Every floor must serve a need. The needs of a bathroom floor are different from the needs of a kitchen floor, or a garage floor. These needs change between rooms, and between residential spaces, businesses and industrial sites. To choose the right flooring for a space, you must understand the needs of that space.
Epoxy flooring is a highly durable, affordable and versatile flooring solution. It’s extremely well suited to meet a variety of needs.
This is your complete guide to epoxy flooring. Policrete is the industry leader in flooring, and we’ve gathered all of our expertise to create as comprehensive a guide for you as possible. Here, you will learn:
- What epoxy flooring is
- The pros and cons of epoxy flooring
- Where to install epoxy flooring
- How to care for your flooring
- Safety considerations
With all of this knowledge, you will be able to make a clear and informed decision about whether epoxy flooring is right for you.
Our team at Policrete are always ready to go above and beyond to help our customers. If you need a hand making decisions, you can always contact our experts.
What is epoxy flooring?
To put it plainly, epoxy is an extremely durable plastic created by mixing resins and hardeners.
Epoxy’s key feature is its durability. It is not susceptible to the erosion that most other flooring is. This durability is what makes epoxy flooring a strong choice for residential, commercial and industrial spaces.
Its versatility extends to its aesthetic potential as well. Epoxy’s finish is usually clear, smooth and shiny. It can be quite attractive as is, but it can be treated to finish in a range of colours, effects and textures. With our expertise, epoxy can add a creative and personal flourish to your floors.
From a practical standpoint, epoxy flooring can be treated to be non-slip and UV resistant. The advantages of those treatments are clear for many industries. We will explain more advantages in a moment.
Is there a difference between epoxy flooring and epoxy coating?
Yes, there is a difference between epoxy flooring and coating. Epoxy coating is a 1mm thick protective coating applied on top of existing flooring, like wood or tiling. Epoxy flooring is created by layering 2mm coats of epoxy on top of each other, to create a thick, rigid floor.
Where possible, we recommend full epoxy flooring over a coating, simply because its benefits are greater. The flooring option is significantly tougher and lasts far longer. It’s the ideal choice for demanding environments.
Depending on your needs and context, we can make a recommendation on whether epoxy flooring or coating would be the right decision for you.
Is epoxy flooring safe?
Epoxy flooring is safe and entirely non-toxic.
There can be some apprehension around epoxy, from those who worry that it creates harmful particulates. This is not true — once your epoxy flooring has cured, it is entirely safe.
Epoxy installers always wear protective gear, which likely gives rise to the myth that it’s harmful. Fresh epoxy can be an irritant, and an allergen for some, and can take several days to dry. Our experts, naturally, wear personal protective gear during that process.
The curing process will likely be the only time you may have to take safety precautions around epoxy. We strongly recommend you avoid the space till the epoxy has fully dried and our team declares it safe.
Hopefully, you now have a basic idea of what epoxy flooring is. Let us discuss the pros and cons.
The pros of epoxy flooring
We are strong advocates for epoxy as a flooring solution for high-traffic areas. If you’re considering its appropriateness for your project, let us explain its merits.
It’s highly damage resistant
Epoxy flooring is not a laminate — it is a thick, rigid and hardy floor. Therefore, it does not crack or peel. It can withstand enormous pressure from heavy objects stored for long periods, vehicles, and high-traffic footfall.
Epoxy is entirely waterproof. The benefits of waterproof flooring are clear for spaces that are routinely exposed to the elements. But indoor spaces that depend on hygiene, such as food preparation and medical care areas, can gain much from a watertight floor.
The Australian heat is also something to consider when choosing a floor. Epoxy can be treated to become fire resistant, protecting it from the weather and accidents.
It creates a safe environment for staff and equipment
Epoxy flooring is antimicrobial, UV resistant, impervious to most chemicals and non-slip. Every one of its benefits is a point towards the safety of you and your staff.
These same benefits apply to equipment and vehicles, making epoxy ideal for garages and parking structures.
It’s artistically versatile
Putting aside its practical benefits for a moment, we must give due to the visual versatility of an epoxy floor.
