When engineers and technicians test flooring systems, such as epoxy flooring systems, they use a 24-hour immersion test. Testers typically immerse fully cured coatings through a gauntlet of noxious solvents and fluids such as brake fluid, gasoline, xylene, MEK, acids, and more. These 24-hour tests reveal which chemicals cause harm to flooring systems. Such testing may reveal “no effect,” “slight softening of film,” or “film destroyed.”
That said, while epoxies, polyurethanes, and polyureas are tough as nails, there aren’t many coatings on earth that can survive 24 hours in a bath of brake fluid or MEK. The harshest chemicals that floor coatings will face are MEK, brake fluid, and xylene. On the other hand, nearly every epoxy, advanced two-part commercial polyurethane, and polyurea can easily shrug off all acids, mineral spirits, oils, and gasoline.
The surest way to ensure the viability and integrity of your floor system is to clean up spills promptly. When spills are not allowed to linger, even the toughest solvent will never get a chance to blemish your flooring system.
Avoid Scratches and Abrasions
All floor coating systems are subject to abrasions through contact with hard materials. Typically, car tires won’t scratch your floor, because car tires are soft. Hard tools, and dirty boots, however, can dull your floor’s surface by creating tiny scratches over time. Never drag anything like boxes or cabinets across the floor—carry them or use a hand truck instead.
Refinishing Your Epoxy or Polyurea Floor Coating
Garage coatings can be refinished if necessary—at a cost far less than the original installation. Of course, refinishing should never be necessary within the first 7 to 10 years of your flooring installation. The refinishing process is very simple: A flooring installer can lightly abrade the surface with a walk-behind sanding machine or manually with a sanding block on a stick with medium or medium fine sandpaper. Sanding should abrade the surface just enough so that subsequent coatings will adhere properly, but such sanding should not reach through multiple layers of existing coatings. Naturally, any spills must be cleaned thoroughly.
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