Resin flooring is a smart, lasting way to protect the ground in your spaces.
However, you must carefully plan your installation to avoid costly problems in the future.
Resinous flooring solutions are long-term protections that make cleanup and maintenance easy. Each variety has its own quirks, so amateurs and pros alike must learn how to work with them before starting. Costs, method of installation and protective traits are all essentials points to note when choosing your floor.
Choosing any professional flooring solution can be a bit of a pain. Once installed, replacements can be more costly if the floor doesn’t hold up to your activities.
Fortunately, resin floors are perfect for a variety of resistances. The catch: they’re not ideal for everything. It’s essential to choose correctly and avoid costly mistakes.
This post gives you a solid foundation to start making decisions, but it’s wise to read deeper into this massive topic for a proper start.
In this article, we’ll answer all the most frequently asked questions about resin flooring:
- What are resin flooring systems?
- What parts are in a resinous flooring system?
- What is the difference between a resin floor coating and resin flooring?
- How do you install a resin floor myself? Should you?
- What is the difference between industrial and decorative resin floors?
- How much do resin flooring systems cost?
We’ll do our best to simplify this topic for you, starting with the basics.
What is a Resinous Flooring?
Before you choose to use resin flooring in your facility, you should take the time to understand how it functions.
A resin flooring system is a series of industrial-strength liquid coats applied onto an existing floor. It is used primarily for defense against physical and chemical wear. The material is a two-part “glue” mixture that hardens for the final product. Safety, hygiene, aesthetics, and longevity are common reasons to use a resin floor.
Resin floors are a blend of resin and chemically-reactive hardener materials. The glue-like substance reacts to dry into a hardened plastic layer atop the original floor.
The chemical reaction of the mix also works to lock the new floor onto the substrate. The result is a floor coating that won’t easily break away during normal use.
Resin floors are a durable floor solution in spaces that experience heavy-duty activity. The layer created by the resin acts as a shield for the vulnerable flooring beneath it.
Hygienic benefits come as part of the floor’s seamless, moisture-resistant properties. With no spots to trap dirt, toxins, bacteria or fungi, these floors are easy to clean.
The design and protective features of resin floor systems can be customized to your needs. Resin additives like colored quartz sand and vinyl color chips can fortify damaged substrate or change the look of your resin floors.
Parts of a Resin Flooring System
To understand resin flooring, you should know the layers that it is composed of.
All resin flooring systems are built on single or multiple layers of various resin floor types. The resin floor is installed atop an existing base floor, known as a substrate. Subsequent resin floor coats are applied based on the target properties of each layer. Primer, underlayments, base coats, and a topcoat work together for a complete floor solution.
For the resin coats, you’ll be able to use nearly any pairing of compatible resin types to mix and match their benefits.
Substrate is the flooring beneath the resin layer. This foundation is usually a form of structurally sound concrete to get the best adherence for the resin floor.
Primer coats can be used to prep the substrate for floor adhesion and protection. They may also be used to test for flaws or the resin’s reaction to the substrate.
Underlayments are sometimes applied as a pre-coat to seal the substrate. While sealant will help waterproof the substrate, it may reduce the adhesion for base coats.
Base coats consist of the core resinous mixture. These coats overlay the original floor you’d like to “replace.” Multiple layers will get the desired thickness of the flooring.
The topcoat or overcoat seals the floor as the final finish. The topcoat is a single resin layer meant to resolve any blemishes or vulnerable points for a glossy or matted, protective result.
Why Resinous Floors?
Before choosing, you should know why resin is a popular alternative to other floors.
Resin flooring systems are among the strongest floors currently available. Tight molecular bonds resist damage from temperature, liquids, impact, and chemicals. Resins can be further altered to boost their defensive traits or achieve custom looks. These floors are highly effective if you need ease of care and longevity.
>Maintenance is one of the main reasons you might choose a resin flooring system. Resin floors are easy to clean, waterproof, and durable against abrasive traffic. The result is a floor that requires minor maintenance, usually only needed after many years of being in service.
