How to apply an epoxy coating in cold weather?

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When temperatures start to fall you need to start thinking very seriously about minimum temperatures that your chosen floor coating can be stored at, applied at, and the minimum temperature the coating will cure at.

A lot of companies may well tell you to wait until the following year.  Using Polycote however, we have products (solutions!) for virtually any conditions.  In fact, we even have floor coatings that can be applied at -30°C and STILL cure in only 2 hours!!

So, whoever you use, us included, the most important advice is to carefully read the technical data sheet and don’t forget, you need to review all the products to be used for the specific project on hand, from the repair mortar for filling holes, to the type of primer prior to the top coat.

The above mentioned points are obviously elementary, so now we’ll give you a few other things to consider that are not so obvious, which of course is really the main point of all of our advice sheets

Transporting the materials

If you have to take materials to site, please take care as to how cold they will get, especially in freezing conditions.  When you get to site, don’t leave them outside on the back of the truck.  All of our products are professional products offering you long term solutions but you must respect their characteristics.  If you are going to be a while, move them indoors and warm before using.

There is another very good reason to keep them warm.  When many materials get cold, they become thick and possibly stiff and much more difficult to use.  Thick materials don’t go so far which means you can actually hugely reduce your coverage and end up ‘running out’ of material.  Alternatively (and just to really make a point here) keep the products warm and they will flow so much easier, your application will be quicker and less effort and you should easily achieve the coverages allowed for!

Heating

If the room does not have heating then you will need to consider how you are going to warm it up.  Gas heaters, kerosene and diesel heaters are obviously popular but take care…!  These heaters can often throw out a ‘fume’ which can then settle onto the surface to be painted and end up causing de-lamination.  A good example of this is the black marks you can get on a wall from the exhaust fumes from cars that are regularly reversed up to the wall.

An electric heater is the best as there are no fumes.  However, as well all know, they do unfortunately take the longest to warm the place up!

Don’t forget that heat rises!!  Many people put the heater into the room for a couple of hours, walk in and say “Phew, its hot in here”, and promptly turn the heater down or even off altogether.  The unfortunately thing is that most of them are not painting the ceiling!!  The floor is far, far colder and may well STILL be too cold to paint.  PLEASE remember, if the building has not been heated at all and it is very cold outside, the entire fabric of the building – and the floor slab in particular – can take several days to even begin to get warm.  You may well have to turn a heater on in the area well before the day of application.

Floor Slab

The temperature of the floor slab influenced by the ground temperature and even in a heated environment, take care when apply alongside external walls as the slab temperatures here can be considerably colder that the slab say in the middle of the room.  These external edges can cause the primer to take longer to cure and the average person who is not a tradesman may well not realise this.

They will enter the room, think everything is fine – they don’t normally walk right next to the wall and where the primer has cured in the middle of the room, they then think it is a perfect time to apply the top coat.  Please realise that if the primer has not cured sufficiently in ‘spots’ or ‘areas’, that this is one of the main reason for failure of the top coat.

Doorways and Entrances

Another popular area to take very great care about in cold weather is DOORWAYS.

So many people do not realise how much draft is coming from under a door, particularly (but definitely not only) industrial doors.  Many a floor has been wrecked due to freezing temperatures blowing under or around a door and effectively ‘killing’ the curing of the coating.  Once an uncured paint has been frozen, it is very very rare it will cure and even if it does,  the hardness and wear ability of the coating will be hugely reduced…and where do you think you need the hardest and strongest coating?  Where is going to take the most wear and tear every single day?  Yes, you’ve guessed it I’m sure……..…right in the doorway!

In a nut shell, please just check the doors and if you do have a draft problem, don’t ignore it and hope for the best as so many people do.  Put some sand along the front of the door – makes sure you put enough!  Not just a little bit that ends up getting blown under the door.  It’ll be ‘sods law’ as they say that it WILL cure and you will either have a fantastic or more than likely a very annoying extremely non slip surface that you neither want, nor can you keep clean!!

Another way to fill the gap is to get some low tack tape and simply tape up the doors as much as sensibly possible.

Alternatively, why not do the job properly in the first place.  You are obviously losing a load of heat under and around the doors and you paying a lot of money trying to keep the place warm.  Buy one of our professional Brush Strips now are dramatically reduce your heating bills…AND you help to keep dust and pests out at the same time!

Roof leaks.

It’s obviously winter time!  Have you got any drips from the roofs or gutters.  If you have, please get them fixed first.  This is another very popular reason for spoiling what should a lovely, hard, long lasting floor.

Again, if I may give you another little tip here, check out our Roof Coatings and specifically Wetterflex product, as this one can be applied onto virtually any surface AND, even in the rain!

Take care in the winter months as humidity can either cause water based products to take a lot longer to cure.  If the atmosphere is very humid, then the water within the product will not be able to rise and thus, prevent the paint from curing.

Another problem here is that the humidity can then settle on the surface and cause the surface to ‘bloom’ (get something like a milky whiteness on the surface).  It can also cause what is known as an orange peel effect , (a sort of textured appearance) in the top coat.

As a rule of thumb it is not advisable to apply an epoxy if the temperature is less than 10 degrees and/or the humidity is greater than 80% unless you have specifically discussed your requirements / conditions and we have given you a specific product that can cope in such conditions.  Other than that, the simple advice is not to rush it but wait for a better day, do it once and do it right…!

Finally…

It’s always good to end on a positive note!  A cooler day can in fact be a good day in which to apply a coating!  The resins will not be so hot which will give you a much longer pot life and the surface temperature will not be so hot, therefore providing you with a longer application time!!

FURTHER TECHNICAL HELP REQUIRED?

Thank you for your interest and we hope you have found the above information both interesting and helpful.  However, should you still have be unsure as to the best solution for your needs, please don’t hesitate to ring our technical helpline now on 01234 846400.  We have a fully qualified team ready to give practical advice and help assist you as much as possible.

For professional flooring advice, talk to one of our ‘Polycote Pros’ today on 0800 980 0852, get a quick answer from our team via Live Chat or email us at [email protected]

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