Is It Worth It: The Benefits of a Metallic Epoxy Coating (Part Two) | Blog Post #13
Metallic epoxy is one of the best premium interior surfacing options, and today’s post is the second segment of a two-part series that explores the characteristics that make metallic epoxy the crown jewel of an industry.
Check out part one here!
What is Metallic Epoxy?
Metallic epoxy consists of a main body of epoxy with ornamental metallic pigments suspended within. The main body is often coated with a polyurethane topcoat that further protects it from physical and chemical wear. For a more detailed description of how metallic epoxy works, read this post.
How is Epoxy Applied?
To understand the science behind epoxy’s brilliant abilities, we need a brief insight into the application process.
Before it solidifies into the nigh-impervious slab of excellence you would expect, epoxy is a viscous mixture known as liquid epoxy resin. The resin is poured and spread across a designated surface by experienced installers, who must complete this phase quickly and smoothly before the resin begins to cure and solidify.
After the epoxy fully cures, a comparatively thin layer of liquid polyurethane coating is spread over the epoxy body. The coating is even tougher than epoxy and can take the brunt of everyday use, but requires the support of an epoxy body beneath it. For more details on the types of coatings you can choose, head over to this post.
Now that you know how metallic epoxy is generally applied, you may have noticed a recurring theme – the main components of a metallic epoxy coating are liquids that harden into a smooth, continuous layer without any pores.
This property is extremely important because porous materials are terrible for your home. A porous kitchen counter or bathroom floor is full of microscopic holes that trap organic debris such as bits of meat and human bodily waste. The pores, now packed full of debris, provide bacteria and mould with a warm place to sleep and good food to eat – none of which make for a clean home.
Materials such as stone and ceramic tiles are innately full of pores, and worse still, they are segmented and require grout. Grout is a mixture of fine sand and cement used to fill gaps between tiles and stone, and if you’ve grouted tiles or stone at home, you’ll notice that the grout is always the first to grow black scum in wet areas, or trap dirt in a recessed area that is highly inconvenient to clear.
Epoxy – no pores, no bacteria, no mould, no sweat.
Water Off A Duck’s Back
Epoxy and polyurethane coatings are waterproof. So are our floor tiles, you protest. Well, floor tiles may seem like it, but depending on the material, the ceramic or stone may actually absorb a portion of the water, as some stones do.
In fact, marble is notorious for its adverse reaction to water, which is typically slightly alkaline or acidic, depending on where you live. Marble exposed to such water quickly forms obvious and unsightly stains in a process known as etching, which you can read more about here. So no, stone and ceramic tiles are generally water-resistant, but hardly water-proof.
Which brings us to our next point – stains. Epoxy and polyurethane coatings are stain proof. Not stain-resistant, but veritably stain proof. Marble, ceramic tiles, wood, and other synthetic materials like vinyl can be stained by the simple spillage of food or drink, and maybe specific agents such as exposure to rubber for vinyl. However, such worries are moot with a metallic epoxy coating, which is chemically inert and non-porous.
Too Good to Be True?
Well, yes. There’s actually a common drawback in a crucial process of any epoxy coating – the application of a polyurethane topcoat. Savvy homeowners may know that traditional polyurethane coatings are extremely tough but emit a high level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during application. This stinks up your house and may cause or exacerbate respiratory problems for anyone around the work site. It gets worse – traditional oil-based polyurethane coatings continue to give off small amounts of VOCs, even after fully drying, for years after installation.
“If it’s toxic, why is it still being used?” you wonder.
No, not really. We simply avoid the entire problem by using water-based polyurethane coatings. These modern water-based improvements on the traditional coating drastically reduce the amount of VOCs emitted during application. The level is so negligible that our installers require no special gear, just a moderately ventilated room.
You Visualise, We Realise
The cherry on top of the multi-layered epoxy cake is, of course, the term metallic in metallic epoxy.
It originates from the process in which metallic pigments of a specific colour are suspended in the epoxy during the curing process. A design team works with the installers to create three-dimensional swirls within the suspended pigments in accordance with your desired design. The metallic pigments scatter and reflect light in a manner unique to metallic epoxy coatings, allowing for exotic designs such as galaxies full of stars, or a brilliant night sky.
The base colour of your coating, and any additional colours, can also be changed to fit any design your mind can conjure – you are limited only by your imagination. If you were dead set on a specific material for its characteristic look and feel, a metallic epoxy coating might just be an acceptable alternative that will last you and your family decades.
Still on the fence about metallic epoxy coating? Head over to this post for a comparison between metallic epoxy and conventional materials. Otherwise, our consultants are happy to answer any questions you may have, both general and specific. Simply drop us a message or arrange for a free, non-obligatory consultation here.
If you enjoyed today’s discussion, stay tuned for next week’s post on laminates as an interior surfacing material!