Long-term durability is also a feature you’ll get with resin floor types. Each resin type has specific chemical and weathering resistance to prevent degrading with time.
For highly specialized appearances, resin floors can be modified easily. Custom logos, colors, and designs via sand additives will not compromise the floor’s defensive traits.
Resin Flooring vs Polished Concrete Flooring
Resinous flooring is often compared with polished concrete for many reasons.
Polished concrete can be created from existing floors. The glossy, low upkeep surface is done via chemical treatment and grinding from fine-grit diamond polishing.
Resin floors can function similar to competing polished concrete flooring systems. Most risks of concrete flooring can be avoided with nearly any resin floor. Resin flooring offers a seamless, molecular-level bond that enhances temperature stability and waterproofing. At the same time, they are comparable in terms of hygienics and durability.
Resin floors generally carry clear advantages over polished concrete.
Most limitations of polished concrete are based on the condition of your current floors. Heavy structural damage will require costly repairs before you can upgrade.
Vulnerabilities in polishing and treatment can also complicate polished concrete use. Improper sealing above or below the concrete can lead to mold growth or cracks from liquid expansion in the pores (which often leads to the need for concrete patching sand)
Environmental changes can further damage a polished concrete floor system. Temperature fluctuations may crack the concrete as it expands and reduces in size.
Resin Flooring vs Resin Floor Coating
To select the appropriate resin surface for your uses, you’ll need to differentiate between resin flooring and a resin floor coating.
Resin flooring and resin coatings are different only in their thickness. A resin floor is at least two millimeters thick for heavier protection. A resin coating is less than two millimeters thick for average use cases.
Applying a resin floor system can require more layers if you have a heavier use case. This is primarily what makes resin flooring different from resin floor coatings.
Let’s dive into each type of flooring system in more detail.
Resin Floor Coating
Resin floor coatings are the more common application of resin floor systems. These can be applied in just a few layers for complete protection of your floors.
DIY application is easily possible for these floor systems. For your personal garage or inside a home, you may be able to skip pro installation if you follow proper installation guidelines.
Resin flooring is the thicker of the two application types. This system uses multiple layers of resin to create a very heavy, resilient barrier on the flooring of your space.
Professional application of this system is recommended. Heavy layers are valuable in high-traffic spaces like factories and airplane hangars.
In summary, a resin floor or coating is only different in how thick it is applied. This is notable as we explore resin types and their uses as both topcoats and base coats in resin floor systems.
How to install resin flooring
For a long-lasting floor system, you’ll need to know how to prepare for and apply your resin.
Disclaimer: You should always see your manufacturer’s application guidelines for the best results. The information in this guide covers general practices, but may not apply in part or in whole for your specific situation.
Resin flooring installation is a multi-phase task that should be planned with care. Your process, personnel, materials, and tools should all be accounted for long before any work begins. To get the best results, you’ll need to follow established methods and treat any complications promptly to avoid flaws.
As we’ll continue to explore resin floors, you’ll note that every resin acts differently. This directly affects how you’ll use the resin and modifies your installation methods.
We’ll cover general installation practices, then dive into methods applied only to specific resin types.
General resin floor installation
Step 0: Before starting… Your installation plan needs to be your main focus. Successful installs only occur if you use your cure time wisely. Since work time is limited, you’ll need to work smart if you want to avoid costly mishaps. Once you’ve planned who, what, how long the work will take, and what you need, you’re off to a great start.
Step 1: Prep your space and surface before applying any resin layers. Clean workspaces are essential for solid bonding and avoiding splash. Protect all your walls, then complete any major repairs or replacements to a substrate that’s in poor condition. Then grind the surfaces, test floor moisture, and clean up any residues that are present.
Step 2: Prime your substrate to boost your resin’s bonding ability. Primer eliminates surface residue while revealing other potential substrate flaws. You can skip primer to reduce your upfront install time and costs, but this may lead to expensive issues down the road.
