Non-flammability and durability nature make epoxy flooring a good choice for commercial and industrial flooring. The floor is strong and sturdy enough to carry heavy things, withstand dropped power tools and stand up to spills of all kinds. Usually, installation epoxy flooring can be completed within a day. Once the flooring is installed, you need to leave it for some time to dry fully. But how long does epoxy floor actually take to dry?
Epoxy floors take approximately 72 hours to dry. After installation, the drying time may vary depending on the epoxy resin coating used and weather conditions. Regardless of these factors, your epoxy floors should be left to dry completely before subjecting them to any kind of traffic.
In fact, when epoxy flooring is installed properly and left to dry fully, it can last up to 20 years or more. In this article, I’m going to tackle epoxy flooring drying time and other things you may need to know about curing epoxy floors.
How Long Does Epoxy Flooring Take To Dry?
Epoxy floors take around 72 hours to dry – that’s around two to three days. Just keep in mind that the drying period will vary depending on the type of epoxy coating applied, weather conditions, and where the installation was done (outdoor or indoor). Regardless of these factors, your epoxy floors should be left to dry completely before subjecting them to any kind of traffic.
When left to dry properly, epoxy coatings firmly adhere to concrete creating a surface that’s durable, stronger, and attractive. If you use expose epoxy flooring to any kind of traffic before it’s fully dry, its surface is likely to get contaminated. This may cause uneven surfaces, fish-eyes, and floor smudging.
How Long To Stay Off Epoxy Floors After Installation?
You need to stay off the epoxy floor for 12 hours. However, you don’t have to wait until your epoxy floor is fully dry to walk on it. If you install 100% solids epoxy, your floor will be ready to walk on after 12 to 16 hours and ready for light usage after 24 to 72 hours. But it is always a good idea to stay off the floor for at least 72 hours before you subject your new floor to heavy use.
How To Cure Epoxy Faster
1. Clean the surface
Before installing epoxy floors, make sure the surface is free from any contaminants such as mold release, oil, wax, grease, and dirt. Clean contaminated surfaces where you plan to apply your coating with isopropyl alcohol, acetone, lacquer thinner, or another appropriate solvent.
2. Ensure proper mixing
Careful measuring of epoxy components (hardener and epoxy resin) and thorough mixing can reduce curing time. Usually, the correct mixture ratio of hardener vs. resin which is 1:1 will lead to properly bonding of epoxy floors.
Although it may sound like a good idea to increase the amount of hardener, it’s not actually a good idea at all. Increasing the amount of hardener may cause some parts of the epoxy flooring to remain sticky or not cure completely.
3. Increase temperature
Warmer temperatures reduce curing compared to colder environments. Applying heat to the recently installed epoxy floor will therefore reduce curing time. If you are not working in warmer rooms, you can introduce heats through heat lamps or heaters.
The ideal temperature for curing most of the epoxy applications is between 24-30 degrees Celsius/75-85-degree Fahrenheit. Place a heat lamp or heater in the room of installation to facilitate curing.
Be aware to keep the temperature constant for the first 24 hours of curing. The fluctuating temperature during the first 24 hours of installation may cause uneven coloring and dimples in the cured resin.
4. Using epoxy additives
There is a wide range of epoxy curing accelerators that enhances faster epoxy hardening at room temperatures. Some of these additives speed up reticulation and augments the exothermic reaction, reducing the epoxy curing time in the process. One advantage of these additives is that they don’t modify the glass transition value of epoxy flooring.
These additives may give your epoxy flooring an excellent finish when dried but you need to take great caution as they may leave color tints on the epoxy after curing. Otherwise, make sure you match the epoxy curing accelerator with the type of epoxy flooring installed to maintain the integrity of the finish.
5. Using an epoxy curing oven
Using an epoxy curing oven can also reduce your epoxy curing time. There is a wide range of epoxy curing ovens in the market today that is ideal for all types of industrial and commercial epoxy curing needs. Equipped with all the latest technologies, this equipment comes with features that enable them to perform at optimal levels.
One of the downsides of an epoxy curing oven is the costs involved. They might be an expensive option if you are buying them for one-time use. The oven won’t be useful once the epoxy floor has been cured. These ovens also require careful usage as extreme temperature may be detrimental to epoxy curing.
This You Shouldn’t Do When Curing Epoxy Floors
These are basically some of the things you will need to avoid to reduce curing time and achieve the desired finish.
- Don’t attempt to add more hardener to the mixture as a way of reducing curing time. Increasing the hardener is likely to create sticker surfaces or prevent the floor from curing completely.
- Don’t add just any hardener to your resin. Always use a recommended hardener when preparing your application. Some brands might promise you quicker curing results but cause some undesirable finish.
- Take maximum caution when using extra curing agents that promote quicker curing. Some of those products might compromise final results.
How Long Does Epoxy Clear Coat Take To Dry?
Epoxy clear coats are extremely low viscosity, water white coats that make epoxy flooring tough and brilliantly clear. They are usually used as topcoats, sealers, or saturation coats. Besides adding durability to any epoxy flooring, the epoxy clear coat also protects the color coat, protects the color flakes, adds depth to the epoxy floor coating, creates a glossier-looking finish, and hides scratches better. The coats also make the flooring easier to clean slip-resistant.
Applying epoxy clear coat is simple and easy. You need to clean and rinse your floor thoroughly for the coating to adhere properly. After application, allow the floor to dry completely before you subject it to any kind of traffic. Recently coated surfaces take around 24 hours to dry fully but it’s recommended to wait a little bit longer before exposing your floor to heavy traffic.