Epoxy is considered among the best garage flooring materials for many reasons. They are highly durable, low maintenance, and have a beautiful sheen.
Despite being one of the most commonly used materials for garage floors, Rustoleum epoxy is not without limitations. Floors covered in this type of epoxy can fail for various reasons, leading to problems ranging from minor defects to irreparable damages.
Depending on the nature of the problem, you may have to remove the entire coat and do it afresh to fix the damage. However, knowing the common Rustoleum garage floor epoxy problems and their causes can leave you better prepared to avoid the pitfalls.
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Rustoleum garage floor epoxy problems
Even though Rustoleum is a leading manufacturer of household and industrial paints and coatings, its epoxy is not a foolproof flooring material. Like any epoxy, it requires careful application and expertise to get the best results.
It can be particularly challenging for inexperienced DIYers. Still, skilled flooring technicians can also often have their epoxy installation go wrong if they do not watch out for the common pitfalls.
So this section looks at these problems in detail.
1. Peeling epoxy coat
Various factors can cause portions of the epoxy on a garage floor to peel away. Often, these factors are related to mistakes or omissions made when applying the epoxy to the garage floor.
- Improper or inadequate surface preparation
While epoxy is durable and dries to form a touch coat, it needs to go on a properly scuffed surface to adhere properly.
One mistake that some professionals and DIYers often make is to apply the epoxy on a glossy surface. When this happens, the epoxy will not have sufficient grip on the garage floor, and the outcome may be disastrous.
With poor bonding, some parts of the floor may start lifting off the concrete. You can escape this problem easily by always sanding or grinding the floor surface thoroughly and wiping the dust off the area before applying the epoxy paint.
Various mechanical means are available for scuffing up the existing floor to improve bonding with new epoxy paint.
- High humidity
Epoxy is highly sensitive to humidity, yet garages can be pretty humid areas of the home, especially in oceanic climates.
When applying epoxy, you want to ensure the floor is completely dry and free of water. Putting the coat onto a wet floor will create bonding problems with the floor, leading to the peeling off of the epoxy layer from the floor.
If you live in a humid environment, you could use a device such as a space heater and dehumidifier to eliminate the moisture and dry the floor before you start working.
- Grease on the floor
Proper surface preparation should take care of any grease the floor might have absorbed. Nonetheless, it is important to note that applying epoxy paint to an oily floor or concrete with chemicals on it is a terrible idea.
Such surface contaminants can create significant adhesion problems, ultimately causing the epoxy to peel.
Consider degreasing the floor with a suitable product to remove the contaminants and ensure better bonding.
- Too high or low temperatures
When the temperatures are too high, the epoxy will often cure too quickly, and you may not get the time you need to apply it properly.
The Rustoleum garage floor epoxy is a two-part product consisting of a resin and hardener. You must mix the two products to create the epoxy that you apply to the floor.
For the two parts to mix properly and create the right epoxy paint for the garage floor, temperature and humidity conditions must be right.
Too high or too low temperatures will affect the reaction of the resin and hardener, causing the epoxy layer to pull away from the floor as it cures.
Additionally, temperatures that fluctuate between the extremes (high and cold) can cause condensation problems. This introduces water that uncured epoxy is highly sensitive to. Such unfavorable conditions will damage the floor coating.
- Using non-paintable sealant
Sometimes you may seal parts of the floor with material that does not accept paint. If this happens, the primer and epoxy will not settle in properly, and peeling may occur afterward.
- Skipping the primer
Primers help paints stick better. You need to apply it before applying the epoxy to improve epoxy bonding to the concrete floor.
The epoxy paint may struggle to adhere to the floor if you skip the primer. As it cures, parts of it may start lifting off the floor, causing unprofessional-looking results.
2. Cracking epoxy floor
While peeling will involve the epoxy layer lifting off the floor, cracking affects the substrate. This problem occurs when you apply the Rustoleum epoxy to a weak concrete substrate that cannot stand up to a strong topcoat.
Epoxy is a robust material, which is why it is one of the most durable choices for coating a garage floor.
When you apply it to a damaged concrete floor that has lost its structural integrity, the epoxy will not fix the floor. Instead, it will adhere to it and overpower it as it cures.
The pulling force of the epoxy eventually rips the concrete apart from its weakest areas. The problem is likely to be even more pronounced if you apply thick layers of the epoxy material.
So it is not always advisable to apply epoxy to a garage floor with bad concrete. The quality of the substrate directly affects the longevity of the epoxy paint.
Applying it to a weak concrete substrate can lead to losses and wastage of the time you must spend fixing the floor and the coating.
Even worse, an epoxy coating can be pretty difficult to remove, so it is always best to avoid problems that force you to remove it after it is cured.
3. Trapped dust or debris under the epoxy
Epoxy dries to form a glossy sheen. This makes any imperfection appear more pronounced than it would on a duller surface.
Often, limited attention to detail can result in debris remaining on the floor and ending up trapped beneath the epoxy coating.
It is essential to be thorough and careful when cleaning the surface before painting it with the composite material.
A soft brush can remove the larger dirt and grit particles from the ground concrete floor, but combining this with an industrial vacuum could provide better results.
However, it is even more important to protect the area to avoid reintroducing dust after cleaning it. You may want to seal it off so that the wind does not blow some dust back onto the garage floor prior to coating it.
And just before you apply the first cat of the epoxy, always check the floor to ensure it is sparkling clean to avoid this problem.
4. Wrinkling epoxy.
You may experience this problem if you re-coat before the surface is fully dry. Adding a coat of epoxy to a wet one affects the drying process of both coats.
