Epoxy is a versatile material used in a wide range of applications including construction, automotive, electronics, aerospace, and even art. It’s also an extremely useful adhesive that can be applied to almost anything.
But there’s a problem with epoxy – it takes a long time to dry. In fact, it can take weeks or months to fully cure.
So if you’re planning on using epoxy for a project, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got enough time to wait before you start working on it
Epoxy will be extremely hard the next day, that is within 15 to 24 hours. It’ll be very hard. But like concrete, it takes a lot longer to clear where even if it feels hard, it may not be cured all the way through. A fairly safe industry standard would be that it takes about a full 7 days before the epoxy will be fully cured, rock hard where you can’t indent it with your fingernail.
So how long to stay off the epoxy floor? Try to wait for 7 seven days before you move furniture back on a floor or before you put any kind of appliances like a blender, microwave, and such things on top of your counters. A lot of things determine the cure time and how long it takes for the process to fully mature and it sets up a 100%.
A lot of things like slab temperature, ambient temperature, humidity levels, all sorts of things. But just to be on the safer end, epoxy will be hard within about 24 hours and it’ll be rock hard and have almost a complete full cure time after about 7 days.
How can I speed up the epoxy curing process?
If you are using an epoxy product, you can speed up its curing time by creating a humid atmosphere, warm environment, or if possible, a free-flowing ventilating environment.
Even so, there are a number of epoxy products that dry ridiculously fast. However, the only downside is that they can be very expensive. They may require large amounts of labor to apply them correctly.
If you have a sub-standard concrete floor, you may be happy with the results. But if you do not check your floors after they have dried out, you could end up with serious problems. For example, say you had a poorly poured concrete floor. On the day of pouring, it was hot and so the concreter added extra water to the mix. They did this to make sure they had enough time to work with the concrete. After the concrete has been set, the concreter does not check the floor until it has dried out. By then, the floor has become very hard and brittle. When you walk on it, you can easily damage it.
In the worst-case scenario, a fast-drying epoxy-based product can’t “grip” onto the surface properly, since it needs slower processing times to work.
Applying Epoxy to Floors during Cold Temperatures.
When you apply epoxy floors, how will the temperature affect the application? Applying in the winter and applying in the summer you can get very different results. And it’s very, very crucial that you understand the differences and that you are well prepared in advance.
Most epoxy flooring products should be applied between 10 and 30 degrees Celsius which is about 50 to 86 Fahrenheit. Ideally, you want to be applying around 25 degrees Celsius. It’s not too hot not too cold. Those are the ideal conditions. However, we never have ideal conditions as anyone who is involved in epoxy flooring will tell you. It’s always messed up.
Keep in mind though, when we say application temperature, we mean the room temperature, the atmosphere temperature, but we also mean the surface temperature because sometimes you can have a very cold slab. Even though the room is quite warm, the slab underneath can be quite cold and it will affect the results.
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Will Winter Temperatures Change the Curing Time?
Yes, weather conditions can affect the viscoelastic properties of epoxy flooring, so they can play a role in the installation process.
Typically, a good range for using epoxy is between 55°F and 90°F. However, some epoxies and polymers are manufactured specifically for use at lower temperatures, even below zero. But the temperature of your floor is more important than the air temperature.
A slab must be at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit before it can be installed. You should also make sure that the slab is maintained at this temperature during the curing process. If you live in a cold climate, you may need to wait several days for the slab to reach the proper temperature.
Humidity can also be a factor in curing time. It is best to wait until humidity levels drop below 85% before installing your new floor. This can help prevent a thin layer of moisture from forming on the epoxy and affecting its bond to the surface, especially if you are using a resin-based product.
What to look out for when applying Epoxy in Cold Temperatures
The number one thing that we should look out for when we are applying epoxy is in cold temperatures is that the pot life or the time the product requires to react is actually longer when you are applying and cold temperatures. This means you actually have a bit more time to work with the product.
If a normal product needs 30 minutes to start curing and it starts to heat up and flashing, in cold weather this can be extended which is a good thing obviously because you have more time to work with a product. However, sometimes it can be so cold that this will affect re-coat times. Keep mind when you have really cold temperatures, this will affect record windows and also the project completion
The second point you need to keep in mind is that humidity tends to be higher in the winter. This is not a standard rule, but in most cases what happens is in the winter, you have high humidity that affects your condensation. As a rule, you need to be working at least 4 degrees Celsius above the dew point when you are applying the boxes.
So avoid really cold temperatures because usually when you’re working at cold temperatures the temperature of the atmosphere is near the dew point and you will get condensation problems.
