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Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

November, 2004

Painting Steel Floor with Epoxy Coating

Q. We are a manufacturer of air handling equipment that gets rather large in size such that certain sections are exposed to high moisture levels and human traffic. As a result, my challenge is to obtain a paint product on the floor that is durable, but requires minimal surface preparation. Presently, the floors are a hot rolled steel with welds that are brushed and ground. Prior to painting, the floor is washed with a solvent and a two component epoxy is laid on the floor. Some challenges that present themselves is durability to human traffic (hardness?) and due to the non-sandblast preparation, eventual rusting. Is an epoxy paint the right product or is there another product, curing process such as IR heat that could meet our needs of supplying a beter finished product?

The advantage of IR heat in the painting process has only one benefit and that is to dry the paint coating faster.

The use of the 2 component epoxy for durability is a good choice; however, if an abrasive such as sand were to be added to the epoxy paint, it will provide a tougher more durable wear-resistant paint film.

There are suppliers of epoxy coatings that are filled with abrasive products for non-skid coatings, or you may consider a 2 step process, first apply the epoxy coating to the substrate. Follow by distribution of the abrasive sand on to the still wet epoxy coating. In many cases a filled epoxy coating will outlast a non-filled epoxy by 5 to 1.

Since I haven't seen the surface cleanliness of the steel floor prior to painting application, I can't tell you how sucessful the epoxy will be in the long term. I do think, however, that of all the possible coating systems available to you, a two-component epoxy is probably your best choice.


Jim Burke

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