Step 3: Seal your substrate to further avoid imperfections in your finished resin floor. Sealant is especially useful if your resin is likely to absorb too quickly. You may want to skip sealant as some cases may make the resin bond weaker. But sealant can be very helpful if you expect problems from tiny holes throughout your substrate.
Step 4: Patch your floor to level out any major holes and crevices in your substrate layer. As resin applies, any gaps can cause unattractive bubbles in your floor. Patching gels eliminate obvious voids and any others discovered in your primer phase. Follow up with any abrading and other previous steps to treat these fresh spots.
Step 5: Mixing resin components starts the chemical change between liquid resin and hardeners. These materials mingle to trigger the gradual change from liquid to solid, known as curing. From here forward you’ll need to work quickly. The curing process is your work timer, and any mistakes will be cemented into your floor.
Step 6: Apply the base coats of your resin mix to your treated substrate. This phase is where you’ll finally apply your main resin solution. Each layer application follows the same process: pour, spread, and roll the floor multiple times until curing is completed. Some use cases will require you to layer up on resin coats for boosted durability.
Step 7: Finishing with the topcoat and curing gives your floor a reliable surface layer. The top layer applies just like the base coats beneath it, from pouring to rolling and curing. This final layer will take the brunt of all wear and tear. So, the right topcoat should be chosen to optimize your space for safety, cleanliness, and durability.
Read More: DIY Resinous Flooring Installation Guide
Additional steps will be required if you’re installing a decorative resin floor.
Decorative Resin Floor Installation
Decorative resin floors have an extended installation due to the use of sand aggregates. We’ll introduce some of the primary methods used for these floors.
Broadcast application means the sand is tossed atop the wet resin base coats. You’ll finish with one or more topcoat layers to complete this decorative floor. The smaller aggregate can provide a bumpy surface finish, or smooth if using more topcoats.
Trowel application involves mixing the aggregate into your resin and spreading with a trowel. With larger sand granules as the foundation, these decorative floors are more multicolored. This method is used often when complex designs are needed.
Slurry application is a mix of the broadcast and trowel methods. Fine sand mixes into the resin similar to troweling, but you can broadcast extra sand for a uniform look. The surface texture can be abraded before the topcoat, or kept for its non-slip perks.
Resinous flooring types
Before applying, be sure you’re selecting resin types appropriate for your uses.
Resin flooring comes in many variations for custom protection and visuals. Each resin has unique benefits to optimize longevity in each layer of your floor system. Sand additives can be mixed in to create text or other designs. Always be mindful of your intended uses and choose your resin pairings accordingly.
Your resin floor should be chosen by the type of durability, and visual design you’ll need. You should prepare for decades of activity by planning each section of your system.
Within all resin flooring systems, you’ll also be choosing specific resin types. Pairing compatible resin types for the layers of your floor helps you balance their pros and cons.
Decorative Flooring vs. Industrial Flooring Systems
All resin flooring can be used as decorative and industrial, so let’s unpack their traits.
Industrial resin flooring is a heavy-duty floor system for physical durability. Decorative resin flooring is an industrial floor modified for visual designs. All resin floor systems are useful for cleanliness and hazard reduction. You should choose your floor system based on the final appearance you want in your space.
Industrial resin floors work best for areas with recurring high-wear activities. These include impacts, extreme temperatures, abrasion, and chemical resistance. You’ll use these floors if you’d prefer or don’t mind a visually neutral floor.
Decorative resin floor systems are industrial in every practical aspect. The difference lies in the sand additives, which change how the floor is installed and how the finished surface appears. You’d choose decorative for a specific look in your space.
These floors are virtually the same, but resin systems built for high performance are considered industrial. When aesthetic aggregates are added, these surfaces are deemed decorative.
Comparing Resinous Flooring Types
After deciding on a resin floor system, you’ll choose a specific resin to compose each layer of your flooring. You should know all the perks and downsides to pair properly.
PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) is primarily used for impact, abrasion and chemical resistance.
For high activity workspaces that need to maximize up-time, PMMA has a very fast install window. This resin type is also ideal if you need special chemical resistances.
As thermoplastic resins, they can be heated back to liquid for quick repairs. Heat from your operations can also, unfortunately, ruin these floors.
You’d likely use this on the surface of your flooring system for its protective qualities.
- Rapid curing for minimal downtime
- Chemical (lactic acid, sulfuric acid) & UV resistance
- Curing in sub-zero spaces possible
- Low-cost repairs, quick spot treatments possible
- Extreme heat can ruin the floor, not suited for bakeries
- High odor emission and flammability during install
- Initial costs higher than other resins
- Adhesive qualities not as strong, at risk for a shorter lifespan
PU, or Polyurethane is used in industrial high heat use cases or situations with caustic chemical byproducts. These cases offset the difficult nature of working with the material.
This thermoset resin is suitable for spaces with dairy production or industrial ovens. Some sub-types carry other advantages like faster curing or better adhesion.
Downsides of PU can make this a finicky resin to install. You can expect more than half a week for curing, and any moisture can ruin the floor as it hardens.
You’d likely want this resin as your surface layer to optimize for its ideal defenses.
- Not vulnerable to extreme heat
- Elastic surfaces give scratch and heat resistance
- Lactic acid resistant
- Mid-length cure time (longer than PMMA, shorter than Epoxy)
- Difficult to install; limited work time, humidity-sensitive
- Repairs and upgrades by “remove-replace” only
- Sulfuric acid weakness
- Weaker adhesion for most PU types
Epoxy is by far the most popular and diverse in application cases. They offer chemical resistance, heavy durability, and have great bonding strength. This resin type carries plenty of subtypes that each have their own perks.
As one of the most popular resin types, epoxy has many positive properties. With many of the perks of PU and PMMA, it is quite versatile. It can also be further enhanced with certain additives like ceramic quartz.
Long downtimes are probably the largest drawback with epoxy. Installation takes over a week, which is a wide window for curing flaws to occur. Repairs can be lengthy as well.
Epoxy resin is useful as an adhesion layer or surface-facing, depending on your uses.
- Great adhesion to the substrate
- Sulfuric acid resistant
- Heat resistance as a thermoset resin
- Impact/scrape resistant
- Reflective surface can reduce energy/lighting costs
- Vulnerable to lactic acids
- Longest cure time
- Repair via “remove-replace” only
The above are the most popular resin floor types.
However, there are other related types that you might explore to get the most from your resin flooring systems.
How to choose a resin flooring type
To match the right resins to your needs, you’ll have to set priorities on your decisions.
As you choose a resin floor type, you’ll need to consider the risks and benefits of all options. You should begin by defining your priorities. Consider your budget, reducing installation risks, and durability features. Maintenance and daily use should be simple if you choose the appropriate resin floor.
After exploring all your options, it can be a challenge to decide what matters most.
As you customize your resin flooring solution, consider these important questions:
- Will your floor’s upfront costs offset costly repairs over time? The truth is, the high quality of resin floors can come at a premium. But, if you put performance first, your initial floor costs will reduce the time and money spent over its lifespan. Repairs and replacement can be a burden, so choose carefully.
- Which of your daily activities will be most abrasive to your resin floor? You should plan for the long-term by being mindful of the most extreme conditions your floor will endure. Consider chemical, mechanical traffic, UV, heat, and other factors that can damage your floor. Match your floor system to your present and future uses.
- Will you be able to maintain the floor easily? User maintenance for a resin flooring system should be simple. Your ideal floor will be easily cleaned of spills and gunk, have no mold growth, and you’ll rarely confront damage that needs repair. But a poorly chosen floor may deteriorate quickly.
