epoxy flooring


FULL BROADCAST EPOXY FLOOR

SHOULD YOU DO A FULL BROADCAST EPOXY FLOOR?

The short answer is no unless you’re a professional and have done it many times before. Many customers call us and state they would like to do a full broadcast color flake epoxy floor for their garage or shop. Then after speaking with us for a few minutes they change their minds.

Epoxy Flooring ChipsIt may seem like a good idea when you read about it but doing it is much harder than it sounds. First off you need a tremendous amount of flakes, 70-75lbs of flakes for a typical 2 ½ car garage. Trying to do it with less chips and your floor will come out blotchy! Then you have the problem of applying so many flakes without them piling up in uneven lumps. If you’re not experienced in applying the color flakes they will end up in uneven layers and piles. Other companies trying to sell you on this will tell you that you can scrape the chips down. Again easier said than done and even after scraping and even sanding, the floor won’t look right.

So in addition to having your brand new epoxy floor not looking right, you’ll have to spend additional money to purchase a lot more topcoat. When you do a full broadcast, all those chips piled on top of each other create lots of nook and crannies. Those nooks and crannies have to be filled with topcoat, so plan on spending a lot more money on topcoat and time applying it in at least two coats or maybe three.

How do we know this? We know this from the thousands of floors we’ve done with our own guys. They have to know what they’re doing and even they screw it up every now and then. Which means they have to grind the floor off and start over. That’s why over 90% of the floors we do are not full broadcast. ArmorGarage offers two color flake floor options. The Armor Chip Garage Epoxy Flooring kit which provides you with about 75% chip coverage. Our Armor Granite kits provide you with 90% coverage. Both of these floors use the base epoxy color as one of the background colors. They both provide a beautiful finish that looks like you had a Pro do it for you even though you did it yourself for a fraction of the price. In fact, most customers don’t use all the color flakes we provide in each kit. We provide you the most color chips of any company so that you can apply the color chips until you like the pattern without having to worry about running out.

So why spend extra time and money and run the risk of having your floor not looking the way it should when you can get a gorgeous looking floor every time with our Armor Chip or Armor Granite Epoxy flooring kits.


Before you buy an epoxy floor coating

KNOW WHAT YOU’RE BUYING

Whenever you are buying anything it helps to know what exactly it is you’re buying. By that we mean not simply knowing you’re buying a certain product such as a car, a steak, or an epoxy floor coating. A question that we get asked a lot is why is your epoxy coatings or garage flooring more expensive than the other coatings and flooring products out there.

Garage Floor Epoxy

To answer that the best way we can; lets use the analogy with the items above such as the car and a piece of steak. If you’re car shopping you can ask why is a Mercedes so much more than a Toyota? Well as we all know the Mercedes is a higher quality vehicle with much more expensive components and options. But why is a Mercedes S class so much more than a C class. Well again it’s a higher quality car, it’s bigger, with a bigger engine, more horsepower and has a lot more expensive options. Now lets take a piece of steak as an example. You can buy a nice Ribeye for about 9 bucks a pound and you can buy one for 29 bucks a pound. Why the difference, they’re both steaks? People tend to think that way with their epoxy flooring and garage flooring purchases. Why is one garage tile or epoxy floor paint so much more than the next one, they’re both tiles and paint. Well with the steaks, the $9.00 a pound steak is probably Choice grade, the $29.00 a pound steak is Prime grade, big difference. The more expensive steak may also be Dry Aged and Hormone free. We could go on but I think you get the picture.

The point we are trying to make here is that knowing the details about the products you want to purchase will give you a better understanding about the price levels of each product. For instance, before you buy an epoxy floor coating you should know whether it’s water based or not. If you buy an epoxy that’s water based you can be paying for water that comprises up to 50% of the product versus a high quality epoxy that is 100% epoxy. Lets say the 100% solid epoxy is like the Mercedes, now you have a C class epoxy and an S class epoxy. What’s the difference, they’re both 100%? One way to know is does the epoxy come with a true topcoat that has a hardened finish and not just a clear version of the unhardened epoxy? A true Topcoat is a hardened epoxy. To find out, check the abrasion rating, the lower the mg loss rating the better the coating. An abrasion rating over 20 means the Topcoat or epoxy is not hardened and it will not last. Check the impact rating, check the thickness of the coating. Thinner coating will obviously wear out faster than thicker coatings especially if they do not have a hardened finish with an abrasion rating of 20mgs or less. These are critical things to know. Knowing these facts will make sure you are buying an epoxy that will be up to the traffic load on your floor. It will also make it easier for you to make the purchase knowing that you are getting a much higher quality product.

