Can You Use Epoxy Resin On Wood Floors

11 August 2023

Epoxy resin flooring has long been a popular choice for industrial spaces such as factories and garages but it is also fast becoming a flooring choice for residential and commercial spaces as well. Epoxy resin is most often installed on concrete surfaces so you might be wondering if it's even possible to install an epoxy coating onto a wood floor. And you'll be pleased to know that the answer is: yes. You can use an epoxy floor coating on wood. But this is a job that should really be left to the professionals.

If you are considering an epoxy coating for your wood floor, don't hesitate to get in touch. At the Epoxy Gang, our experience and in-depth knowledge of epoxy resin flooring mean that we understand the complexities of installing this type of coating on a wood floor. And we will make sure that your epoxy coating protects and enhances your wood floor so that it will look its best for many years to come.

What Is An Epoxy Floor Coating?

Epoxy resin is a flooring system that is used to create a durable coating. It is a two-component system consisting of epoxy resin that is mixed with a hardener. This mixing triggers a chemical reaction that creates cross-linked polymer bonds which makes the components harden quickly and also adhere strongly with the surface beneath to create a seamless seal.

You might also see epoxy flooring called epoxy paint and this can be a little confusing. A true epoxy floor coating is a full flooring system that uses these two components to create a full floor and this is sometimes referred to as epoxy paint. But there are also standard floor paints on the market that call themselves epoxy paint when really they are standard latex acrylic paints with a small amount of epoxy resin mixed in.

This one-component epoxy paint does not create the same full epoxy floor coating. There is no chemical reaction and they will work just the same as normal floor paint. Although the addition of a small amount of epoxy can make them slightly more durable than acrylic alone, they won't have the same capabilities as a full epoxy floor coating.

You can apply epoxy paint to wood floors but you won't see the same results as you would from using an epoxy floor coating. Let's take a look at why you might want to choose a full epoxy coating for your wood floors.

Check out: How To Apply Epoxy Resin Floor Paint

The Benefits Of An Epoxy Coating For Wooden Floors

Epoxy floor coatings have a wide range of benefits for wood floors. Whether you have a recently installed wood floor or you have older hardwood floors and want to improve their look or protect them, epoxy flooring can be an excellent choice.

Full Control Over Design Choices

When using an epoxy coating for wood floors, many people choose to use a clear coat of resin. This allows the beauty of the wood to be fully visible while also protecting it. Wood floors can provide a refined and sophisticated, yet warm and welcoming look but they are also prone to damage and they can be difficult to maintain. A clear epoxy coating gives you the best of both worlds. You can retain the look of hardwood floors but with all of the benefits of an epoxy floor.

But you don't have to use a clear epoxy resin coating. If you don't want to see the wooden floor beneath you have a wide range of design options to choose from. You can have any colour floor you like and you can add interesting elements like metallic flakes or even a full metallic epoxy floor coating.

Explore: Metallic Resin Flooring

Durability

One of the biggest draws of epoxy floors is that they are a durable coating. The surface is very hard but also flexible so it has good impact resistance. It is also abrasion-resistant, chemical-resistant, heat-resistant, fire-resistant, waterproof, and stain resistant.

Wood floors, in contrast, can easily be damaged by many of these elements. The wood can get scratched, stained, or damaged easily and its porous nature means that it absorbs moisture which can lead to warping, rotting, or damage.

If you are concerned about preserving your wood floors or they are located in a space where they are likely to get exposed to damage, then an epoxy coating can protect them.

Pleasant Underfoot

One of the benefits of wood floors is how pleasant they are to walk on. They are flexible and they retain heat well so are stay at a nice temperature. It can be understandable to worry that adding a coating on top of a wood floor will spoil the pleasantness of walking on it but with an epoxy coating, this isn't an issue.

Epoxy resin is also a pleasant surface to walk on and it has the same features as a wood floor. It has the flexibility that makes it feel soft and it is also warm.

Low Maintenance

Wood floors do look good, there's no doubt about that, but they are also quite time-consuming to maintain properly. They will need to be refinished every few years and you will need to be very careful with how you use them to avoid scratches and moisture.

Epoxy floors, on the other hand, require fairly minimal maintenance. You don't need to worry as much about water damage or scratches, which can be a relief in commercial spaces or if the floor is likely to get a lot of foot traffic. And you don't need to refinish the floor to keep it looking good or to protect it.

