Epoxy floors are great. But they can prove challenging in cold areas.
Installing epoxy floors are inherently difficult. Between getting ratios correct, to thoroughly mixing resins and hardeners, and ensuring that there’s an equal amount of aggregate distributed throughout the material are just a few of the problems that could arise.
But beyond the material, there are issues that can arise from the concrete that’s receiving the coating. And one of the most common issues is concrete temperature.
Temperature can play an important role in the success of an epoxy installation. The general rule of thumb is don’t go against the tech data sheet. Most tech data sheets will vary in temperature. However, if the TDS isn’t readily available, then 50° F is the most consistent number across the board.
The problem is that most epoxies are 100% solid, meaning that water is a prevalent ingredient in the formula. And in order for 100% solid epoxies to cure, the moisture needs to evaporate out of the epoxy, which typically occurs faster in warmer areas with low humidity. So when you’re dealing with concrete that’s colder than 50°, then you’ll have difficulty transferring the water out of the epoxy.
So when doing a site visit to assess the initial steps of the project, it’s good practice to take a temperature gun with you. Although discouraging a potential customer from moving forward with a job doesn’t sound appealing, it may be more beneficial to you in the long run for consulting the customer on how to achieve the best results.
So if you take a thermal gun, or heat gun to the site of a potential project, you’ll want to explain to the customer why it is, or is not a good idea to install an epoxy coating at that time.
But if you’re in a pinch, and you need to install a floor, then there some alternative products you can consider. Polyaspartics and polyureas are excellent coating choices. They are fast curing, resinous material. They are 2 component, and need to be mixed and applied just as an epoxy.
However, although you can install these coatings at lower concrete temperatures, there are compromises. Polyureas and polyaspartic have more in common with urethanes. Urethanes are great when properly installed, but they don’t share the same adhesion properties at epoxies. So although you can install them during the colder months successfully, they may not bond as well to a concrete substrate as an epoxy.