- Can you afford the costs of mistakes if you do a DIY installation? You should know that unexpected events can ruin even the most detailed installation plans. Resins are temperamental to minor variables like temperature, moisture, and substrate pinholes. More layers or longer cure times leave more room for errors you haven’t prepared properly.
- Maybe consider a consultant or a certified contractor? Outsourcing is your way to trade money for reduced risks and time saved. Consultants give you an informed opinion on floor types tailored for your specific needs. Contractors can help you get back to normal operations quicker with less risk of costly repairs. Both parties can identify subtle installation hazards that are easily missed if you choose to do it yourself.
In summary, you should take your time examining your options, needs, and priorities.
Read More: Ultimate Resinous Flooring Type Comparison
Again, we always recommend reaching out to a professional if you need help.
The Cost of Resinous Flooring
For the best value, cost is second only to performance when choosing a resin floor.
Resin flooring costs may range from $2 to more than $20 per square foot. This depends on your choice of materials, labor costs, and any other related charges.
Most of the costs are due to labor in contractor installations. You may be able to go DIY and skip these if you have a simple installation. But experienced labor deters any hidden issues that your DIY skill set may miss, such as foundation flaws.
Resin Flooring Installation Costs
Specific resin flooring pricing depends on your unique situation.
So, we’ve outlined a few common factors that may affect your budget to help you plan.
Please be aware that we could never cover every situation. Since your case may require extra care, you should always get an evaluation by a contractor or consultant.
Most basic resin floor systems are priced around resin types and the size of your floor. You can begin with examples of floor measurements to start framing your costs.
Home garages are usually around 250 square feet per car. Many garages hold 2 cars at around 400 to 500 square feet. Multi-layer resin floors are useful in these areas.
Home kitchens can come at an average of 150 square feet. Antibacterial and anti-slip flooring may be wise additions to spaces involving food.
Concrete driveways for homes may be over 1000 square feet. If you just want to protect the concrete, you might be advised to only use a resin sealant.
Commercial showrooms could be 600 to 800 square feet of floor space. As always, your space may vary. Heavier floor systems will need to be used for these high foot traffic areas.
Regulation basketball courts range from around 3100 to 4700 square feet. These courts range from junior high to professional. Layered flooring is used here as well.
Industrial spaces like warehouses can easily approach 10,000 square feet and beyond. Again, only multi-part resin floors are prepared for long term durability here.
For large spaces, your budget will increase accordingly. However, the price per square foot will likely be reduced. Be sure to ask for variable rates when hiring.
Additional Costs of Resin Floors
Other factors beyond the floor size and resin type will impact your floor system price.
Some of these are hidden costs that may affect you before or long after installation.
As such, consultations will help you discover and avoid problems before they occur. We might suggest hiring a pro consultant to review your case, even if you’ve got a contractor.
Basic cost factors include resin viscosity, substrate painting, and special application methods. You may also need to remove old resin floors, or redo new ones if your floor is botched at all.
Foundation issues can be a large expense if your concrete substrate needs work. Patching and resurfacing are common and not as costly. Structural reinforcements require much more time and labor.
Other cost factors may include anything from operations downtime to storage unit rentals. Installations can take more resources beyond the purchase of materials or labor. So be sure to consider anything else that’s not a direct cost of resin floors.
Considering all your initial costs along every step of the process is essential.
Be willing to research deeper and consult with professionals if you have any questions.
Resin Flooring Maintenance Costs
Resin floor maintenance is a relatively inexpensive task.
Touch-ups and cleanings for resin floors demand very little labor. So, you should be able to go a long time without any need for the costly parts of resin floor upkeep.
Light cleaning is a daily process with basic dust mopping, vacuuming, and damp mopping. Weekly spot cleaning may also be advisable. The tools required are inexpensive in cost.
Heavier cleaning should be a monthly deep cleaning via machine scrubbing. These cleanings need proper floor cleaning machinery, which can incur bigger costs.
Minor maintenance such as dry buffing or polishing will keep your floor consistently scuff-free. Again, this heavier equipment may cost you a few hundred dollars.
