The Most Common Commercial Epoxy Flooring Problems and How to Solve ThemPenncoat Inc
Epoxy flooring can cure into a beautiful, shiny finish that protects surfaces. Unfortunately, improper treatment can impact the appearance and texture of your floors. Epoxy or resin is a tricky material if you don’t have professional experience applying it.
The flooring product needs resin and an activator to be a true epoxy. Because epoxy flooring is a two-part product, it requires professional installation to get the perfect ratio. If an inexperienced individual tried to use the product, your floors could end up with some imperfections. Even installation from qualified flooring technicians can go wrong due to:
- Regular wear
- Weather conditions
- Improper installation
These conditions, among others, can lead to a variety of epoxy flooring problems. Don’t despair, though, because there are always solutions to these issues with your floors. Read on for the most common commercial epoxy flooring problems and how to solve them.
Problem: Epoxy Floor Peeling
If you notice portions of your epoxy floor coming up or tearing away, you have epoxy floor peeling. Peeling creates an uneven surface and an unprofessional appearance, which may also damage the concrete flooring under it.
An epoxy floor can peel for many reasons, some of them related to the surrounding conditions as professionals apply it. An epoxy floor can peel if during application or setting:
- The temperature is too high
- The temperature is too low
- The humidity is high
Resin and hardener need the right conditions to set. If the humidity has been high at your business, moisture can seep out of concrete floors under your epoxy. The buildup of moisture can cause different problems, peeling included. Changes in temperature may also cause condensation, adding more to your moisture problem.
Even if the weather doesn’t fluctuate between hot and cold, either extreme may cause epoxy floor peeling. When the temperature is too hot or cold, either in your building or outside, it may affect how the epoxy cures. If your epoxy doesn’t harden correctly, it won’t lay right on the concrete. You’ll see peeling and uneven resin as a result.
Preparation of surfaces is also vital for smooth epoxy flooring. For various reasons, a professional will make sure your floors meet the following conditions.
- Are clean of oils and debris: These substances spell trouble for resin. Oil and other materials can get trapped under the epoxy. The coating can’t correctly adhere to concrete floors if something obstructs their application. Grease and oil on your floor will also cause the resin to set improperly, which leads to peeling.
- Have opened pores: If a surface is too smooth, epoxy can’t adhere to it. When that happens, you end up with peeling floors because the resin couldn’t bond as it set.
- Are completely dry: Whether you washed your floor or a professional removed previous epoxy flooring, it needs to dry. Allow at least 24 hours between washing your concrete flooring and having a professional apply new resin. Wet flooring creates the same problems as a dirty floor, where epoxy can’t adhere to the concrete.
If your floors are dirty, too smooth or wet, the resin will not harden correctly. If you’ve yet to have a professional apply your epoxy flooring, you’re in luck. Some straightforward precautions will help prevent epoxy floor peeling in future applications. If your resin is already on and you notice peeling, you still have some solutions.
Solution: Epoxy Floor Peeling
To avoid epoxy mistakes that cause peeling, professionals take great care before and during application. To prevent peeling in your new epoxy floors, be sure the expert takes the following steps.
- Cleans surfaces: While you can sweep and wash flooring before the installer arrives, an expert should clean the floor or make sure it’s clean before application. Use water at least one day before the professional is scheduled to arrive, so everything is dry for the resin.
- Prepares the concrete pores: A professional knows the perfect balance between profiling the surface and creating a surface that’s too porous. They may use a grinder rough up a concrete surface.
- Works in the best weather conditions: The weather needs to be just right to guarantee the resin applies without any issues. If you have a climate-controlled environment, talk with a professional to see what the best temperature is.
Even after careful applications, you may notice peeling in your epoxy floors over time. Consult a professional who will determine how to fix epoxy mistakes from other applications. If the problems are severe, they may decide they need to replace your epoxy flooring. To do that, experts must first remove the old and damaged epoxy. Removing resin floors requires a trained professional who takes safety precautions during different removal processes.
- Grinders: Floor grinder machines and handheld tools for corners make easier work of resin removal. Again, this process may create dust from the resin, so professionals will be sure to wear the right gear. Experts will vacuum the particles as they go so they can see if they’ve removed all the epoxy. Before applying new resin, a flooring installer will also make sure the area is clear of dust and debris.
Replacing all your epoxy flooring may not be ideal, but it’s the best way to repair a floor with many problems throughout it. Unfortunately, epoxy floor peeling isn’t the only issue you may see on your resin floors.
Problem: Epoxy Floor Blistering
Pinholes, cratering and bubbles are common epoxy flooring problems that give surfaces a blistered look. When your epoxy floor blisters, similar causes of resin peeling may be to blame. If conditions are too cold or direct sunlight hits your curing resin, you could see bubbles. Other issues that cause epoxy floor blistering are as follows.
- Incorrect epoxy mixing: If the individual applying your epoxy floors mixed the resin and hardener too quickly, it would’ve created air bubbles in the mix. Even during applications, these bubbles will remain in a viscous epoxy.
- Too porous of a surface: Too many pores in concrete flooring will allow air to rise under epoxy as it cures. As air rises, the resin above traps it, which creates bubbles. The air pockets may rise as the epoxy hardens, which can lead to pinholes or craters if they’re larger bubbles.
