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A surface's strength and durability can be increased by using epoxy. The substance can protect floors from dirt and water damage and extend their lifespan. For the epoxy to cure uniformly and provide the desired benefits, however, it must be applied at a specific temperature.
Epoxy can be applied at temperatures between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Epoxy is difficult to apply at temperatures below this range and can cure with compromised aesthetics and structural integrity if allowed to rise above 85 degrees Fahrenheit. No one wants to deal with epoxy in the freezing temperatures of winter.
The rest of this article will answer any questions you may have about applying epoxy to a cold surface or in cold weather, such as whether or not you need to control the temperature of the area, and what will happen if the temperature changes significantly before, during, or after the application of the coat. You will also find out how much it costs to keep an area heated for correctly applying and curing epoxy, as well as how to verify whether or not it has cured.
Can I Apply Epoxy in Cold Weather?
When working with epoxy resin, primer, or sealant, one of the first things you'll discover is that the substance must be heated to a very high temperature before it can be poured or applied. Epoxy resin is the least cold-tolerant of the many epoxy resins available for use in DIY and craft projects. When someone talks about "applying" epoxy, they don't mean to pour resin over a canvas. As a rule, this means using a primer or an epoxy finish.
If the surface you plan to treat is warm enough, epoxy can be applied in any temperature. For a steady epoxy cure, it's important to keep the heat on during the application and then gradually turn it down. If the temperature drops before the epoxy has set, the coat will not adhere to whatever it is covering.
The result is the same whether the epoxy is applied to a cool surface or the surface quickly becomes cold following application. The drying out process is halted. There are cases where the coat never cures, remaining dry to the touch but not hard enough to be practical. Despite its usefulness as a sealant, epoxy won't fully set in the cold, rendering the coating useless as a protective barrier.
Although, "cold" and "hot" aren't mutually exclusive. Epoxy will harden if the surface temperature drops, but not by too much. Considerable costs and difficulties are associated with a longer curing period. If you're working on an epoxy application project, you can run into some of the issues that come along with a "mildly chilly" climate.
Soft epoxy has imperfections since it can't perform as a solid until it hardens. Particles of dirt and dust can become lodged in its shiny finish and dull its appearance. If surface protection is your only motivation for utilising epoxy, this shouldn't be an issue.
When epoxy hasn't set before it's put under pressure, it can fail. Epoxy poses a greater threat when it is used to hold two materials together. While it is important to maintain the integrity of the epoxy for floor coating, the project is not jeopardized as long as the area is not used.
Uneven curing - When temperatures are not controlled and are mildly cold, it is likely that no artificial controls are in place to ensure that the coated surface has an even temperature. Spot-heating happens when some areas (for various causes) become hotter than others, even when the entire area is not being heated. Inconsistent curing of the epoxy is the result.
Resin and Cold Weather – What to Expect
Now that we've covered the aftereffects of using epoxy during cold weather, we can investigate what it's like to work with the material after the project is done. Surface temperature control during epoxy resin application and curing is required for this section to be relevant. There won't be any chance of cracking after the resin has hardened to the right consistency.
However, the surface on which the epoxy is put may freeze and crack. Epoxy is typically applied as a top coat to concrete floors. Concrete can't be kept together by epoxy since it contracts and expands under extreme heat and cold.
This causes the surface to which the epoxy coat is bound to tear it apart. If the epoxy is used over a surface that does not crack, a single application should be sufficient. It's one of the toughest surface coating materials around, unaffected by arctic temperatures or sauna-like conditions.
Heating for Epoxy Application
After the epoxy has been applied and hardened, you can stop worrying about the temperature and proceed with the epoxy application. The requirement to control the environment's temperature throughout the endeavour was already acknowledged. Let's look at a detached garage as an example of a place where you may create a hot enough atmosphere to apply epoxy.
You need floor heating in your garage to apply epoxy coating. A room heater can be used to provide supplementary heat if there is no other source of heat in the house. No big deal if the garage is a sauna. Don't have the floor too cold.