The same can be said for garage tiles, some tiles are hollow core and made from recycled soda bottles versus our tiles that our solid high quality PVC. Again, a big difference. A hollow tile weighs less than a pound of the cheapest quality plastic while our tiles weight 4.5 lbs each of high grade PVC. So there is a perfectly good reason for the price differential just as there was for the steaks and the Mercedes. You just need to know there’s a difference and what that difference actually is.

So before you buy, check the specification, ask questions and make sure you know what you are buying and that you are satisfied with the level of quality you are purchasing.


Quality Epoxy vs Cheap Epoxy

WHEN IS AN EPOXY BARGAIN NOT A BARGAIN?

Everyone likes to get a good deal and save money. But sometimes a good deal is not really a good deal at all. That’s most often the case when dealing with epoxy floor coatings. There are many different types and prices range from $75.00 for a Home Improvement store kit to our kits that are north of $500.00. What is the difference?

Well first there’s epoxies made with different types of bases. There’s water based, solvent based and solids based. With solids based epoxies being the best.  Then there’s different classes of epoxies such as Aliphatic, cycloaliphatic, polyaspartic and polycuramine.

Let’s talk about bases first. Water based epoxies are your lowest quality epoxies since about 50% of the epoxy is water. So that as the epoxy dries the water evaporates out and you’re left with only about 50% of paint material on the floor. In addition to that, water based epoxies have low abrasion resistance, poor adhesion and will wear off your floor very quickly. The same applies to most solvent based epoxies, they’re just not good quality coatings. Solids based epoxies are the most expensive to make and when you apply it to your floor you get whatever percentage of solids in the epoxy onto your floor. For instance, if you apply a 100% solids epoxy, you get 100% of the epoxy onto your floor. If you apply a 90% solids epoxy, you lose 10% of the product to evaporation. Our Garage Floor epoxies are 100% solids.

Now let’s talk about the different classes of epoxy. You will hear and read all sorts of things that this epoxy is X times stronger and this epoxy is superior to standard epoxies, etc. Take it from somebody whose made and used every type of epoxy out there, Aliphatic is the best tried and true type of epoxy. A 100% solids Aliphatic epoxy combined with a Urethane epoxy topcoat is the best floor coating you can use on your floor. Cycloaliphatic epoxies, even if they’re 100% solids are no match. They’re not as abrasion resistant, not as thick and are not UV stable! Some of our competition try to pass off their epoxy in a clear version as a topcoat. Don’t be fooled, you are just wasting your time and money. Polycuramine epoxies claim to be 20 times stronger than epoxy but we never see any specifications as to what and where they are stronger. The fact is that these well marketed epoxy kits are only 3.6 Mils thick as opposed to our Armor Chip & Armor Granite epoxy flooring that are on average 20 Mils thick. The polycuramine kits are not UV rated and do not provide the stated coverage. So you have to buy a lot of extra material to finish your floor and then the colors don’t match cause you have different batches. So the bargain you thought you were getting is now costing you almost as much as an ArmorGarage epoxy floor and it’s nowhere as durable and it looks terrible. So now if you want your floor to look right you will end up spending much more money and time than if you just bought an ArmorGarage kit in the first place.

Polyaspartic epoxies are good in the right applications, they cure very fast but are thin mil and are difficult to work with. If you need a polyaspartic epoxy we recommend you consult with one of our experts.

So in sum, when dealing with water based, cycloaliphatic and polycuramine epoxies they may all seem like a good deal but at the end of the day you will be disappointed. You will have curing issues, color issues, coverage issues and most of all they won’t last anywhere as long as you thought they would.

Saving a few dollars should not be your main goal when doing and epoxy floor job. With epoxy coatings you really do get what you pay for!


