Vol 5 No 6

Subscribe to
Digital Magazine!

Stay informed! Subscribe to the PaintPRO Newsletter
Subscribe Unsubscribe
Other articles in this issue:
Full Body Stains
Special Effects with Epoxies
Faux Applications
Bleaches & Conditioners
Estimating, Etc.
School: Atlanta School of Fine Finishes
Paint Industry News
Product News
Product Profiles
Painting Tips


PaintPRO Archives
pg 1 of 2
Epoxy Coatings




Faux Paint, Epoxy Coatings

This is a new twist for a coating that is rarely celebrated for its artistic qualities. Epoxies have been used for years on concrete floors in factories, hotel lobbies and other commercial settings because of their adhesion, hardness and resistance.
by John Strieder

When Jimmy Tubbs, owner of Concrete Graphix in Camareo, Calif., gets tired of coaxing the same boring colors out of concrete, the decorative concrete contractor turns to tinted epoxy to jazz up his work. “I’ve opened up the book to anything now,” he says. “The sky’s the limit.”

To put the finishing touch on a concrete portrait of a hummingbird, he spread glittered epoxy on the stone bird’s belly, giving it a shiny, natural look.

This is a new twist for a coating that is rarely celebrated for its artistic qualities. Epoxies have been used for years on concrete floors in factories, hotel lobbies and other commercial settings because of their adhesion, hardness and resistance.

But innovations that improve epoxies’ performance have combined with a growing interest in their decorative capabilities to create a kind of renaissance for this industrial stalwart.

Tubbs is using it a lot these days in his less arty jobs as well. He’s laid down epoxy at the Irvine Spectrum shopping center, and on floors at a Fatburger restaurant and a Trader Joe’s specialty grocery store.

“It’s such a strong cover,” he says. “It gives so much shine.”

Epoxy CoatingsHow they compare
Epoxies are two-component systems — they cure as the result of a reaction between two substances after they are mixed. There are “single-component epoxies” on the market, but as Darryl Manuel, president of Vexcon Chemicals Inc., says, they aren’t really epoxies. “They’re alkyd paints,” he declares. “They don’t have the resistance of epoxies.”

Epoxies stand up well when compared to their competitors in the concrete covering field. They have several times the wear resistance of standard acrylics. They are more resistant to oil, gasoline and other abrasive spills than garage-floor paint. And they adhere to concrete better than urethanes.

Recent innovations have introduced epoxies with faster cure times, more light stability and more flexibility, says Jim Essig, western technical director for Crossfield Products Corp. “Epoxies are getting much more technically advanced to meet requirements from the marketplace.”

The past five years have also witnessed a shift in home and garage decor from the monolithic gray concrete floor to decorative epoxy, he says.

Epoxy Coatings
Epoxy Coatings

“Everybody is more interested in aesthetics now than they used to be.”

The residential market is showing fast growth, agrees Manuel of Vexcon, which introduced its PowerCoat Epoxy System in 1995. “The market has been commercial [up to now] because that’s where the value of the epoxy is versus other types of things,” he says, noting that epoxies cost three or four times as much per square foot as acrylics. “The commercial people are going to pay for it. They don’t want to be shutting down the store to fix their floors.”

Using an expensive industrial-strength coating on a garage floor is often overkill, says Mike Duarte, technical director for Versatile Building Products Inc. But because labor and travel time account for so much of the bill on a job, buying a better sealer doesn’t raise the price much. And it can save the contractor (and the homeowner) a second trip. “You don’t want to be out resealing somebody’s house in two years,” he says. “You don’t want a callback either. You don’t want the sealer wearing off within the warranty.”

Besides, Duarte says, customers in the residential market want glossy surfaces — and, in his opinion, nothing delivers better than epoxies. A contractor can simply flood the floor, he says, and get a full film build, high sheen and a level surface in one coat. “You can’t really hide pockmarks with acrylics or urethane,” he says.

Special effects
Contractors aren’t just drawn to epoxies because of their protective properties.

A plethora of pigments, flakes, powders and additives are available to give concrete floors different looks ranging from the stateliness of marble to the shimmer of a “candy-coated” hot rod.

Epoxy Coatings“You can change the integral color of the floor to almost any other color you want,” says Lee Tizard, vice president of sales for flooring supply company Floric Polytech Inc.

There are metallics, pearlescents that change color with the light, phosphorescents that glow in the dark, and fluorescents that strike the eye with vivid, glowing colors. Decorative epoxies are sold in flats, mattes and high glosses.

Granitelike flake floors — epoxies saturated with vinyl chips that give a garage floor a rich rocky appearance — have become extremely popular in garages, Tizard says. “Epoxy granite floors are sometimes referred to as poor man’s terrazzo.”

Chameleon glitter, like the kind used in custom-painting cars, can give the floor of a trendy nightclub or restaurant the head-turning ability to change colors as customers walk across it. From one direction it looks green, and from another, red.


© 2007 Professional Trade Publications, Inc. Unauthorized reproduction of any
information on this site is a violation of existing copyright laws. All rights reserved.