Epoxy Floor Problems – Troubleshooting Guide for epoxy floors

This guide lists the most common problems that arise during the application of epoxy flooring products. The below listed problems are by no means exhaustive and neither are the reasons presented. Often two or more reasons could be the cause of the problem

Coating appears to be peeling/ delaminating

Cracked Epoxy that has detached from the substrate

  • No primer was used. Always apply a primer before applying the epoxy floor product. Primers help penetrate the pores of the substrate and improve adhesion for the next layers
  • Poor surface preparation led to inadequate bonding of the new floor to the existing floor. Grind or sand the substrate by mechanical means. By scratching the surface, bonding of the new coating is improved. For a video on floor grinding click here.
  • Presence of humidity or other contaminants in substrate. Make sure that the surface is dry before starting. If necessary use a heating device to dry the presence of humidity. If the surface seems to have absorbed oils, greases or other chemicals chemical cleaners (etching) or grinders to clean the contaminated area. When working with humid or oily substrates we recommend the use of Rapidcure Primer.
  • Failure of the substrate, usually caused by poor substrate quality. If the substrate seems very porous you may want to consider using additional primer to further strengthen the substrate. However overall weak cement substrates should be avoided and are not suitable for epoxy.
  • The Floor system that was installed was simply not strong enough to withstand the wear and tea Weight loads, type and frequency of traffic are two factors that are quite important when selecting epoxy floors. For industrial facilities with heavy wear and tear we recommend the use of Ktisofloor at a thickness of at least 2-3mm.

Coating has bubbles and pinholes

Bubbles and pinholes formed in the epoxy coating

  • Substrate was poorly sealed that led to the release of gases. Use additional primer to seal the substrate before commencing the final coating of the surface
  • Changes in temperature of the substrate (mid day warming of the slab) may have led to additional release of gas. Avoid applying self levelling coats in the mornings.
  • Presence of humidity/ water in substrate. Check for the presence of humidity in the substrate. If necessary use a suitable hygrometer. If concrete is fresh, wait at least 28 days before coating. When rising dampness is present you will first need to address the issue with suitable materials before proceeding to coat the floor.
  • Spiked roller was not used to eliminate bubbles When working with self-leveling floor products always use spiked rollers and spiked shoes to access all areas of the wet coating and eliminate bubbles

Coating is full of little particles

Poor cleaning led to dust being trapped. Cleaning the floor before coating is of upmost importance. Use a broom to sweep the larger dirt particles and then use an industrial vacuum to collect all the fine dust. Close windows before commencing to avoid having dust blown while the coating is still wet.

Final coating surface does not seem smooth (has trowel marks)

Trowel Marks visible in the coating after curing

Not enough product was used. In self-smoothing floors, too little quantity will not enable the resinous product to settle properly.  Follow the manufacturer’s instruction as per the recommended consumption. Do not use a worn-out trowel as the spread of the product will not be uniformly distributed.

Low temperatures didn’t let the product flow properly   Keep the goods stored in a warm place before using them. You may want to add some solvent (in solvent based coatings) to help product flow.

Coating has visible roller marks that tend to pick up dirt quickly

  • Poorly rolled epoxy is prone to pick up dirt

    When applying epoxies with a roller always backroll the coating at a perpendicular direction. This will enable a uniform surface and a proper distribution of the product

Epoxy floor is sticky, tacky does not seem to be curing

  • Poor mixing of components A and B led to inadequate chemical bonding. Use an electrical mixer and make sure mixing is uniform throughout the product for at least 2-3 minutes
  • No hardener was added to the product. This is common with inexperienced workers who have no prior experience in epoxies and don’t understand how two component chemical systems work. Make sure workers on the job understand epoxies and that they all have read the instructions on the packaging.
  • The hardener added was less than the required amount. This problem may arise if someone is using partial quantities of the pack rather than mixing the full quantity. Always mix the full pack.  If you need to mix partial quantities make sure these are weighed properly as per the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Very low room and/or surface temperature. Most epoxy systems need at last 10C/ 50F to cure properly. Try heating up the room to speed up curing time. If you need to work with low temperatures work with Rapidcure instead.

Coating seems to have bumps

Humidity or some other chemical that is pushing up the coating. It is very likely that the coating will break soon. Check for the presence of humidity before starting. Fresh concrete should be let 28 days to cure. In case of rising dampness use a dampness blocking primer to minimize such risk.

Coating has blotches and different shades of colour in the coating

Water splashed on the wet coating that could have been caused by dripping water, leaky pipes, air conditioners, or human sweat. Check for presence of leaks and dripping water before commencing. If there is warm weather have a towel at hand to dry worker’s sweat

Final coating surface seems dull.

The product was applied with a high degree of humidity and this led to blushing of the coating. Room temperature needs to be at least 3-4 degrees Celsius above the dew point. If working with humid conditions use Rapidcure Floor instead.