You will find that as you start comparing different epoxy coatings that like paint, they are not all equal. You will see that there are different types of epoxy too such as solvent based and water based epoxy. Prices will vary as well with each kit, and bear in mind that if you are looking for quality, going for lower pricing is not best. So with all these options, how are you to know what one is best for you and your needs?
It is most important to become knowledgeable of the basic properties of the epoxy floor coating before you go about applying one to your garage floor or even hiring a professional to do it for you. Gaining the knowledge needed will help you greatly with making a decision of which is best to suit your needs. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty about the differences between all of these.
The use of Carrier Agents in epoxy:
You will find that water and solvents are what is typically used as carrier agents for some of the epoxy resins and they would assist in the adhesion, self-leveling properties, and ease of the application. They also give you a longer “pot life” which means that once you mix the two components together, the epoxy starts the curing process. This only gives you so long to get the epoxy applied to your garage floor, but these carriers help prolong that “pot life” so that you have a little longer to get it applied.
These have been found to be much more DIYer friendly because of the ease of application. You will find that the average “pot life” is about 2 hours, which means you have that long to apply it to the garage floor. It will roll on smoothly just like paint during these 2 hours.
Water based vs. Solvent based epoxy:
Solvent used to be the more popular of the carrier agents to be used in epoxy coating. It could be applied during cooler temperatures and within higher humidity. It also does a better job with tolerating petroleum contaminates within the concrete surface. It once use to have a glossier surface than the water based epoxy and is some of the cases is much more durable.
There was a big problem with solvent-based epoxy though. The high VOC’s content, which is volatile organic compounds. It cannot be used indoors without proper ventilation due to all of the fumes. If you are applying one in a garage, it is best to have the proper respirators worn during the entire process. Also, kept away from all open flames such as a furnace or water heater.
Many states throughout the United States does not allow solvent based epoxy due to the high VOC’s unless it is one that has lower VOC’s. Which if the VOC’s are lessened, then this makes the solvent based epoxy less in quality than one with higher VOC’s.
Water-based epoxy have really grown and flourished from ones in the past. Especially since the US has started prohibiting products with high VOC’s. It has become the more prominent epoxy than the solvent based. Some of the water based epoxy products have been found to be just as durable as most of the solvent based and give off just as much shine. What is also nice about the water-based products is that they do not produce any fumes or odor, which makes them very environmentally safe.
Another known fact is that some water based epoxies can be applied to a concrete floor that is still damp and make a good sealant that helps stop the hydrostatic pressure from the moisture vapor transmission. Which is why you will find most epoxy primers are water based.
100% solids epoxy:
With 100% solids epoxies do not have any water or solvents in it that will need to evaporate. Due to this, once it has cured and completely dried it will be much thicker. Like water-based products, there is no worry about VOC’s, which also makes them environmentally friends, and the coating cures mainly by chemical catalization.
100% solids epoxies are much more resistant to abrasion, chemicals, and stains which is one big and main reason why this type is used often for commercial use. They are also very long lasting, some as long as 20 years or even more. It makes them the most durable of the garage floor epoxies.
Due to their thicker consistency, they have a shorter “pot life” which is anywhere from 30-40 minutes instead of 2 hours that the water and solvent based epoxies have. Which makes these much more difficult to work with. Though these can be done as a DIY, it is always best that who is applying this type of epoxy is one that is very confident in their skills.
That explains the differences between the different types of epoxies. The last little tip before closing is to make sure that you take a look at the technical data sheets, or TDS for the product. They are easily found online or ask an associate at the store.
If you are ever in doubt, you can always reach out to a professional like Floor ReNew Houston for more information or to even possibly schedule an appointment today.
Floor ReNew Houston
Natural Stone Restoration
4530 W. 34th Street Suite C
Houston, TX 77092