Can You Add Decorative Flakes To One-Part Epoxy?

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Decorating your concrete floor makes it more attractive and can help with traction, making it safer to walk on. With a range of colors and styles of decorative flakes to work with, you can embellish your epoxy floor to your exact specifications.

But can you add decorative flakes to a one-part epoxy floor? Keep reading to learn more about epoxy floors and decorative flakes from our experts.

The Challenges of One-Part Epoxy

At EMC Concrete Coatings, we have tried one-part epoxy over our ten years in business, and we’ve seen that these floors just don’t hold up. The thin epoxy paint is tricky to work with, comes in limited colors, and doesn’t create an even distribution of flakes.

In a professional two-part base coat and top coat epoxy floor, you add decorative flakes on the base coat, then pour the top coat to create an even, non-slip surface. If you’re going for a durable epoxy floor with colorful decorative flakes, choose a two-part epoxy flake system.

How a Two-Part Epoxy Flake System Works

The orange peel texture of an epoxy flake system prevents slipping, giving you a stable work environment for all your needs. The process of applying an epoxy flake floor requires:

  • Starting with an even concrete base
  • Applying a polyurea base coat
  • Adding decorative flakes
  • Pouring a polyaspartic or rapid cure epoxy top coat

The materials you need will depend on the specifics of your project. You can choose between custom color or standard color chips in different flake sizes. Speaking to a professional will help you understand your project’s needs.

Concrete

The substrate, typically concrete, is the base of your epoxy flake system. Thoroughly clean and dust the substrate before applying epoxy to maintain a solid grip.

To clean the substrate, follow these steps:

  • Strip any previous coating off by sanding and applying a paint-stripping solution.
  • Fill in any cracks or damage for an even base.
  • Thoroughly clean the concrete by sweeping, mopping, and using a stain remover.

Once all old paint, dust, and grime have been cleared and the concrete is completely dry, you can move on to the next layer in the epoxy flake system.

Base Coat

The base coat is the first layer of epoxy or polyurea. Epoxy dries relatively quickly; you must add the color chip layer while wet. It’s generally best to apply a small section of base coat and add the flakes, then move on to a different substrate area to repeat the process.

Stable pigments color both the base coat and the flakes to maintain their color for years. Sanding your epoxy in between coats helps the resin stick to the previous layer, forcing them to bond.

Decorative Flake Coat

While the base coat is still wet, cast the decorative flakes in sections. You can either put down a base coat and immediately cast the chips before moving to a different area of concrete or spread the flakes in one layer after the entire base coat is applied. If using this method, wear spiked shoes to eliminate the risk of ruining your previous layers.

Handtossing is the standard process for applying flakes, but a hopper blower gun or a shaker can also work. Inspect each section before moving on to the next to ensure an even coating.

You can distribute varying amounts of decorative flakes for different appearances, from a light sprinkling to completely saturating the base coat. Once the flakes are down, you cannot remove them during the process. You must be careful to spread them evenly the first time.

Top Coat

The top coat is a clear resin coat used to seal the decorative flakes in their place and maintain the overall look while adding shine. While applying a top coat is not strictly necessary, it’s hugely beneficial to the overall appearance and durability of the epoxy flake system.

Contact EMC Concrete Coatings for Durable Epoxy Floors with Decorative Flakes

If you want an even and attractive epoxy floor without the hassle of doing it yourself, call us at EMC Concrete Coatings. When you hire us, you hire an efficient and capable team to create your ideal concrete floor. We have been in business for ten years as an owner-operated company, and our experts can usually finish your epoxy floor in one day. We offer a two-year warranty on epoxy flake systems that covers peeling, bubbling, lifting, and general defects.

Don’t settle for low-quality work. Coatings with decorative flakes last for decades with proper maintenance, so have it done right the first time. For the floor you want, call EMC Concrete Coatings today at (844) 815-8793.

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