Resin Flooring

We've constructed the table below to help any decision making with regards to choosing the correct type of resin for the job.


  Epoxy Polyurethane MMA Polyester
School Flooring
Good Good Good Good
Food production areas Good Very Good Good Good
NHS + Hospital Usage Very Good Very Good OK OK
Pharmaceutical Very Good Excellent OK OK
Vehicle and Tank Linings N/A N/A N/A OK
Warehouse & Factory Very Good Very Good Good Good
Clean Rooms & Shower Very Good Very Good Very Good OK
Marine and Flexible Steel
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Car Park Decking N/A N/A N/A N/A

Resins invariably come in two parts being a base resin and a hardener, or activator, which enables the curing of the base. This is a chemical reaction which, once started will not stop.

The quantity of base to hardener varies with each flooring manufacturer. There are fewer than a dozen companies who produce the base resins in their pure form, a process known as cracking. Virtually all the companies selling resin floor systems are really formulators and blenders who start with the same base materials.

Hardeners come in many different types, and it is these which offer the scope for matching the resin floor to its proposed environment. One hardener will offer greater flexibility, whilst another will offer better light stability, and yet another will offer a faster setting time. One thing is for sure, any changes made to one property of the hardener will produce a deficiency in another. A resin which is highly flexible, for instance, is likely to have relatively poor chemical resistance.

High Solids Resins

This term applies to resins which contain all resin with no diluents. Their make-up causes them to be thick and of a high viscosity making them suitable for disguising light scratches and marks in sub-floors.

Typical dry film thicknesses of up to 300 microns for a single roller-coat are commonplace.

In an effort to make these products easier to apply, formulators have added all kinds of solvents and carriers.

For many years solvents such as Toluene and Xylene were used as carriers for the resins. These volatile solvents thinned the resins down and carried them into the pores of the sub-floor. Upon the evaporation of the carrier, a thin film of resin was left behind.

Due to the advent of stricter Health and Safety regulations, the use of flammable materials was actively discouraged, and other materials for resin dilution were sourced.

Most systems now rely on Benzyl Alcohol as the carrier, and are described as solvent-free.

The use of these additives invariably thins down the resin enabling it to penetrate into the sub-floor and secure a good bond with it.

Thinner resins such as these are usually used as primers, and once the carrier additive has evaporated, it leaves the resin within the pores of the sub-base reducing its porosity.

Where the final finish is to be a roller-coat resin, uneven suction in the base will produce a patchy surface appearance in the finished product. It is therefore important that the primer is re-applied if the first coat did not completley seal the floor.

Due to the expense of the raw materials, resins are often doped with other materials as a means of making their use more economical.

The most common additives are fine talcum powder, sand, and granite.

The volume and grain size of each filler will vary with the proposed thickness of the finished floor screed, and the texture required on the surface.

The three most common systems are:-

  1. Roller-coat
  2. Self-leveller
  3. Screed

Roller-coat

Roller-coats are simply the application of resin to the floor surface by roller!

They can be used for a variety of purposes including dust-proofing dusty concrete floors, priming for a top-coat, sealing thicker floor screeds, and chemical protection.

Self-levellers

Self-levellers are thicker than roller-coats, typically 1-3mm in thickness, and have the viscosity of syrup. Despite their title these products need to be coerced to achieve a relatively flat finish. It must be borne in mind that at only 3mm thick their levelling properties are heavily influenced by the tolerances of the sub-floor to which they are being applied.

Screeds

Screeds run from up to, say, 3mm to almost any thickness. At the lower thicknesses the fillers tend to be a blend of fine and coarse sand. For 5 to 10mm thickness clean granite is usually added to bulk the system out, for thicknesses greater than 10mm the screed is normally laid in 2 sections. The base section can be very heavily filled at a ratio of up to, say, 15 parts filler to 1 part mixed resin. This high filler to resin ratio, (known as filler to binder ratio), can be used because it does not constitute the wearing surface which is far higher in resin content and bonded onto it's surface.

Because of the relatively economical cost of this base screed, (relative to the cost of the top screed that is), it can also be used to introduce shallow falls towards drains, doorways,etc.

Where thicknesses of over say, 40mm are necessary, it is more usual to utilise rapid setting cements as the basis of a make-up screed. It must be borne in mind when considering this approach, that a time extension could be required to facilitate the drying of the cementitious screed before a resin surface is applied.

There are various resinous damp-proof membranes which can be applied to damp screeds to permit their immediate overlay with resin.

Water-Based Resins

Until fairly recently all resins were incompatible with water, but modern formulations, with an eye to Health and Safety, are now water tolerant to the point where they can be thinned down by the addition of water. The obvious advantage of these resins is that they do not emit solvents, and tools and spillages can be cleaned up with water.

Because of the way they are manufactured these resins do not come in the form of a high-build material having a DFT of 30 microns or so. For this reason these products have no obliterating quality, unlike their high solids cousins who's thickness can easily reach 300 microns in one coat.

Their tolerance to moisture makes these products ideal as a sealer or primer on damp concrete floors. Because of their thin film section, water-based product usually have no obliterating properties and can only be used as a final surface finish when the sub-floor is totally impermeable.

Once cured, these products offer an ideal base to the thicker high solids resins which do have obliterating properties, and can achieve uniform colouration in one coat.

Epoxy, Polyurethane or MMA?

As a general rule epoxy is the work-horse of the resin industry. It displays good chemical resistance, good abrasion resistance, and can be heavily filled. It offers a reasonable pot-life, typically 45 mins or so, thus allowing time for delicate detail work.

Polyurethane is used where there is a requirement for high chemical and abrasion resistance. These materials tend to cure much faster than epoxies, and are cheaper.

MMA is used where an ultra-rapid setting material is required. Setting times of 10 minutes are commonplace, full cure is achieved in 2 hours. They are heavily solvented, and care must be exercised when considering where they are used.

Premier will be pleased to offer un-biased advice concerning the selection of product for any specific project.

Various logos from Clients that Premfloor has worked with