What are solventless epoxy coatings?
In the manufacture of paints and coatings, solvents are primarily added to thin the mixture down so it applies easily and forms an even film. Some products require more than others depending on how thick the resin is to begin with and what else is added. With solventless epoxies, however, they’re formulated with a viscosity low enough to be used without the addition of solvents.
While there are a number of advantages to working with solventless epoxies, they do behave differently to the traditional solvent-borne products and it’s important to be aware of these to get the best results.
What are our top solventless epoxy tips?
So, what are the big differences? Obviously there’s a huge variety out there, however this is what you can generally expect from two-pack, solventless epoxies -
- They might feel "sticky" - even clear solventless epoxy coatings can feel heavier to push around because they are solvent-free. While it doesn’t take long to adjust, most people using solventless epoxies for the first time describe them as sticky.
- They have a shorter pot life, but longer working time - you’ll learn pretty quickly the best way to apply two-pack, solventless epoxies is to get them onto the floor rather than keep the product in a bucket or roller tray. If a few litres are mixed and left to sit in a bucket on a mild day (20-25oC/68-77oF), the chances are it will gel before use. On the other hand, when solvent-free epoxies are poured onto the floor first (to be applied by squeegee and backrolled), they don’t “flash off” like solvent-borne products do.
- What you put down, stays down - no solvents means the wet film thickness is exactly the same as the dry film thickness. This makes the task of working out coverage and consumption of solventless epoxy coatings much easier.
- They have a much longer shelf life - the fact they don’t have solvents evaporate out of the tin means two-pack, solventless epoxies don’t expire in a hurry. If left unused for a long time they may settle out and need to be re-mixed before use, but they’re usually good for a couple of years at least.
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