Despite its notable strength, concrete can undergo some damage and may require some maintenance or even repairs if constantly undergoing wear and tear from direct pressure and exposure to the elements. Whether you have a repair project at hand or are thinking about taking preventive steps to avoid the slightest sign of damage, rest assured it’s nothing that can’t be solved with some epoxy.
But What Exactly Is Epoxy?
Although it’s easy to mistake it for paint due to the similar application process, it’s not as the epoxy is a glue (i.e. a resin mixed with a hardener) that cures, and the paint is latex acrylic-based and simply dries up. The thickness is also a defining feature, with epoxy being much more consistent.
Both can upgrade and improve the look of the concrete surface, but only one can add that much-needed durability and strength boost and that’s the reliable epoxy sealant known for its ease of use and exceptional adhesion. Because of being such a good surface protector, in addition to being used with concrete, it’s also just as widespread in the use of other materials, like wood, metal, and glass.
Types of Epoxy Sealants
As a thermoset polymer with unique and advantageous properties and features, it can be mixed with a variety of coatings, adhesives, and fillers, creating a range of products that differ in consistency as much as the application and curing time. The most basic options are water-based, solvent-based, and 100% solid made without water or solvents, each of which serves specific purposes. A fourth type, which isn’t that popular or widespread, the gel sealant is mainly used for high-performance applications.
Out of these, the water-based epoxy sealant is considered to be the best option for light-traffic surfaces like residential driveways, and since it offers a coating that isn’t as thick as the other three, it’s not fit for heavy-duty purposes. Still, this doesn’t mean it’s not resilient, as it’s got a certain point of water and chemical resistance as well as resistance to acids and oils.
The solvent-based is one that has a solvent in its composition, as opposed to the water counterpart, and as such is better suited for surfaces that undergo moderate traffic, like certain commercial floors or parking lots, such as those of stores and warehouse storage facilities. This is possible since it’s more resilient to impact and contaminants like petroleum. As a slightly stronger option, it’s also a tad bit more expensive than the water-based, but not as expensive as the solid.
What makes this third option suitable for heavy-duty use is the fact the solids are mixed with the resin right away, instead of first being mixed with water or solvents. This makes it highly resistant to shrinks and cracks, as well as highly durable. As for the fourth, the marine gel, it’s the best option for some specific conditions and environments like surfaces exposed to saltwater. Keep in mind, though, that it’s the most expensive of all of them, and also ends up producing fumes so there’s more caution needed with the application.
What Are the Advantages of Epoxy?
Although there are various other materials as sealants on the market, including silicone, phenol, and acrylic, it’s the concrete epoxy sealer the one that’s still among the most sought-after for both residential and commercial purposes, in addition to being widespread in the industrial realm too. And, it’s all because of the advantages it provides, among which:
The Chemical Resistance
Epoxy is known as a highly resilient sealant, once you make sure the application and curing time are maintained as expected. When properly added, you can count on a hard-wearing surface that doesn’t undergo any changes even with accidents from spills like bleach. Not surprisingly, it’s such a welcome coating for the floors of chemical plants and hospitals.
The strong bond there is between the epoxy and the concrete, or other materials the surfaces are made of, ensures there’s a higher resistance to impact. In addition to going stress-free about fluid leaks and chemical spills, you also won’t have to fret the time when you accidentally drop a heavy tool on the floor. With a little care on your part, you can expect your epoxy sealant for your garage floor or just about any other residential or commercial floor to last you at least a decade, if not more.
The Visual Appeal
Just because the flooring is concrete doesn’t mean it should stay looking lifeless or too industrial. Having the chance to use the sealant both outdoors and indoors means having the flexibility to enhance the aesthetic of your floors, choosing to boost the sealant with some metallic finish or colour, or simply counting on its sleek and elegant glossy outcome.
What you can be certain of is a smooth surface that instantly makes the area look more visually appealing. The other benefit here is that it can also make the space appear brighter thanks to the reflective quality it has, which is just what you would want in a dark garage or warehouse with poorly lit conditions. The added dose of light would more than sure affect the aesthetic of the place too even if that’s not what you’re aiming for in these areas.
If the other benefits weren’t enough, there’s the fact the concrete epoxy sealer also acts as a barrier against bacteria which is why many opt for it as their preferred choice for floor treatments. What you can expect out of the cleaning and maintenance chores to prolong its lifespan is the regular sweeping to remove any dust or debris, and the weekly scrub to remove any dirt.
This is especially important for areas that are more prone to spills. For an effective sweep and scrub result, you’d have to acquire the appropriate mops, buckets, brushes and detergents. When stains occur, it’s advisable to remove them immediately and resort to using a mild solution before moving on to something more powerful if it’s the case with some older spills or rubber burns. Should you be using any chemicals, don’t forget to also wear the appropriate protective equipment like gloves and goggles.