Therefore, the topic of using epoxy outside arises. Epoxy is a great material for coating heated floors, which means you may use it indoors. If you don't have radiant floor heating, you can still apply epoxy correctly by heating the room. Okay, so what exactly do you do in the great outdoors?
Outdoor applications of epoxy are not recommended in perpetually cold climates. In states where summers are sunny enough, epoxy can be applied directly to the ground. Epoxy is extremely cold-resistant after it has cured, but it needs a lot of heat to cure.
In other words, the temperature won't be an issue if the epoxy is put to an object like a lawn decor item and then transferred outdoors after it has cured. Once set, epoxy is more suitable for cold than hot temperatures. While epoxy is unaffected by moderate heat, it may soften if the temperature is increased sufficiently.
Curing epoxy at low temperatures presents certain challenges, but it is certainly achievable. It will merely take longer, and until the coating is dry to the touch, you'll need to protect it from dust and impacts. If you're careful, you won't need to worry as much after that.
In cold weather, the epoxy can need three full days to set. In this time, make sure the room where the coat is being applied is secure. All visitors, especially children and animals, should be kept out of the room containing it. After applying epoxy, you must check on it every 12 hours until you are certain it has set.
You might be wondering how you could tell if the epoxy has set. It might be difficult to gauge the strength of an epoxy layer until it has dried to the touch. Epoxy is commonly used for professional coats, and since experts never leave anything to chance, you can rest assured that there is a method you can follow to guarantee the coat is cured properly.
Coat a test surface far from the project before continuing with the epoxy pouring or application.
Verify compatibility of components (both the coated area and the test surface feature the same material like concrete)
Make sure everything is at the same temperature. You won't have to worry about this as much if the project surface and test surface are in the same room.
Hold off on any further work until the recommended curing period has passed. This is often between 24 and 48 hours, depending on the hardener.
If the surface isn't as hot as the working temperature of the epoxy required, add another 24 hours to the cure time. If you aren't in a particularly chilly climate, you can skip this step.
Use your nail to dig into the epoxy that has been spread over the test surface in an effort to make a dent in it. If you are successful in denting it, give it 12 hours to recover before trying again. But you probably won't be able to dent it.
Nail the project surface to make sure the epoxy has hardened. You can't make a dent in epoxy with your nail, in most cases. A project cannot be successfully tested unless the material and temperature of the test surface are identical to those of the working surface. If you are able to make a dent in the surface by using your nail, wait 12 hours and try again.
Temperature Discussion for Epoxy Curing
Curing epoxy at room temperature is possible and common. If you're working on a project and it says to wait 24 to 48 hours, chances are good that you'll need to do it at room temperature. Changing the surface temperature can hasten or slow down the process.
Although epoxy can cure at room temperature, it cannot be poured when it is at that temperature. Epoxy resin's working temperature is the hotter temperature required to pour the material. But not all epoxy jobs need the same extreme heat. Some primers, like epoxy, don't require a particularly hot or cold environment to be applied.
An intriguing issue regarding the project's viability is raised by the dilemma of the working temperature. Assuming you already have the epoxy you plan to use to coat your desired surface, you may be wondering at what temperature you should apply it. The estimated cost of heating the project space to a comfortable level is as follows.
Heat the table to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. To get the floor to 50 degrees Fahrenheit while using an air heater, the room temperature may need to be raised to 80 degrees. Space heaters and floor heating can be used to determine the total cost of heating a normal garage to either 50 or 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The aforementioned inference relies on median national averages for the prices of gas and electricity. As a result of any additional fees or discounts your private provider may offer, the final cost may differ. Epoxy is generally less expensive to apply in the summer, but in the winter, floor heating is typically already on, and the expense of the little increase in temperature is minimal. In most circumstances, epoxy can be applied year-round.
Applying epoxy requires heating the subject, and you could end up spending more money on extra epoxy coats than you save by applying them. Remember that just because something is dry or hard doesn't mean it's finished drying or hardening and ready to be used. The epoxy cure time must always be at least 24 hours before any testing is performed. If the coating can be applied inside, working in a more contained area is preferable since the temperature of the room may be raised to an appropriate level more rapidly.