Replacement of your resin floor should be needed only after years (or even decades) of use. This is essentially a brand new installation, with all the related supply and work costs.
You might consider hiring a qualified custodial team for mild maintenance and cleaning. This can help if you’re operating a commercial facility.
For home use, you could also consider renting maintenance gear periodically.
Resin Flooring Repair Costs
Resin flooring repairs may be infrequent, but could be necessary at some point.
Your resin floor repair costs will be based primarily on its ability to be reworked.
Thermoplastic resins turn back to liquid when exposed to extreme heat. This enables spot repairs, which makes PMMA floor repairs very flexible and lower in cost.
Thermoset resins are set as a permanently solid layer once fully cured. If epoxy or polyurethane is in your floor system, you’ll have the costly process of removing and replacing the whole floor.
Specific costs of resin floor system repair are priced case-by-case. As always, you’d be wise to consult with a certified contractor or consultant before deciding your repair methods.
Getting Started with Resinous Floors
We’ve gone over a lot of info, so let’s unpack some key points to help you take action today.
If You Are Considering Doing It Yourself…
Your first consideration should always be your real-world use cases. We can’t stress this enough: your floor should be able to endure your most extreme use conditions. Take into account all your impact, abrasion, chemicals, and climate conditions.
Priority of costs and features should be your next consideration. Decide the importance of your budget, operations downtime, durability, and aesthetics. These aspects can change how your floor is used, maintained, and worn over its lifespan.
Be wary that product specs are an important factor in your decision, but aren’t always easy to read. It’s crucial to follow manufacturer’s guidelines. Please consult with experienced resin professional if you have any challenges with a resin product.
Professional consultation is always something we recommend. This process leaves little room for error, and online articles are no substitute for hands-on experience. Amateur DIY installation is possible, but a pro can weigh your options more accurately.
For commercial use, you will likely be required to hire a contractor regardless.
If you are considering a Contractor…
Before hiring a professional installer, be sure to do your research. Certifications, reviews, and quotes from different teams are all important to get a reliable result. You might even want to hire a consultant to help you find the right contractor.
Wait for the down season to get steep discount prices. Usually, the latter part of Fall or early Winter are ideal times for you to find huge savings. Just be mindful that cheaper is not always better. Remember to always review their reputation and compare before committing.
Find a contractor who will actively consult with product manufacturers. Your contractor should be a vocal advocate for your performance needs. By seeking the manufacturer’s advice on product specs and pairings, your contractor is more likely to get the floor best suited for you.
Make sure your contractor is transparent with all costs and reasoning. Your resin flooring pro should be able to clearly explain any expenses and installation choices in terms you can understand. They should be able to support any decision with verifiable fact. This should be confirmed by a manufacturer or certified resin floor consultants.
As you navigate resin flooring options, know that performance is most important.
Let’s take a moment to recap what you’ve learned today:
- Resin flooring systems are durable solutions for decades of fortified, easy to clean surfaces.
- Each part of your resin floor system has a purpose, from substrate adhesion to surface-level defenses.
- You must choose compatible resins to optimize each layer of your resin system.
- Resin floor coatings may be DIY one-layer solutions. Multi-part floor systems require a certified pro installation.
- Industrial resin floors can be made decorative with sand additives.
- Resin floors range from $2 to over $20 per square foot depending on your material and labor costs.
- Always discuss your options. Chat with a certified consultant and/or a contractor before committing to any installation.
You might want to dive deeper into resin types regardless of your install method. Also, you’ll need to learn much more if you’re attempting DIY resin floor installation.
In summary, you may find that this is a good foundation to start from when researching resin flooring. Equipped with the basics of resin floor systems, you should now feel a bit more comfortable finding a better solution for your needs.
Know someone who is researching the best flooring system? Please share this post with them. Or, if you have questions or comments, you can leave them below. And of course, if you’re in the market flooring solutions be sure to check out our selection of flooring aggregates.