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Redoing existing epoxy coating under tanks and equipment. Yikes!

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  • Redoing existing epoxy coating under tanks and equipment. Yikes!

    The majority of our brewing equipment (brewhouse, FVs, brite tanks, etc.) is on an 800 square foot area of concrete, which is coated with a DIY brewery floor coating that I bought online. Big mistake. It's a two-part epoxy with a "military grade" topcoat, whatever that means. Anyway, the floor looked good at first, but after two years, it's failing. A couple of spots have come off, some areas are scratched, and the coating around the trench drain is looking pretty bad. The trench drain needs to be replaced as well, but that's a whole other issue.

    So this might be a stupid question, but I thought I'd ask anyway. If we want to redo the floor coating, I'm assuming we'll have to disconnect and move all of our tanks and equipment, correct? Or is there some kind of crazy way to do it without having to move everything? Disconnecting and moving everything, then hiring someone to come remove the current coating and put a new one on, and then moving everything back into place would not only be a huge undertaking, but we obviously wouldn't be able to brew or cellar beer during that time period. It would suck. But it might be necessary.

    In a perfect world, we would've started with a sloped floor with sealed concrete. I would love to be able to pour a new sloped concrete floor over the existing concrete floor. But this would be very expensive, it would take longer, and we would have to adjust the piping for steam and glycol due to the added height of the new floor. So I don't think this is an option. Just thinking out loud...

    Anyway, if anyone has any insight to make this process less awful, please let me know.
    Neil Chabut
    Eudora Brewing Co.
    Brewery and BOP
    Kettering, OH

  • #2
    In my experience, "military grade" simply means the most expensive the government was willing to pay for....(?)

    The "proper" thing to do would be to move the tanks and do a full removal and reset. Practical issues can ensue, as you have expressed. It is possible to work around the standing vessels, but the interface points of the epoxy/sealant are always the most prone to chipping/flaking. Working around the legs just provides more opportunity for problems. Do it yourself or risk someone "moving" your tank unplanned. You can seal around the legs with silicone caulking to try and prevent erosion underneath if you go this route.

    Bubbling is usually caused by poor surface preparation. The surface should be etched with HCl (muriatic acid) prior to applying most bonding sealants, but check your specific product. Basic concrete sealer is usually a sodium silicate base, which is great for many things, but can have a hard time with hydroxides. You need to look for something containing silanes or potentially a crystalline option, IMHO. Silanes should be better for physical impacts while crystalline can be better for chemical resistance.

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    • #3
      Please scream this to the new breweries who are planning epoxy. Epoxy sucks. Worse than bare concrete, by far. Some installers will obviously disagree with me, but I've never seen an epoxy floor withstand brewery use. Unless in an office area or parking garage. So for those who say that it's too expensive to do it right the first time, please understand that doing it right the second time is far more expensive. And takes more time. And interrupts what might otherwise be gangbuster sales. For me, understanding my client's floor plans are key to whether or not I want to work with them. Epoxy floors are a good indicator of poor plans. A non-sloped floor is even worse. As far as your situation goes, afraid that it will be tough no matter what. I've had success with a Flowcrete product done in sections. The joints between pours seem to be very solid.
      Phillip Kelm--Palau Brewing Company Manager--

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      • #4
        We install Floors around tanks all the time. We also install 1/4 inch floors with a 5yr warranty. Backed by a 50 yr company. We have installed over 1 million square feet in over 320 breweries in 20 states. Our floors are Urethane base with Epoxy top coats. Epoxy only has a bad name in the brewing industry because the installer uses inferior materials, cuts corners on concrete Prep and only applies it at 50-80 mils thick. Our floors are Mechanically bonded to the concrete after we prep the floor. Then our materials Chemically bond as well. Please feel free to reach out to me. I can send you over 300 Breweries to call on our behalf.

        Chris Klein Cell # 541-510-1080
        chris@cascadefloors.com
        www.cascadefloors.com
        Chris Klein
        Cell 541-510-1080
        Office (503) 769-6823
        WWW.CASCADEFLOORS.COM
        chris@cascadefloors.com

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Cascade_Floors View Post
          We install Floors around tanks all the time. We also install 1/4 inch floors with a 5yr warranty. Backed by a 50 yr company. We have installed over 1 million square feet in over 320 breweries in 20 states. Our floors are Urethane base with Epoxy top coats. Epoxy only has a bad name in the brewing industry because the installer uses inferior materials, cuts corners on concrete Prep and only applies it at 50-80 mils thick. Our floors are Mechanically bonded to the concrete after we prep the floor. Then our materials Chemically bond as well. Please feel free to reach out to me. I can send you over 300 Breweries to call on our behalf.

          Chris Klein Cell # 541-510-1080
          chris@cascadefloors.com
          www.cascadefloors.com
          I can attest to this. We had Chris and company do our floors about five years ago and they're still pretty much as new. There is no chipping, cracking, delaminating, etc. The difference is they do it RIGHT. Yes, it's expensive to have it done right but it's worth the added expense over the long run. We had brand-new concrete to work with but they still used a surface etching machine on it to make sure there were no adhesion issues. I would install this type of coating and hire Cascade again without hesitation.

          Cheers,
          --
          Don
          Idyllwild Brewpub

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          • #6
            Good references go a long way.

            My experience with epoxies is not great, but mostly from careless staff dropping and dinging stainless parts on the floor. That eventually leads to some flaking, then the chems get under and start erosion over time. The other big mistakes is not rinsing out chemical containers and having concentrated residue hang for extended periods between rinses.

            When operating as an individual and when the floors were rinsed and squeegeed with care, the epoxy held fine. Scrubbing like a boat deck is not ideal.

            Epoxy is not always the culprit either. The concrete itself can be of poor quality and be prone to crumbling or cracking from composition or foundation issues. That can be problematic for most sealing options.

            I can’t quantify the results, but this why I suggest a crystalline option. The crystal structure should “heal” into new voids and provide a waterproofing that still allows for air to evaporate from within the concrete itself. There are chemical resistant formulas that I plan to try on future projects.

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