industrial epoxy flooring


Ready to Install Garage Flooring? Make sure you Read this Checklist!

Installing Garage Flooring

garage floor epoxy coatingSo you’re ready to install garage epoxy flooring, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have the right materials, and that means buying a high quality epoxy flooring. Once you have it properly applied to your floor you will experience a number of different benefits. Most notably, your floor is going to look a lot better than it did as just bare concrete.

Along with that, it’s going to protect your concrete floor from the elements and harmful vehicle fluids. There are many other benefits, such as greater reflection (it’s going to be brighter), greater resistance to scratching, and of course, easier cleaning. Before you can apply your new flooring however, there are a few things that you will need to get out of the way. Take a look at our checklist and make sure you’re ready to give your floor the upgrade of a lifetime.

Preparing your Floor

The first and most obvious thing you will want to do is to properly prep your concrete for the new garage floor epoxy. You will need to start by clearing it out, obviously, and then you can move on to the more important business of cleaning it. The idea is to get your floor back to the condition it was in after it was first laid – it’s a bit of a chore but totally worth it. To get it done thoroughly, we strongly recommend that you do a thorough acid etching. It’s a procedure that might take two passes, but it is a critical step to get the proper bond between the epoxy and your floor. Of course if your floor is really dirty and in poor condition, shot blasting or grinding might be needed to get you a better profile. You can also try the combination of a tornado diamond buffing pad and super blue cleaning solution from Concrete Floor Supply Inc.

Get the Right Tools

You need the right tools for the job, and when it comes to epoxy flooring, that means making sure you have rollers (multiples if you are having someone help you), jiffy mixer, duct tape but perhaps the most important, and the most overlooked piece of equipment, is the calibrated squeegee not just a flat squeegee, this helps spread the epoxy at the right thickness. For more detailed application info see our How To Prep and Epoxy Paint Your Floor Page. Make sure you use a good duct tape tape and some Xylene for cleanup. Painter’s tape is too thin for our epoxy, duct tape ensures that you do not inadvertently get epoxy seeping over or through the tape. In most cases, especially with paint, you could simply ‘wipe it off’ if you made a mistake, but our epoxy is a bit different. As we like to say, once it’s on, it’s on. That said, if you make any mistakes, wipe the epoxy clean immediately with Xylene – otherwise you’ll have to sand or grind it off.

Have a Topcoat Ready

Install Garage Flooring

The biggest mistake people make, aside from forgetting to tape off their walls, is not applying a topcoat. Your floor needs a topcoat for several reasons! First of all, it makes the floor look even better than it would with just a layer of epoxy coating on it since it has a higher gloss finish. Another great reason to apply a topcoat rather than just a clear epoxy is that a real topcoat is much much harder than an epoxy. Remember – epoxy is NOT a topcoat and you can’t make an epoxy into a topcoat by just adding in some UV or other additives like some of our competition claims to do!

The above information will go a long way toward helping you to successfully apply your epoxy coating, and you will quickly find that your floor is much more enjoyable. Once you have applied your floor coating, however, do try to remember that it’s not completely impervious to damage. It cannot take massive impacts, such as dropping an engine block onto it, but it can should withstand dropped tools and parts. That being said, now would be a great time to start looking into epoxy flooring and making sure that your surface is ready for what’s coming.

Remember, a properly applied high quality epoxy coating will last for a long time, and in most cases, for at least ten to twenty years. If taken care of properly, the sky really can be the limit as far as longevity is concerned. The most important piece of advice that we can give you in this regard, is to avoid purchasing discounted or store bought epoxy. Buy the best and reap the benefits for many years to come.

 


Garage Flooring – Are you Broadcasting your Chips Correctly?

Garage Floor Epoxy

To put it lightly, garage floor epoxy is something that can completely change the look of your floor, and it comes with many other benefits as well. For example, with the right epoxy, your floor is going to be shiny, tough, and it’s going to last for a very long time. Did you know that the a high quality epoxy coated floor is capable of lasting for at least ten to fifteen years? That’s pretty impressive, if we do say so ourselves. The epoxy will be able to protect the concrete floor from the effects of age, but most importantly, it is going to protect it from external damage.

When most people think of ‘damage’, they think of direct impacts, but damage can come from so many other sources. Vehicle fluids and water are just two of the most common sources, and for this reason, you need to invest in garage floor epoxy. You know that you need it, but if you are like many other garage owners, you probably get a little bit confused on the chip broadcasting step. Most owners have two very important questions:

  • What are these Chips For?
  • How do I Broadcast Them?

These are two great questions that beg answering, and throughout this article, we’re going to do our best to provide you with those answers. Let’s start by explaining what these chips are for, and what role they play in garage floor epoxy.

Garage Flooring Chips Explained

There are two sides to the flooring chip coin. First of all, they serve mostly an aesthetic purpose, giving a garage floor the vibrancy that it really needs to stand out. That’s a great thing, of course, but on the other end of this argument, the chips keep the floor looking nice by hiding certain imperfections. As the eye is drawn to the chips, it is drawn away from any other issues that the floor might have.

