Flooring is an important part of interior design. In a factory set up where flooring is subject to a lot of wear and tear, choice of the correct flooring is crucial, since it is a part of the initial investment and is often spread across a large area. One of the most widely used flooring options for this niche is epoxy flooring. This choice revolves around the facts that epoxy flooring is highly durable, requires minimum maintenance and is environmentally friendly. It is hence, the recommended flooring option for both residential buildings and industries. The epoxy floor coatings are usually applied over concrete floors to provide best binding results and aesthetically attractive surfaces.
The term epoxy refers to a form of catalysed plastic. It is basically a resin and is typically a compound of bis phenol-A and a polyamine. Epoxy resin was invented in the 1930s by a Swiss scientist, Dr. Pierre Castam. Generally the polyamines are used to harden the surface or the floor. A catalytic reaction occurs when the resin and hardener come in contact with each other. They bind to each other and create a chemical crosslink that is high in strength. This binding technology is the reason why epoxies can be recoated in a short period of time.
There are three main types of epoxy for flooring. They are 100% solid epoxy, solvent-based and water-based epoxies. Of these three, 100% solids epoxy is the best choice as it performs the best. Water and solvent based epoxies are considered user friendly, but this type of epoxies are not as durable and cannot be applied as a thick coating like the 100% solids ones. The solid epoxies capably meet all the stringent requirements that are to be complied when designing an industrial floor. It offers strong adhesion, excellent chemical resistance and toughness. Further, epoxy floors in general are abrasion resistant, waterproof, heat resistant, and resistant to the action of corrosives like acids and alkalis. They are non-toxic when dry and hence, can be used safely even in residential projects and children play areas.
The practical application on a floor surface takes the following steps. The compounds are mixed in a proper ratio and are applied to the floor to a minimum depth of 2 mm. Usually, an epoxy flooring requires at least seven coats to finally create a glossy and finished surface. It includes a base coat, one or two epoxy coats, a broadcast coat of coloured sand or flakes and a top coat.
The main advantage of epoxy flooring is the ease of maintenance. Concrete floors need appropriate protection and an epoxy floor is the best choice to offer protection against abrasion, chemical attack and thermal shock, which are commonly experienced in an industrial set up. With the advent of technology, further innovations are expected and it is only a matter of time before epoxy flooring solutions find wide application in the residential segment as well.