Epoxy Flooring Systems Types
Epoxy systems are a great way to give your plant a decorative, durable, and easily maintained floor. With so many epoxy products out there it can be tough determining the right one for your facility. The three types of epoxies are water based, solvent based, and 100% solid epoxy systems. Each one has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. To determine the right epoxy for your facility, you must have a thorough understanding of the properties of each epoxy and how it will handle the facility’s conditions and benefit operations performed in the given plant area.
Water-based Epoxy systems are epoxies dispersed in water, which evaporates from the film after application. Water-based epoxies are a low cost product great for a prime and seal on concrete. If the concrete substrate is completely degreased it can penetrate the pores of the concrete producing a smooth, glossy finish that has some protection against stains, abrasion, and chemical reactions. Water-based epoxy systems are breathable making them capable of dealing with hydro-static pressure, and also as a primer to stop moisture transmission. This property also makes water based epoxy sealers ideal for food preparation areas and other facilities where the floor is often in contact with water. To learn more about hydro-static pressure check out my blog post "Hydro-static Pressure.” Water-based epoxies can take 48 hours to cure but they can also be installed on green concrete. Water-based epoxy systems also do not have VOCs and are environmentally friendly.
Solvent-based epoxies also prime and seal concrete but the difference is it contains solids ranging from 30 to 70 percent. As the epoxy cures it leaves behind the solids as a thin film over the surface of the concrete thereby, greatly increasing the floor coatings durability. Solvent-based epoxies can last anywhere from 5-15 years, depending on the amount and type of traffic, while a water-based epoxy floor may only last 1-2 years. Solvent-based epoxy are also more chemically resistant and in particular they withstand petroleum contaminates significantly better than water-based. Also the application process is much quicker however, solvent-based epoxies can contain high amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs are the biggest drawback to solvent-based epoxies due to their odor and flammability. Solvent-based epoxies needs to be installed in either well ventilated areas or outdoors. A great case study on a solvent-based epoxy system project can be found here Warehouse Epoxy Flooring System.
100% Solids Epoxy Systems
100% solids epoxy systems, also called solvent less epoxies, differ from water and solvent based systems as they do not require liquids to evaporate and instead cure through chemical catalyzation. Solid epoxy systems are significantly thicker than other epoxy coating and therefore are more durable, chemical resistant, stain resistant, and slip resistant. These highly durable epoxy systems can last for more than 20 years but they also are significantly more expensive. The main drawback of this added thickness is the increased difficulty of installation because of this, only a skilled resinous flooring installer should work with this epoxy system. It is also impossible to get a thin coat using a 100% solids epoxy system.Solid epoxy systems also do not have any VOCs making them safer for the installer and the environment.