at the beginning of Epoxy Paint and Epoxy Coating we would say, epoxy was first used in the early 1950s for concrete restoration. Over the last couple of decades, epoxy painted floors have hit the mainstream consciousness and have become a preferred coating for residential garages. Home DIYers and commercial painters have begun applying what is colloquially known as epoxy paint.
There is a vast difference between Epoxy Paint and Epoxy Coating, however.
The main difference is in the quality and durability of the materials as well as the skill required to successfully install the product. Common household epoxy paint is good only for light-duty applications and was never intended for industrial use. It is manufactured with a long pot life for easier application. Products like this may perform beautifully for light-traffic, residential use but are not strong or durable enough for industrial use.
Epoxy floor paint is a two component paint made up of a resin and hardener which must be mixed together immediately before application. When the two parts are mixed, a chemical reaction is started which creates an exothermic curing process. This curing process produces polymer structures that are closely cross-linked giving epoxy its superior strength and durability. It forms a hard and more abrasion and chemical resistant than the ordinary paint on application, extremely strong and impact resistant, meaning it won’t crack, fracture or split if heavy loads are dropped or equipment and machinery driven over the surface. Epoxy paint has various applications as listed below.
The term “epoxy paint” came about when epoxy manufactures took notice of the terminology that people were using when searching for epoxy coatings. The DIY public was intermixing the term “paint” with “coating”. So a marketing decision was made and many well known DIY epoxy flooring manufacturers that you see in home improvement centers decided to brand their products as “epoxy paint” since that is what consumers seemed to be calling it.
As a result, it has only made things more confusing for the consumer. Chances are that when you see something advertised as epoxy paint for your garage, it could be acrylic paint or it could be an epoxy coating. This has led to many people buying a paint for their garage floor when what they thought they were purchasing was an epoxy coating.
What is an epoxy floor coating?
Epoxy is a two component product consisting of one part epoxy resin and one part polyamine hardener. You are required to mix the two parts together prior to application. After mixing you are limited by time and temperature as to how long you have to apply it. With colored epoxies it is the resin that is tinted to give the epoxy color. If it’s not tinted, then it goes on as a clear coating.
Epoxy coatings cure and do not dry like paint does. Unlike paint, the mixing of the two components starts a reactive process that creates cross-linking of the components while it cures. This cross-linking provides a very hard and durable surface that seals the concrete and is resistant to staining, abrasion, and chemicals. The amount of resistance and performance of the coating is usually determined by the quality and solids content of the epoxy.
The ease of application and thickness of the epoxy is also dependent on the volume of solids content. This is always displayed as a percentage. In other words, 100% solids epoxy means that you have 100% of the product on the floor after it cures. 50% solids mean that you will have 50% of the product remaining on the floor after it has cured. The reason for this is that the carrier agents (water or solvents) which are used in the lower solids product evaporate out as the epoxy cures.
As an example, a 100% solids epoxy applied with a roller has an approximate wet film thickness (WFT) of 10 mils. Once it cures, the dry film thickness (DFT) remains at 10 mils. A 50% solids epoxy will have a wet film thickness of approximately 6 mils. Once it cures, the coating is reduced to a dry film thickness of 3 mils.
100% solids epoxy is harder to work with during application because of the thicker viscosity and limited time to apply it. Epoxy with a lesser solids content has less viscosity and is easier to apply.
Many of the inexpensive “DIY” epoxy paint kits that you can buy at the local home improvement centers and online have as little as 48% solids. This means that it is easier to apply as well as cheaper to buy because the solids content is much lower along with the quality. It goes on the floor almost as easy as paint does.