The 10 Steps for How to Flake Floors
One of the best ways to renew and update an old floor is with decorative flake. It’s durable, hygienic, easy to maintain, an Epoxy flake floor is the exact recipe to an eye pleasing, yet low-cost solution.
However, decorative flakes for epoxy garage floor coating can be complex, especially when it comes to applying them. Usually, the biggest reason why epoxy flake floors fail is improper preparation of the old concrete or other hard surfaces.
For a professional application, it is mandatory to follow some basic steps.
A Free Basic Checklist for How to Flake Floors
Step1: Listen to your client. Be prepared with a list of questions to determine the wants and needs.
Like many other construction industries, the floor coating for commercial and residential has become saturated with competitors. To get the job, many of them promise their clients the impossible; as such, professionals run into clients’ unrealistic requests once starting their work.
Before starting your job, it is essential to know your client, what they are asking for, and their needs. As such, here is a simple list of questions you can start asking them:
- Which is the area you want to apply flake floor coatings? Is it inside or outside/
- What are your expectations? Can you show me a few examples?
- What kind of traffic will the floor have? Foot Traffic or something heavier like cars or forklifts?
- Will the floor need a lot of repairs?
- What is the final visual effect you want? Do you prefer full flake coverage?
- What is your budget?
- Are there any humidity issues in that space?
- Do you like some particular types of flake floors? Color or Size of Flake?
- What is the deadline for your construction project?
- Finally, What questions do they have for you?
Furthermore, this first step should also provide some information about the methods you will be using, the materials that are necessary (and the costs), as well as the possible downsides of this type of floor.
Arming yourself with the right knowledge and the right questions for your clients will help ensure the service you offer meets their needs.
Keep in mind that it is essential to ask the right questions. Your client can help you to make the right decision when it comes time to plan out exactly how much and exactly which product you’ll need.
Steps 2: Assess the space of your Flake Floor
To make sure you are using the right tools, technique, and the result you expect is feasible, and it’s wise to assess the space of your flake floor in person.
There may be a lot of wrong information passed on from, let’s say, the ones who are requesting your service. They might not describe the condition of their space they want to have flaked as you would.
For instance, let’s talk about a simple example: moisture. People don’t like to specify this issue, thinking that it’s such a small detail. Let’s be clear. We talk about that type of moisture passing through from underneath and not from the top of the floors surface.
It is crucial if we want the best results to conduct the proper moisture tests on a garage floor or any type of lower level residential and industrial space. This will affect the type of epoxy we should use. For starters, most methods to assess the flake floor space may involve installing different kinds of expensive digital sensors, then possibly taking several days to get the results.
There are lots of different methods to measure moisture, less expensive, and that can offer the same good results. Always go to the site and don’t rely on what the customer says. Also, once being there, perform the additional tests and inspect every little corner. One of the common ways to detect moisture is by analyzing any damp-looking areas and efflorescence.
Once assessing the space, look for any possible cracks on the floor, the original floor surface, or bumps that may need fixed during the prep work.
Determine the Products you will need
Before starting the application of flake floors, you need to research the top coatings you will be applying, the perfect finish, but mostly, about the equipment, you need from point A to the finishing step.
For instance, determine the products you need for prep work like crack filler or diamonds. The base-coat primer will help flake floors bond well. Add to your list the basecoat and the flake you want to broadcast, the scraper tool or screening machine, the coating to cover the flake, and, finally, the topcoat.
Determine the amount of flake and supplies you need
If you have almost no experience with flake floors, we believe that the simplest way to avoid possible mistakes is by ordering 25% more flakes than you need. This way, you will not run short.
There is simple math, recommend you take the square footage and divide it by.25 For instance, if your space is 500 square feet, it means you will need to order 50 pounds of flake.
Now, for those already experienced professionals, the actual amount you need to use is dividing the square footage by 9. Using the previous example, for the same 500 square feet, you will need 55 pounds of flakes.
Prepare a list of Necessary Equipment and Tools
Once you know the products you need, the next step is to get the equipment and tools list in order. Whether you are true professionals or just amateurs, having a tool and equipment can keep you organized and will make your work go much more smoothly.
For the best prices, don’t go straight to the first paint-supply store, you know, but look for manufacturers or more significant distributors that have better prices and higher-quality materials.
If you are interested in applying for Flake jobs, train yourself and your team first and check the product’s professional list below. Here are some of the top products you will need for getting the perfect seamless Flake floor:
- Ram Board or sheet of plywood to set up a mixing station
- 1 qt., 5 qt., 5 gal buckets for mixing the coatings
- Putty Knife
- A set of fiber-paint brushes
- 9” and 18 “ lint-free nap rollers
- Small bags of rags
- Painters tape
- Pole for scraping/sanding
- Electrical equipment
- Electric drill
- Drill paddle
- Hand Grinder for edging and other prep work
- Walk-behind Grinder
- Commercial vacuum cleaners
- Electric blower
Step 3: “Concrete Surface Prep”
Preparation is the most crucial step in coating floors.
