Used in a variety of commercial and industrial environments, resinous flooring has now made its way into homes, where its durability and resistance to spills are prized in garages and basements. Oil leaks from a car, for example, will clean right off of a resinous garage floor -- as opposed to soaking into more porous concrete.
Resinous Flooring Types
The most common types of resinous flooring are epoxy, polyurethane and acrylic. All three are two-part systems consisting of a base material and a hardener material. The two parts are mixed just prior to application, and a chemical reaction between them causes the mixture to begin hardening immediately. Epoxy systems are often favored for residential use.
A properly installed resinous floor is durable, safe and attractive. Cleaning even the greasiest materials off of it is, essentially, like cleaning a kitchen counter. Colored flakes can be sprinkled into the final coat of resin to both enhance appearance and increase traction. Additionally, water-based epoxy flooring materials -- which contain no volatile organic compounds and, hence, give off no dangerous vapors -- are available, making it possible to install in occupied areas.
Preparing the Site
Resinous flooring materials must be applied to a properly prepared concrete substrate. The concrete surface must be even, slightly rough, totally clean, at least 60 days old and not sealed. If water beads on the surface, it has been sealed, and the sealer will need to be removed with a chemical stripper. Painted concrete should be scuffed with a sanding pad and then cleaned. Bare concrete should be etched with an etching solution provided by the manufacturer of the flooring system.
Applying the Surface
The application process begins by mixing the two parts together. Allow the chemical reaction to take place according to the manufacturer's instructions before applying any of the mixture to the floor. Resinous flooring is typically brushed and rolled on like paint. Use a brush to cover the areas around the outside of the floor, and use a roller on the middle of the floor. Two coats can be used to add even more durability. Some resinous flooring products include a hardener coat that is added after the last resinous coat has fully cured.
Wear protective gloves, a respirator, rubber boots and safety glasses when working with chemicals such as strippers and etching solutions. Ventilate the area well and wear a respirator when working with chemicals and mixing and applying the resin. Keep chemicals away from any open flame and prevent contact with skin. Follow the manufacturer's first aid instructions if contact with the skin occurs.