Understanding Epoxy Flooring and Ways of Cleaning It
There are many written articles trumpeting the virtues of epoxy flooring and how it is without doubt, the perfect flooring solution for those of us who are have been looking for a floor coating that is not only durable, but also looks good and minimal maintenance. But, even though it is minimal maintenance, there is very little said about how to clean epoxy flooring.
Cleaning it requires proper techniques and despite the strength of this flooring system, ironically, damaging your epoxy coating is very easy to do if you don't know how to approach the cleaning application correctly. However, carrying out the safe and effective procedure of cleaning your epoxy floor, or any epoxy surface at all, is a relatively simple task provided you know what you're doing.
What follows should give you all of the information that you need to properly clean epoxy flooring - Brisbane residents can now benefit from my experience and research for the maintenance and cleaning of epoxy flooring.
Maintenance – Epoxy Flooring - Brisbane:
Whilst we already know that epoxy flooring repels dirt and stains that doesn’t mean we should not take the time to retain the cleanliness of our epoxy floors. Simply because of the pure fact that this is a floor means that it will have stains, dirt, marks, dust settlement and, depending on design, many of those will be visible. Sure, they will wear away with foot traffic but why leave them? These stains can be easily removed.
If you implement a regular care program and observe the guidelines, the decorative appearance of your epoxy floor together with its life will all be greatly extended. Here are some simple steps for cleaning your epoxy floors. Always remember to wear rubber or protective gloves for any cleaning tasks that involve chemicals or tools.
After Installation Care
Firstly and foremost, the new flooring system must be permitted to fully cure before being walked on.
The following industry product curing times should be strictly adhered to;
Light and careful foot traffic - 24 hours if an average temperature is 20°C, but 48 hours if around 8°C
Full mechanical and chemical loading (i.e.; garages and commercial zones) – this will require 7 days with the temperature averaging 20°C and 14 days with an 8°C average temperature (but always take care with heavy equipment across the new floor).
DO NOT washing the floor with water until the curing cycle is completed. This will be a minimum of 7 days but you must refer to your professional applicator or product information for more definite times.
Ongoing Regular Cleaning
The regular cleaning of epoxy floors is necessary to maintain the appearance and extend the life of the flooring coating. Here are a few ‘Do’s and Don’ts;
It will surprise you to know that your everyday dishwashing liquid is the best thing to clean your epoxy flooring. Mix 1/3 cup with 4 to 5 litres of water and mop the floor.
For commercial applications and some larger residential garages the use of a washer machine that also acts as a scrubber and dryer may be used and if you are doing it DIY style, only use cleaners as recommended by the machines manufacturers or distributors. This is the most effective method of cleaning larger areas of epoxy flooring.
Abrasive cleansers must not be used. Try using a soft bristle brush instead as hard bristles act like sandpaper.
Acid based cleansers will certainly damage your flooring and must not be used.
Strong alkali based cleansers are very dangerous must be diluted as per the products instructions and never used in their concentrated form.
Whilst some solvent "activated" cleansers are suitable, in the main, it is better to avoid using any solvent cleansers.
Scraping the surface of the epoxy flooring should be avoided but it is okay to lightly use a scourer sponge together with plastic scrapers or squeegees. Ensure they have rounded corners as they are less likely to scratch the floors surface.
Polishing Epoxy Flooring
Now that the washing process is completed, you can commence polishing your floor. For this task you can use approved clear polymer glaze coats or wax polishes to protect the upper surface from minor scratches and abrasions. You will find that wax modified cleansers are most likely to be the ones that will provide improved scratch resistance.
Metallic style polishes will give immediate protection and it is recommended that you apply at least three coats following the washing procedure. You will find that three coats can comfortably be applied in the same day. It is advisable that the polishing application is repeated every three months.
Impact Damage Repairs
An epoxy flooring system is somewhat complex and it is advisable to contact a professional to carry out any repairs. If you are intending to carry out the repairs yourself, it is imperative that you act quickly and make enquiries as to what remedial measures need to be carried out immediately so as to retain the integrity and performance of the epoxy coating system to prevent the ingress of water or chemicals into that damaged area.
Scratch or Scoring Damage
Get onto these quickly as the task will be much easier. Scratches or scores that are left will quickly fill with grime and chemicals that will be virtually impossible to remove. And after a time, your floor will begin to look very shabby indeed.
When the flooring surface is scratched or scored by accident or by the use of abrasive materials then you will need to clean the surface with an approved cleanser and an approved polish or glaze coat as mentioned above. This will protect the floor from further minor scratches. It is worth noting that repeated applications will result in the building up of the thickness of the polish or glaze coat which in turn will provide improved scratch and score resistance.
Chemical & Oil Based Spillage's
In your garage or for commercial zones, a regular sweeping and cleaning program is advised to avoid the dirt and dust building up on the surface as these can act as an abrasive which can prematurely age the surface. It is imperative that the spillage of chemicals such as petrol or oil should be attended to immediately and not left to ‘settle’ on the floor. This applies to any and all spillages and followed up with a cleaning procedure as detailed above.
Be aware that after some chemical spillages whether they are small or large, there are certain chemicals that may well cause some colour changes to your epoxy flooring. Generally this is caused by a surface reaction only and is unlikely to impair the mechanical performance of the epoxy flooring system. However, as with any suggested procedures in this information sheet, if you are in any doubt whatsoever, contact a professional applicator or the distributors of approved epoxy products and cleaners for advice or assistance.