Can Epoxy Flooring Be Installed Over Uneven Flooring?

Uneven floors can be a common challenge in commercial settings like restaurants and bars, schools and universities, group living communities, or industrial settings. One of the primary benefits of epoxy commercial flooring is the ability to be used over uneven, sloped or cracked surfaces. This article will explore the feasibility of installing epoxy flooring over uneven surfaces and address common concerns.

uneven quarry tile flooring that appears cracked

Do I Need to Level Floors Before Applying Epoxy?

No, it’s not necessary to level your floor before applying an epoxy floor or other coating. However, in some cases, neglecting this step can result in issues that may leave you regretting the decision afterwards. The most common and significant concern is uneven spots on the floor, leading to water puddles if not addressed.

While this might not seem like a major issue, in high-traffic areas and commercial kitchens, standing water poses threats to cleanliness and safety. Especially in commercial kitchens where staff are frequently moving around and carrying trays of food or ingredients, water puddles on the floor become obstacles and slipping hazards. Stagnant water can also lead to bacteria and mold growth, which may be flagged during a health inspection. Additionally, water will start to break down the elements in the floor, accelerating floor degradation faster than if the floor was correctly leveled beforehand.

Consider leveling your floor before applying epoxy in these scenarios:

  1. Bumps or dips, which pose safety hazards, are advisable to fix to avoid liability concerns
  2. Sloped or cracked floors that may lead to future issues such as the epoxy layer cracking or peeling
  3. Fixing imperfections to enhance the overall visual appeal in highly visible commercial areas
  4. An uneven base, which can result in poor adhesion, reducing epoxy durability and effectiveness

It is crucial to evaluate if you need to level your floors before applying epoxy. Ensuring strong epoxy adhesion requires fairly flat, smooth, and level surfaces. While not always necessary, there are times when addressing uneven surfaces and irregularities as a first step is advisable for optimal and long-lasting results.

Will Epoxy Hide Imperfections?

Yes, epoxy flooring can hide certain minor imperfections in a floor, but its effectiveness in doing so largely depends on the nature and extent of the flaws. Small cracks, slight discolorations, and minor surface irregularities can often be masked by a well-applied epoxy coating, thanks to its thickness and opacity.

Epoxy is particularly effective in creating a seamless, smooth surface that can make small blemishes less noticeable. However, it’s important to be aware that larger imperfections, such as significant cracks, deep holes, or major unevenness, will likely require repair before the epoxy application.

Can You Repair Uneven Commercial Floors With Epoxy?

Yes, epoxy is a very common choice for commercial flooring repairs. Epoxy, as well as some other coatings, offer self-leveling options that can be used to fill low spots in your floors. There are also comprehensive sub-floor leveling systems that can be installed over your cracked or uneven subfloors. It’s important to note that these leveling coatings are not intended to serve as the final layer. They function as a base coat to ensure a uniform level, providing a suitable foundation for the application of a finishing coating.

Can You Epoxy Over Bad or Green Concrete?

Yes, applying epoxy over compromised or bad concrete is possible, but understanding the underlying issues is important. Does the concrete have excessive moisture causing layers to detach or pop off? A moisture reading between 0% to 15% is normal, but readings above 15% require further investigation, and may necessitate the use of a moisture mitigation primer. Concrete with a moisture reading between 25% to 30% demands significant remedial work to repair correctly.

When dealing with green concrete or uncured concrete, installing a coating too fast and not letting the concrete fully cure can lead to moisture problems. Typically, concrete requires 30 days to release enough moisture to reach the necessary level below 15% for successful coating application.

Most Common Uneven Floor Challenges to Overcome

From water pooling to safety concerns to aesthetic compromises, uneven flooring can significantly impact the functionality of your business or community environment. When you work with an expert flooring technician at Feature Flooring, we’ll assess all the possible challenges to determine how best to apply the epoxy floor coating.