Multi-Color Epoxy Flooring DIY

HOW TO DO A MULTI-COLOR EPOXY FLOOR

Girvan P. wanted a two color floor with a border. This is how he did it. Once the floor is properly prepped by etch acid etching or grinding and or both.  You apply the first base coat.  In Girvan’s case he wanted a solid color so we went with our Armor II commercial system. So he did the whole floor in Light Gray and then when that dried the next day he taped off the rectangles and applied the Dark Gray epoxy inside the tape lines. He let that dry and he then taped off the border area and lightly sanded the epoxy floor border area inside the taped area.  This was because the base coat had now been curing for more than 24 hours.  Anytime an epoxy coating cures for more than 24 hours you want to lightly sand it to give the epoxy coating going over it a rough surface to adhere too.  So once the border area was sanded he applied the Yellow epoxy coat.

Now he sanded the entire floor with a block & pole sander using 100 grit paper.  Got off all the dust and sanding residue and applied a clear topcoat over the entire floor.  He now has a beautiful two color epoxy floor with high performance commercial coating that will last many years to come.

It’s easier than it sounds to do these types of floors and you can use any colors or as many colors as you like. We at ArmorGarage can help you layout your floor and guide you on the best way to do it.  Like we did with Girvan.  Here’s what Girvan had to say in an email to us.

“Hi Jim –
New garage floor successfully installed (see pic)- it looks fabulous! This despite the onset of winter – we managed to keep the heat up sufficiently. Quantities were just right – half a can of clear coat left for touch ups.
Very many thanks for all your help
Girvan P.
Ottawa, Canada”


The Most Common Mistakes Made When installing Epoxy Flooring

Installing Garage Epoxy Flooring

When it comes to garage flooring epoxy there are several mistakes that could be made, but we are going to split them into two categories: Technical and Outright Blunders. The idea behind installing epoxy in garage, warehouse, home, or workshop, of course, is to make sure that the floor does not become damaged for any reason and to add a beautiful high gloss finish that you can be proud of. Before you can get to that point, you need to make sure that you are using the right product and performing the installation properly, which is sometimes easier said than done. Let’s start with some of the more obvious mistakes and then move on to the steps you can take to prevent them.

Technical Mistakes to Watch out For

The biggest technical mistake that you can make when you’re in the process of installing your new epoxy floor is choosing an epoxy mix that doesn’t actually match what you are doing. What do we mean by this exactly? Well, consider that the lowest form of epoxy is water based, and there is a good chance that it does not have a very high abrasion rating. The abrasion rating determines how much abuse the floor in question can take before it needs to be replaced or at the very least re-coated.

When you are buying your epoxy, take a look at the technical specifications first and see what the abrasion rating is. The lower the number, the better the floor will be protected. Yes, this might sound a bit backward, but it is the truth in this case.

The technical specifications will generally display the following attributes:

Solids content – Percent of Solids remaining following the curing of content, the higher the better. With 100% being the best an Aliphatic epoxies being the best 100% solids epoxies available.

Volatile Organic Contents – This goes toward the idea of eco-friendliness in garage epoxy flooring. It involves the number of Volatile Organic Compounds that are released into the environment as the coat/sealer dries. Some states now require that any epoxy sold must be Low VOC. Low VOC epoxies are also good for areas where odor would be a problem. Being Low VOC means that fewer chemicals/solvents are released into the air and therefore less odor.

Abrasion Resistance – Once again we have the abrasion resistance which is determined by the Taber CS-17. This test involves an abrasive plate being mounted to a turntable and weighted at 1000 grams. The industry standard for this test is 500 cycles and all removed coating is recovered via a vacuum system for maximum accuracy. The coating loss is measured in milligrams, and the lower the number, the more durable the coating. Note that most epoxy coatings generally have a loss range of 20-45, a heavy duty topcoat for residential use should have a loss rating of no more than 20. For commercial or industrial applications a rating of no more than 4-8 should be used. Many so called heavy duty or industrial epoxies have very high abrasion ratings of 25 and higher which means if you don’t check the ratings prior to purchase you will be wasting your time and money. Keep in mind that abrasion ratings are like the Richter scale and that each mg less in the abrasion loss rating is exponential.

Adhesion – This is exemplified in Pounds per Square Inch, showing how much force is needed to remove the coating from the surface. Any rating below 350 PSI generally means that the coating can be removed, a good epoxy should have an adhesion rating of 375psi – 450psi. This is means on a properly prepared surface the epoxy should not be able to be separated from the concrete.

