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Solid Epoxy Vs. Water Based Epoxy

Solid Epoxy Vs. Water Based Epoxy

When it comes to purchasing epoxy floor coating, deciding what type of product to use is the most important decision. There are several options, whether it is 100% solid epoxy, water-based, or solvent based, there are plenty of choices. Each choice offers its set of unique features that set it apart from the others. When it comes to deciding, most buyers look at solid epoxy versus water-based epoxy. They need to evaluate what they are looking for, and what features suit their needs. Whether that is cost, durability, or the fact you may want a professional to do it, there are many aspects to consider.

If you are a recent home buyer and think you may live in this home for the rest of your life, you should invest in 100% solids cycloaliphatic epoxy. This is the most durable, quality solution that professionals recommend. This type of flooring can last forever if you take good care of it. It has the strength to fight off hot tire marks, abrasions, and chemical reactions like oil and grease.


A pure high-performance coating will have an activator (sometimes referred as a hardener or curing agent) and a resin. When mixed, it forms a molecular cross link to achieve a cured state. A 100% solids product will cross link 100% by volume. For instance, one gallon of 100% solids will yield one gallon of cured product. One gallon of 40% volume solids will yield .40 gallon of cured state product. In the case of a 40% volume solids product, one may question where does the other 60% go? It evaporates into the air, sometimes creating an odor. In this example, the other 60% product which evaporates is a “vehicle” — it helps spread the coating. These vehicles may include less expensive materials like water, alcohol, thinners, etc.

You can quickly see why buying one gallon of 100% solids product gives you what you originally intended, one gallon of cured product. One gallon of 40% volume solids product will only give you .40 gallon of cured product. In this case you will need to buy 2.5 gallons to equal 1 gallon of 100% solids.

There are other problems with low volume solids material. From a manufacturer’s point of view, it is easy and economical, especially to the less educated nonprofessional consumer like a DIY. It is cheaper and easier to sell one gallon of low volume solids material than to sell a high-volume solids material, and most people do not understand (or care) about the details of a cured state product. There is a bigger issue which involves complex chemistry. Activators and resins are meant to be mixed together in a volumetric stoichiometry necessary to molecularly cross link to achieve a full cured state. When other products are added, it will inhibit this natural cross linking and a breaking of the molecular chains will entail. When this happens, the product will be weaker than it could be, and performance characteristics will suffer. Water-based products are cheaper to manufacture. Big box stores sell many kits of epoxy and represent they are exceptionally durable. Most are less than 38% volume solids. Water is cheap and chemistry cannot come close to a 100% solids epoxy material and should not be in the same category.

Single component (without an activator) epoxies are a less expensive low-grade epoxy and are not even defined as an epoxy in the floor coating profession.

The dirty secret is most chemical companies know this complexity and can fool the consumer into believing they are getting a good product, a good deal, and good performance when the truth is opposite. The only way consumers can be assured they are purchasing a good, durable, and honest product is to educate themselves and look at the overall performance of the product over time. The cheaper and easier sounding a product is the less likely it is a good purchase. It takes time, energy, honesty, and experience to produce a good product. We at PerformanceDIY are the originators in the high-performance DIY kit world and, since 1976, have been proving it in real-world applications.

Water-based epoxy is more designed as a sealer since it spreads out much thinner than a 100% solids epoxy. It does not have the same amount of durability and resistance as a solid one but is easier to set up and will save you money. It is more ideal for a temporary home or something you do not see yourself in for the next 20 years. It is a will provide a smooth, glossy finish, which can protect against everything solid epoxy does, just not to the same degree. Both are considered reliable options when you are evaluating your epoxy choices. You should always look into the features when evaluating solid epoxy versus water-based epoxy.

Depending on your budget, living situation, and what you are trying to do with your space, we are confident you will make the right choice. Both choices will definitely make your floors shine and look incredible. Carefully evaluate your needs when looking into solid epoxy versus water-based epoxy. If you are looking to make your home stand out from the rest of the neighborhood, we can provide the knowledge and tools you need. Do it once-Do it with PerformanceDIY

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