Do you fear the question: “What about yellowing?”

Applicators answer many questions from clients with clarity and confidence, but there’s one in particular I know everybody ALWAYS dreads: “What about yellowing?”

It can be a tricky topic to deal with, but it becomes so much easier once you accept one very important fact – all coatings will weather. After nearly 20 years of formulating and manufacturing floor coatings, this is something I can say with certainty. How they weather, how much they weather, and how fast it happens, is a much harder thing to predict!

Rather than feeling the pressure to perform miracles for our clients and stop natural wear and tear, I believe our job as resin flooring professionals is to manage it the best we can.

Here’s an approach that’ll help you do that for each floor and make sure you don’t lose any (more) sleep:

Step 1 - Understand the exposure

  • Get a feel for what the UV might look like by working out the path of the sun in both summer and winter.
  • Take note of any protective measures already in place and how they are used, e.g. doors, tinting, blinds or shade. Does the garage door stay up or down? Are blinds always open? Remember, sunlight through windows, doors and openings can still cause weathering.
  • Keep in mind that partial or full-exterior floors tend to weather more rapidly due to wet/dry cycles.

Step 2 - Understand the products

  • The choice of topcoat is critical. Quality aliphatic topcoats with pigment are the slowest to show aging.
  • Clear aliphatic topcoats are best for flake floors, but they won’t offer lasting protection to the basecoat underneath. Products with UV absorbers can be used as “sunscreens”; however, like the stuff you put on your skin, protection doesn’t last forever.
  • The choice of colour is a powerful weapon to mask the effects of weathering. As most weathering on resin floors involves yellowing, colours with a yellow undertone tend to show less, e.g. tan, brown, cream.

Step 3 - Identify “contrast lines”

Once you understand the exposure and product options, the next thing to do is identify potential “contrast lines”. The big reason resin flooring cops a bad rap is because most floors have sharp lines created by barriers that leave one side weathered and the other protected (instead of fading evenly, like a driveway). The nosing of a garage where the door shuts is the most common example, however it could be a pot plant or any other movable object.

Your aim is to avoid these lines as much as possible because they’ll show even the slightest weathering and set the alarm bells off for your client. While the right product and colours help, you’re better off eliminating them completely if possible. For garages, look at doing a saw cut transition under the roller door closing line so that you finish on a nice edge. The exposed concrete on the outside will continue to weather (which no one takes notice of anyway), but the floor inside will never develop the ugly line that clients hate.

Yellow contrast line in a garage.

Step 4 - Paint the picture to your client

The first three steps are something you can tick off in your own mind during an inspection. The final step is one that not many are willing to take: share it all with your client.

I get the feeling many guys don’t fully open up because they fear the client will see it as a product flaw. You’ve got to realise, however, weathering is NOT just a resin flooring problem. Take a look at the warranty for just about any product – a new timber floor (see image below), car, whatever – and you’ll find weathering and discolouration are defined as natural wear and tear that isn’t covered.

Example of a timber flooring warranty.

The fact is you can’t stop weathering and only set yourself up for a fall if you say you can. Rather than sweep it under the rug or feel some sort of guilt, pass on all of your thoughts to the client and let them decide. Tell them what you think the sun will do to the floor and how you’re planning to minimise it. If they still want to coat on the outside of their garage after all that, they’re doing so with full knowledge of the risks and that means you can sleep well at night!

If you have any questions or would like to talk about this topic in more depth, feel free to contact me any time. 

Take care and keep smiling,

Jack Josephsen
Real World Epoxies
Resin Flooring Leaders Member