Just Because You Can…

Posted by Stronghold Floors Webmaster on May 15, 2013 8:00:00 AM

Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should.   This is a saying that I constantly reiterate to my staff and sometimes to our customers.     Usually, it’s because someone has asked us to utilize our epoxy coatings in a way that is outside of their appropriate usage model.  Or, we receive a request to install other types of concrete coatings or decorative concrete overlays that we have purposely chosen not to install.

Epoxy and Stone

Figure 1 - Epoxy and Stone - Open Pores makes for a hard to clean surface

One of those requests is to install a type of flooring system that combines fine stone and epoxy, often under the names of Nature Stone®, EverStone® or CrownStone®.    These types of epoxy flooring systems are now marketed as appropriate for basements, garages and other internal rooms.   In years prior, they were only marketed for patios and porch decks.

Why have we chosen not to install stone epoxy flooring in Maryland, Pennsylvania or Virginia?   Why does Stronghold Floors not install these systems inside or outside the home?

1)     First, these types of epoxy flooring systems allow water to go down between the stones.   So, if you get water in your garage or basement, it just lays among the stone flooring system.    Now, there is the opportunity for odor, mildew and mold (no different than carpet).   I’m perplexed at how this is supposed to be a solution that is reported to “inhibit the growth of mold & mildew”.   Unless you have a water extraction system, I cannot fathom how letting water lay within a flooring system is helping the homeowner.

2)     Second, these epoxy & stone flooring systems allow dirt to go down into the open cavities between the stones.   Given the amount of road salt, small stones and road grime our tires bring in during the winter, I cannot figure out how this floor system is supposed to be cleaned.    You cannot just spray water down through it, as there may be nowhere for the water and dirt to go.   Even worse, your vehicle may drip oil or anti-freeze and then these chemicals are invading the surface.

3)     Third, a system that allows water to lie within it cannot survive the freeze & thaw cycles that are common to our winters.    The last 5 times I went out to look at locations where these systems were already installed, all of them were heavily damaged by water freezing and lifting the upper stones off.   Sure, these systems work well in Florida, Arizona and southern California.   But, they do not in Harrisburg, Leesburg or Baltimore.  

Decorative Chip Epoxy

Figure 2 - Decorative Chip Epoxy Coatings on a carport – Fully sealed and not going to stain from oil drips off the car

Only a flooring system that fully traps water above it can be quickly dried and not allow mold/mildew.  The fact that our decorative chip or metallic epoxy system meets the FDA requirements for commercial kitchens is the same reason it works well in the garage or basement.   If a system has no pores, the water is just going to lay there and there is no opportunity for growth of mold.

Oil drips and spilled gasoline have nowhere to go and can be cleaned up with nothing more than a paper towel.

While most usually have additives to assist with slip resistance, our epoxy floor coating systems clean up with a broom or mop.   No need to have water extraction systems or other labor intensive methods of cleaning.

There are so many flooring systems out there today for use in and around the home that it becomes overwhelming.  A couple suggestions I often provide to homeowners are:

1)     Find out how long these systems have been installed in the geographic area and how have they held up.   Go see them for yourselves.

2)     Find out which homebuilders utilize these types of flooring systems.    Homebuilders do not continue to use systems that create headaches for them later.

3)     Talk to homeowners who have had these flooring systems for years and find out what they liked and didn’t like.

Be careful before paying for a basement, porch or garage floor coating system.    And remember one of the rules of Stronghold Floors:

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Have you or do you know someone else that has had unfortunate experiences with stone epoxy flooring? What soprt of water issues were experienced? Please let us know in the comments below!

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Topics: Residential Flooring, Commercial Flooring, Garage Floor Coatings, Basement Floor Coatings

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