Never apply wet on wet epoxy. Each product comes with the manufacturer’s recommendation of the appropriate drying time and re-coat time. Always read these instructions and follow them.
It is better to wait for longer before re-coating, but not wait for less time than recommended. The slight mistake will be costly in terms of the time you must spend fixing the problem or the money you must invest in new product purchases unless you are happy to live with a bad floor.
5. Air bubbles underneath the epoxy
If the substrate concrete is highly porous, applying generous amounts of primer and letting it dry completely before coating with epoxy can always help.
However, using inadequate primer or failing to use it all together can allow the concrete to release the air trapped inside its pores underneath the coat of epoxy, causing bubbles.
Such air bubbles can also result when you apply the epoxy in very high, very cold temperatures or in direct sunlight.
The final most common culprit for epoxy floors with air bubbles is fast mixing. When mixing the resin and hardener, you usually need to do it gently. Running a paddle mixer too fast through the epoxy or pumping it up and down can get air trapped in the product.
After applying it to the floor, this air will remain trapped in the layers, creating an unprofessional-looking finish.
Always apply the epoxy in the recommended temperature ranges away from direct sunlight to avoid this problem.
Also, ensure that you prep the concrete thoroughly and seal it before coating it with the composite material.
6. Moisture buildup beneath the epoxy layer
Other than air, moisture can also be trapped underneath the epoxy. This problem can happen if you coat a damp concrete floor.
It will appear dry at the time of coating but release the moisture through its crust over time, affecting the epoxy.
This problem is rare in cases where the floor is properly sealed with a durable primer. So it is important to invest in a good primer when working with epoxy. If the concrete has moisture, the sealer will provide a barrier preventing it from reaching the epoxy layer.
Skimping on the sealant may allow the moisture from the substrate concrete to reach the epoxy, texturing the coated floor surface.
We also recommend waiting for a minimum of 24 hours for the floor to dry after etching. This should allow the material to dry thoroughly and avoid trapping moisture beneath the epoxy floor.
You can also test the floor for moisture before coating it. You will be happier to err on the side of caution than take any chances.
7. Inconsistent color
The color of the epoxy on your garage floor can look different from what you intended. If this happens, it can usually be traced back to the mixing.
Epoxy is a two-part composite that requires proper mixing to achieve the desired consistency that reflects in the final coat.
Rushing the process or unskillfully doing it can result in undesirable color variations and inconsistencies in some places.
You may not be able to fix this problem once it has occurred, but you can take the necessary precaution to prevent it from happening.
Consider storing all batches that you intend to use on the same project together or in the same conditions to avoid any color variations. Also, make sure you mix the different parts following the manufacturer’s instructions.
If the epoxy is not applied and spread out properly, the roller marks start being visible over time as the floor traps some dirt.
8. Paw marks
After applying the epoxy successfully, the next vital thing is to protect it. Lock the garage door and make it out of reach of pets and playful kids.
Pets can walk on the freshly applied epoxy surface, creating undesirable paw marks that you may not be able to fix.
Epoxy can be extremely difficult to fix, so you may be forced to live with the marks. You don’t want that, so ensure you protect the area after coating it until it is fully cured.
9. Failure to cure and harden properly
Sometimes you could leave your freshly coated floor to dry, only to find it still wet at the end of the recommended cure time.
If this problem occurs, the chances are that you did not mix the resin and hardener in the recommended proportions.
Most epoxies require mixing one-part resin with one-part hardener. As such, the mixing ratio must be 1:1.
However, it is possible to miss the ratios, especially when working on a large project involving a lot of epoxy or a large team of workers.
Failure to follow the correct mixing instructions may cause hardening problems, including the material failing to cure. However, paying careful attention to these instructions should prevent this problem.
The video below describes the common problems with an epoxy floor coating
Frequently Asked Questions-FAQs
Why is my epoxy floor still sticky?
The probable reason why your epoxy floor is still sticky is inappropriately mixed liquids. Your epoxy floor could be sticky if you did not mix the liquids properly enough or used the wrong ratio.
The epoxy floor’s stickiness can also result from the residue from the mixing bucket. If you turn over and leave your mixing bucket on the floor to empty after applying the coat, the area can remain sticky.
Why is my epoxy garage floor peeling?
Your epoxy garage floor may peel when it is acidly etched. If you fail to remove the acid effectively, a thin layer of loose concrete dust results on the top of your concrete slab. Upon applying the epoxy coating, it bonds with the dust on the concrete, causing the peeling of the floor.
How long does the epoxy garage floor last?
The epoxy garage floor can last between 2 to10 years with appropriate maintenance. The duration is dependent on the additives you use at the time of application, drop impact, wear from the vehicles in space, and the levels of foot traffic.
Can I recoat my epoxy floor?
Yes. If your epoxy floor is damaged or has lost its sheen, you can recoat it. However, you will need to prepare it before recoating for the new epoxy to adhere adequately. The preparation is pretty simple. Clean the floor with a grease-cutting detergent to eliminate the built thin oil layer to promote the adherence of the new epoxy.
Why do epoxy floors have Flakes?
The epoxy floors may have flakes due to improper adherence to the concrete. If you install your epoxy floor over concrete that has not had enough time to cure, the epoxy will not adhere to the concrete. The practice implies that the epoxy cannot effectively bond with the concrete, resulting in flakes and bubbles.
While Rustoleum garage floor epoxy problems may be many, each of them is avoidable. All you need to do is identify the potential causes of the problem and watch out for them when applying the coating on your floor.
This article examines each problem and provides a detailed explanation of its common causes. We hope this helps you avoid the problems and save you from the trouble of fixing them after occurring.