We can install epoxy flooring in a variety of colours and finishes to bring out the best in your spaces. Living rooms, dining rooms, restaurants, dealerships — all of these spaces and more could do with added texture and personality.
When expertly applied to good quality concrete, an epoxy floor can last for over a decade.
How long your floor lasts will depend on the stresses placed on it, but we are confident that our epoxy floors can withstand the most strenuous demands for years on end. To keep your floors looking their best, monitor them regularly for damage — we can always apply another coat to return it to pristine condition.
The cons of epoxy flooring
Epoxy does have some significant challenges, particularly in its application, which you must be aware of. These challenges can be overcome with careful planning and expert care.
It takes days to cure
Creating epoxy flooring is a days-long process that involves layering epoxy till the desired thickness and finish is achieved. During that time, the area being laid is practically inaccessible.
Whether you’re creating flooring for your home’s living room or your restaurant’s kitchen, you will need to account for these curing days. That makes epoxy flooring extremely inconvenient, if not impossible, for those who cannot spare the time.
Fresh epoxy gives off noxious fumes
Part of the reason epoxy appliers wear protective gear is to guard themselves against the fumes. These fumes are extremely unpleasant in odour, and prolonged exposure can be toxic. Our experts will ensure that the space is clearly marked and well ventilated while they work.
Asthmatics and those with chemical allergies should avoid fresh epoxy diligently. This is another reason why you will need to account for the time it takes to properly floor a space.
Once the epoxy has cured, it will not release noxious fumes — it will be perfectly safe.
Epoxy flooring needs a non-slip coating
While a cured and dry epoxy floor is not a danger, accidentally spilled liquid can make it one. Because epoxy is watertight and non-porous, the liquid will remain on the surface, creating a slipping or skidding hazard for people and vehicles.
There are workarounds for this problem. Adjustments made during the floor application process, as well as additional special coatings, can mitigate the issue. Still, spills should be cleaned as quickly as possible.
In our opinion, the benefits of epoxy flooring far outweigh the drawbacks. If you would like to discuss what you’ve learned in greater depth, contact our expert team. Let us look at some final key details.
Is epoxy flooring hard to maintain?
Epoxy flooring is extremely easy to maintain.
Because epoxy is resistant to cracking, peeling and chipping, it requires very little attention. However, if your flooring does not have a non-slip coating, you will need to be diligent about soaking up spilled liquids. If exposed to constant abrasive forces (on a worksite, for example) then you will need to watch out for surface erosion.
If you do notice erosion over the years, we can restore your flooring by adding additional epoxy layers to the worn areas.
Where can epoxy flooring be used?
Epoxy is a great flooring material for practically any industry or room. Either as flooring or a coating on existing floors, its durability, hygienic qualities and colourful finishes make it easily adaptable.
Epoxy flooring works well in:
- Residential spaces: including living rooms, rumpus rooms, kitchens, garages and sheds
- Businesses: shopping centres, gyms, stores, gyms, showrooms
- Healthcare industries: hospitals, pharmacies, residential aged care facilities
- Food industries: food production facilities, supermarkets, bars
- Schools and offices: canteens, office rooms, classrooms
Is epoxy flooring affordable?
Epoxy flooring is a cost-effective option when its cost is weighed against its benefits.
The cost of our epoxy flooring per square metre (PSM) is as follows:
- Standard epoxy (incl. labour & materials): $30–50 PSM
- Decorative finishes (incl. Labour, materials, flakes, metallics, colours, etc.) $80–100 PSM
Please do note that to give you an accurate cost estimate, we will need to factor in the specific details of your job, such as location, difficulty and accessibility.
In summary: is epoxy flooring worth it?
The guide has covered everything you need to know to decide if an epoxy floor is right for your next project. Here is a summary of what we have covered.
Epoxy flooring is:
- A rigid yet soft plastic flooring
- Non-toxic and safe for residential, business and industrial settings
- Extremely durable
- Available in a variety of creative finishes
- Easy to maintain
- Easy to restore
- Takes days to cure, making spaces totally unusable while wet
- Noxious during the installation process, requiring the premises to vacate
- May need additional non-slip coating