Temperature and Epoxy Floors – Planning Before The Weather Gets Cold

Epoxy behaves differently in lower temperatures.

Even under perfect conditions, the cure time for the resin is seven days. So, if a minimal interruption is important in your business, you’ll probably want to plan your epoxy floor installation before the winter months.

The reason for this timing is straightforward – snow and low ground temperature alter the chemical reactions of the epoxy mixing and installation processes.

The air temperature is a critical consideration to ensuring that the floor will cure, as most screeds and epoxies won’t cure at a linear rate if the room temperate falls below 10°C. If this happens, the process takes far longer than it should, which can lead to significant delays to the construction schedule and the curing process.

Why Epoxy Doesn’t Like Winter

The epoxy resin floor has a chemically reactive threshold of 12°C; known as an exothermic reaction. Lower temperatures precipitate an exothermic reaction, while colder temperatures decelerate exothermic reactions. During this process, molecule cross-linking occurs, causing the bond strength to decrease – unless it’s cured for a longer period. In the process, epoxy’s favourable properties are compromised, which in turn decreases its durability and strength.

Interestingly, epoxy immediately ascertains the temperature of any surface it’s applied to. Therefore, the floor temperature is equally as important as the air temperature. Both the ambient and the substrate temperatures must be above 12°C for epoxies to cure with optimal strength and durability. Any cooler, and the solution stays liquid-like and struggles to set, risking underperformance, bubbling, peeling, and cracking.

Although ambient temperatures can be manipulated to install epoxy floors during the winter months, the process is much smoother during the summer months.

Some of the heat increase strategies include:

  • Propane heaters
  • Heat blankets
  • Storing resins at room temperature, 24 hours before use
  • Placing liquids in warm water to increase their temperature

Excess moisture and humidity can also impact epoxy’s efficacy, which is why moisture tests in artificially heated environments are essential.

For optimal curing, concrete surfaces should be moistureless and above 12°C, with air temperatures between 60°C and 90°C.

These specific requirements are essential to ensuring the process is successful, along with other factors such as cleanliness and ensuring the area is contaminant-free and well ventilated (which can be difficult in winter).

This is needed to make sure that adhesion and penetration of the resin is effective and surface penetration is the most vital aspect of resin floor application. 

Consequently, the temperature has a big effect on the success of an epoxy resin floor installation.

Although our expert team can mitigate the risks of a mid-winter project, it’s important to understand the potential consequences of winterised installations.

And if possible, plan your epoxy floor installation before the cold weather sets in.

To view our epoxy range, contact us at Surface Systems and one of our trained technical team will discuss your flooring requirements and arrange a site visit to provide you with a quote for an appropriate Surface System.

Call us on 01803 868680 or click here to complete our simple enquiry form and one of our team will get back to you.

We are here to help with any flooring problem, whether it be large or small.

We will be with you through every step of the process; from the initial consultation right through to the installation of your floor by our team of qualified flooring contractors. 

You will also have access to our excellent aftercare team, who can advise you on the maintenance and cleaning of your flooring solution. 

To speak to one of our dedicated team of specialists, please get in touch via our Contact Us page, or call us on tel: +44 (0)1803 868680. 

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