Who says you have to compromise durability for a beautiful floor? One of the most coveted aspects of this flooring system is the potential to create a beautiful, cohesive design that will pair well with the room you install it in. There is a range of colors, patterns, and aesthetics that an epoxy floor can capture. One way to achieve a stylized epoxy floor is to incorporate something called color chips.
What Are Color Flakes?
Also referred to as color flakes or epoxy paint chips, these small pigmented fragments are applied to an otherwise plain epoxy surface to capture a specific aesthetic goal. They are comprised of acrylic and vinyl resin polymer paint aggregates. These flakes can range in size anywhere from 1 inch in diameter all the way down to 1/32 inch. Garage floors often feature ¼ inch flakes. The shape of the flakes is varied and random.
There are over 150 UV stable custom colors to choose from. You can even use color-matching technology to find the perfect shade for your current interior design. Color chips are typically a mix of three to four colors. This is the optimal blend of colors to create a beautiful, eye-catching floor.
Different Types of Coverage
Color flakes are blended together at different ratios depending on the desired coverage rate. Epoxy flakes can be applied at four levels: light, medium, heavy, and full refusal. Light is a more subtle coating while full refusal is when the entire floor is covered until no more flakes will stick to the epoxy.
If you choose to do full refusal, you will need to add at least 5 millimeters or ⅓ inches of flakes to the floor. This will improve the durability and impact resistance of the surface.
Tips for Color Chip Application
Color chips are a great addition to any epoxy floor. But it’s important to be aware of some best practices before pursuing this project. Here are some tips for applying epoxy color chips:
Remember, always buy more flakes than you think you need to achieve your desired look. This rings true for all coverage levels but especially for full refusal.
Keep the base epoxy color on the neutral side to help the color chips pop. Grays and tans tend to be great options but you can stray from these a bit. Just be sure to keep the base color in the same tone range as your color chips.
Be mindful of how color flakes will affect the functionality of a space. If you work with small components such as nuts, screws, or springs, the flakes might camouflage these parts. If this is the case, consider a lighter coating of color chips.
Apply the color flakes immediately after applying the base color coat of your epoxy flooring. You’ll want to do so no more than 10 minutes after the final back roll while the coating is in a soft, tacky state. This will help the chips stick better.
When scattering the flakes, toss large handfuls high in the air for a more natural coating. If you scatter the flakes too close to the ground the application will be spotty and uneven.
Smooth out any rough edges before applying the topcoat. Use a 10-inch steel or plastic drywall taping knife on the end of an extension pole to “sweep” the area after the base coat drys. This will polish up any irregularities and sharp edges.
Use a thinner topcoat layer for texture and a thicker layer for a smoother finish. A thinner layer will add more traction to your flooring.
Benefits of Epoxy Color Chips
There are many benefits to using epoxy color chips in your flooring system. Here are a few of the most noteworthy benefits:
- They can add traction. Color flakes provide an anti-slip effect when applied at full refusal.
- There’s no yellowing. Color flakes are UV stable so they won’t be subject to the ambering effects of direct sunlight exposure.
- Color flakes offer some soundproofing.
- They can hide sub-surface imperfections in your concrete such as spider crakes and patchwork.
- They are easy to maintain. Epoxy already offers a durable option to protect your floor. Color flakes provide even easier clean-up as it camouflages and damages or stains your floor may sustain.