Chemical Resistance – Determines how well the floor is able to stand up to corrosives and acids that can leak from your vehicle or from the type of work you may be doing on the floor. Epoxies provide some protection from acids and caustic chemicals but a properly done epoxy flooring job will have a high quality urethane topcoat applied over the epoxy which provides substantially more protection against chemicals and acids.

A note here, an epoxy is not a topcoat and can never be made into a topcoat by simply adding in so called additives. This is just a way some companies try to cut corners because they don’t or can’t make a true urethane based topcoat.

Failing to pay attention to these important facts can result in serious problems, so make sure you read the performance specifications of the epoxy you are considering to buy and if you don’t understand any of it, call and ask questions.

The More Common Blunders

There are many mistakes that can be made during the installation of garage epoxy flooring as we are sure you are aware, but we have cut it down to just a few for the sake of expedience.

Failing to Prepare your Floor

Your floor most definitely needs to be prepared if you are to complete the installation properly. You need to do more than just move everything out of the way; you need to make sure that you have scrubbed the floor, power washing prior to acid etching to remove all dirt and debris is always recommended, and most importantly make sure that when you’re done with the preparation process that your floor is completely clean and 100% dry. If not it’s recommended that you etch the floor a second time and scrub in a perpendicular direction to the first etching to ensure you clean any small missed spots from the first etching. A small spot you might have missed will usually at some point in the future result in what we call a pop. It’s a small spot that just seems to pop off the floor. This is not the fault of the epoxy but simply a result of a little dirt or moisture left in the floor after you prepped it. Not something to freak out about,  you can just sand the area clean and apply some touch up epoxy to fix the problem.

Failing to Check for Moisture

Always make sure that your concrete is dry before you try to apply epoxy; we cannot stress this enough. The garage flooring epoxy will not adhere to a wet surface, either from moisture coming up through the slab or leftover moisture from cleaning. before considering applying an epoxy to your floor, tape down a piece of 3′ x 3′ plastic to your floor with a good duct tape making sure all edges are sealed 100%. Let sit for 2-3 days and then see if any moisture has accumulated underneath. No moisture means you’re good to go. The presence of moisture means you need to take an extra step such as applying a moisture sealing epoxy primer.

After cleaning it’s recommended to wait a minimum of 24hrs to let the floor dry properly, 48 hrs may be needed depending on temperature and humidity. Always better to allow extra dry time to be safe. Just a note for clarification purposes. Once your floor has been epoxied it is waterproof and no amount of water hitting the surface of it can harm it. It’s only water and or moisture coming up through the slab that is the problem.

Trying to Stretch it Out

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to try stretching out your epoxy when you are running low. If you think you’re running low work your way to a corner so that you run out at the corner, then order more product to fill in the corner. If you are top coating, apply the topcoat once the epoxy has dried but stay back 6″ from the edge of the unfinished epoxy so that when you apply the new epoxy to the unfinished area you can lightly overlap that epoxy edge to blend in. Then apply the topcoat and overlap lightly onto the previously applied topcoat. We recommend that you lightly sand a strip of the topcoat with 100 grit paper to rough up, this will ensure that the overlap topcoat area bonds properly.

If you do try to stretch it out, it might be thinner in some areas, causing it to be different shades and less glossy in some areas. In the end, it will completely defeat the purpose.

Bad Mixing Practices

Don’t mix too fast! There’s no rush! If you mix too quickly, you will usually end up with air bubbles in your mixture which will translate to the surface that you are applying it to. Additionally, make sure that you are paying attention to the ratios and mixing everything properly. it’s important to follow the directions of your particular epoxy. High quality epoxies will stress not to mix all the epoxy at once. Since high quality epoxies cure via chemical reaction and not air drying which means the more you mix the more chemical reaction you get and it could cause the epoxy to cure rock hard in the bucket in about 5-10 minutes. Also it’s a good idea that after mixing a small batch is to pour it out onto the floor in a bead. The cooler floor temp will slow down the curing process. We recommend that you mix no more than 1 gallon per person rolling.

These are just a few of the big mistakes you might find yourself making when you are dealing with epoxy. Remember, garage flooring epoxy can be an amazing innovation for your garage, warehouse, home, or shop, but you need to make sure that it is done correctly. Our expert Reps are always on hand to help you do it right.