Usually, concrete surfaces are prepared by diamond grinding. This way, the surface will stay clean, sound, and absorbent. Furthermore, you will provide the optimum adhesion and will make a huge difference on if the floor will peel 2 years down the road.
Once you have done all these, it’s time for applying a good painters tape, right at the wall-to-floor or right on the pre-marked edges. This step is essential for a clean professional looking edge.
Also, it is essential to remove any previous adhesives or coatings. You can do this by grinding, then vacuum until the surface is fully clean and dust free and at a CSP-2.
Fix Cement Spalling and Cracks
Fragile cracks naturally happen in concrete pads. However, before coating floors, large cracks should be opened by using a diamond cutting wheel.
Once opened, these cracks need to be repaired, filled with a joint filler. Either way, you can use cementitious mortar too.
Once applied to the filler, let it cure for 25 minutes. If there is any excess, grind it off, so the floor will be smooth and the crack will disappear.
In many other cases, concrete floors can have other imperfections, such as cement spalling, crack, or minimal damage. As part of getting the best overall finish, you can also fill these spots, then ground down everything to obtain that smooth even surface.
Repairing all the small cracks means using the right patching products for this process. In case you are dealing with large gaps, more than ¼ inch, use an epoxy patch filler kit.
All the instructions are mentioned on the label, from applying it to sanding or grinding after the solution has dried.
Is there Moisture Remediation Issues?
Before applying any coating, it is crucial to verify if there are any possible moisture issues. As such, you need to clean, then perfectly dry the floor. The result should be no moisture, no cracks, no watermarks, and no holes.
The moisture issues refer to grease stains too. Use a degrease and a stiff brush to remove any stains, all discolorations, or moisture residues. A simple test to check the results is by dropping some water.
If that drop is sinking in, then your job was excellent. If the water beads up, you should continue the scrubbing process, then repeat the test. An oil or grease spot that doesn’t get removed before applying the primer will result in your first layer, not bonding.
Step 4: Remove any small Particles and Debris.
It is crucial to remove any small particles or possible debris on the old coating to prepare the floor. First of all, make sure you sand the surface, so it remains no gloss. Then use a professional vacuum and suck any dust.
In case you apply a coat of flakes on an old coating, the top coating will still need sanding to rough up the surface. You should do a simple test patch to be sure that the new epoxy is compatible with the old surface.
Step 5: Apply 1st Coat of Primer, Top with Decorative flake.
Apply the very first coat of primer. These coats will provide the base color, as well as the structure for the garage floor coating. It is essential to apply the primer coat evenly all around the perimeter and always follow the manufactures instructions for coverage rates.
Roll everything to the center with a nap roller and the proper angled cross stroke. This way, you will get perfect penetration and uniformity.
The prime coat’s purpose is to penetrate all the concrete and offer the next skin foundation. Once the prime coat is applied, it’s time to broadcast the flakes until all the basecoat is covered evenly.
Step 6: Test Surface for Cured Epoxy
The amount of flake floors will depend on the clients personal preference
Test if the epoxy is cured. If it is cured enough, this is the sign that it can handle adding the next coat.
Step 7: Scrape or Screen to the Even Surface
After allowing everything to cure, time will depend on product and humidity, it’s time to remove the edge tape. Remove all the movable flakes. You can scrape or screen the surface in all directions. This process will help in shaving off all the protruding flakes.
Step 8: Broom and Vacuum up all loose flake
Before the final step, it is essential to prepare the floor by removing all the protruding chips. The easiest way to do this is by using a vacuum, that will remove all the pieces and loose chips that couldn’t adhere to the floor.
For this particular step, you can use an electric blower, which will push all the flakes aside, then come with a vacuum to clean everything. This process might take a while due to the small size of chips. The area has to be free of any loose flake before applying a coating on top.
Step 9: Apply Top Coating to the Flake Floor
Once the epoxy is all dry, it’s time for the final step, by applying a clear Polyurethane coat. It is essential to choose a suitable topcoat, which will have a significant visual effect and meet the wearing requirements.
You can choose whether you want to get a glossy effect or a satin finish regarding the top coating. Moreover, you can select top layers that have particular properties, like UV resistance or chemical tolerance.
If you wish for a non-slippery surface, then this is the right time to add it.
Step 10: For a More in-depth Epoxy Training on How to Flake Floors, Contact MOY FloorFX York, PA
If you want to develop your knowledge or just want to make a profession from it, then you can book a more detailed Epoxy training at MOY FloorFX York, PA. There are three courses available, for 3 different levels of experience.
As you could see with practice, flaking floors is easy if you just follow some steps. The best advice we can give you is this: don’t skip any phase because you will regret doing so at the end of the job.
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.