Epoxy and Concrete Flooring Contractors | What You Need to Consider
When it comes to projects that include epoxy or concrete flooring it is paramount to hire a trustworthy and reliable professional. Cutting corners or pinching pennies has a tendency to result in devastating, and expensive, consequences.
Flooring is unlike most other trades in that it requires the complete vacancy of your space. All furniture needs to be removed or stored, all operations need to be halted, and alternate living arrangements need to be coordinated. Like most things, these measures are additional expenses that need to be accounted for while planning for your project. The variable costs that can bite you unexpectedly are the delays associated with improper or unsatisfactory epoxy flooring installation.
Here are the four stages of typical seamless flooring installations:
For whatever reason, you need a new epoxy or concrete floor. It is required in the specifications of your project or by regulations imposed by the USDA, FDA or local health department. Maybe your wife wants to spruce up your home? Whatever the case may be, you have chosen to look into epoxy flooring as an alternative for your space and have learned that these seamless flooring solutions are unique in many aspects. Choose your color, choose your finish, and start making some phone calls to local epoxy flooring contractors.
Research is always crucial when hiring a specialty contractor. It is important to ensure that your epoxy and concrete flooring contractors are qualified for the job and have enough experience to be able to complete the project successfully and efficiently. Look for online reviews and local references. Check into channels such as HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, Thumbtack and Yelp. Look at Google Reviews and Project Spotlights. These processes will allow you to filter out contractors who have a habit of delivering subpar work.
Narrow down your local contractors into a short-list and schedule site visits at your jobsite with three to four professionals. This will give you the opportunity to know your potential contractor and learn important information about their trade and expertise. You can gauge their level of confidence and level of experience by asking specific and detail-oriented questions. A good concrete and epoxy flooring contractor will be able to identify any potential challenges for your project and be able to offer you valuable guidance prior to encountering them unexpectedly while on the job. A contractor’s inability to identify pinch-points (potential problems) can cause unnecessary delays and unexpected out-of-pocket expenses.
You should always have a detailed and specific Statement-of-Work provided by your flooring contractor. It should include the entire scope of work, all of the products being used, product data sheets and warranty information. Always look over the paperwork carefully so that you are completely sure about the terms you are agreeing to.
Hiring an Epoxy Flooring Contractor | What You Need to Ask
Epoxy flooring is a specialty trade that requires more than what meets the eye. Specific, industrial-grade machinery and tooling is required for proper installation, like shot-blasters and industrial diamond-grinders and scarifiers. Many new contractors do not have the proper tooling required, or the proper knowledge, and have relied on channels like YouTube or online training seminars to facilitate their entrance into the industry. On a more recent trend, many painting companies have attempted to enter the epoxy flooring industry with the false assumption that it is similar to painting a wall or vertical surface. They learn very quickly that it is not so easy and cost themselves and their customers a lot of wasted time and money.
Concrete is not the same as drywall or masonry. It breathes, expands, absorbs and contracts. It has different levels of silica, lithium, chloride and calcium which affect the epoxy coating installations. Some slabs are soft, and some are super hard. Some concrete slabs have excessive moisture and water-content, while others are dry and brittle. Without the proper knowledge and experience in the concrete trade itself, trusting the wrong flooring contractor can results in a disastrous series of events that spiral out of control. You need a contractor who knows what products to furnish, and what system components to include in your flooring installation.
To help you choose the right epoxy and concrete flooring contractor, here are a few things you should ask when hiring a company that specializes in the seamless flooring trade:
- Do you specialize, solely, in the seamless flooring trade?
Many companies, nowadays, offer epoxy flooring installations but do not specialize in the trade itself. Because these products are so sensitive to heat, humidity, and proper preparation and application, betting on a company that does not specifically specialize in the field is an unwise decision.
- Can you coordinate the project around my business schedule?
At Blackrock, we work around the clock to satisfy our customers’ needs. Many other companies only provide installation during regular working hours. In order to ensure our customers can operate freely and without interruption, we have a reputation for working nights, holidays and even 18 hour shifts to ensure projects are completed on time and without hassle.
- How long will it take to complete my project?
Most jobs, large or small, can usually be completed between 4-10 days, depending on the scope. A specialized crew can tackle even large projects of 30,000 square feet or more in less than 7 days. Make sure you hire a flooring contractor that has the right tools and the right know-how.
