November 29, 2019
Dur-A-Flex flooring contractors know that before using, it is best practice to let resinous flooring materials acclimate to the environment. While this is applicable year round, it is especially important to pay attention to this rule during the winter months.
Our Epoxy flooring systems are the most vulnerable to cold temperatures, so as temperatures drop across the country, here are a few tips to consider when installing Epoxy floors.
During transport or storing, the epoxy may be exposed to low temperatures which can cause the material to crystallize. If this happens to you, do not worry, it can easily be addressed and corrected. Simply heat the material until it liquefies, and mix it well prior to installing it.
- We heat the material by placing it in a hot box at 100-120 degrees Fahrenheit until it liquefies.
- Other techniques include placing the material in a u-shape and blowing it with warm air from an electric heater, drum warmers can be used, or you can also place it in a bathtub with hot water.
- Once liquefied, you are good to go, but remember to mix well before installing it.
Acclimating the area is another routine practice that should be adhered to. It is common to find that the floor along the perimeter of a room can be colder than the rest of the floor. In the winter months, this is especially true by doors or bays leading to the outdoors. Epoxies rely on an exothermic reaction (heat) to promote the curing process. You can use electric heaters to acclimate the areas of the floors to a consistent temperature.
- Use an electric heater and/or expect longer cure times.
- Do not use a propane heater to heat floors as the carbon dioxide from the heater can lead to amine blush.
In temperatures below 60 and above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, you can decrease your broadcast cure time by using Dur-A-Glaze #4 Fast Hardener.
- Use Fast Hardener in the patching, and broadcast coats only.
- Do not use as a grout/topcoat as yellowing/ambering will occur.
- Do not use performance topcoats such as Armor Top or Accelera — they will not bond to the Fast Hardener.
For systems requiring a high performance topcoat, you will want to use a Dur-A-Glaze #4 Regular Hardener for your grout coat.
- If it is below 60 degrees F, know it will take longer to cure (24-36 hours).
- Do not use Dur–A-Glaze #4 Water Clear Hardener below 70 degrees F. (This product is best used in the warmth 70-90 degrees F).
When temperatures are cooler and the relative humidity percentage is between 10-30%, use Armor Top LH or Accelera LH formula as the perfect topcoats. They were created specifically for these conditions.
- Cure time is one day.
- Increasing the ambient temperature will accelerate the cure time for these topcoats.
While we are on the topic of Accelera LH, did you know it is an excellent cold weather alternative to epoxy? It works as your primer, broadcast, grout coat, and topcoat — all in one. You can save a day by using Accelera LH as your grout coat. It will give you all the properties of the high-performance topcoat while sealing in your system.
Another thing to look for with lower temperatures is a slightly thicker resin. The higher viscosity can impact how quickly the sand broadcast will settle. When broadcasting sand don’t broadcast too quickly. Allow the sand the chance to settle into the liquids. If you don’t you may end up displacing resin, leaving puddles, or finding you have uneven texture when the excess sand is swept off.
- Be sure to broadcast UP as you’re throwing and you may need to come back to areas and rebroadcast the areas as the sand is slow to sit into the resin.
- Broadcast slowly, and to rejection.
- Too much sand too early and the resin may migrate up and cause a cauliflower or broccoli head in the floor.
Following these tips will help you minimize cure times and keep the installation process of your seamless floor nice and smooth. Please reach out with any additional questions. Our tech team is just an email or phone call away.
Author: Gardner Perry
Gardner Perry is responsible for Applicator Development and Tech Services in the Northeast / Mid-Atlantic regions for Dur-A-Flex. His role includes jobsite support, answering technical/application questions and applicator development.