Painting Floors - What Can Go Wrong

Posted in Firwood Hints and Tips by Firwood Paints Ltd on October 1st 2015

How To Ensure The Correct Application Of Floor Paints

Here at Firwood we have been producing quality floor paints for 90 years. Over that time there have been major technical developments in our product range and we have materials suitable for most applications.

Despite our products being tested in both laboratory and on customer sites there are occasions when products fail to live up to customers' expectations and some jobs can fail because customers and contractors do not appreciate the application and performance limitations of floor coatings.

Floor paints selection and use need careful consideration so here are Firwood's Top 10 Tips to avoid failure:

  1. Select The Right Product – With online trading suppliers attempt to make it easy for customers to select and order the right product for their job. For most applications this is not an issue. Where however floor coatings are going to be applied in areas subject to heavy traffic or where they might have to resist chemicals then it is critical to get specialist advice which is usually available at the end of the telephone line or if necessary the coating manufacturer will make a site visit.

  2. Plan Ahead – Don't rush the project. Plan ahead and choose the right materials and where necessary produce a method statement as to how the job will be done from start to finish. Ensure that you have adequate time to prepare the floor and get the floor coating delivered in the time available.

  3. Think About The Environment In Which The Product Will Be Applied – Can the area be closed off for an adequate time for the work to be completed including any necessary curing time of the floor coating? If not consider quicker drying materials or spread the job over for example multiple weekend closures. Check with the building owner that any heating requirements are met as the application of floor coatings in cold climates can lead to product failure. This includes keeping the building and floor warm during the curing \drying process.

  4. Measure The Area To Be Coated – Carefully measure the floor area and check your figures. Always calculate a loss factor of a minimum of 10% into the coverage of the floor paint. Where floors are porous then more coating will be used than for example where you are painting over previously sealed surfaces. If you are running short then don't over thin the product to finish the job off. Just order more paint and complete the application at a later date. When applying multiple coats the first coat will not go as far as subsequent coats.

  5. Prepare The Floor Correctly – This is where most jobs go wrong. The correct preparation of a floor prior to painting is essential and a failure to prepare will lead to failure. The surface to be coated must be sound, clean and dry. You will not solve problems of crumbling concrete, surface laitance or rotten wood with a coat of paint. The floor must be prepared in accordance with the manufacturer's instruction.

  6. Read The Application Instructions Supplied With The Product – They are written to be of help and might initially appear long winded. Don't think you know how to do the job correctly until such time as you have read the product instructions as once applied it will be too late to rectify any issues with preparation mixing and application.

  7. Mix What You Need And No More – Make sure you just mix enough of two pack products to apply within the pot life of the product. Whilst the coating may remain fluid long after the pot life has expired it will not cure correctly and this will lead to product failure. Any mixed paint should not be poured back into the can as this will affect any unused material. Dispose of it in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and local legislation.

  8. Apply The Coating Evenly And Take Your Time – Floor paints should be applied in an even manner without flooding of the floor. If the product is poured onto the floor direct from the tin then it is hard to get an even film application. Always apply with a brush or roller and a suitable roller tray or bucket. Plan the application of the coating so that you do not need to walk over any areas where the coating has been applied. If this is difficult to achieve consider the use of spiked shoes so as not to leave foot prints on the newly painted floor.

  9. Allow Paint To Cure Fully Before Allowing Heavy Traffic On The Floor – Even when a paint might appear dry to touch it is continuing to cure and produce a hard wearing film. Do not walk on the floor or allow heavy traffic on to it until such time as the material has fully cured as detailed on the product instructions. Where chemical resistance is required or if the floor is going to get wet then leave for a minimum of 7 days before subjecting the floor coating to water or chemicals.

  10. Clean And Maintain The Floor – If a newly painted floor is looked after then regular cleaning will pay dividends. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to clean the floor and do not use harsh abrasive chemicals to clean it. Regularly sweep up dirt and other contaminants to prevent scratching of the floor. Use drip trays under dispensing points for chemicals, oils and solvents. For anti-slip surfaces inspect the floor on a regular basis to ensure the integrity of any anti slip aggregates and if necessary re apply anti-slip coatings to areas of high wear.

In this example, poor surface preparation meant the adhesion of the paint to the substrate was unsuccessful.

Firwood has pride in its products and we want customers to be satisfied with their newly painted floor. Our Product Advice Staff are available to assist clients with the correct selection of products and floor preparation.

Firwood – A UK based Leading Supplier Of Wall & Floor Paints

This guide will help you ensure that you have followed the correct procedures when preparation. For more information about any of Firwood's products including the professional range of industrial floor paints please get in touch today by calling 01204 525231 or email

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