You probably hear the term “epoxy” on a regular basis. You may picture a coffee table made of wood with a gorgeous blue river running through it. Or you may picture something small, like an epoxy ring with a waterfall landscape inside.
While these are amazing, one of the most common uses for epoxy is epoxy paint. We’ll talk more about this later. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what epoxy is and where it came from to begin with.
What Is Epoxy?
Epoxy is an ingredient used in epoxy resin. The scientific name for these resins is polyepoxide, which is a type of polymer that is combined with a curing material that hardens the resin and creates an extremely strong material.
While a lot of people are familiar with epoxy in one way most people don’t know what it really is or how it is used in other industries. You may be surprised to hear that it isn’t as old as you may think.
History Of Epoxy
The first report of epoxy being created was in 1934 by German Paul Schlack. For decades, people experimented with these finds but it wasn’t until the 1990s that epoxy was being used by the masses.
But the first major epoxy company wasn’t named until 2003 when it became the Advanced Materials business unit of Huntsman Corporation of the United States. This is the epoxy that we know and love today.
Is Epoxy Dangerous?
A lot of people assume that epoxy resin is harmful or toxic. But epoxy resin is generally non-toxic and poses no threat even if small amounts are ingested or inhaled. That said, you still shouldn’t keep it around children or pets.
However, as with all epoxy resins, you should take basic safety precautions when working with epoxy resin. Epoxy resin comes in three forms: cured, uncured, and dust. The form affects how safe the epoxy is.
Cured epoxy resin is non-toxic. It is the form that is cured, hardened, and ready for use. Uncured epoxy is still safe but since it is in its liquid form it can pose risks, depending on what hardener it is mixed with.
Epoxy dust is what you usually mix with the hardener to create an epoxy resin that is cured. The dust can fly up your nose and get into your lungs so wearing a mask when using it is reccomended.
Modern epoxy has many uses in today’s world. It can fill gaps big and cracks better than most other fillers. But there is a limit to its capabilities. Here are the most common uses for epoxy in today’s world.
Epoxy has a stronger hold than most other adhesives and is one of the most popular types of glue for metals. It can be applied vertically or horizontally, even upside down. It dries quickly and will last for decades, likely longer.
Epoxy is often used as an insulator and chamber for electronic devices. You can find it in computers and other electronics often as it is fire-resistant and protects the components inside it without overheating.
You can mix epoxy with dyes to create a paint that is different than the floor coating we often refer to. This type of epoxy paint can be used on appliances to create a strong enamel and color the appliance beautifully.
Whatever kind of repairs you have to make, epoxy can usually help. From glues to fillers, epoxy is a wonderful help when it comes to repairs in most materials. It can be colored to match most materials and has a trusty hold.
This is one of the most popular uses for epoxy. Imagine trusting a material so much that you trust that it will keep your boat afloat. This is what epoxy can do for large ships and small privately-owned boats alike.
You’ve seen the gorgeous wood furniture with epoxy accents. This type of furniture is expensive because it requires an expert craftsman and it uses a lot of colored epoxies. But it is always worth it due to the beauty of the piece.
This is another extremely popular use for epoxy. This is called epoxy paint in the construction world, and this is what you’ll get if you ask for epoxy paint most of the time. So, let’s go more in-depth with epoxy paint.
Epoxy paint is often called epoxy floor coating. This is because its primary use is to seal floors. It isn’t even painted at all but a sealant used to seal, protect, and make floors shine. Epoxy paint itself is highly customizable.
Epoxy paint is a very popular choice for sealing floors and is most often used on concrete. It is a wonderful sealant that is twice as strong as concrete and can be bought in buckets just like paint, only it cures rather than dries.
Cost Of Epoxy Floors
Epoxy flooring costs $4 to $15 per square foot if you have someone else install it for you. Most epoxy floor projects end up costing between $500 and $3000 to finish from beginning to end which is a fairly large range.
Outdoor epoxy finishes are usually cheaper than indoor because there aren’t as many textures and it doesn’t need to be as smooth. However, it does need to be weatherproofed which can add to the cost.
How To Use Epoxy Paint
Using epoxy paint isn’t any more difficult than using regular paint or sealant. All you have to do is paint it on your floors. However, before getting to that step, there are a few other steps that you may need to take.
Step 1: Prepare The Floor
Clean the floor really well before attempting to use epoxy. You will need to do a simple clean first then sand it with either a simple sander or a grinder. A grinder is preferable if you can afford to rent one.
After it is sanded, it will need swept and mopped really well again. Any dust that you find on the floor will end up in the epoxy, affecting the quality of the epoxy look and how well it sticks to the floor.
Step 2: Fill Cracks
Using a concrete filler, you can fill all of the cracks and holes in the concrete. You can use epoxy for this step too but concrete is recommended to match the original floor. Ensure that the filler dries before moving onto the next step.
It’s a good idea to have concrete on hand anyway. The cost of concrete is fairly low when purchased in small amounts. Just don’t leave it outside or else the first time it rains, the entire bag will be ruined.
Step 3: Prime The Floor
Always prime the floor with an epoxy primer before painting it with sealant. Primer will prevent bubbles, give you a stronger floor, and ensure your floor lives the longest life that it can. So don’t skip the priming step.
This is even more important than priming for paint. Because priming for paint primarily affects the color and thickness of the paint. But priming for epoxy sealant affects the entire process and life of the floors.
Step 4: Mix Epoxy Paint
Now, more than likely, you are using non-mixed epoxy as most epoxy will harden even if in a sealed container if it is pre-mixed. So add the hardener or curer to the epoxy mix as instructed on the box.
Then, use a mixer or a drill with a mixer attachment to mix it for a couple of minutes. Follow the instructions on the package to make sure the texture is correct. This is important to your end result, so don’t slack here.
Step 5: Apply The Epoxy Paint
Now it’s time to finally apply the paint. Using a roller, apply the epoxy paint to the floor. Use one even coat for the first coat and let it dry for an entire day before adding a second coat. You should also fix any mistakes before additional coats are added.
There may be small cracks or holes in the epoxy, so ensure that they are touched up before you use the epoxy on the entire floor. If you can’t fix them before a second coat is added, then they will never get fixed.
Note: epoxy usually only lasts an hour or less in a bucket. So don’t mix more than you will use for one coat at one time. Instead, mix in small batches and wait before mixing any more. The epoxy itself can last for ages until you add the curing ingredient.
Should I Use Epoxy Paint?
Epoxy floors are one of the most beautiful floors known to man. You can make it any color you want, you can add patterns into the paint, you can even add objects into the epoxy to create an entire world under the floor.
But using it or not is your choice. It is durable and looks gorgeous. But it is also more expensive than most other types of floors. Not to mention, it is really easy to mess it up. For easier flooring, try laminate.
But for floors that can look like marble or underwater kingdoms, then epoxy is perfect. Experiment with it in small areas to find the perfect creation for you. Which will definitely happen because you won’t find more gorgeous flooring.