Do-it-yourself (DIY) epoxy kits are readily available at your local hardware and paint stores. These kits are designed for amateur applicators because they are inexpensive and have a long pot life. Because of the longer pot life, the applicator has more time to apply the coating without the worry that it will set during application. Simply stated, DIY epoxies are cheap and “user-friendly”.
But as usual, what seems too-good-to-be-true usually is. These hardware store DIY epoxy kits have two serious limitations.
Low % Solids
One major disadvantage of DIY epoxies is that they possess low percentage (%) solids. What does this mean? Well, when epoxy coatings are applied, two thickness measurements are taken. The paint thickness is measured once before it has dried (wet film thickness or WFT) and once again after drying (dry film thickness or DFT).
The % solids refers to the percentage of paint thickness that remains after the paint has finished drying, or the difference between the WFT and DFT. Usually, a percentage of the solid is lost and the thickness is reduced during the drying process. What this means is the lower the % solids in an epoxy, the thinner the epoxy film after application.
And why is it a big deal to have a thin epoxy film? Because it will not last long! These low-end epoxies often delaminate (peel) within a year of application. The solution is to look for a contractor that uses high-grade, 100%-solids industrial epoxies. These epoxies are prized for maintaining the same level of thickness between the time they are applied and the time they have dried.
Too Many Instructions!
A second important disadvantage with DIY epoxies is that proper application involves a multitude of steps, pre-cautions and required equipment and materials…hard labor notwithstanding. In so many cases with DIY applications, the instructions are simply not followed. Whether due to the lack of required equipment and materials or simply “cutting corners”, DIY epoxy applications are notoriously poor.
Read the “Instruction Sheet” provided with a DIY epoxy and you’ll see what I mean. Instructions may include: “Wear NIOSH approved respirators”. “Test for and remove the existing sealer or paint”. “Assess moisture content”. Repair damaged concrete. Remove oil spots with a scrub brush and degreaser. Prepare the concrete by etching the floor using citric acid”. And this is before you begin application! You get the picture.
The solution is to use a contractor that installs floor coatings day-in and day-out. They have the equipment, the knowledge and the manpower to do the job right. Properly installed epoxy flooring should last a decade (not one year or less).
Customers want a good deal. But sacrificing quality for price is never the right choice. At GarageFloorCoating.com, we know this first hand. We have made a successful business out of replacing DIY installations and installations by “contractors” selling “one-day polyurea” systems. Read our prior blog on “Fixing DIY Epoxy Applications” (https://www.garagefloorcoating.com/2019/03/07/fixing-diy-epoxy-applications/).
So like any purchase, find the proper balance between quality and price. Start by contacting your local floor coatings expert to find the right flooring for your space.
DIY epoxy kits seem inexpensive and easy. But are they too good to be true? Yup.
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