Normally, Epoxy flooring takes around Seven days to fully dry and obtain full strength. To speed up the curing process, heat can be used at no more than 10C. However, after 12 hours of installation, it is hard enough to walk on. After like a day or two, it can be used for light traffic.
The time taken to dry will be different, in different areas depending on a number of factors:
- Sunlight and Temperature
- Not using the correct Mix ratio
- Humidity and Moisture
- The thickness of the floor
Sunlight and Temperature:
If you apply epoxy while it’s so warm, the longer it will take to dry. You can manipulate its curing time however by adjusting the temperature rather than the heat around the room. If you add more heat, it will take a shorter time to dry, or slow the curing time by making the room cooler.
The best temperature to ensure proper curing of epoxy is not below 70F and not more than 90F. (21C to 32C). For every 15F drop below 70F, the curing time doubles. If the temperature drops to about 50F, The Epoxy becomes too thick to dry at all.
Not using the correct Mix Ratio:
The correct ratio for epoxy and hardener should be (1:1), However in many cases, mix ratios of 2:1, 3:1, and 4:1 are also very common. Do not be tempted to add more hardener than needed to speed up the curing process.
Adding more hardener than required may cause the epoxy to be so sticky to even install, also reacting that quickly would also make the cured coating crack.
In addition to that, the mix should be done in a proper manner and not by hand. A slow speed and paddle mixer should be used.
Humidity and Moisture:
High humidity makes epoxy sticky, which slows down its curing process. This sticky substance is often confused with lack of cure but in a real sense, the moisture slows down evaporation in solvents making it sticky.
Sometimes, Epoxy might appear as if totally dry on the surface but maybe dry on the inside. It is therefore important to give it the recommended time of 7 days, no less. This inconsistency in drying could either be working in a high humid area or too much moisture tempering with the mixture during preparation.
The thickness of the Floor:
The epoxy floor dries from a reaction between the resin and the hardener. The thicker the floor, the faster the reaction will take to cover the entire floor. If the film is too thin, it won’t build enough heat to dry the floor.
Also applying Epoxy in a very thick state is also dangerous because it will produce too much heat than is needed to dry.
This reaction is called exotherm. It should be controlled especially when mixing epoxy in very big commercial batches, the reaction could be very dangerous.
So how is exotherm controlled?
- The epoxy should be poured timed (not too long from batch to batch), in multiple batches. Time should just enough to begin falling the exotherm because you apply the next.
- Working at cooler temperatures, but not too cold such that there’s moisture on the subfloor.
- Where possible, you can make use of a heat sink. Heat sinks are objects that absorb a lot of heat.
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