How Long Does Epoxy Flooring Last?

Long lasting epoxy flooring being installed

What is Epoxy?

 

High performance epoxy floor coatings were originally developed in the 1960’s for the commercial and industrial markets. Typical decorative systems involved using acrylic flake (DecoFlake) or quartz aggregates (DecoQuartz) as the decorative medium that was broadcast into a thick layer of commercial-grade epoxy. This double-broadcast/double-topcoat system delivered a 1/8th inch thick seamless composite system that would outperform other flooring alternatives. Industry specifications governed floor prep, coverage rates, and other quality measures that assured consistent and quality floor systems.

 

Today’s Epoxy Flooring Options:

 

In other words, the residential epoxy flooring of yesteryear used commercial-grade products and specifications. However, over the years the creation of cheaper, lower-quality products and a lack of proper installation techniques has resulted in subpar coating systems that will only last a fraction of the time compared to original systems of decades past. With all of these variables to consider, one can expect their epoxy flooring to last anywhere from 1-2 years, 3-5 years, or even 15+ years. To understand which timeframe would apply to you, let’s first look at what you need to know before purchasing a decorative epoxy and urethane flooring system.

 

  1. 1. Proper Floor Prep – Industry professionals agree this is one of the most critical steps. The most common methods used are acid etching, diamond grinding, and shot blasting. Only diamond grinding and shot blasting are industry approved for proper adhesion to concrete surfaces.
  2. 2. Product Selection & Installation – When using quartz or flake as the decorative medium, a sufficient amount of base coat material must be applied in order to properly lock the loose decorative medium into the bed of liquids. To insure proper surface protection and system longevity, a two top coat system should be a minimum requirement to provide a 15+ year system. The topcoat material should be stain resistant, UV resistant, and abrasion resistant.
  3. 3. System Performance – Cheapening the products and cutting out time-tested installation processes to reduce cost will significantly affect the performance and cut short the life expectancy of the system. The system components must be able to meet industry specifications that have been proven to hold up in the environment it was designed for.

 

Three Main Epoxy Floor Options Available:

 

  1. 1. Do-It Yourself: The cheapest available option today for homeowners is to buy a do-it yourself kit and install it themselves. These kits that are readily available at big box hardware stores use lower quality products, typically water-based epoxies. The floor prep method varies from simply cleaning the concrete or acid etching. Neither of these methods allow for proper adhesion to the concrete resulting in premature flooring failures.  Homeowners typically don’t have the proper tools, expertise, or experience to properly install these types of systems, so mistakes are made or critical steps are missed, causing premature floor failure. Typically, the life expectance of do-it yourself 1-2 years.
  2. 2. Professionally Installed Low Performance System: The next cheapest option is a low-performance coating system installed by a low-cost installer. Floor prep methods for this segment can vary from less effective methods like acid etching or sanding to more effective like diamond grinding or shot blasting. The coatings used have poor UV, stain, chemical, and/or abrasion resistance. Often times we see corners cut like coatings applied thinner than they should, poor concrete prep, and shoddy workmanship to keep labor costs down because of the low prices charged. Life expectancy of these floors is usually in the 3 to5-year range.
  3. 3. High Performance Systems: These systems have a higher initial cost and are usually installed by full-time coating installers with the proper training, expertise, and equipment. These professional coating installers use the industry standard concrete prep methods of diamond grinding and shot blasting to ensure proper adhesion. High performance epoxy and urethane coatings that were originally developed for industrial and commercial markets are used. These systems have good to excellent UV, chemical, and abrasion resistance to provide years of carefree service. These properly installed high-performance systems have a life expectancy of 15 or more years.

 

With several years of the do-it-yourself and low-cost contractor installed floors being in the market for comparison to commercial grade systems, the results are clear: A high-performance epoxy and urethane system installed by a floor coating professional will out-perform and out-last their competitors by 4-5 times with only a slightly higher initial cost.

 

If you want to learn more about epoxy and how we can help to create the best and most durable floor for you, contact us.

 

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