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Surface Preparation Techniques for Epoxy Floors

The best start for the best floors.

The best floors start before a single ounce of epoxy is mixed. Without the right preparation, the epoxy may not adhere properly, which often leads to a range of issues, including peeling, cracking, and discoloration. But preparation is easy once you know what to do! Just be thoughtful, patient and know your stuff.

In this post, we’ll dive into all the advanced surface preparation techniques that help guarantee quality floors! Don’t forget to stock up on all the tools you’ll need at EpoxyETC.

Surface Preparation To Help Your Epoxy Floors

An image showing a work in progress epoxy floor going through its surface preparation.

Surface Preparation 1: Moisture Test the Concrete

Moisture is one of the biggest enemies of epoxy flooring. If there is excess moisture in the substrate, it will definitely cause the epoxy to blister, delaminate or fail entirely. It’s essential to check the moisture content of the substrate before applying epoxy. It only takes a minute to do, so if you live in a humid area, it’s essential to remember.

You can use moisture meters or plastic sheet tests to detect and measure moisture in the substrate. Moisture meters provide a more accurate measurement of the moisture content, but a plastic sheet test is quick and easy. If the substrate is too damp, it’s important to address this issue before applying epoxy.

Surface Preparation 2: Repair Chips, Cracks & Levelness

Before applying epoxy, it’s important to repair any damage to the substrate, including cracks, holes, and chipped areas. This is a pretty obvious step, but too many contractors overlook it.

Begin by cleaning the substrate of any dirt, debris, or oil. Then, fill any cracks or holes with a patching compound and sand it down once it’s cured. This makes a smooth, even surface for the epoxy. Cleaning is important, too, so use a degreaser to get rid of pesky hard stains.

Surface Preparation 3: Grind and Shot Blast the Concrete Base

Once the substrate is clean, repaired, and dried out, it’s time to prepare it for the epoxy. Both shot blasting and grinding are great surface preparation techniques used to create the perfect surface profile for epoxy coatings.

Shot blasting involves shooting small steel balls at high speed onto the substrate to remove any contaminants, leaving behind a rough surface profile. Grinding is another effective method which uses diamond or abrasive pads to level the substrate while creating a proper surface profile for the epoxy coating. Grinding is also essential if the concrete is not level.

Surface Preparation 4: Apply An Epoxy Primer Layer

Priming is the process of applying a thin layer of epoxy to the concrete base to create a surface for the top coat to adhere to. A primer coat helps to seal and strengthen the substrate while enhancing the adhesion of the epoxy coating. This is where all of your previous preparation really starts to matter! It’s essential to have a dry, rough, clean and even concrete base.

There are different types of primers available in the market, including moisture-tolerant primers, self-priming epoxies, and solvent-based primers. There’s a lot out there! So do your research, find the right primer for you on EpoxyETC’s store.

Surface Preparation 5: Final Check Ups, Cleaning and Application

Once the primer has cured, it’s time to do your last check-ups and finishing touches. That means you need to make sure everything is clean and clear one more time. If you’re not using an industry-standard dust vacuum while grinding, you need to get rid of all that dust.

Don’t fumble at the finish line; have patience! Be thorough from start to finish and you’ll have a beautiful base for a beautiful finished floor.


Proper surface preparation is the key to a seamless and long-lasting epoxy flooring installation. From moisture testing and substrate repairs to priming techniques and final surface preparation, each step of the process plays a critical role in the overall success of the installation. So don’t skimp out on the details! Get it done right the first time through.

Whether you’re a DIY floorer, a flooring contractor, or an epoxy contractor, we have a 5-day course perfect for you! Take the time to learn your flooring skills hands-on with professionals in the industry.

DIY or veteran contractor, we all need help on the job from time to time. From resource questions to jobsite issues, our technicians are on standby at (954) 287-3797! Our EpoxyETC online store is designed just for your needs as a contractor, the best quality resources at great prices.