Metallic Coating Application Tips from the Professionals

Rob Reygers, of A-1 Commercial Specialties Inc., Eugene, Ore., backsprays denatured alcohol on a Cold Stone Creamery floor in Hillsboro, Ore., after applying a coating with Versatile Building Products’ Lava Flow pigment in Mojave Sand.
Rob Reygers, of A-1 Commercial Specialties Inc., Eugene, Ore., backsprays denatured alcohol on a Cold Stone Creamery floor in Hillsboro, Ore., after applying a coating with Versatile Building Products’ Lava Flow pigment in Mojave Sand.

Starting the Job
Before tackling a job using an unfamiliar epoxy metallic-type coating product, practice off-site on a cement board or similar substrate to help you get the basics down pat. Then move on to a small room to perfect your technique. Don’t take on projects larger than your ability. Start small and ratchet it up as your skills and confidence improve.
– Paul Koury, president, Westcoat Specialty Coating Systems

Portable sample boards have never done me any good. Instead, I apply a couple different metallic colors in 2-by-2-foot sections on an inconspicuous area of the actual floor so customers can see how they look. This is very important when it comes to managing their expectations.
– Michael R. Jensen, CEO, Atlanta Concrete Artist

Properly prep the floor before applying any type of metallic epoxy coating or you will have problems. Lightly sand or screen between coats. Apply a sealer or a good coat of wax to protect your job. Epoxies are durable but not as hard as polyurethane, polyaspartic or acrylic.
– Ken McKinnon, president, McKinnon Materials

Applying metallic to this concrete floor with a red, yellow and green tape line.

The Alcohol Effect
Spritzing the surface with denatured alcohol will add mobility to Metal FX and create dramatic results. The most dramatic effects occur when you allow the color to migrate and flow. Like any decorative material, you need to play with it to discover its possibilities.
– Bernie McGuire, marketing manager, Increte Systems

If you have a large area and are going to disperse denatured alcohol or some other solvent onto a metallic epoxy floor, have one person do the whole job for a consistent look. Don’t have people on opposite ends meet in the middle. In all likelihood, their spray patterns and droplet sizes will vary depending on the applicator and the job may look ‘piecemealed.’
– Brett LaFevers, regional sales rep, Cohills Building Specialties

Waiting for the right window makes a big difference when applying denatured alcohol. If in doubt, spray the solvent earlier rather than later. If you spray too early, the effects will go away but you can always spray again. If you wait too long, the alcohol can create a slight texture on the coating’s surface.
– Matthew Newman, president, Versatile Building Products

Other Effects
A close up look at a metallic epoxy.Putting color into color is the most common way to create a unique metallic coating. After the main color is down, carefully walk out onto the surface wearing spiked shoes and add small amounts of a second and maybe a third color. Then agitate together with a small roller or trowel. For even a larger amount of color movement and/or effect, wait until the material starts to slightly thicken. Then wearing spiked shoes again, carefully walk out onto the surface and spray a small amount of solvent or Hydra-Stone Dye Stain (from Elite Crete) over the surface.
– Mario Nicasio, market development and technical support, Elite Crete Systems

When using glitter to accent concrete coatings, be careful, because it’s really lightweight. It’s best to throw a small amount of glitter in the air, like you would paint chips, and let it float down soft and evenly. Add more as needed to achieve a balance as it’s easier to add than subtract. Also, during application take care not to create lines and spillages.
– Rick Fischer, owner, Deco Illusions LLC, Roanoke, Ind.

After applying a water-based colored epoxy primer, apply our polymer modified Spray-Top or Trowel-Top about 1/8 inch thick over an adhesive vinyl stencil. When dry, peel up the stencil and apply Metal Fusion over the entire floor. This technique creates a subtle and elegant logo or design that’s revealed through the metallic epoxy coating.
– Bart Sadleir, general manager, Concrete Solutions/Rhino Flooring

Steps and Stair Risers
If a contractor is working solo or without much help, it’s best to first mix a smaller amount of the metallic coating to do trim work such as steps, corners and perimeters. After that’s done, mix up the rest of the product to do the full floor. In ideal conditions between 55 and 75 degrees, you’ll have 50 to 60 minutes to apply the coating after it’s mixed. Spiked shoes are highly recommended for walking on the floor and creating special effects.
– Tonino Zaccagnini, director of operations, EpoxyMaster

If you are doing a job that calls for something vertical such as stair risers to match the floor, apply the metallic coating to a piece of cement board such as HardieBacker when you are doing the floor. After the coating has cured, you can cut the board into pieces and attach it where you want. This also works well for small vertical accent pieces.
– Troy Lemon, president, Cornerstone Decorative Concrete, Holland, Mich.

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