These issues, while nearly imperceptible in the beginning, will be almost invisible once the armor chips are properly broadcasted. In addition to that, it will be great for hiding dirt and dust that gathers on the floor. As you can see, these chips do a lot for your floor aesthetically.

Laying your Chips Properly

The most common question that homeowners ask, is whether or not they are laying or broadcasting the chips correctly. Spreading the flakes evenly is the key to making sure your floor looks like it was done professionally, and it’s easy if you know the trick:

There are quite a few different spreading techniques, with some people throwing overhand, and others just tossing them at a 45 degree angle away from you. Remember – if there are too few flakes on the floor, you can always spread more, so tossing a little at a time is best. If there are too many, you’ll have raised piles or blotches in your garage floor. Take a look at our ‘How to Prep and Epoxy Paint Your Floor Page, for a technique our customer showed us using a plastic jug – it was simple and produced a perfect result..

Limit your ThrowingThe most important piece of advice that we can give you is to use small finger fulls of flakes when you are tossing. It is going to go a bit slower, but it will be well worth it in the end. Having a set of the spike soles lets you walk in the wet epoxy while you broadcast the chips. This will eliminate what we call chip pile ups.

These are just a few of the tips that you will find useful when working on your epoxy floor, and you can be rest assured that you will come across many more. Flakes, while thought to be aesthetic, definitely have practical applications, and they’ll help you to create a floor that you’re proud of.

Quality is Everything

Armor GarageAs always, it is important to make sure that you are laying quality epoxy on your floor. Remember, there are many inferior products out there and you’re going to want the best you can possibly get. ArmorGarage not only provides a great solution for protecting your garage floor, but a great way to keep it looking amazing for the foreseeable future.

That being said, it’s time to stop worrying about what your floor looks like, or how long it’s going to last, and time to do something about it. Chip broadcasting is just a small part of the process, but it makes all the difference in your garage.

 


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.


My Epoxy is Peeling

The next issue I’d like to discuss is peeling or delaminating of your garage flooring epoxy. Please note that all our coatings are made in large batches and are pull tested for proper adhesion level. The first image is an epoxy peeling off in a sheet. This can occur from an improper cleaning of the floor, a floor with a sealer on it, a floor with oil or grease in it. To avoid this simply clean the floor properly. We stress proper prep of your floor very strongly on the website and provide a lot of details on how to do it right and what your floor should look like when your done cleaning it. As long as you follow those easy guidelines you will not have this issue.

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Remember the key is to not have any contaminants between the epoxy and your floor. If the floor is clean and the pores open from etching there is no way for our epoxy to peel up. We have some of the highest adhesion ratings in the industry with our Ultra Fast epoxy having an incredible 725psi adhesion rating. No other epoxy comes close. When we do our adhesion tests we apply each epoxy onto a piece of concrete, let it cure and then do a pull test on it. The only way our epoxy will pass that test to us is if the top layer of the concrete comes off with the epoxy. If the epoxy gets pulled off the concrete that batch is rejected.

This next image is of a topcoat delaminating from the epoxy coating. This can happen if a topcoat is applied too long after the epoxy has cured. The longer an epoxy is allowed to cure the more the microscopic pores of the epoxy close. Once they close past a certain point the epoxy becomes like Teflon. So we recommend that you apply your topcoat as soon as the epoxy is hard and dry to the touch or the next morning. If you have to wait for whatever reason then you simply need to scuff the floor to rough it up with 100 grit sandpaper.

Also if using the military topcoat, only one coat is needed. Applying two coats runs the risk of delamination. Nothing likes to stick to our military topcoat, not even itself! If applying two coats you must thoroughly sand the first coat to make sure the second coat will bond to the first coat.

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So there you have it. All of the above is easy to avoid by just following the instructions you get with your kit and by following the advice we give you on the website. If you do happen to run into a problem, don’t panic, just give us a call we’ll help you solve the problem and get your floor looking like it should.

 


Epoxy Not Hardening

Flooring Epoxy

So you’ve done all the prep work right you mixed and applied the epoxy per the instructions and everything looked great when you were done! Then the next morning when you come back to apply the topcoat you discover for some reasons you have the following issue.

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The above two images are of small epoxy spots that didn’t harden. This happens when not enough Part B was mixed into a batch or a batch was not mixed good enough and some Part A didn’t mix with enough part B. If this happens to you don’t feel bad it happens to our guys sometimes when they get in a hurry to finish a job. The good news is this is very easy to fix. Sometimes if you have some part B leftover you can rub some into the spot and it will hardened in 6-8 hrs. If that doesn’t work simply scrape up the soft epoxy, wipe down the area with Xylene(Home Depot) as best you can. You don’t have to get down to bare concrete, just scrape and wipe off as much of the epoxy as you can and then reapply some new epoxy to that area.  We would also lightly sand the perimeter of the epoxy on the floor so that you can lightly overlap the new epoxy onto the cured epoxy.

