Epoxy flooring can be a great solution for commercial, industrial and even residential applications where a smooth finish and resilient surface is desired. However, excess moisture can cause problems with even the hardiest of substances – and epoxy is no exception. Whether you already have an epoxy flooring solution and are looking for restorative work or are considering having an epoxy floor installed, today’s post should help you understand the potential hazards of excess moisture can cause epoxy flooring in your establishment.
The moisture vapor transition problem
Your concrete slab continues to lose moisture through osmosis for longer than you might think after it is poured. This fact, paired with the potential for other leaks or reactions causing additional moisture to seep through the slab, are a disaster in the making for those who fail to adequately plan their epoxy application process. Moisture off gasses from the slab and becomes, effectively, trapped beneath the epoxy resin layer – with nowhere to go, moisture will not only continue to accumulate but start causing subtle damage to the surface finish, as well as the slab itself.
Moisture damage to epoxy flooring
When moisture continues to evaporate from a concrete slab after it has been sealed, a number of issues can occur. Some are merely cosmetic, but others can ultimately lead to slab failure. Problems range from minor bubbles, blisters and discoloration to mildew, mold and softening of the surface overall. Moisture accumulation that fosters mold or mildew colonization can compromise the building’s overall air quality, causing health problems. Similarly, it can lead to efflorescence, or salt bloom, speckling the surface around the affected area – which can then permeate the epoxy further, leading to more damage.
While in some cases, the epoxy layers can be removed by grinding and the surface can then be treated with a hardening agent to try and force vapor out of the slab, in many instances there is no viable repair option. Typically these cases are the result of a failed moisture barrier below the slab itself, and no amount of treating the concrete can resolve this.
Preventing moisture damage
When it comes to controlling moisture’s impact on epoxy flooring, as with all things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Planning ahead and installing a 10 mil reinforced moisture vapor barrier film before the slab is poured is a great first step toward avoiding eventual moisture issues in your epoxy flooring. Include a plastic sheet test (which really is as simple as it sounds) in your timeline, so that you know the slab is truly cured and ready for the application of your chosen epoxy finish. Where the slab already exists, or the vapor barrier was placed below a layer of sand or gravel for whatever reason, it is prudent to run a calcium chloride test to determine how much moisture vapor escapes from the slab. Industry-standard tests are fairly simple, and will measure the amount of vapor emitted from a 1,000 square foot area in 24 hours with precision.
For suggestions and support with for epoxy flooring needs, contact the team here at Performance Painting. With over a decade of experience meeting the needs of businesses and families throughout northeast and central Florida, we will take great pride in lending our expertise to your next project.