How to apply an epoxy coating over an existing vinyl floor.
Many of our customers ask about applying an epoxy floor coating over existing vinyl flooring, both in sheet form and tiles. As many have experienced, as vinyl flooring gets old and/or well-used, the heat-welded seams often burst open allowing contamination to seep through and under the flooring. It also becomes porous and difficult to keep clean.
REMOVING EXISTING VINYL FLOORING
Removing Vinyl flooring can also be a real headache – for several reasons:
- Mostly they are stuck well and difficult to remove. When you do get it up, the glue used is either hard or soft and BOTH types cause a problem…!
- If the glue is soft, it is difficult to remove as it gums up diamond grinders and wire brushes. Furthermore, when using chemicals it will often turn the glue into one big sticky stodge! The best way to remove this type of glue is with the use of our STR Machine and PCD Shoes. Other than that, it is hand scrapers I’m afraid!
- If the glue is hard, this can be more difficult and really depends upon how much is left on the surface. It is difficult to say here as to which machine would be best as it really needs a discussion. However, it would mostly be a choice between a Hand Held Diamond Grinder, a High-Speed Diamond Grinder and a Scabbler.
Poor Quality Substrate
The next issue is not just what is left on the surface by way of the glue, but now the ‘reverse’. Unfortunately, the choice to use a lot of vinyl is due to the poor quality of the substrate and, when pulling up the vinyl, MOST people also end up pulling any latex or self-levelling screeds previously used to level out the surface.
Now you have two problems; glue residue on the surface and holes / loose screeds.
A lot of rooms that have had vinyl floors laid suffer from surface contamination. People have laid these floors due to them being portrayed as totally impervious and non-slip. However, they are often in wet/greasy areas that can cause havoc with any coating that hopes to stick to the vinyl. Kitchens, bathrooms, toilets, food processing areas, factories, laboratories, garages, kennels and catteries, etc, etc all suffer from grease and oil contamination. It is therefore vitally important that a suitable bio-degradable degreaser is used – see Polycote Degrease IT
Once de-greased, make sure the surface is clean and sound. Any loose vinyl must be removed and re-laid and any holes repaired prior to a final abrasion of the surface – to provide a key.
KEYING THE SURFACE
Once you have established that the vinyl adheres well to the substrate and that the surface is clean and dry, it is necessary to thoroughly abrade the surface in order to ensure good adhesion to the surface.
If the area is small, this can be achieved with an orbital sander, using something like 60-grit sandpaper. However, if the area is of a larger size, then the use of our STR Machine is definitely recommended.
If the vinyl flooring has been polished and waxed, especially in schools and colleges, hospitals and hotels, it is important to note that a simple abrasion of the surface is NOT good enough. It is vitally important that the surface layer(s) of wax/polish is sufficiently ‘cut’ through to ensure the coating can adhere to the tile itself. Again, the STR Machine is good for this although it ‘may’ need something slightly more aggressive such as a Vacuum Assisted Grinder.
FILLING HOLES AND IMPERFECTIONS
Once preparations have been completed, holes and imperfections (should there be any) can be filled with suitable repair material. The best repair material would be very much dependant upon you’re your own specific needs of course. However, the most popular repair products worthy of note are Polycote Easi-fil or Polycote Cretex EP.
Once completed, and the repair material suitable cured, you are now ready to apply a coating.
PAINTING THE FLOOR
To advise on a coating here and now would not be professional as there are so many different factors to take into consideration. For instance; should you wish to paint over existing multi-coloured vinyl flooring, for example – intermediate dark and light tiles, you will almost certainly get a shading effect coming through the coating. Should a full obliteration be required it is therefore advisable to note that and that extra coat(s) may well be required.
However, should you wish to achieve a long-lasting high-wear coating, that can provide a totally impervious and easy-to-clean surface, then please consider one coat of our WD Primer, followed by one coat of our Flortex Professional. Proven nationwide (even worldwide!), this system is excellent for the coating of vinyl floors and can save a whole lot of headaches caused by the many other coatings that would require the full removal of a vinyl floor.
A PERSONAL NOTE
We would like to assure you that all these situations are easily overcome and that you can achieve a lovely new floor over existing vinyl. However, we are of the opinion that it is always good to know of problems that could arise before they happen. As the old saying goes, forewarned is forearmed.
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 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.