How to Clean Epoxy Flooring
What is Epoxy Flooring?
We have talked about cleaning tile, carpet, walls, houses, and other types of flooring. Many of our customers may not know what epoxy flooring is or why it would even need a steam cleaner. The truth is, epoxy flooring is an amazing ingenuity of science that’s very interesting to observe.
Epoxy is a thermosetting resin that is applied as a full coating. The coating forms when one-part polyamine hardener and one-part epoxide resin are mixed together. The hardener in this instance acts as the catalyst during the process. This is what gives epoxy its strength and durability.
The even cooler aspect of epoxy is that unlike paint it doesn’t dry, it cures. When these two parts have been mixed a chemical reaction occurs to create the exothermic curing process. How it works is the curing process forces the polymer to produce structure that become cross-linked. The result is a coating thicker then paint and bonds well to a surface that has been prepared properly.
Steps to Make Your Epoxy Flooring Look Like New
- Prevent Damage to Your Epoxy
Epoxy is extremely durable and made with multiple layers of coating, but they are not indestructible.
- Perform Routine Maintenance Cleaning
Like any floors, epoxy requires simple maintenance measures to stay shiny and aesthetically pleasing.
For any liquids spilled on an epoxy floor, simply wipe them up using a soft cloth or paper towel. Use a broom or industrial wet/dry vacuum cleaner to pick up any dust or debris.
- Remove Tough Stains
If something soils your epoxy floor, such as engine oil, a simple solution of ammonia and water should adequately remove the stain. Treat spills as soon as possible to prevent staining. First, sweep away any dust and debris from the area. Then, mix five ounces of clear ammonia per gallon of hot water. Soak a hard foam mop in the solution and completely scrub the soiled area. Mopping epoxy flooring with this mixture removes many types of stains without hurting the epoxy coating.
- Make Your Floors Shine Like New
New epoxy flooring shines beautifully, but over time may fog with compounds from your vehicle or foot traffic. At least once a year, clean your entire epoxy floor to make it shine like new again. Do this by hosing off your floors with hot water, using a squeegee to dry.
Your floors may need heavy-duty cleaning every six months to look their best. Heavy-duty cleaning involves mopping the entire floor with the ammonia-water solution or taking the next step – hiring a team of professional epoxy flooring cleaners.
Mopping the Floor
For regular cleaning of your floor, a simple dust mop will work wonders. Applying your dust mop around once a week is the best way to clean epoxy floors and to gather up strangling dust or dirt. If desired, you can also take a hose to wash down your entire floor and then use a squeegee to absorb the residue. Every three or four months a more vigorous scrub may be required to obtain a clean epoxy floor. This is especially the case when your floor is heavily trafficked by machinery. You’ll need a hard foam mop, as a string mop will leave streak marks and will not clean your epoxy floors with the most efficiency.
Whether you have professional epoxy coatings for your garage, basement, porch, sunroom or pole barn, the maintenance and usage tips are usually the same. A couple items below may only pertain to harder use applications:
1. For minor spills or vehicle drippings, simply wipe them up with a paper towel or other soft cloth.
2. Routine maintenance cleaning is best achieved with either a soft bristle broom or a blue commercial dust mop (available at any home improvement store).
3. For heavy cleaning of a soiled epoxy floor, sweep away any loose debris and then mop floor with a hard foam mop, hot water and clear ammonia. Four to five ounces of ammonia per gallon of water is all that is needed to adequately remove soiling.
4. Some winter road “pre-treatment” compounds leave a hazy film on epoxy floor coatings after cleaning. This can normally be removed with hot water and a deck brush (found at most hardware stores). Continuous rinsing may be required to keep the compounds from drying onto new areas of the floor.
5. Some stains (including rust) may require light scrubbing with a kitchen scrubbing pad. If you’re unable to remove with just hot water, we recommend using Soft Scrub. Do not use Comet or other abrasive cleaning chemicals on the coatings.
So, how long do epoxy floors last?
Generally, epoxy floors last 2 to 3 years depending on the floor traffic. Of course, if it’s used for industrial or public spaces, then it could have a grave effect on its durability and lifespan. However, for residential spaces, the lifespan might take longer than expected considering the number of people using the floor on a daily basis.
How can you achieve a long lifespan for epoxy floors? Simply! Do proper maintenance of daily sweeping, thorough cleaning using mild scrubber at least once a week, recoat the floor if necessary and many more. When you see the need to clean it, then do so. You don’t want to waste your money on the floor that’s easily wear, do you?