Can epoxy floors be repaired?
A question we often get is, “Can epoxy floors be repaired?”. And the answer is: Yes. In this article we cover how to repair a small damaged area of epoxy. We also answer questions like, “Will epoxy floors crack? Are they toxic? And can they be buffed and polished?”.
How to repair a damaged epoxy floor
We came across a client that had a bubble form on their epoxy floor. It also cracked open at the top, exposing the bare concrete. Over all the damage ended up being about an 18 inch bubble which had to be ground flat again.
We begin by removing all of the bubbled up epoxy. A hand-held grinder is just the tool for a job like this. Be sure to attach a shop vac as grinding creates a lot of epoxy, and cement dust. For safety you should be wearing safety goggles, ear plugs, and a dust mask.
We cut out all the old epoxy with the grinder. To be sure we had all of the bubble removed, we ground down the floor around the bubble another 2 inches. Now the floor is flat again and ready for inspection.
Upon inspection, we used a moisture meter and found that they had a moisture problem. Initially when the epoxy was layed down, moisture may have not been visible. But over time,water moisture built up and separated the epoxy from the concrete. It never had a good bond to begin with.
Next we mixed up a batch of just enough epoxy to fill this repair. We had to color match which was kinda difficult being it is a metallic floor, with a slight design aspect to it. We did our best to match the design.
In the end the problem may occur again due to moisture. To really fix the problem, the entire floors should be redone and primer coated with PE-100 VRM (Vapor Reduction Membrane) epoxy. Then a layer of metallic design. And finally a durable urethane finish coat.
Will epoxy floors crack?
Once epoxy floors cure, they become extremely rigid, and inflexible. So any shift in the foundation can lead to cracks in the foundation, which transfers to the epoxy and cracks it. If you have solid color, a flake system, or even a quartz system, the crack can be repaired and re-epoxied. If you have a metallic floors with free flowing designs in it, these designs will be very hard to recreate. The entire floor may need to be re-epoxied to get the right metallic design.
If they do crack, to repair it you’ll have to grind down the epoxy along the crack to get down to the concrete. Once the concrete layer crack is revealed it must be opened up with an angle grinder. After the crack is widened, fill the crack with fine silica sand. Level it off with sand, nice and flat. Then you’ll want to mix up some PP-CF Polyurea Crack Filler. It’s a 1 to 1 ratio. After you mix 4 ounces in a cup, you’re going to pour it into the cracks, over the sand. It cures very fast, in a bout 90 seconds, so you’ll have to work fast. Repeat this process until all of the crakcs are filled.
After the crack filler cured, in about 5 minutes, you can start grinding down the crack filler until it’s even with the concrete. The next step is to vacuum up all the dust and debris. Once all the dust is gone, it’s time to wipe down the crack and surrounding area with denatured alcohol. This will pick up the remainder of the dust and clean up and oils that may be on the area.
Now that the crack is filled, it’s time to mix up a batch of epoxy. You’ll have to match the pigment to the current floor and mix that into the epoxy. Then it’s time to roll out the epoxy with a 9 inch roller, over the ground down areas. If you have a flake system, or quartz system, you’ll add those layers as called for.
Once the epoxy repair has cured, a finish coat of urethane can be applied to add protection.
Are epoxy floors toxic?
While epoxy is in it’s liquid form, it’s a skin irritant, the fumes can lead to sensitization and asthma, and it’s unsafe for aquatic life. When grinding it, a respirator mask should be worn. But when epoxy has cured, and it’s in a solid form, it is non-toxic.
Can epoxy floors be buffed?
Yes they can. If you have small scratches in your epoxy floor, they can be sanded with fine sandpapers and polishing pads. You’ll need an orbital hand-held sander to polish the scratches out.
First clean the floor using an ammonia and water solution. Use a ½ cup of ammonia to a gallon of hot water. Use a mop and bucket and clean the area throughly. Let the area dry before proceeding.
Next, grab your orbital sander and start with 220 grit sand paper and genlty sand the area. Don’t force the machine to do the work. Just let it sand. Use 220, 240, 320, 400 and finally 600 grit sandpapers.
IMPORTANT! Remember sanding epoxy is toxic, so wear a respirator mask and goggles for safety.
After you are done sanding, grab your shop vac and vacuum up all the dust. Next, use denatured alcohol and a rag to wipe down the area, getting the remaining dust. Now it’s time for polishing pads.
We recommend Abralon bowling ball resurfacing pads. They come in 180, 360, 500, 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 grits in a set. Start with 500 grit and work your way up to 4000 grit.
After using all the pads and wiping off all the dust, it’s time for a polishing pad. You’ll need a polishing pad and polishing compound to achieve the level of shine you desire.
We can now see that epoxy floors can be repaired just like any other flooring system. And we learned that epoxy is only non-toxic on it’s cured, solid form. After any repair you can buff out any scratches by sanding with fine sandpapers, and polishing compounds.