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Trusted Supplier of Leading Brands

Better, Smarter, Greener

High Quality, Trade Prices, Honest Advice

Delivery Available Australia Wide

June 01 , 2022

If you have concrete flooring in need of a refresh, then you have probably done a fair bit of research on how to give it a facelift. That research probably led you to epoxy floor paints and epoxy coatings. But, what’s the difference between the two? The way these terms have become interchangeable suggests that the products are also similar. There’s a major difference between the two and before you head to the home improvement store, you need to know what’s what.

Defining Epoxy Paints

An epoxy floor coating can transform your garage or warehouse, whether it’s a weekend workshop or an industrial space. If you are looking for a garage floor coating, then epoxy paint is the product for you. Epoxy garage floor paint is a combination of acrylic latex with a percentage of epoxy mixed in that helps it adhere to the surface and last. Ultimately, it’s still paint. It doesn’t have the durability that comes with a true epoxy coating. It might have your floor looking great for a minute, but under heavy traffic, it will start to crack and peel.

Nipping out for epoxy flooring offered in hardware stores such as Bunnings will provide you with what appears to be a cost-effective solution, but it’s a false economy. Epoxy paint will coat the surface, but it can only offer minimal protection. Unlike a true epoxy coating, the paint dries so it doesn’t seal the substrate. Whereas, epoxy hardens thus sealing the surface.

Factory prices of industrial-grade epoxies are expensive to start with, but consumer stores hike those prices up by as much as 300%. So, how is it that the price at chain hardware stores seems so low? The epoxy paints in hardware stores are thinned down, whether they are water-based or thinned with solvents. The reason for this is two-fold – the first is that it stretches the product further and the second is it’s more DIY friendly. Those DIY epoxy kits can be as much as 50% water.

There are also a lot of epoxy coatings that hit the hardware store shelf because it’s an outdated technology or formula. It’s a product the professionals no longer use, so the manufacturer tries to squeeze more profit out of the existing product by pawning it off on DIYers. Professionals use the good stuff because professionals built their careers on reputation. They would never use low-end products in a professional project.

The epoxy paint you find in hardware stores such as Bunnings and Mitre10 isn’t thick enough to provide the durability with a contractor demands from its products. The lack of durability in epoxy paint generally means the floor will need a re-coat annually. Here’s the complicated part of an annual re-coat. Once the original floor coating fails you have to remove it before you try to put another coat down.

By comparison, a professional epoxy coating won’t crack or flake or peel or lose its glossy finish. It will last in a high-traffic environment without ever peeling or scratching. This isn’t down solely to the quality of the coating versus epoxy paint, but that is a major factor. There is another step in the preparation for an epoxy coating that ensures durability and adherence.

The levelling process, whether shot blasting or diamond grinding, prepares the floor to allow for maximum coating adherence. That’s one of the things that makes the hardware store epoxy paint a popular option. But it will ultimately backfire as you buy new paint every year and have to remove and reapply it. Your DIY kit will provide a 100 micron dry film thickness, but a professional product can be applied as thick as a few thousand microns and will still dry.

Epoxy Floor Coating

If you want a legitimate floor coating that stands up to heavy foot or vehicle traffic, then legitimate epoxy products are the solution. They are highly recommended for commercial and industrial settings but are perfect for home garages as well. 100% solids epoxy contains hardener that starts to cure once applied. There is also a top sealant to ensure your application is durable enough to resist abrasions, oil, stains, chemicals, and grease.

The overall process is more rigorous and costly. However, when you use true epoxy or two-part epoxy products you ensure a high-quality finish that is smooth and well-bonded. When you compare epoxy coating to paint, the coating becomes a far more cost-effective solution. The initial outlay may be higher and it may be more labour intensive, but it will last far longer and stand up to much more than the hardware store epoxy ever could. You can top-coat your epoxy coating to give it a slip-resistant surface, UV-protectant, and added protection. There are a variety of finishes available as well. So, if you want extra grip, there are flake epoxy coatings.

Paint Versus Coating

When applied properly, a professionally applied epoxy coating will provide you with a higher quality finish that will significantly outlast any DIY epoxy paint you could buy at hardware stores such as Bunnings. If applied properly and properly maintained, an epoxy coating can easily last a decade. While a DIY kit might be tempting, it will crack, peel and come off under hot car tyres within a year or so. An epoxy coating is a better investment in the long run. Whether you call the professionals to handle the application or not, you should invest in an epoxy coating that will stand the test of time. If you have the budget to enlist the professionals, it’s well worth the investment.

At Sydney Industrial Coatings, we know how important it is to balance quality and cost. As experts in flooring, we can provide you with the necessary advice to ensure you invest in the right flooring solution for you. If you are looking for assistance with commercial or industrial flooring projects, we have stores across Sydney. Visit us or get in touch today to discuss your needs. We also offer epoxy training courses to teach the fundamentals of epoxy chemistry and the differences between polyurethane and epoxy compounds. It will set you up to take on much bigger projects in the future and add to your professional reputation.