11 Tips for Managing Epoxy Dry Times by Jimmy McGhee

Epoxy Dry Times

Two component epoxy flooring systems are ideal for providing enhanced resistance for floors and customized aesthetics to your home, but they do require a bit of knowledge and experience. Epoxy floor coatings should come with a technical data sheet (also known as a specification data sheet) that outlines information including mix ratios, optimal coverage rates, pot life, and dry time. It is important to note that the pot life and dry times are set at room or ambient air temperature (75°F or 77°F) unless otherwise stated.  The world isn’t perfect and we know that temperatures fluctuate throughout the day so here are some tips when you happen to apply the epoxy coating in hotter (or colder) conditions.

When It Is Hot

Epoxy floor coatings are heat sensitive and will react faster at higher temperatures. Here are a few things to try if you know that you will be applying the epoxy flooring in summer-like conditions.

  • Prepare the surface ahead of time. This includes grinding, patching, and masking off areas.
  • Keep the epoxy in a relatively cool place before using. Not in the refrigerator.  Not in the sun.  A lower temperature will prevent the epoxy from kicking off too quickly.
  • Apply the coating earlier in the morning when the temperatures are not as hot. This allows for more working time, and the heat in the afternoon will assist with a faster cure once rolled out.
  • Pour the epoxy coating out into ribbons or strips. Increasing the surface area of the epoxy will prevent heat buildup from the reaction of the curing process. Do NOT use a paint tray.
  • Mix small quantities at a time. This is especially important when working alone. Epoxy coatings are a reaction-based formula and will start to react once mixed.
  • Adding a specified retarder to help slow the dry time can help. Make sure not to add too much as it could affect the product quality.

When It Is Cold

Epoxy floor systems have the ability to dry in a wide range of temperatures, but colder weather is not an epoxy’s friend.  Colder conditions reduce the reaction speed and prolong the dry time.

  • Be prepared to stay off the floor for longer periods of time. The coating may take longer to dry so have a plan set in case you cannot have access to the coated area for a few days.
  • Use accelerators packs. These work by assisting in the reaction of the epoxy and the hardener. Be careful with the amount of accelerators used and which kind, as one accelerator may not be suitable for a different epoxy system.
  • Turn up the temperature. Try to have some heat flow to the area that you want coated. Portable heater units work well for this. The key to remember is that the floor temperature will have strong affects on how the coating dries.
  • Keep the heat spread evenly. Do NOT point a blow-dryer or heat gun directly at the epoxy floor coating because doing this could cause a premature accelerated reaction before the air release and leveling agents are able to work properly.
  • Store product, if possible, at approximately 75 degrees. This allows the product to work in a more normal manner.