When you’re looking to get your garage floor, sidewalk, pool deck, or outdoor patio resurfaced with a concrete coating, you know you want something that is going to last.
With any home improvement project, you never want to invest your money in something that doesn’t perform the way you want. A concrete floor coating is no different.
As you research for the right concrete coating type for your project, you see more and more that epoxy is one of the most common material types that comes up. If it’s so popular and well-known, it must be good, right?
Epoxy is one of the most popular concrete coating types. It has become common for DIY kits and is used professionally all across the industry.
It’s true there are pros and cons to every concrete coating product, and it’s important to be aware of the benefits of the coating type and the potential problems they come with as well.
Video: "5 Common Problems with Epoxy Coatings" Available Down Below
Southwest Exteriors has been an exterior remodeling contractor in San Antonio since 1989. We offer polyurea concrete coatings from Penntek Industrial Coatings because they are the most durable and long-lasting coatings available.
We meet with dozens of homeowners every week looking for a concrete coating solution. Often, they want to replace their old, worn-out epoxy coating that is faded and chipped.
We’re not here to bash epoxy coatings. We actually know that they may be the solution you’re looking for, depending on your goals for your project.
This article will outline the most common problems with epoxy coatings. This way, you can better understand the potential issues you may face if you decide to get an epoxy concrete coating.
After reading, you will know whether or not an epoxy coating may be the right solution for you and be aware of the downsides of epoxy.
What is an epoxy coating?
Epoxy is a type of polymer. A polymer is a material made up of large molecules strung together over and over again. The structure of a polymer makes it elastic and tough, which is why it is popularly used in construction.
Other examples of polymers are wool, DNA, fingernails, and hair.
An epoxy mixture used for concrete coatings consists of a resin and a hardener. The two are mixed and spread evenly over the surface to dry on the concrete.
You can look at an epoxy coating similar to paint. It sits on the surface of the concrete and doesn’t bond itself down to the roots.
Epoxy coatings are popular for a reason. They can be durable and provide your concrete surface with an upgraded look while also protecting the concrete.
However, because epoxy has a similar makeup of paint, it does not bond down into the concrete like other concrete coatings.
Problem #1: Epoxy does not bond well with concrete
The problem with epoxy floor coatings is that they do not bond with the concrete, but rather sit on top of the surface. This creates an adhesion issue that then causes multiple issues with the coating.
Other concrete coatings, like polyurea, actually absorb and bond down into the concrete to create a strong hold. Epoxy coatings are like when you put oil on top of water.
The most common problem of poor adhesion of an epoxy coating is chipping, peeling, and flaking. Because epoxy sits on top of the surface and does not bond with the concrete, it is susceptible to peeling up and cracking with regular wear and tear.
It is also common for epoxy coatings designed with colored flakes to experience excess flaking with the chips because they are not well sealed and bonded to the concrete.
An epoxy coating will show signs of wear and visible damage for areas with high traffic and potential impact within a few years.
Problem #2: Epoxy will melt and warp under high temperatures
The second most common problem with epoxy floor coatings is that they do not withstand high temperatures, whether indoors or outdoors. It can withstand around 200℉.
For example, an epoxy coating on a garage will shift, melt, and lift when hot tires pull into the garage on the floor. This is the most common thing with garage floor epoxy coatings where cars are constantly in and out.
Epoxy coatings in outdoor areas that are constantly exposed to the sun will also create a weaker surface and will not last. This would not be the best solution for areas that experience higher temperatures and brutal sun throughout the years, like in the southern and southwest U.S.
Problem #3: Epoxy will fade under UV rays
Another common issue with epoxy coatings is that they fade when exposed to UV rays. Even in a garage or under a patio, if any epoxy area is exposed to the sun, it will cause fading.
Most products, like paint and surface coatings, will fade slightly over time when exposed to UV rays. However, high-quality concrete coatings are engineered to resist any fading.
Color fade combined with its low resistance to high temperatures makes epoxy not an ideal solution for an outdoor coating or area where the surface will see daylight.
Problem #4: Epoxy can bubble and blister
If epoxy isn’t mixed properly or excessively mixed with a high-power mixing blade, this can create bubbles in the mixture that transfer and dry in the coating. Bubbles can also occur if the temperature of the concrete is not compatible with the epoxy mixture.
When bubbles form after the coating is dried, these are categorized as blisters. Blisters can occur from either a collection of bubbles popping and forming a larger blister or if excess moisture is trapped beneath the concrete.
When the moisture evaporates, it creates a blister bubble under the coating. This is also a symptom caused by poor adhesion. Excess moisture can also happen when a concrete surface is etched or treated with an acid wash.
Problem #5. Epoxy coatings have long cure times
Epoxy coatings can take up to three days to fully cure or harden properly. Other coating types, like polyurea, are fully cured in 24 hours.
This is a big thing to consider when deciding on an epoxy floor coating or not. No matter the area, if it is your garage, driveway, or patio, it will need to be cleared and cannot be walked on for the amount of time it will take to cure fully.
The extended cure time of an epoxy coating is one of its biggest disadvantages.
When is and isn’t epoxy a good solution for a concrete floor coating?
Epoxy is an affordable option for a concrete coating, and if you are looking to DIY your concrete coating, it is widely available and may be the right coating type for you.
Because of its high probability to chip, flake, bubble, peel, and fade in high traffic and outdoor areas, an epoxy coating would be best for a garage floor used as an extended living room.
Epoxy is not a great solution for garages where cars will be parked and driven on and outdoor areas.
Is epoxy coating the right solution for me?
Now that you know the most common problems with epoxy coatings, you’re probably wondering if it might be a good solution for you.
If you want your concrete surface coated and are considering an epoxy coating, you must consider what you want to get from your project. How long do you want it to last? What do you want it to look like?
You must also consider what area you want to be coated. Is it mostly outdoors? Will any cars be driving on it? Is it a high-traffic area? These questions will also help determine whether epoxy will be the best solution for you.
Understanding the problems with any product you are interested in is important to know if it will perform and last as long as you want.
Epoxy may be the right solution for you if:
Your concrete surface is not outdoors
No cars will be driven on the surface
You’re looking for a less expensive way to spruce up your garage
You want a simple DIY solution
At Southwest Exteriors, we offer polyurea coatings with a polyaspartic topcoat because it is one of the most durable and long-lasting coatings available. We want to offer the best products with the best service and installation because we know the importance of properly preparing and applying a concrete coating.
However, we know that our service and polyurea coatings might not be the best solution for everyone. No matter what solution you consider, it’s crucial to know the pros and cons and how they compare to others.