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So you've decided to apply epoxy floor coating to your basement floor. Great choice! Not only does it last long and protect your floor against damage, but it also costs less than other flooring options and provides a smooth, lustrous shine. The question is: when can you apply it? Is it possible to apply it during winter? We've asked epoxy flooring specialists and sought out reliable sources online to find the answer for you.
Applying epoxy in winter is not ideal. Cold weather can affect the viscosity of the material, slowing down the curing time, preventing proper leveling, and leading to surface defects. However, there are a few ways to install epoxy flooring in cold weather if it can't be avoided:
- Heat up the epoxy and hardener before use.
- Use a fast hardener.
- Warm up the floor and the environment of your basement.
- Mix the epoxy and the hardener well.
- Get rid of amine.
Ready to go into the details of how to apply epoxy to your basement floor in the winter? Read on as we explore each step, discuss the downsides of installing epoxy in cold weather, and answer more of your questions about this topic.
How To Apply Epoxy Floor Coating To Your Basement In Cold Weather
While applying epoxy floor coating in winter is difficult, it's not impossible. So if there's no way to put it off, you can take note of a few helpful tips to make your epoxy installation successful even when the weather is frosty.
Here are the steps to applying epoxy flooring to your basement in cold weather:
1. Heat up the epoxy and hardener before use
It's important to store the epoxy and hardener in a heated place and warm them up before mixing and applying them. Doing this will increase the viscosity of the epoxy, ensuring that it flows smoothly and levels properly during application. It will also allow for better and stronger bonding with the subflooring.
You can use a warm-water bath, a heating pad, or heat lamps to warm up your epoxy and hardener. It's best to keep them at a temperature between 70 to 90°F.
2. Use a fast hardener
Fast hardeners are specially formulated to help epoxy cure faster in lower temperatures - even as low as 40°F. They also improve the curing of epoxy, offering solid, high-quality, and high-resistance results.
3. Warm up the floor and the environment of your basement
To ensure proper epoxy application, your basement must be at the right temperature. Look for the temperature requirements of your epoxy and find out the lowest temperature at which it can be applied by checking the product's technical data sheet.
If you're using a primer, make sure to look for its temperature requirements as well.
Then, check the temperature of your basement floor. This is typically the coldest part of the room and it's where the epoxy will be applied, so its temperature is crucial.
You will also need to check the temperature of your walls, vents, and doorways. Use an infrared thermometer for accurate temperature readings.
If your basement is not at the ideal temperature for epoxy application, then you will need to warm it up. Important warning: do not use propane, kerosene, or open-flame heaters. These will affect the curing of the epoxy and give you unsightly results.
The best tools to use for warming up your basement floor and environment are heat lamps, electric heaters, or hot air guns.
4. Mix the epoxy and hardener well
Before doing this, it's extremely important to check whether you have the right epoxy-to-hardener ratio. Otherwise, your ratio might be off which will affect the strength and quality of the cured epoxy. Check the container of the epoxy and read the instructions carefully before mixing it with the hardener.
Take your time and be thorough in mixing the epoxy and hardener as this will be trickier during cold weather. If you're mixing large amounts of these materials, divide them into smaller batches and use smaller containers.
Make sure to use plastic or metal containers; don't use anything made from glass.
Then, use a slow speed mixing drill to mix the epoxy and hardener. Stir it well and scrape the sides with a tongue depressor to make sure all the products have been mixed in.
5. Get rid of amine
Applying epoxy in cold weather leads to a slower cure, leaving the product to absorb moisture and react to carbon dioxide in the air which results in amine blush. This creates greasy spotting on the surface that needs to be removed before applying the next coat.
Use dish soap or a degreaser mixed into warm water and a scrub pad to clean off the amine blush. Dry it off immediately with clean paper towels, then use sandpaper to sand the surface.
Does epoxy crack in the cold?
No, epoxy does not crack even in freezing temperatures since it's weather-resistant. However, cold weather does slow down the curing time of epoxy.
It will also result in crystal formations in the product that can have a significant impact on the results of the cure.
While epoxy flooring won't crack in the cold, concrete flooring can. If a concrete subfloor cracks under extreme temperatures, it can be detrimental to the condition of your epoxy floor coating.
What temperature is best for epoxy?
The ideal temperature to install epoxy is 50 to 80°F. If you choose to apply it in extreme heat or cold, you will have to make a few adjustments to ensure your resin cures properly.
Can you apply epoxy in hot weather?
Installing epoxy flooring in the summer also comes with its challenges. Higher temperatures can make the application of the epoxy more difficult and lead to air bubbles as well. And because heat speeds up the curing process, the epoxy may cure while still in the container.
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to successfully install your epoxy floor coating in hot weather. Here are a few tips for this undertaking:
- Store the materials in a cool place.
- Use water-based products.
- Schedule epoxy installation at dawn or late evening.
- Determine the temperature of the subflooring.
- Mix epoxy and hardener in smaller batches.
- Make sure there are enough people to apply the coating faster.
Epoxy floor installation during the winter can come with plenty of disadvantages. Not only is it more difficult to mix and apply, but it may also yield less than desirable curing results.
However, there are ways to ensure that you apply your epoxy coating successfully in cold weather. Keep in mind, though, that you will need to follow the steps for working with epoxy in the winter and use the right tools for a smooth and properly leveled coating.
If possible, it's best to wait for the weather to warm up to the ideal temperature before installing your epoxy flooring.
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