- The wrong proportions: Epoxy resin and hardener must be in perfect balance. This tricky ratio varies from product to product, which is why it’s best to stick with professional installation. If there isn’t enough hardener, your floors won’t cure correctly, which can cause blisters or other issues. If there’s too much hardener, installers will have to rush or apply epoxy that’s too viscous to put down in a smooth coat.
- Rushed application: If whoever applied your epoxy flooring did so in a rush, you may notice air bubbles. While professionals do work with some speed so the resin doesn’t cure before application, they do so carefully to avoid creating bubbles. Even between coats of epoxy, it’s possible to rush a job. Each coat needs adequate time to dry, or you risk applying fresh epoxy to a base that hasn’t cured.
Epoxy floor blistering may create an uneven surface. Severe enough blistering could be hazardous. Even if you have small bubbles or pinholes, they create an unprofessional finish for your floors. Pinholes invite in moisture or other spills, which could eventually compromise the concrete. Avoid any of these issues with some precautions and solutions to bubbled resin floors.
Solution: Epoxy Floor Blistering
Whether you have a small cluster of bubbles or the whole surface of your floor has pinholes or blisters throughout, a professional will know what to do. An easy fix is for experts to sand away a layer of the epoxy. By buffing the surface, professionals prepare the floor for a new coat of epoxy. With luck, the bubbles are only temporary.
To avoid blisters, bubbles or holes in the first place, find an expert to apply your new resin floors. You’ll see a difference with professional epoxy application. A trained individual will:
- Make sure the concrete floor isn’t too smooth or porous
- Mix resin and hardener carefully
- Take their time for neat application
- Work quickly enough so the mix doesn’t cure before applying
Remember, epoxy is a tricky substance to work with unless you’re an expert. Even professionals may face unexpected bubbles or blisters, but they know how to solve those problems. Choose experienced applicators to minimize blistering in your epoxy floors.
Again, if the problems are too severe, a professional may decide the best thing to do is replace the resin. They’ll follow the same safety steps from above before correctly applying a brand-new epoxy floor.
Problem: Epoxy Floor Discoloring
Yellowed or uneven floors are a sign of epoxy floor discoloration. Because resin and activator are tricky substances, discoloring is a common problem. Your epoxy floor may be discolored if you or the person who applied the flooring made any of the following mistakes.
- Exceeded the pot life: The pot life of an epoxy is how long it takes the combined resin and hardener to double in viscosity. As the term implies, hardener works to solidify the resin. If an installer waits too long to apply the epoxy, exceeding the pot life, the resin may not apply correctly. It will also have discoloration or yellowing. Even if the mixture seems workable, if it exceeds its pot life, it will likely turn out low-quality.
- Used the wrong hardener: Every resin needs the right balance of activator to harden. During application, the wrong type or amount of hardener will compromise the color and consistency of the final product. If your epoxy is the wrong color or has yellowed, the root of your problem may be an activator error.
- Allowed chemical exposure: Carbon monoxide and other chemicals can react with new epoxy to discolor it. Depending on the type of chemical, your epoxy floor may become yellowed or turn other colors.
- Allowed UV exposure: Sunlight or UV light causes the resin to darken, even if it’s already set. You may notice a pattern or shades of discoloration, depending on how often sunlight shines onto the resin. If your epoxy got exposed to direct sunlight during the application, you might see discoloration and air bubbles in the finished product.
Discolored epoxy has an uneven and sometimes unprofessional appearance. In addition to cosmetic issues, discoloration could be a sign of other problems with your resin. To see if you have these problems or solve discoloration, you’ll have to take some care of your floors.
Solution: Epoxy Floor Discoloring
Check that the flooring is discolored by scraping away a bit of the top layer with a knife. Try to do this in an unobtrusive area to avoid leaving a scraped section of floor in the middle of your space. If you can see a drastic color difference between the top layer and what’s under where you scraped, you have discoloration.
Discoloring in a small area of your epoxy floor or on the first layer may be a simple fix. While some tips suggest cleaning discoloration with bleach or steam, it’s best to let an expert handle the problem. A professional can recoat the flooring after proper maintenance, leaving your floors looking as good as new.
Resurfacing your epoxy floors may not be enough to solve the problem depending on how deep the discoloring goes, though. If every layer of epoxy flooring is discolored, something may have gone wrong during application. In this case, a total replacement could be necessary.
On your new application, try to limit the floor’s exposure to chemicals and sunlight. Use window coverings to prevent too much UV exposure on your flooring. Keep chemicals stored up off the floor or in areas away from epoxy floors. With proper maintenance, your epoxy flooring will last longer, and you’ll see less of the above common problems.
Get New Epoxy Flooring With Penncoat
If you have any epoxy flooring problems, our professionals at Penncoat can help. Whether you need epoxy resurfacing, non-slip flooring, decorative epoxy or other options, we provide competitive pricing on all of our epoxy solutions.
We’ve been providing commercial epoxy flooring for over 30 years, and with the help of our experts, we’ll make your business shine like new. We proudly serve the Mid-Atlantic region throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey. Contact us today to learn more about our services!