All an epoxy floor coating will need is vacuuming and cleaning with warm water.

You can also check out our post "How To Clean Epoxy Resin Floors" for additional insights.

Hygiene

If your flooring is in a commercial kitchen or another space where hygiene is important then wood floors can cause some issues. They have lots of little pores, holes, and gaps between the floorboards which can harbour bacteria and mould. So it can be a challenge to keep the space hygienic.

Epoxy floors, on the other hand, are very hygienic. They are completely seamless so there is nowhere that bacteria can hide. They are not porous so spills don't get absorbed into the flooring and instead sit on the surface to be easily wiped away. And they can be fully flooded and washed so that any spills or bacteria will be completely removed.

Slip Resistance

You may have heard that epoxy floors can be slippery. When dry, they aren't, but when wet they can be when you use epoxy resin alone. If you are concerned about slips, then this is an easily solvable problem with the addition of an anti-slip top coat. The top coat has aggregates added into the epoxy resin to provide friction.

For more learnings, you can check out our post "Is Epoxy Resin Flooring Slippery".

High Gloss Finish

Epoxy floors can elevate the look of your wood floors with a high gloss finish that won't fade. You can use an epoxy coating to add a touch of elegance and modern sophistication to any space and you can rest assured that it will stay just as glossy for years to come.

The Challenges Of An Epoxy Coating On A Wood Floor

All of these benefits of epoxy wood floors are very attractive but there are challenges involved in applying epoxy resin to wood. When compared to concrete, there are extra considerations that need to be taken into account to ensure that the epoxy coating application is done correctly. Improper installation of the epoxy coating will mean that you don't get all of the benefits and it can also cause the flooring to be damaged.

What Makes Applying Epoxy To A Wood Surface So Difficult?

An epoxy coating is most commonly applied to a concrete surface. While concrete isn't seamless in the same way as epoxy, it is still one continuous surface.

In contrast, a wood floor consists of many separate pieces of wood joined together. This naturally creates gaps between the floorboards. To create a continuous surface for the epoxy flooring, these gaps need to be filled.

The nature of the wood itself also means that there are going to be pits and holes that will also need to be sanded and filled.

And wood is likely to not be completely flat. For the epoxy coating application to work properly, the floor needs to be flattened first so that it is completely level. This can be achieved through careful sanding and other work.

Wood is more porous than concrete. When creating epoxy wood floors, this is something that has to be addressed. When epoxy resin is first applied, it is semi-liquid so the floor will need to be treated to ensure that it doesn't absorb too much of the moisture as this can affect the curing of the resin.

This porous nature also means that moisture and air can get trapped inside the wood. If there is excess moisture in the wood, this can prevent the epoxy from adhering properly to the floor which can cause it to lift. And air trapped in the wood can create air bubbles in the epoxy finish.

The challenges associated with installing an epoxy coating on a wood floor mean that the job needs someone with experience and deep knowledge of epoxy resin.

How To Install Epoxy Resin On Wood Floors

So how is the epoxy coating installed on a wood floor? The application has several steps and the entire process can take a few days to complete.

Step 1 - Preparing The Floor

A properly prepared floor is key to ensuring that the epoxy coating will work. As we have mentioned, the preparation of a wood floor is often more tricky than concrete floors.

The floor needs to be made flat and level, which can involve sanding down some areas. Then, all screws and nails need to be removed.

All of the holes and cracks need to be filled, as well as the gaps between the floorboards. This can be done with an epoxy crack filler which won't be visible once the full coating is applied.

Then the wood surface will need to be touch sanded. this is an important step because the epoxy won't bond properly to a smooth surface. The sanding can be done with a grinder to create small etches that the resin can adhere to.

Once all of this work is complete, the floor will need a very thorough cleaning. All of the dust, dirt, and debris must be removed before the resin is applied. While this is also true of concrete, a wooden floor throws up some challenges with cleaning due to it being so porous.

Any moisture trapped in the wood from the cleaning stage will need to have evaporated before the resin is applied. If there is still water left behind, this will create a layer between the wood and the resin which will prevent it from bonding.

So the wood floor will need to be given plenty of time to dry and the room will need to be properly sealed to prevent the addition of any containments while it is drying. The last thing you need is more dirt being introduced so that you have to start the cleaning process again.

