Epoxy flooring has been gaining in popularity through the years and is the flooring of choice for many different public buildings and places such as hospitals, schools, and garages.
In this article, we will be having a closer look at epoxy and the reasons it may be used for flooring.
In particular, we are going to be exploring the disadvantages of epoxy flooring. Like everything in the world, epoxy flooring is not perfect.
However, before we look at these epoxy downfalls, we should first consider what epoxy flooring actually is.
As well as this, we will also be telling you about some of the advantages of epoxy flooring. After all, it’s not all doom and gloom!
PS. Do you have hardwood floors in your office? Check out our newest article regarding chair mat recommendations here.
What is epoxy flooring?
Before we go any further, it would be helpful to know what exactly epoxy flooring is. The popular flooring choice has long been used in schools, hospitals, and workshop areas for industrial purposes.
Epoxy, as you may or may not know, is the name given to a type of thermosetting polymer. Epoxy is a very broad term. However, in the case of epoxy flooring, it is clear that the epoxy they are referring to is epoxy resin.
Epoxy resin is made when prepolymers and polymers containing epoxide are combined. This resin can then be used alongside a hardener to make it ‘cure’ or set to a solid-state.
This process is called crosslinking and the hardener usually comes in the form of a co-reactor. The resulting solid material is the thermoset polymer.
Epoxy flooring usually refers to a layer of concrete flooring that has had epoxy resin applied to it. The epoxy resin and the hardening compound are mixed together, creating a chemical reaction that will harden over time.
After the first has been mixed and applied, it will be left to harden. Once it has hardened more layers can be applied. This is usually done in two or three layers. The end result is a strong, durable material, perfect for flooring.
As we mentioned early on in the article, this durable, strong flooring is ideal for schools, hospitals, and other public places.
That being said it is becoming more and more common to see it for residential purposes, in kitchens, basements, and home garages.
Now that you are clued up on what epoxy flooring is, it’s time to explore it in more detail, looking in particular at the disadvantages of it and why it may not be the best choice for you.
However, we also want to show you the reasons why epoxy flooring may be advantageous.
As you will find out, it is entirely a personal choice whether you deem epoxy flooring the right flooring for you, and it will depend on a number of factors, especially the use you have in mind.
What are the disadvantages of epoxy flooring?
It can be slippery
To look at, epoxy flooring is like a sheet of glass or ice. It looks wet and slippery. Of course, this can be very aesthetically pleasing, giving the room a futuristic vibe.
It has high-shine, looks very glossy, and can be easily adapted to your specific style and decor preferences. Whilst epoxy resin is neither ice nor glass, it does have the tendency to act like it.
By this we mean it is very slippery under certain conditions. When epoxy flooring gets wet, it feels as though you are on an ice skating rink.
This is definitely something worth bearing in mind if you had planned to put epoxy flooring down in your leaky garage or basement. If you considered it for your kitchen, too, it may not be the best choice if you are prone to spillages.
The slipperiness of epoxy flooring can be a danger to those who walk on it. This is especially the case if someone has wet feet for whatever reason.
It is for this reason that it should not be used in places where there are vulnerable people who are prone to falling anyway or could seriously injure themselves after a fall.
The reason it gets too slippery is that the material is non-porous. This means water just sits on the surface of it, making it extremely slippery.
It is also very dangerous if oil gets spilled on it. This may not seem like a big worry, but when you consider the fact that many people choose epoxy flooring for the garages and kitchens, you can see why it is a concern.
Any oil, whether that be cooking oil or oil from a car can cause a very dangerous surface. The oil will not absorb into the epoxy and will just lie on top of it.
Because oil and water are often transparent, it can be hard to see any spillages on the already shiny epoxy surface.
Epoxy is, as we have already discussed, a product of chemical reactions. When the epoxy is being applied, the toxic fumes are a health hazard to anyone in the vicinity.
This is definitely something to consider if you are planning to have epoxy flooring in your home or business.
It should not be done by yourself as a DIY project. You should hire professionals to lay your epoxy flooring for you as they will know exactly how to handle the hazardous substances used.
When epoxy flooring has hardened it should not pose any health risks unless it is sanded or the epoxy gets damaged, emitting fumes or dust into the air.
Epoxy dust and fumes can cause lots of health issues such as headaches, skin irritation, and respiratory problems.
It can be difficult to get it to adhere to certain surfaces
Epoxy needs a completely dry surface to adhere to. If you are applying it to concrete, you need to make sure that the complete is bone dry before proceeding.
