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How to Reduce Basement Floor Epoxy Failures

How to Properly Reduce Basement Floor Epoxy Failures

How to prevent basement floor epoxy failure

Epoxy flooring is a great solution for both industrial and residential applications, as it offers a smooth finish and it is a resilient surface indeed. However, before looking to restore the old flooring, there is something that can cause you some hassle if you don’t pay attention to it.

But what may cause epoxy not perform well?

basement floor epoxy

#1 Reason for epoxy failures: Moisture

While epoxy is resistant, adds a nice look to the floor, and can even keep away unpleasant odors, the excess of moisture can cause lots of problems, even with the hardest substances. And guess what?

There is no exception when it comes to Epoxy. There are many reasons why the epoxy floor coating fails, and one of them is due to the moisture content which stays in the concrete slab. Have you ever seen those dark areas on the concrete? Well, that is actually the surface moisture from underneath that comes up within a concrete slab.

As such, despite other common reasons for the failure of epoxy floor coatings, such as an improperly prepared concrete or the low-grade type of epoxy, the issue of moisture is something everyone should consider.

If you already have a basement floor epoxy solution or you are searching for the right one to help you restore your basement floor, this article should assist you to understand the outcome of possible risks the excess moisture can produce

basement floor epoxy

Secret: Epoxy can provide moisture barriers

Spoiler Alert: Most types of basement floor epoxy that can provide moisture barrier protection. For instance, the Epoxy Moisture Barrier once applied to the substrate prior to the installation of other types of floor coverings, such as a concrete coating, will act exactly like a shield.

As such, epoxy will protect the finished floor from all that moisture vapor transmissions (MVT) in the long term.

Usually, the basement floor epoxy comes in a two-part liquid moisture barrier. This is how this coating will provide superior protection against any vapor emissions, such as the ones in subfloors.

However, not all Epoxy substances have equal resistance to hold back all that moisture vapor. There are only special moisture chemical barricades that are applied to fight against damage caused by moisture emissions within the concrete slab itself. You will see down below which type of Epoxy you should consider.

basement floor epoxy

Transmission and Content Moisture

 Know the difference

How to reduce basement floor epoxy failures

Before picking the right Epoxy cover, there are a few terms that are important to remember:

  • Moisture vapor transmission rate (MVTR) which is also known as Water Vapor Transmission Rate (WVTR) is the indicator for the passage of water vapor through a certain substance throughout a period of time.

Keep in mind that the concrete slab will keep on losing moisture due to the osmosis process for a longer time than you might imagine. This fact, accumulated with other potential leaks will cause additional moisture, as such, a true disaster in the process of Epoxy application.

  • Moisture Content

    when it comes to epoxy resins is important as it affects the processing of the material.
basement floor epoxy

Choose an Epoxy with moisture vapor control (MVB)

In order to prevent a future hazard due to the high range of moisture, you should look for an Epoxy that has moisture vapor control. Known as MVB (Moisture Vapor Barrier) or Moisture Remediation, these types of Epoxy are rapid curing, VOC-compliant, two components safe epoxy systems for concrete substrates.

Now, people will find these products on the market mostly as a moisture vapor barrier, that is capable of reducing the permeance of moisture vapor to the main levels that are acceptable for the main application of flooring installation systems, as well as floor covering.

Here are some of the main advantages of MVB Epoxy:

  • Helps to reduce the effects of moisture vapor transmission;
  • Easy to apply;
  • One coat application;
  • Virtually no odor;
basement floor epoxy

Choosing a basement floor epoxy?

test, test, test

One way to eliminate a potential epoxy floor coating failure is to test it, right? Especially if you are going to apply it in the basement, where humidity is often high. As such, there are three tests that are typically used for verifying the excess of moisture that is present in a concrete slab.

As basement floor epoxy coating is commonly used for maintaining clean and safe conditions in the basement, it is important to test it before you coat it.

Testing will tell you if there is any excess moisture present in a concrete slab and if it is safe to add an impermeable surface treatment.

Failure to test could lead, in time, to a hydrostatic pressure, which will force that moisture to be trapped under the covering and cause bubbles in surface treatments. Worst case scenario, the moisture could crack the materials installed above it.

Step 1: The moisture test

Here are the main types of tests you can do to measure the moisture level:

The Low-Cost Moisture Plastic Sheet Test

This is an affordable low-tech moisture test, very useful for determining if there is any heavy moisture in the basement floor. However, keep in mind that this is not a professional, nor the best test if you plan to put a basement epoxy floor coating.

As such, use duct tape, fasten pieces of aluminum, or heavy plastic (around 20 inches square) to some several spots over the floor. Then examine those squares every few days.

Finding moisture on the bottom can mean one thing. You will also have moisture in the slab. On the other hand, moisture on the top will be a sign of condensation. This is because of  the high humidity, often met in a basement. As you can imagine, moisture on both parts will mean that you have moisture both in the air, as well as in the slab.

The accurate moisture test kit

The accurate moisture test kit will reveal if there is unnecessary moisture appearing through the concrete. Afterward, you will determine what type of application is appropriate. As such, some floors will present some white minerals.

This will be dried out from the trail of water moving up through the concrete. This is the most accurate test kit and the sign of moisture vapor issue.

The inorganic salt test [Calcium Chloride Test]

This is an examination practiced by experts before applying any new floor covers. This is actually the most recommended one by us before you go to the trouble of putting an epoxy coating over the basement floor.

If you don’t ask for professionals to do this test, you may need to order your own calcium-chloride moisture testing kit online and follow the instructions. The recommendation from the manufacturer might involve grinding the surface and then handling a simple pH test.

Then, it’s time for establishing the correct amount of test kits. For a typical basement, this number is usually three. The Calcium Chloride Testing is meant to measure the amount of moisture vapor emitting through concrete.

Now, you may need to keep the testing kit on your floor for several days. Once you have the tests, give back the calcium-chloride container to the manufacturer and wait for their results.

If you have more than three pounds of water vapor/ 1,000 sq. feet, don’t even consider applying epoxy to the floor.  If you still desire to set on epoxy, and still the result is much over the three-pound limit, think about taking the step described in the following chapter.

Step 2: Speak to a professional team

If the limit of moisture vapor is way too high, consider discussing product needs with an experienced MOY FloorFX professional, together you will find the best solution. They have a lot of expertise, so you can discuss the specifications of the epoxy floor coating, as well as how you can eliminate moisture through epoxy surfaces.

Furthermore, the skills needed to install epoxy can make the difference. Each expert knows its product the best, so the successful completion of investment will rely on the method and product more than anything else.

basement floor epoxy

Last Thoughts

In a nutshell, if you want your project to turn out well and last for years, before applying any Epoxy to a basement floor you should always start by taking the proper steps.

Step 1 is to start with testing for moisture. Even though all epoxy is somewhat of a barrier to moisture, all are not equivalent. This leads to

Step 2 If you are going to apply Epoxy to a basement you need to use a good quality Epoxy with a high MVB. Once choosing a good quality basement floor epoxy, this coating will work perfectly with moisture alone or under carpeting and wood flooring.

basement floor epoxy

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ceo MOY FloorFX

Ronald Wesley


Hello I’m Ron, CEO of MOY FloorFx, South Central Pennsylvania’s Epoxy Distribution and Training School. I’m here to support you by getting you the right product and instruction for your floor coating business.