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Definition of Epoxy Paints

Questions for Joe Pullaro “Tampa Bay’s number #1 Paint Contractor”

Joe, I was told i need to use epoxy paints for my garage floor. I have no idea what what epoxy paint is. Would you explain?

Epoxy Paints come in lots of ‘flavors.’ The purpose of this page is to get you up to speed about epoxy paints and to compare the different types of Epoxy Paints, Here is the Definition of Epoxy Paints from “Any of various usually thermosetting resins capable of forming tight cross-linked polymer structures characterized by toughness, strong adhesion, and low shrinkage, used especially in surface coatings and adhesives.”

What separates general purpose epoxy paints (and non-epoxy paints) for epoxy and non-epoxy floor paints, plain marine resins, or even water, is their thixotrophic properties. The term has to do with internal gelling of the paint. Thixotrophic additives, such as fumed silica, give the coating the ability to ‘gel’ after application. This means when applied to a vertical surface, such as a wall, the coating will be as t hick at the top of the wall as it is at the bottom of the wall.

Regular marine epoxy, floor paints/epoxies, and water, are non-thixotrophic and if applied to a wall would tend to flow or slump to the bottom of the wall, leaving very little of the coating near the top of the wall. The advantages of epoxy paints is that they can handle full time immersion, strong chemicals, and are very impermeable as well as tough. Many are solvent free so wet thickness will equal dry thickness (cracks will not reappear as the epoxy cures) and they are nearly odorless. Some can even be applied underwater. The disadvantages of epoxies are that they tend to be brittle, quickly yellowing sunlight (white becomes a creamy color, light blue becomes light green, etc.) and lose their shine in sunlight. The yellowing and loss of gloss (even chalking in some cases) is due to the affect of UV on ALL epoxies (some epoxies will yellow in days, others take weeks but they all do eventually).

The major differences between the different epoxies are:

Color: although in large volumes (15 – 60 gallons depending upon the formulator) custom colors are usually available – but remember that epoxies yellow. Generally our epoxy paints are available only in one color, which varies from product to product.

Solvent free epoxies tend to be somewhat thick, but all the epoxies considered here are rollable or brushable. Some are thinner than others making them slightly easier to brush or spray apply. Some epoxy’s contain both Kevlar ™ microfibers and feldspar ceramic which complicates things if the product is to be spray applied. Generally many of these products can be applied at up to about 20 or 25 mils by brush or paint pad, however if applied by paint roller coating thickness is generally about 6-8 mils because the back side of the roller tends to lift (remove) a lot of the epoxy that the front end of the roller puts down. Note that at 16 mils coverage is 100 square feet per gallon – at 8 mils it is 200 square feet per gallon.

The amount of time after the two epoxy components are combined that they can be used before they begin to harden. Potlifeis greatly affected by temperature (doubling or halfing every 18 degrees F or 10 degrees C) and by the amount and concentration of the epoxy. 12 ounces of epoxy in a cup will have a much shorter potlife than 12 ounces spread out on a floor or 3 ounces of epoxy in a cup. In really hot weather an epoxy with a long potlife may be necessary because an epoxy with a more ‘normal’ potlife may not provide enough working time (perhaps only 10 minutes or so). In cold conditions a ‘fast’ or short life epoxy may be necessary because the cold conditions will greatly slow down the epoxy reaction and stretch out the potlife considerably.
Joe Pullaro

Read all of Joe’s articles “Ask Joe”


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