While epoxy coatings aren’t a common product for the usual DIY handyman, they are very important in many other sorts of professional industries.
The term epoxy coating actually refers to a broad range of compounds, from fluoropolymer coatings like Teflon to fusion bonded epoxy powder coatings. Really, you’ll need a crash course in chemistry to understand the nuances between them all. Without going into too much complex detail, here is a quick primer on epoxy coatings and what they’re used for.
What is an epoxy coating?
To get back to the original question, here is a quick explanation of what epoxy coatings actually are. Epoxy is a synthetic resin that is created by blending 2 separate ingredients (the resin and the hardener) that react together to create a durable solid. Often, the resin and hardener are both liquids, but some variations on this procedure use a combination of powder and liquid.
So an epoxy coating is just one way of applying an epoxy material over a surface. Since you are working with liquids or powders, it can be a very efficient way of treating large or irregular surfaces (like floors or machined parts). Liquids tend to have an advantage as the reaction that solidifies the material is automatic and doesn’t require added heat, like some of the powder-based compounds.
Products that use this 2-part reaction are used in adhesives as well as surface coatings, but that’s another topic altogether.
What are they used for?
To say that epoxy coatings are used to protect surfaces is a little vague and there are actually a variety of reasons or purposes involved.
The basic use for any sort of epoxy treatment is to increase durability and add strength to a surface, be it floors, counter tops, work surfaces or even the walls.
One of the great features about creating a protective layer with epoxy is that you can reapply it after damage or when it simply starts to wear down. That can be a huge boon for industrial areas where there is a lot of wear and impact from machinery over time, and a new surface treatment is far cheaper than actually rebuilding.
Aside from general protection, epoxies can create a surface with different qualities that the original materials lack. Because they are applied after construction in many cases, it means you can change surfaces when your needs change rather than just when space is being built.
Floor treatments can be used to reduce static in areas that will be used with delicate electronics, or a gritty surface can be created to make a floor non-slip for safety. Surfaces can become water-proof, fire resistant or even rubberized for impact resistance.
Though epoxy coating tends to be a practice that you see in the larger industry, there are some applications for the general homeowner. Treating garage or basement floors is one example, to fix cracked surfaces or to improve water-proofing. Kitchen counters is another spot where an epoxy treatment may be a good idea.