Epoxy floors – They are all the same, right?

When I though about putting an Epoxy floor on my well worn warehouse floor, I tackled the task with the optimism that my only job was to find out which company was the most reasonably priced and still gave a quality install. My education began there. All epoxy floor products are not created equal!

The first eye-opener was learning that there were several types of processes in the epoxy floor world, from epoxy paint, to self-leveling compounds, to troweled-on or aggregate floors. Wow!

So, lets put these in perspective before I get into the details. The quality and durability of these products ranks from Epoxy Paint on the lower end to Troweled-on at the upper end, with self-leveling being the middle of the road.

It is important to identify the needs of the job you are considering. Is it high traffic? Will there be heavy equipment rolling across it? How about chemical spills? Do you need to choose between smooth and slippery? What do you expect its longevity to be? Is beauty an important factor? If your are doing, say, your garage floor at home to make it easily cleanable, the high traffic and beauty aren’t a factor, and longevity probably won’t justify a higher price. On the other hand, if you are doing a hotel hallway, hospital halls or a loading dock, most or all of these factors need to be considered.

Epoxy paint. For the home owner who uses his garage as a workshop, the cost and ease of application probably dictates your choice. If you have to redo it in five years, it still justifies the choice, and it is available in several colors. You can install it yourself or hire a local odd-jobs contractor. It would be a very bad choice for hotels, loading docks, kennels, and other high-traffic or heavy equipment areas. It is always slippery, it is a thin application compared to the other two, and there isn’t much beauty to it.

Self-leveling Epoxy floors. These products work great for small areas. Some can be done by a handy homeowner, others may need a skilled handyman. Small areas that don’t require you to make the choice between smooth and non-slip, such as a shower area, kitchens, bathrooms and other low-traffic would be a perfect choice for this product. Although they will outlast many other flooring materials and withstand a lot, they aren’t the choice for large areas that receive lots of abuse. Most self-leveling products offer a range of color choices.

Troweled-on Epoxy floors. When traffic wear matters, when you have to make a choice between slippery or non-skid, and still receive a beautiful floor, this is the first choice. Most troweled-on epoxy floor companies offer up to twenty-four design and color choices. You can choose between a smooth finish like you see in hotel halls or a non-skid surface for loading docks and locker rooms. This type has the longest life expectancy of the three. It will stand up to heavy equipment, most spills, and rough treatment. It comes with one caveat; it is not a do-it-yourself application. In fact, you need to be sure that the installers are well trained in this particular product. Many a tradesman with years of concrete finishing have a hard time getting this product right. If this product is what you need, make sure that the company uses well-trained installers before you move ahead.

The next time you walk down a hospital hallway, or Hotel halls that have epoxy instead of carpet, pay attention to the seamless beauty of this floor – it’s probably a troweled-on epoxy floor.