Epoxy coatings deliver choice in flooring solutions

By: Chris Williams
12 August, 2011

When specifying a flooring solution for industrial, commercial or domestic applications, one thing you won’t be short of is choice, and increasingly epoxy coatings are becoming a popular solution.

Carpet, timber, tiles, vinyl – when it comes to selecting an appropriate flooring solution for your home, business or factory, the choices can seem practically limitless.

However by asking yourself some straightforward questions the right choice can become a lot clearer, and increasingly the answer flooring specifiers and building contractors are coming up with is none of the above, but rather an epoxy coating.

Epoxy flooring solutions have long been the domain of industrial applications, being durable, non-slip, low maintenance and safe. But can they also look good, like really good, a key consideration for a commercial or domestic installation? You bet.

According to Robyn Cooper, owner and principal of AAA Sexy Floors, epoxy is the Cinderella of flooring, hardworking and once underappreciated, but now blossoming to its full potential.

"Just over ten years ago, epoxy was relegated to ‘back of house’ areas like commercial kitchens and industrial warehouses…solely for its extreme durability and important non-slip properties," Cooper told IndustrySearch.

"Innovation has revolutionised epoxy floor design. The entire industry had now found a product you couldn’t argue with. Strong, good looking, and affordably priced." 

But "good looks" are only one of the advantages of epoxy coatings, and other considerations that will inevitably factor in the decision-making process will be application, durability, maintenance, installation, the environment, and of course all importantly – budget.

When it comes to price Cooper claims the return on investment for an epoxy floor comes down to whether you are taking a short, medium or long term view of the cost. In the short term epoxy flooring is middle of the range by comparison to carpet, tiles, timber or marble, but since the results are so different in each case, it’s really like comparing apples and oranges.

In the medium term epoxy starts to pay for itself where other flooring solutions may not, particularly from the point of view of low maintenance. Long term it really comes into its own.

"To maintain the finish of your epoxy floor, all you need to do is vacuum, then mop with an environmentally friendly cleaning solution. Couple this with a strip and polish bi-annually and you will ensure the integrity of the epoxy surface," Cooper said.

"Epoxy is the strongest flooring surface in the world. This alone makes it an ideal long term investment.

"Epoxy is strong because it forms part of the concrete surface underneath. They stick together and as long as you maintain the floor on a  regular basis, the integrity of the surface will remain."   

On the question of durability and the ability of your flooring solution to withstand the rigours of the Australian environment, Cooper said AAA Sexy Floors didn’t realise the importance of epoxy until disaster struck.

"In the Brisbane floods while home owners and shop owners were under stress to rip up and dispose of waterlogged and putrid carpets, tiles and timber floors, epoxy surfaces stood up to the challenge," Cooper said.

"After the contaminated water subsided, for most of the floors, all that was required was a good scrub. Everything else may have been destroyed, but unlike their neighbours, our customers relied on the fact their floor was walk worthy almost instantaneously." 

Obviously there is no guarantee that all epoxy floors will be flood proof, but when you look at the alternatives, it clearly has the best chance of survival.

While certain flooring solutions will be right or wrong for a particular application, Cooper insists epoxy is just about suitable everywhere, even when you may not think it is.

"If you have concrete slab, no matter how old or new, you can have an epoxy floor," Cooper said.

"(Epoxy) can also work over other flooring surfaces if cement sheeting is installed over the top of it.

"The only real reason a customer would want another surface would be purely because of habit."

When it comes to installation, Cooper cautions against using "fly-by-night" epoxy applicator companies.

"There are a lot of ‘epoxy’ applicators in the industry and there are two types of applicators," Cooper said.

"Firstly, there are companies that can do roll a plain colour epoxy finish and do a good job but they can’t do designer work.

"Secondly, there are companies that can lay designer floors but the quality of the work is less than satisfactory.

"We know this because we’ve had people employ us to relay their ‘designer’ floor laid by an ‘epoxy competitor’."

So the message from Cooper is simple.  If you are looking for a flooring solution that is environmentally friendly, durable, non-slip, non-toxic, fire-tested and affordable, epoxy has both you and your floor covered.