Step 2 - Priming The Floor

Once the wood floors have been cleaned and any holes or gaps filled, then the wood can be primed. Primed wooden floors are essential for the resin coating to adhere properly. And for this type of flooring, a two-stage priming process is often necessary.

The first stage is to apply a flexible epoxy primer. Something like an acrylic latex primer will work well for this stage and will fully seal the wood to prevent any moisture or air bubbles from rising into the epoxy. You can apply flexible epoxy primer using a nap roller and a squeegee. This will take a few hours to dry depending on the environmental conditions.

Once the first coat of primer is dry, you can move on to the next one. A waterborne epoxy primer should be applied on top. This will help to promote adhesion between the resin and the wooden surface. Again, you can apply waterborne epoxy primer using a nap roller and a squeegee.

Step 3 - Applying The Epoxy Coating

This is truly the make-or-break stage of the entire process. You get one shot at epoxy application and if it goes wrong the entire floor will need to be re-done.

An important consideration before applying epoxy is the environmental conditions. The air temperature should be between 10 and 30 degrees Celsius. If the temperature is too low, the resin will take too long to cure and can end up tacky. If the temperature is too high, the resin will cure too quickly and can stack.

Humidity is also something that should be considered. A well-ventilated room on a dry day is the perfect condition in which to apply epoxy. Moist or humid environments can leave a layer of moisture on the wooden surface which can prevent the resin from adhering to the wood properly. This can mean that the epoxy coating will lift away.

Now the two components of the epoxy resin floor coating need to be mixed. The ratio of resin to hardener needs to be exact to ensure that the resin cures properly. Once the components are mixed, the chemical reaction will begin immediately so there is very little time to work with (around 45 minutes depending on the environmental conditions).

The resin is applied to the floor using a roller and a squeegee to ensure that the surface is completely flat. This needs to be done quickly and exactly. Any bubbles need to be dealt with immediately while it is still wet epoxy. Applying the epoxy wood coating is a two-person job because of the speed and precision that needs to be achieved.

It usually takes around 12 hours for this first coat to dry, after which the second and final coat needs to be applied. If any additives are included in the epoxy, such as decorative elements, UV-resistant sealants, or anti-slip aggregates, this is where they will be included. These additives can affect the ratio of resin to hardener so an experienced eye is needed here.

This coat is applied in the same way as the previous coat. It will take around 12 hours to be touch dry and approximately seven days to fully cure. You shouldn't move any furniture into the room until the resin has fully cured.

Using The Epoxy Gang For Your Epoxy Wood Floor Coating

If you are considering epoxy coating for your plywood floor or hardwood floors, get in touch and the Epoxy Gang can help you. We understand the complexities of applying epoxy resin to wood floors and will visit to assess the current state of the wood before we developed a plan of how best to apply the epoxy floor coating.

We will work with you every step of the way to make sure that the final finish is exactly how you want it to be and you will have full control over the design specifics. Whether you want a clear resin coat that highlights the beauty of the wooden floor or you want a completely modern and eye-catching look, we can help you to create it.

We pride ourselves on creating high-quality, great-looking, and long-lasting epoxy floors and our knowledge and experience mean that we retain this quality even when working with different flooring types such as wood.

Our post "Can I Apply Clear Epoxy Resin Over Wood Floors" maybe interest you. You can check it out.

Final Thoughts

Wooden floors can look great but they are vulnerable to damage and can be difficult to maintain. If your wood floors are in a commercial environment, for example, high foot traffic can easily start to wear down the wood. And if your floors are somewhere like a commercial kitchen, it can be challenging to ensure that they remain hygienic.

An epoxy floor coating can be a fantastic addition to a wood floor. It will provide an extremely durable and strong protective layer that will ensure the wood floor underneath is fully protected. A clear resin coat can retain the look of the wood floor while adding an attractive high gloss shine and a decorative resin coat can mix up the look of the space completely.

Epoxy floor coatings are easy to clean and highly hygienic and are impact, chemical, heat, stain, and water resistant making it perfect for a wide range of different environments.

While applying epoxy to wooden floors can throw up extra challenges compared to other surfaces, a professional epoxy flooring installer will be able to work with these conditions and produce a high-quality floor that will stand the test of time.

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