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What happens is because of the thick viscosity of the product, the flow of the epoxy is not as good when it’s cold, it doesn’t settle properly, it doesn’t level properly because of the cold temperature. You may end up getting little marks, trial marks, nail marks, and whatnot. It can happen if it is so cold that the product just couldn’t flow at a level properly or smooth properly.
How to Fix Ripples in Epoxy
Heat the room in advance. If you are at a place where you have air conditioners or heating, heat up the room. Heat it up so it’s easy for us to work. Remember, do not use propane. Propane fumes tend to attack the epoxy and leaving funny-looking blotches and discoloration on the epoxy. So avoid using propane. You’d much rather go with electrical heaters.
Keep everything in normal room temperatures: So even if it’s really cold outside, you can still keep the goods stored in a warm place. So when you going to apply them, the actual temperature of the goods is not that cold and that will definitely help with curing and with the levelling. Don’t keep them stored in a cold place where it’s going to be freezing overnight or even close to freezing.
You should be aiming for at least 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit although ideally, it is highly recommended not to work under 15 degrees.
Solvent Addition: You can also do something else to improve the mixture and that is you can add some solvent. Obviously, you’re going to add the solvent that is suitable for your product like xylem for epoxies.
Related: What Causes Epoxy Floor to Fail?
And what you can do here is by adding solvent you improve the flow of the product. However, it will slow down your curing even more just so you know that. But at least it will solve your problem of the levelling and the proper smoothing of epoxy.
Applying Epoxy to Floor during Hot Temperatures.
Working in warm temperatures is always better than cold temperatures. When you have 30 or 35 or even 40 degrees Celsius which is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, what do you do when you have such high temperatures? How do you deal and how will the floor project be affected?
When you work with hot temperatures, the curing time is much faster. So floors do cure and much quicker under warm temperatures which means it’s good in the sense that you can complete a project in a shorter amount of time, but of course, that also means pot life is short.
So yes, on the one side you can complete a project and you can hand it over to your customer. But it also means when you’re actually working with the product, you need to be careful because if you’re used to working with a product that needs 40 minutes to cure, it may actually start flashing at 25 minutes or 20 minutes, or even it’s happening in 15 minutes which is really fast.
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So you need to have really well-organized workers that know what’s going on and they’ll understand that they have to work fast. This is really important. And if workers are not used to working in high temperatures, you should prepare them in advance. Don’t expect them to figure it out when the work starts happening during the application.
Hot weather helps the product flow and level out better. When it’s cold, you get all sorts of weird trial marks on the product. Even though you think it looks level, it doesn’t actually look that nice. So really in the summer when you’re working on a warm substrate and the temperature is nice and warm, you can really get really nice flow of product. So when it’s warm, you can get great finishes.
High temperatures can cause nausea and dizziness when you inhale the odors whether it’s just some chemicals the epoxy chemicals whether it’s some solvent he may have used to clean your tools or the solvent inside the product. All these things create fumes and odors.
If it’s cold weather it’s easier to deal with these fumes. When it’s hot and you’re sweating and you’re feeling drowsy because of the heat having an additional odor can be overwhelming sometimes. So keep this in mind when you’re working with solvents.
You don’t want it to be too hot. Be aware of this risk that working with smelly products in the summer can be overwhelming. So definitely make sure you take your safety measures.
Another problem you have in the summer is workers are less don’t like to wear masks because they get all sweaty and stuffy. So they want to remove their masks. By removing the mask they end up inhaling all these solvents and other chemicals. So it really is something you need to consider that hot weather can affect safety.
How Should I Keep the Floors Clean?
If you can do something yourself, try doing it yourself. But if you need help, ask for recommendations. You might find that this is the best option for new floors.
You will be able to save your own time and effort, and your floor company will provide you with cleaning instructions so that you can clean your floors properly. But if you decide to clean them yourself, your floor company can help you with cleaning instructions. They will also provide you with the necessary equipment.
As a rule of thumb, Acid cleaners can be harmful to your flooring. They may cause damage to your floors instead of making them shiny.
After applying resin and hardener uniformly on marble, leave it to dry for 48 hours or as per the climatic conditions. This is because the solution reaches the bottom and it gets dried up properly.
Have a pep talk with workers when you are working in hot weather because of all the risks associated. Also, be careful of sweating. We sweat a lot in the summer. And what ends up happening is if the sweat drips on the floor or drips on the coating, that can cause discoloration is on the coating, it can cause moisture problems in the coating.
So make sure if you are sweating or whoever is sweating, always make sure you have a towel with you to be able to wipe off the sweat. Do not rely on not expect that the sweat will just go away. This can be a serious issue. Good Luck!