Even the slightest bit of moisture can cause it to not adhere. As well as this, if you are applying it in a chronically damp room such as a basement or garage, there is a chance that it will never harden and adhere properly.
The conditions need to be perfect in order for it to work. Not everyone can guarantee this, especially in the rooms we have mentioned.
It takes a while to dry and harden
Leading on from the previous point, even when applied on the perfect surface, epoxy can take days to properly dry and harden to the desired solid state.
This is a huge consideration to take into account as usually there needs to be at least 2 or 3 separate applications to get it to the right thickness levels.
This means paying professionals for 3 days of labor, or if you are attempting to do it yourself, it means waiting a long time. Many people just don’t have the time or patience for this.
You need a strong base underneath it
We have mentioned a concrete base for your epoxy flooring a number of times. This is not just an optional step. Epoxy resin needs a strong base to adhere to.
Concrete is the most common option, but that being said it can also be applied to wood and steel. You need to ensure the base, whatever the material, is good quality, and able to withstand these coats of epoxy resin well.
As we have mentioned, the base surface needs to be dry, but it should also be clean and free of any issues like wood rot. The surface should be even to allow for even application of the epoxy.
The reason this is a con is the fact that it requires lots of preparation to make sure the base surface is up to scratch.
If you don’t have a base surface made from concrete, steel, or wood it will mean you have to spend more money and time to put one in place first.
It is hard to upkeep and needs to be replaced often
If you are committing to an epoxy floor for your home or business you are also committing to the upkeep of it.
Epoxy does not last forever and can be susceptible to damage. This is especially true of epoxy laid down in high traffic areas.
Cracks, scratches, and chips can all occur on your epoxy floors. As well as this, any dampness can cause the epoxy floors to peel away from the base surface.
This means having to replace the epoxy to make sure it remains safe and stays looking good. The maintenance can be costly, requiring professionals each time.
Often needs a professional to install and remove it
We have mentioned the need for professionals a number of times in this article, but it is an important point to keep in mind.
Because of the complicated nature of applying epoxy flooring, partnered with the hazards it entails, it is advisable to hire a professional to lay it down for you. The same can be said for the removal of epoxy flooring too.
The process of both installation and removal is a tedious one, as well as each having its own associated dangers.
The hiring of professionals is, at least in our opinion, a necessity. However, it is costly, and many people may not be prepared to incur these costs.
It can be cold underfoot
Epoxy flooring feels very similar to tiled flooring when walked on with bare feet.
It does not help to warm up a room, and so if you have an already cold room such as a garage or basement this may be something you want to take into consideration.
That being said, there is, of course, the option to install underfloor heating to improve this.
This does incur a cost, though, and it may not suit everyone’s budget as it can be very pricy. This leads people to just choose a warmer floor like hardwood or even carpet.
Are there any advantages of epoxy flooring?
That all sounds very dreary, and by now you are probably thinking that you should avoid epoxy flooring at all costs.
However, it does have some advantages. In this latter part of the article, we want to tell you all about these advantages, letting you know how epoxy flooring can be beneficial.
It is cheap
Whilst the upkeep and labor costs may make it a little pricier, the cost of epoxy flooring itself is rather low.
This is especially true when comparing it to other popular floor choices such as hardwood.
As well as this, the upkeep, whilst it may be costly, may not have to happen as often as other flooring choices.
It is relatively easy to keep clean and intact and will not require expensive cleaning products to keep it looking good.
It is durable
Unless your epoxy flooring is laid in a permanently damp room or gets totally saturated with water, it is likely to last a long time without any major damage.
It is strong and durable, hence why it is often a good choice in schools and hospitals.
Of course, in higher traffic areas it may wear down a little quicker and be more susceptible to chips, but in general, it can endure a lot.
It can be easily customized
This is one of epoxy flooring’s biggest selling points.
You can customize it however you like. You can make it colorful, get patterns and artwork pout into it, and even add glitter.
The world is your oyster when it comes to adapting your epoxy flooring for your needs.
To conclude our exploration of epoxy floors, we want to make clear that whether you choose an epoxy floor is your choice entirely.
It can certainly be a great option if you are looking for something cost friendly that looks good.
However, as you can see from our list, the disadvantages associated with epoxy flooring are numerous. That does not mean to say it cannot be used safely and effectively.
We would thoroughly recommend that you hire a professional to install your epoxy flooring if you do decide to choose it and consider our list of disadvantages very carefully to make sure you are well prepared for anything that could happen.