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Safety Hazards

  1. Increased Risk of Accidents: Uneven floors significantly elevate the risk of trips and falls, which are among the most common workplace accidents. In high-traffic commercial areas, such as retail stores, offices, or public buildings, the uneven surface can catch the foot of an employee or visitor, leading to potentially serious injuries.
  2. Pooling Water: Water pooling in low spots poses challenges as people navigate around it, creating obstacles in a commercial kitchen. These puddles not only create difficulties but serve as a potential breeding ground for bacteria and insects.
  3. Liability Risks: In a business or community setting, safety hazards can translate into significant legal and financial liabilities. If a resident, customer, or employee is injured due to uneven flooring, it could result in costly litigation or workers’ compensation claims.
  4. Accessibility Issues: Uneven floors can also hinder accessibility for individuals with mobility issues or those using assistive devices like wheelchairs or walkers, making it difficult for them to navigate the space safely.

Difficulty With Equipment Placement

  1. Unstable Furniture and Equipment: Uneven floors can cause furniture and heavy equipment to sit unevenly, resulting in instability. In settings like restaurants, where equipment precision and stability are important to operations and safety, this issue becomes particularly problematic.
  2. Space Design Challenges: Uneven surfaces can limit the design and layout of commercial spaces. It becomes challenging to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing environment when equipment, shelving, or furniture must be strategically placed to accommodate uneven floors.
  3. Increased Wear and Tear: Continual movement and instability can lead to increased wear and tear on both the flooring and the equipment, potentially resulting in higher maintenance and replacement costs over time.

Aesthetic and Functional Issues

  1. Compromised Aesthetics: Uneven floors can be visually unappealing, impacting the overall look and feel of a space. In areas where appearance is important, such as showrooms or reception areas, uneven floors can create a negative first impression.
  2. Functional Problems: Beyond aesthetics, uneven floors can affect the functionality of doors, windows, and other fixtures. Doors may not close properly, and windows may become misaligned, leading to drafts and energy inefficiency.
  3. Flooring Material Limitations: Certain flooring materials may not be suitable for uneven surfaces, limiting design options. For example, rigid materials like tile or hardwood can crack or become disjointed on an uneven base.

4 Steps When Applying JetRock Epoxy Over Uneven Flooring

By integrating these four considerations into your project plan, you ensure a well-prepared and effectively applied epoxy flooring. This approach can overcome the challenges of uneven surfaces, resulting in a durable, attractive, and safe floor suitable for various settings.

  1. Assessing the Flooring for Unevenness and Minor Imperfections
    Before applying epoxy, conduct a thorough assessment of the floor’s condition. This involves checking for uneven areas, dips, cracks, and other minor imperfections. Identifying these issues early on allows for targeted preparation and repair, helping to determine the severity of the unevenness to decide whether a simple epoxy application will suffice or if extensive floor leveling is required.
  2. Surface Preparation
    Proper surface preparation is key to a successful epoxy application. This step involves cleaning the floor to remove dirt, grease, or existing coatings that might hinder adhesion. It may also involve grinding or sanding the floor to create a smooth surface for the epoxy to bond effectively. Ensuring the floor is dry and free of moisture is equally crucial, as moisture can impact the epoxy curing process.
  3. JetRock Coatings
    JetRock’s Epoxy Coating is particularly beneficial for floors with small dips and minor unevenness. This coating, applied more thickly than standard epoxies, effectively fills in and levels out small imperfections in the floor. The result is a smoother and more uniform surface, enhancing both aesthetics and functionality.
  4. Final Inspection
    This step is critical, especially in commercial or industrial settings with heavy usage. After the epoxy is cured, conduct a final inspection to identify any missed spots, bubbles, or inconsistencies in the finish. Addressing these issues immediately ensures a uniformly smooth and level surface. A well-sealed and inspected floor not only looks more professional but also extends the lifespan of the epoxy coating, ensuring it remains functional and visually appealing longer.

Don’t let your uneven or cracked floors undermine the safety and attractiveness of your commercial space. Epoxy flooring stands out as a robust solution that not only enhances aesthetic appeal but also addresses structural imperfections. Contact us for expert consultation on the benefits of epoxy flooring for a practical, durable, and visually appealing solution.

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