Also if this happens we want you to apply the topcoat to the rest of the floor, do not wait because of this minor issue. You will apply the topcoat to the new epoxy after it dries and again you will lightly sand the perimeter of the topcoat on the floor and lightly overlap it with the new coat of topcoat. Problem solved.  When this happens it’s a concern but don’t panic. The coating is not defective. The epoxy can’t cure in some places and not others. It’s either all bad or not bad at all.It is extremely rare that you would ever get a bad set of epoxy that won’t cure. We test every batch of epoxy for curing, adhesion and hardness before it goes into inventory.

The best way to avoid this from happening is to have one person do all the mixing and use clear calibrated mixing containers to measure out the part A and part B amounts accurately. These containers can be bought at Home Depot and such for 99 cents. Get the 100+ ounce size containers. With only one person mixing and using measuring containers you’ll never run into this problem. The only other way this can happen is if you’re doing the floor during the colder months and you have a cold spot in the floor usually by a door or wall. Putting some heat in that area will solve the problem most times, if not follow the above procedure. Remembering to apply the topcoat right away but not on any epoxy that is not rock hard. If you can make an indent in the epoxy with your finger nail it means the epoxy isn’t fully cured.

 


General Ordering and Delivery Guidelines

EPOXY ORDERS

Today we’re going to talk about ordering epoxy floor kits. During busy season very often the demand will outstrip our production capacity. So instead of orders going out the next day they’ll go out a day or two later than that. Which should not be a problem in most cases. Problems can and do arise if you wait till the last minute to order and you have a specific date you want to epoxy your floor. Such as over a holiday weekend or during some time off from work. Please keep in mind that if you plan on doing your project over a long holiday weekend  that you’re not the only one with the same idea.  Back orders pile up and sometimes we get sold out of certain colors.  So when you have a specific date in mind you should order two weeks in advance. This allows for back orders to be cleared up, it allows for delivery issues such as a package getting lost or damaged. It also allows you to do an inventory check once you receive all your packages to make sure you didn’t forget to order something or we didn’t send you something that you did order. Always allow a week cushion from when you should receive everything and when you want to do the job. The epoxy has a one year shelf life minimum so it won’t go bad sitting inside your residence, garage or place of business.

We ship the epoxy part of your order separately so that if FedEx roughs it up and it leaks it doesn’t ruin the entire order. You will usually get the etching and accessories first, this allow you to get a head start on the cleaning and etching process. The epoxy will arrive a day or two later. So on typical garage orders you would get two packages, on larger garage or commercial orders you will receive 3-5 boxes and on larger commercial or industrial orders your order will arrive on a pallet via truck.

If your order is arriving via FedEx ground you don’t have to be home to sign for it. If it is arriving by truck someone needs to be present to unload and sign for it. Once you have received your order you should open all the boxes as soon as possible to check that all items have been received and that there wasn’t any serious damage. If a can has gotten dented or a little bit of paint has leaked out,  the product is still ok to use. If your cans have been damaged to the point where more than just a few ounces leaked then call us for a replacement. We will ship out a replacement right away and arrange for FedEx to pick up the damaged goods.

If you are using a contractor,  it’s very important that you do NOT schedule your contractor till you have received everything and that you checked for damaged items and did an inventory check. When using a contractor please allow for Murphy’s Law to come into play. You can make a mistake, we can make a mistake, FedEx can make a mistake or all of the above can happen. If you order well enough in advance we can resolve any issue without it impacting your original desired completion date. It’s when you try to surgically plan everything to arrive by the day before you want to start that things could go south.  Contractors get upset when they schedule jobs and then can’t do it due to last minute issues. If you give your contractor enough notice he can usually reschedule your job without a problem if need be. If you need to schedule your contractor cause he’s so busy than schedule him a minimum of  7-10 days after the anticipated delivery date of all your items. This allows time for problem solving if needed.

If you have an emergency type situation and you need to get your order asap just let us know and we will do everything possible to get it to you in time. Keeping in mind that we ship our epoxy orders from our NJ distribution center and all epoxy orders online must go Ground. Since our epoxies are not water based they are DOT restricted to FedEx ground delivery so please allow sufficient travel time in your calculations. Especially if you’re on the west coast. CA orders can take 5-6 business days to arrive once shipped.

So in sum just keep in mind our epoxies are not an off the shelf type of product. You can’t just go down to the corner paint store and get some. If you are buying home improvement or local paint store type epoxy,  scheduling will not be an issue, you’ll have more serious issues later on but scheduling and getting the job done quick won’t be one of them. If one of the accessories items is an issue such as the etching solution  leaked or a roller is missing or damaged or some such thing, you can go out and purchase it locally. Just give us a call or send us an email and we’ll be happy to credit you for any costs.  Most times this is the easiest and quickest way to keep things on schedule so that your project is not held up for something minor.