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Paint or Epoxy for my concrete floor? What’s the difference?
Great confusion arises when someone decides they want to clean up their warehouse, workshop or garage concrete floor. Should it be epoxy paint or an epoxy coating? Is there a difference? If so, which is best? Just like any products that will have a long term effect on the surface you want to clean up, you first have to find out the product differences. Once you have the information you’ll be able to decide whether or not you’re going to use paint, epoxy paint or an epoxy coating.
The most confusion is with epoxy coating. Is it a paint? No it is not! Most floor paints are a latex acrylic product. Many well-known paint manufactures offer paint with a small amount of epoxy in the mix and call them 1-Part epoxy paint. This mix does allow a slightly better adhesion and durability than standard acrylic paint, but it is NOT an epoxy product.
The name “epoxy paint” came about when a group of epoxy manufactures noticed that their prospective customer’s terminology when searching for epoxy coatings. The DIY end users were mixing the term “paint” with “coating”. A marketing decision was made and many well-known DIY epoxy flooring manufacturers decided to brand their products as “epoxy paint” since that is what consumers seemed to be calling it.
Calling it “epoxy paint” has only made things more confusing for the general public because when you see something advertised as epoxy paint for your garage, it could be paint or it could be an epoxy coating. Due to this, many people have been buying a paint product when what they thought they were purchasing was a cheap priced epoxy product.
So Epoxy is what exactly?
Epoxy is a two component product consisting of one part epoxy resin and one part hardener. Once mixed together you are limited by time, and temperature often dictates as to how long you have to apply it and its curing time. With coloured epoxies it is the resin that is tinted to give the epoxy colour.
An epoxy coating cures due to an exothermic reaction and does not dry like paint does. It provides a very hard and durable surface that is resistant to staining, abrasion, and chemicals.
The ease of application and thickness of the epoxy is dependent on the volume of solids content. In other words, 100% solids epoxy means that you have 100% of the product on the floor after it cures. 50% solids mean that you have 50% of the product remaining on the floor. The reason for this is that the carrier agents which are used in the lower solids product, either solvents or water, evaporate out as the epoxy cures.
100% solids epoxy is harder to work with during application because of the thicker viscosity and limited time to apply it. Epoxy with a lesser solids content has less viscosity and is easier to apply.
A high solids epoxy puts down a thicker coating on the floor while the lesser solids epoxy puts down a thinner coat.
Many of the inexpensive “DIY” epoxy paint kits that you can buy from a shop or online have as little as 48% solids. This means that it is easier to apply as well as cheaper to buy because the solids content is lower along with the quality. It goes on the floor almost as easy as paint does.
In fact, it is one of the marketing aspects that make these kits so popular to purchase. They can be applied to your garage floor much more easily compared to the more premium epoxy coat systems.
Keep in mind that it also means you have much less of it on the floor resulting in a much thinner coat. This affects the durability of the coating and quality of the product when compared to epoxy brands with higher solids content. The down side to using cheaper and lower solid content products means that the floor does not last as long and if you ever wanted to recoat your floor, then you would need to remove it all and start afresh.
As you can see, epoxy paint and epoxy coating generally mean the same thing, They are both epoxy coatings but carry different end results. Our epoxy products are two part and have a higher solid content, heavy duty being our most resistant and hardwearing. Should you need any further advice or product information please feel free to contact one of our team,