 20th and 21st century they also came to be seen as highly aesthetic options for commercial businesses. Style might not matter to a food processing plant, but a modern restaurant owner might love the look of epoxy floors. And even the grittiest industrial factories will want to look their best for investors, business partners, inspectors, and others visitors. And it in this arena that epoxy flooring stands out.
Another thing to note is that epoxy can be applied over a variety of industrial and commercial floors, from VCT (Vinyl Composition Tile), wood, tile, and various other substrates.
Surface Preparation and Epoxy Application
Once an industrial or commercial customers contacts for proposed work, we conduct a comprehensive inspection of the structure's space. Of particular interest to us are the high-traffic pedestrian areas, and any spaces or areas that accumulate grease, oil, bacteria, fungus or other contaminants (Enemy #1 for food service and pharmaceutical plants). After inspection, Lakeside Painting's paint professionals prep the concrete floors by removing old surfaces and shot-blasting and/or diamond grinding the surface to ensure proper adhesion. This is followed up with a wide range of epoxy coatings, giving the surface a brilliant and strong finish. We can also add grit or texture to the coating in wet areas or any surfaces which accumulate oil and grease; thus ensuring employee safety.
The best methods for properly preparing concrete for coating are shot-blasting and/or diamond grinding. Lakeside Painting employs both methods, and sometimes in tandem to prepare concrete floors for coating. What these methods achieve is the removal of latent, deteriorated concrete and contaminants from the floor surface. Getting down to sound, clean concrete, which allows the first and most important coat to penetrate deep into the concrete “becoming one with the concrete," creates the bond that makes the coating stay down and last.
Most coating failures are directly linked to improper preparations. Other common failures are due to oil and/or moisture intrusion into the concrete slab. Oil intrusion is easy to recognize as it leaves visible stains. Proper cleaning and shot-blasting, along with the use of specific oil-tolerable primers, are recommended for heavily oil-contaminated areas. Moisture can be a hidden problem requiring tests to determine its presence. If you have any suspicions that moisture may be present in or under your floor, you need to inform us so we to test for its presence prior to coating. There are moisture tolerant primers which will need to be used if moisture is detected, requiring additional steps, time and cost to the project.
As with all coatings and “most things in general," the secret to success is in the preparation.
Common Questions Regarding Epoxy Floors
What do you hope to achieve with an epoxy floor treatment?
Is it an aesthetic issue: do you want to make it look better, brighter, colorful, or trendy?
Do you just want to protect it and make it last longer?
Do you want to do both of these things?
Do you want to make it easier to clean?
Is your goal to make the floor safer, less slippery when wet, or to rid the floor of trip hazards such as transition issues: snags, gaps, exposed edges, potholes, etc.?
Is your concrete old, cracked, and worn; and do you want to stop the deterioration save on future replacement costs?
Do you want to resurface and protect it from the elements and daily wear-and-tear?
What is you maintenance plane once treatment is determined and implemented?
Will you use hand mops or a power scrubber & vacuum?
Will the floors be cleaned daily, weekly, or once a month?
What sort of punishment will the floors be subjected to on a daily basis?
Will the floor see salts, caustics, acids, cutting fluids, oils, water, or harsh cleaning solvents?
Will the floor be wet or oily at times?
Are spills, leaks, and over-spray or tracking a common issue?
What is your maximum out-of-service time?
In other words, how long can the floor in question be out of use?
How long can you allow us full control of the area? (Epoxy and urethane coatings typically require 3 to 5 days before going back into service)
Will odor, fumes, and/or dust be a problem for your personnel? If so, we can build containment areas and use HEPA air scrubbers with charcoal filters to evacuate and clean the air of toxins and/or dust.
Do you need us to work nights, weekends, and during plant shutdowns?
What Facilities Feature Epoxy Floor Coatings?
A great number of industrial and commercial facilities feature concrete floors. Another method of finishing or refinishing theses floors—whether for a new build or existing structure—is concrete polishing, a floor system Lakeside Painting is installing for its commercial and industrial customers more and more often. (Read up on Lakeside Painting's concrete polishing work.) But, traditionally, epoxy coatings have been the dominant flooring system for the following facilities:
Lakeside is a premium painting contractor, and we have built a strong reputation among painting companies for our quality work and enduring results. We stand behind our work with a written warranty on all labor and materials.