How Long Before You Can Walk on Epoxy Floor?
Epoxy doesn’t dry like paint does. Instead, it cures. The rules for walking on a new epoxy floor change from one stage of the curing process to the next.
Stage 1: First 10 to 14 Hours
At first, you must stay off the floor entirely. Otherwise, you’ll damage the new finish that you just put down.
In general, this stage lasts for the first 10 to 14 hours after installation. Always consult the manufacturer’s directions for specifics about your brand of epoxy since guidelines change from one product to the next.
Stage 2: 14 to 24 Hours
During the second stage of curing, the epoxy can handle a bit of traffic. You can walk across it from one side of the room to the other. There’s no reason to linger or drag materials across the floor at this point, though. Keep your use light so that your epoxy can finish curing.
Stage 3: 24 to 72 Hours
Once a full day has passed, you can start to use your new floor a bit more. It’s still not ready for heavy equipment. However, if you need to spend a bit of time in one area, it should be okay to do so.
Stage 4: After 72 Hours
Once three full days have passed, your epoxy floor should be fully ready for regular use! Whether you have kids who want to play on the floor or you have heavy equipment to move into the room, go for it! Your epoxy floor should now be ready for anything life can throw at it.
Some brands of epoxy may reach this stage by 48 hours. Always check the manufacturer’s information for specifics on your epoxy product.
Spiked Shoes and Epoxy Flooring
Since you know that you have to wait several hours after laying an epoxy floor, you may wonder whether you can step on it during the installation process. You certainly don’t want to mess up your project before you’re even finished with it!
Yes, you can walk on the floor during installation if you take one simple precaution. The rule is that you need to wear spiked shoes. Spiked shoes are specially designed to leave only small impressions in the fresh epoxy. They’ll close up on their own after you step away.
Variations on the Basic Rule
Weather can make a big difference in how long it takes for your epoxy floor to cure. In warm or humid weather, your floor actually may be ready sooner than the manufacturer’s directions suggest. Because it’s hard to know for sure whether the weather conditions are sufficient for speeding up the time, though, you may still want to stick with the basic directions.
On the other hand, cold, dry air can extend how long it takes for epoxy to fully cure. In particular, use caution if the room is cooler than 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, be careful in spaces where the humidity is lower than 60%. Just to be safe, you may want to add several hours to the provided guidelines.