We are often asked how effective the discount epoxy kits at the big box home centers are. As we all know, big home centers sell (relatively) inexpensive one and two-part epoxy kits from Rust-Oleum, Behr, and other manufacturers.
Generally speaking, these discount kits are of inferior quality, although we do not wish to disparage any particular brand. Many of the epoxies in these kits are water based and, in most cases, are only a concrete paint. Discount kits have their place, such as for laundry room floors and light foot traffic areas. But, for the heavy duty use required for automobile parking, discount kits generally will not fit the bill. Unfortunately, some commercial installers are using discount kits in order to keep their costs down. If you have received a low-ball bid on a concrete coating job at your home, you should be quite suspicious.
Always ask your installer:
- The brand and type of coating they intend to use.
- Where the installer intends to purchase it. High-grade coatings are purchased from concrete specialty supply houses and directly from manufacturers.
- What is the installer’s method of preparation of the concrete, if they acid etch for their prep…run away!
It has been our experience, in reviewing and inspecting concrete surfaces that are coated with such products, that the discount coatings fail prematurely for two reasons. The first problem with such coatings is that they lack sufficient abrasion resistance and proper prep of the concrete substrate. Thus, such coatings are prone to scratching, peeling and ultimately failing and coming up from the concrete. When a concrete coating fails to adhere to the concrete below, the coating chips away, revealing the concrete underneath. Also, most of the epoxies on the market today are not UV tolerant resulting in color fade and clouding of the coating material. This usually happens within a manner of months when only partially exposed to the sun light.
Many contractors today that do concrete coatings still use outdated and failure-prone epoxy coatings when they do a job. The main reason for this is cost…less cost for them means more money in their pocket. A decent contractor is going to be up front and tell you what his material make up is and how his process and system is put down. Be very wary of low-ball bids…if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A quality floor coating system will not consist of cheap epoxy or concrete paint, and prep is really the key. If a contractor uses acid to prep the concrete, that is a major red flag and one that should be avoided.
Here are some examples of some floor coating failures we have encountered over the years.
Even if you have a coating on the floor now that is peeling up, don’t worry, that can removed and a quality coating with proper prep can be applied.
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