Minnesota Epoxy Floors, Failure and Removal: Reasons Why it Happens

If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of having your epoxy-coated floor fail, you’re likely looking for explanations. Failure of epoxy floors isn’t uncommon due to several reasons. That’s why after trying epoxy floors, failure and removal, many property owners choose to switch to a polyurea floor coating.


Installing epoxy in humid conditions is problematic because the moisture in the air affects inter-coat adhesion. This means the coats of epoxy don’t stick together well enough, which can lead to epoxy failure.

Primer Problems

Epoxy floors that don’t have primer aren’t set up for success. Epoxy requires a layer of primer before application to ensure the coating bonds properly and with strong adhesion. Using the incorrect type of primer can also cause epoxy to fail. Primer is particularly important when coating commercial and industrial floors, which experience a lot of wear and tear.

Contaminated Concrete

Concrete contaminated with materials such as silicone, fatty acids, acrylics, and siloxane will have problems with epoxy adhesion. This is often the case even if the concrete is clean and primed. Contaminants sometimes penetrate so deeply that concrete needs shot blasting or replacement before epoxy.

Poor Penetration

Poor penetration often happens because the person who applied the epoxy just cleaned the surface in a normal fashion. Concrete requires grinding and sometimes shot blasting before application of epoxy. The surface also can’t have dust on it before application. Unfortunately, many epoxy kits instruct the user to just clean the floor normally or with acid etching. Acid etching won’t guarantee a proper cleaning job because it only works if the pores in concrete are open widely enough.

Substrate Problems

If the concrete is low-quality, the epoxy might bond well to its surface, but the concrete can split from itself. That’s why you should think twice about investing in epoxy for low-quality, weak concrete. You’ll also have to make sure that the substrate you’re working with is appropriate for epoxy. Wood floors coated with epoxy don’t usually work because wood expands, contracts, and moves, resulting in cracks and peeling in epoxy.

Moisture Problems

Although uncommon, concrete slabs sometimes have underlying moisture from poor floor construction or water migration. In this case, water trying to migrate upwards can push coatings off of concrete.

Poorly Mixed Solution

Epoxy coatings won’t cure properly after being mixed at the wrong ratios. Too much air getting stuck in epoxy during mixing can also cause problems.

Improper Wicking

Sometimes concrete coatings dry before they get a chance to fully fill all pores. Coatings that become dryer before filling every pore and imperfection can’t bond well enough. This problem is common with newer, one-day epoxy coatings, especially when applied in hot weather. It’s also a result of a novice coating installer, which is why you should hire an experienced professional.

Professionals commonly remove failed epoxy floors with heat, cold, or chemicals. Heat from a heat gun softens the epoxy for removal. Once heated, epoxy comes off with scraping from a putty knife or sharp object. Cold from refrigerant sprays freezes the epoxy and makes it brittle. A hammer and putty knife can then assist with removing the frozen epoxy. Commercial stripping agents and paint thinners can chemically remove epoxy by softening it. Professionals can scrape away softened epoxy with a putty knife after neutralizing the chemical stripping agent.

PolyTek Surface Coatings installs Penntek Industrial Coatings systems on residential and commercial concrete flooring. These polyurea coating systems have superior technology and advanced chemistry, which helps them last. Our highly trained professionals install these coatings accurately and efficiently. To inquire further about our quality concrete coatings, please contact us.