Our Simple Guide For How To Apply An Epoxy Fake Floor System
Bring your concrete floor to the next level with an epoxy flake floor system! We've mastered the epoxy flake floor installation process.
Resource Before You Start: Use our epoxy flake floor system designer to create your own unique design, build a custom material bundle and more! We also have calculators to determine how much product you need.
Products referenced in this resource:
- Epoxy Glide Roller Cover 1/4" Nap (9 Inch) (18 Inch)
- Wooster Pro/Doo-Z Roller Cover – 3/8″ Nap
- Wooster 18″ Pro/Doo-Z Roller Cover – 1/2″ Nap, with End Caps
- Bon Tool Floor Scraper
- Adjustable Roller Handle – 18″
- Squeegee 1/8″ Notch, Red Rubber (18 Inch) (24 Inch) (30 Inch)
- Kraft Steel Smoother with Handle
- Helix Mixer (1 Gallon) (5 Gallon)
- Putty Knife / Blade (For Cleaning)
Note: Using decorative viny flake (chips) is a multi-step process. Installers will vary the steps depending on the particular situation.
Step 1: Prepare The Concrete For The Epoxy Flake Floor System
This is the most critical step as with most decorative concrete projects. All substrates must be properly prepared. They must be clean and free from any contaminants that may inhibit the adhesion of the resins. Concrete must be cured for a minimum of 30 days and be free of any internal moisture. The slab should be profiled to a minimum CSP-2 from grinding or shot blasting. This means “pretty rough”. You want the surface to be similar to 60 or 80 grit sandpaper. This gives the resin something to grab onto. It is imperative that all dust is thoroughly vacuumed after prep.
All larger cracks and defects should be filled and profiled to match the main surface. The simplest way to do this is to widen the crack opening with a crack chase blade. This will smooth the edges of the crack making it easier to fill. Filling the crack is the easiest by first filling it much of the way with coarse sand to about ¼ inch from the top and then pouring small batches of your flooring material over the sand to fill the crack. Some settling will occur so you can add more after a short period of time. The goal is to get as close to the top as you can without overflowing. Overflow build-up can show on your final floor.
If you overflow, use a putty knife or blade to scrape off and spread the excess. Being slightly low is okay as that should fill with your base coat to present an even floor. When it comes to controlling joints, you have a choice to make. Some people are good at seeing the joints on the floor. Some prefer them filled. You can follow the previous procedure to fill them if you choose. Even if you are allowing them to remain, you will want to check for the ones that have opened up down below and still partially fill the split down below so you do not lose too much base material when you get started doing your base coat. An easy way to manage this is to use some caulk backer rods from a local big box store. It comes in rolls of about 20 feet, and you simply press it tightly into the joint opening, sealing up the crack below.
Pro Tip: Keep your resin material stored in a room that is 70 degrees or less. Material that is left in a heated space, such as in your car, in the sun, in your garage, etc, can decrease your working time significantly.
Cleaning Joints Part 1
Cleaning Joints Part 2
Sand filling joints Part 1
Sand filling joints Part 2
Main grind early
Main grind later
Step 2: Apply A Primer/Base Coat Of 100% Solids Epoxy HP or Polyaspartic 85.
Apply a primer/base coat of 100% solids Epoxy HP or Polyaspartic 85. This can be clear or tinted depending on your application. If the prepared floor is extremely porous or shows much surface defect, you should consider applying a pure primer coat before your initial broadcast coat. This will ensure maximum adhesion to the prepared substrate. Priming will also help to seal air in the concrete to prevent outgassing on the finished surface. Mix separately both A and B parts of the resins material to ensure separation has occurred. Make sure material has been brought to room temperature as well. For application, mix 2 parts A with 1 part B by volume with a low sped mixer for three minutes. Mix only an amount of material that can be spread in 30 minutes. Once mixed, immediately begin pouring the material onto the floor in long usable ribbons.
IMPORTANT: If using Epoxy HP, do not let mixed material sit in the mixing container longer than 10 minutes or it may begin to get very hot, gel and need to be thrown out. With Polyaspartic 85, you can make batches that you are able to get dispersed in 15-20 minutes. Spread the material with a notched squeegee (1/8 inch at most) until all is even and then backroll with a proper roller (¼ inch Easy Glide) to remove any squeegee lines. When back rolling you should let the roller do the work. You should avoid putting pressure on the roller which will move material around too much. For this base coat, you want coverage of approximately 175 sq ft per gallon. Make sure you do this and the following step while wearing spiked sandals. Walking through wet resin with shoes will create a huge mess.
Rolling out base coat
Step 3: Broadcast The Flakes
A common question: How do you spread paint chips on an epoxy floor?
After the material is backrolled you will begin broadcasting the flakes. The best way to accomplish this is to place several pounds of the flakes into a clean bucket and take small handfuls of the chips and toss them in the air onto the tacky floor. It is important to throw them upward to get a good spread and faster coverage.
If you choose to do a "partial broadcast", your goal is to get a good even spread onto the floor at the coverage that looks good to you. Do NOT toss them down on the floor as you will end up with many heavy spots.
With a "full broadcast", you follow the same procedure but you use larger handfuls of chips. You can do this quickly and “make a mess”. Keep in mind it is normal to have a large amount of chips that are just loose on the floor. As you walk around, you are looking to cover any “shiny” spots on the floor. This is visible resin and should be covered. Walk on the floor only using spiked sandals.
Step 4: Scrape the Floor
Partial Broadcast: The floor will be ready for the protective topcoat once you remove any chips that are protruding irregularly. This is easily done with a floor scraper or a large drywall knife threaded onto the end of a pole. Just slide the blade over the entire floor knocking
down the suspect chips that are sticking into the air. Once complete you can scoop up the loose chips and then vacuum the floor thoroughly to remove the remaining pieces.
Full Broadcast: First will be to remove all the loose chips that did not adhere to the floor. You can use an electric blower or broom to push them to one side of the room then scoop or vacuum them up. There will be quite a bit. Once those are clear you take a floor scraper or a large drywall knife threaded onto the end of a pole and slide the blade over the entire floor knocking down any chips that are protruding into the air. Then vacuum the floor again to remove the broken pieces. Spike sandals are not needed for this process.
Step 5: Apply A Protective Topcoat
Next is to apply a protective topcoat of Polyaspartic 85. A single topcoat will allow more of the chip texture to be present. You can reduce this by applying a second topcoat. Mix up the proper amount of material and ribbon out on the floor. Use a flat blade squeegee to drag the material back and forth, spreading it out. Using a 3/8 nap roller, back roll the material until even and free from any marks. You can do an additional topcoat if desired. Walk on the floor only using spiked sandals.
The floor can be walked on in 4 hrs. Avoid any heavy furniture for 3-7 days.
Topcoat Part 1
Topcoat Part 2
Finished Part 1
Finished Part 2
Pro Tip: For full broadcast, if when you are finished scraping and cleaning and you find empty areas that are not acceptable you can mix a small batch of Polyaspartic 85, brush it on those areas and throw some chips into them. It will dry in 1-2 hours, and you can then scrape them and continue on with the topcoat step.