Going The Distance: A Guide to Keeping Your Epoxy Coating Picture Perfect | Blog Post #6
Metallic Epoxy Care Guide
“Take care of your belongings and they will take care of you.”
This piece of old-world wisdom speaks of meticulously caring for objects so that their ability to serve you is maximally preserved. The adage is particularly true for tools that see frequent use for important functions and are expected to last a long time. Take a knight’s sword, for instance. It must be regularly polished and oiled to keep rust at bay, sharpened before and after battle to maintain its edge, and brought to a blacksmith if it needs specialist care.
Your home and its components fit very much into this category. It’s where you spend a third of your life sleeping, and up to another third — or more, if you’re introverted — when you’re not at work or out and about. In an ideal world, the amount of care spent on your home would be proportionate to the hours spent in it. Unfortunately for most of us with full-time jobs, and no full-time domestic helpers, that’s hardly a reasonable expectation. Fortunately, metallic epoxy coatings are tough — it’s more an issue of what not to do. Here’s a complete breakdown of the care your epoxy coating deserves.
A good epoxy coating costs nearly as much as a premium flooring or countertop surface, such as marble or granite. Suffice to say, a proportional amount of care and a healthy dose of common sense would keep your epoxy coating strong and happy — there’s really nothing special about keeping an epoxy coating clean.
Firstly, general cleaning. Epoxy’s non-porous surface and chemically inert nature make it a breeze to clean if you make a mess. Simply use any general-use household cleaner (like JIF/CIF cleaner) and a wet cloth. You’ll notice that the offending substance comes right off.
Next comes the frequency of said cleaning. Epoxy topcoats come in three varieties — mirror, gloss, and matte. You can read more about the properties of each topcoat through the blog post link below, but the gist of it is that a mirror finish trades strength for a beautiful exterior, a matte finish trades its sheen for much higher durability, and a gloss finish is a compromise.
While a matte finish is more durable, the additional grittiness of the topcoat tends to trap dirt and lint a little more readily than a gloss or mirror finish. With a little elbow grease, homeowners tend to find the more frequent cleanings a small trade-off for the rugged strength of a matte finish.
Lastly, always wipe down any surface thoroughly after a period of heavy usage. For instance, deep-frying in the kitchen or house guests visiting during the new year.
Things to avoid
This section’s exactly what it says and is far more specific than clean often and clean well. Epoxy is a wonder material — it resists chemical attacks, shrugs off high impacts, and is highly heat-resistant. Its stain-proofing and bacteria/mould resistance is legendary, and it’s entirely water-proof. Yet, as much as we wish otherwise, epoxy is not perfect. The resilient coating will eventually degrade if subjected to inordinately high amounts of damage. To prolong its life, here are a few things we strongly suggest you not do to your perfectly good epoxy floor or countertop.
Firstly, never ever use an abrasive scrub (like a Scotch-Brite pad) or cleaning product on your epoxy coating. The abrasive action will wear through the topcoat over time and expose the epoxy surface below, causing it to lose a vital layer of protection.
Secondly, avoid using heavy industrial products on your epoxy coating. The occasional spill from paint thinner or turpentine is perfectly harmless if cleaned up in a timely manner, but frequent and long periods of exposure to such industrial solvents will eventually cause damage to the topcoat. Highly concentrated household cleaners should not be allowed to remain on the coating as well. If complete disinfecting is required with bleach, use the least concentrated effective solution possible and clean it off promptly.
Next, epoxy’s heat resistance is graded to 200°C. This means it can take boiling hot water, and then some, with minimal effect. However, naked flames and hot pans from right off the burner can exceed this safe limit easily. Do not expose your epoxy coating to these conditions — use a cork pad or other protective material if you intend to place a hot pan or pot on the countertop. Otherwise, you should ideally keep the flame-throwing to a minimum around the epoxy. Or anywhere else, for that matter.
Last on this list involves epoxy’s impact absorption and scratch resistance. Its virtues in these two areas are far more pronounced than in most other materials. However, its lack of invincibility should be reiterated. Repeated damage from sharp and heavy objects directly on the surface will wear the topcoat out faster and should be avoided.
No Country For Old Men
All good things must come to an end — unless you’re a coating of epoxy, that is. Properly maintained, epoxy coatings last at least 10-15 years before seeing a decline in the performance of the topcoat. However, completely renewing the life of your epoxy coating is as simple as having an installer re-apply a new layer of topcoat. While the topcoat installation comes at a cost, it’s a fraction of the cost of a brand new installation of any other surfacing material.
Clean often and clean well, and your epoxy coating will keep your house clean.
For more information on our topcoats, check out our previous post on “Flaunt or Fend: Choosing The Right Topcoat For You | Blog Post #4”
Or check out our “Metallic Epoxy Stress Tests“ on our Youtube Channel!