Decorative epoxy flooring - colours, techniques and practicalities


So you've worked with epoxies for a long time and done some decorative work along the way, but do you really understand colours? Do you feel confident creating designs and putting them on a floor?

Let me start by saying I was educated as an engineer, so I have no right to understand colours. Even worse, I started out in the epoxy field working almost exclusively with dull, industrial grey coats. You might remember a recent post (Decorative epoxy flooring - metallic epoxies and the smiling contractors) where I said it was only after starting my journey into decorative epoxies years ago that I began to realise resin flooring could be fun, exciting, and of course, colourful! 

It goes without saying that understanding colours and how to make them work in a practical sense didn’t come easy; however, I’ve spent a lot of time chipping away at this topic and gradually built up a valuable knowledge base. If you have loads of time, patience, and maybe even money, then you too can learn the hard way. Alternatively, you can just learn from me!

So, what are some of the key points I’ve learnt about colours, techniques and how to get the most out of decorative epoxy flooring?

Turning descriptions into floor ideas


First of all, you need to be able to understand the language of colours before you can dream up flooring designs. If you’re like me and lived in a plain colour world - and yes, I consider flake or coloured quartz as plain colour flooring - then you either need to have an untapped natural flair for this or you need to train your brain on how to interpret colours. “Hold on a second here, I’m not colour blind”, I hear you protesting. Good! That will help, but it’s not really what I’m talking about. Interpreting colours goes deeper than knowing the difference between red and blue. I’m talking about the ability to give a client what they want based on common descriptions they use, like wanting a floor that’s “warmer”, “cleaner”, “brighter” etc.

Turning flooring ideas into flooring designs


With resin flooring, you typically have no more than one millimetre (40 mils) of floor coating to produce depth, intensity, variations and highlights. To be able to do that effectively you have to be clever with the way you combine resins, pigments and application techniques. Only by understanding finer points like how the texture of a basecoat affects the appearance of the topcoat, or how pigments flow and settle in different resins, will you ever be able to consistently deliver suitable flooring designs for your clients.

A decorative epoxy design demonstrating the stunning effects that are possible.

Turning flooring designs into actual floors


Interpreting the colour language used by clients and skilfully whipping up their dream floor on a sampleboard is an achievement in itself, however it all stops there if some important practicalities are ignored. To put it simply, you must only do on a sampleboard what you can reproduce on a floor.

There are a few things that will dictate whether or not a flooring design can be scaled up from a board to a floor. Ask yourself: are the application techniques I used possible on a large floor? Will they deliver a consistent and reproducible effect? Will it take too much time or perhaps even drive you crazy with “fiddly bits”? How thick is the total film build and what does that mean for material costs? Can you compete price-wise with established flooring alternatives like tiles, carpet, timber and vinyl?  

Again, all these aspects of decorative epoxy flooring didn’t come naturally to me. I spent many late nights experimenting with colours, application techniques, designs and have only learnt the practical side by costly trial and error. If you’d like a quick and easy shortcut through all that pain, please have a look at the Decorative Epoxy Flooring Master Class in the Epoxy School training courses. It passes on all of my knowledge and understanding of decorative epoxies, as well as the designs themselves, so that you don’t have to learn the hard way like I did.

Take care and keep smiling,

Jack