- What type of epoxy or concrete products will you be using?
We’re going to say it straight-out – DO NOT use contractors that use over-the-counter products. Do NOT use flooring contractors that use concrete and epoxy products from Home Depot, Lowes or public supply stores. These products are designed for DIYers and handymen. They are not designed for specialty installations or professionals. You want to make sure your flooring contractor is using products by reputable, US-Based manufacturers and distributors, and you want to make sure they are properly certified by those manufacturers prior to installation. Good products are not sold to local Joes. Good products are only sold and furnished to flooring contractors who have proven they can furnish quality installations and limit the risk of warranty issues for their manufacturers.
- Do you have specific experience in installations particular to my industry?
You should only work with an epoxy and concrete flooring contractor that has credible experience in your industry. It is important for the flooring contractor to understand the constraints and requirements of your operation so that they know how to prepare for unexpected interruptions and problems. At Blackrock Industrial, we have specific experience with aerospace manufacturing facilities, aerospace and military hangars, schools and educational facilities, hospitals and municipalities, airports and bus depots, hotels and condominium associations, art galleries and automobile showrooms, manufacturing plants, food processing plants, breweries, smokehouses, distribution centers, restaurants and retail chains.
- What is the guarantee and warranty for the project?
Warranties are generated based on the particulars of each environment and flooring system of choice. There are more budget-friendly epoxy flooring solutions that carry 3-Year Warranties (but contain less product and aggregate), and others that carry 10-Year Warranties (and include superior products and extra millage / thickness).
Of course, there is a plethora of other questions you can ask about epoxy and concrete flooring, but these should give you a good framework to help you find the company that’s right for your project.
Epoxy Flooring Solutions | Why They Have a Bad Wrap
Many people have a bad notion of epoxy flooring and believe it to be brittle, unreliable and easily damaged. Fortunately, this is not the case. However, there are uncountable instances of epoxy flooring failures throughout the nation and they are usually caused by the following factors:
- Improper Concrete Preparation
Failing to prepare concrete substrates by use of mechanical means will inevitably lead to failure in product adhesion. This leads to epoxy floors peeling and blistering. When a concrete substrate is prepared professionally, accurately, with the proper tooling and under the right environmental circumstances, failure is not a potential risk. When an epoxy flooring company knows what they are doing, things go very smoothly, and customers are provided with flooring solutions that can last 20-30 years.
- Improper Use of Epoxy and Urethane Products
You need to hire an epoxy flooring contractor that knows how to design permanent and invulnerable systems. There are many components to epoxy flooring, which include products such as Moisture Vapor Barriers, 100% Solids Epoxy, Polyaspartics, Novolacs, Urethanes, Urethane Mortars, Polymer Concrete, Polyureas, Acrylics, Primers, Water-Based Epoxies, Epoxy Mortars, Self-Leveling Concretes, and the list goes on. In designing an appropriate system, you need to ensure that your epoxy flooring contractor has refined experience in the use of all these products, especially since they are all used for different purposes.
- Improper Application and Coverage Rates of Resinous Flooring Products
Going to thin or too thick on a floor, depending on the product, leads to flooring failure. You need to hire an epoxy installation team that knows how to get it right and guarantee adequate coverage of each system component.
Here’s a good trick-question to ask your epoxy flooring contractor: “How many mils is the system you intend to install?” Millage is the unit of measurement true flooring professionals use to design and build flooring systems. If your epoxy contractor does not know the correct answer and appropriate millage for each system component he intends to furnish, then you are on the wrong track and you should start looking in another direction.
Hiring the right epoxy flooring contractor is, undoubtedly, the most important step in the entire process of your project. When it comes down to it, making the wrong decision at this turnkey moment can lead to a waste of time, money and standard of living. So, how do you ensure you make the right choice at this crucial pivot-point?
Here are a few quick guidelines:
- Look for an epoxy flooring company that is trusted by major brands and retailers
- Don’t go for the cheapest option. That is your first red-flag.
- Stay away from “Lifetime Warranties.” There are no manufacturers that offer this.
- Ask for reputable references.
- Do your research on the products they are offering you.
If you are set on having the very best epoxy flooring installation, don’t take any chances. Give us a call or Schedule a Site Visit with one of our installation specialists to get you started on the right path. We’d love to teach you about our methods and products, and we take pride in our installations. Providing beautiful floors are what make us satisfied at the end of each day.