Hot Weather Installation Tips
Summer conditions can lead to an array of problems for high performance floor installations due to the rise in temperature. Changes in the mixing and application processes of epoxy, polyurethane, and polyaspartic floor coatings are needed to ensure that the job is completed correctly. We will discuss a few topics and tips on how to make sure you get the best performance out of these products
High performance coatings are sensitive to temperature. Cold winters can delay the dry time for coatings while the summer heat can reduce the pot life and working time of any paint or floor coating. It is important to keep the products at an optimal temperature prior to and during the mixing process. Try to keep the product relative to ambient temperature (65-80°F). This can be done by leaving the containers inside an area set within the temperature parameters. Be sure to leave the containers in that temperature for a few hours to ensure they have cooled down. Ice chests and coolers with ice can be used to help cool down the coating as well. It is also important to keep the coating area shaded to prevent the coating from being exposed to excess heat during the application process
Along with keeping the coating at an optimal temperature, it is also important to keep the substrate surface at an optimal temperature. Use tents or tarps to keep the area shaded, but also remember to give yourself adequate air flow. Remember that even though the air temperature is 85°F that day, a concrete floor in direct sunlight could be drastically higher in temperature.
Pot Life and Working Time
The pot life (and working time) of a high performance coating changes according to temperature, relative humidity, and mixing volume. Hot weather will accelerate the curing process of any two component coating. Mixing larger batches will also accelerate the curing process. With this in mind, mix small quantities of material as you work. It is best to have a helping hand mix a small amount of material while someone else applies it. It is a bad idea to mix a large amount of material in the summer and letting it sit in the container while you work small ribbons at a time.
– Thinning (or “cutting”) material with solvent is a way to help increase the working time of a product. Be sure to follow the guidelines and recommendations of the manufacturer prior to adding solvents into the products.
– Work in western facing exposures in the morning and eastern facing exposures in the afternoon. This will help reduce the amount of sunlight in contact with the substrate and coating.
– be sure to prep the floor ahead of time. This includes surface preparation, repairs, and masking off areas. You do not want to mix a two component coating in the summer and have to stop mid-way of the application process because you forgot to clean the substrate properly.