Epoxy application - are gloss or semi-gloss floors best?

When do I recommend a full-gloss over a semi-gloss floor or vice versa?

Sounds like a simple question and many people will just tell you, “let the client decide.” There’s nothing wrong with this approach as long as you can educate them effectively on the differences between the two and why one may be more suitable than the other. Below are a few points you’ll need them to consider.

What you expect with a full-gloss floor

Looking at the fundamentals, a full-gloss floor will -

  • Tend to be resin rich so it can flow to produce the smooth, gloss floor. Being resin rich also means that it might well be more expensive per litre than a semi-gloss floor.

  • More readily show defects in the floor, so getting the substrate flat and keeping the area closed off tightly are very important.

  • More readily show porous sections in the slab where the floor coating has been absorbed.

  • May be more prone to colour separation (read my post on colour separation here).

What you expect with a semi-gloss floor

Conversely, a semi-gloss floor will -

  • Often be cheaper per litre as it may have more filler.

  • Not show defects as readily. You’ll be able to see divots in the slab, so you should still aim to start with a flat and even substrate, however it will be less noticeable if dust or fluff has ended up in your floor coating.

  • Easier for the client to maintain as it might not show dirt and dust as easily and will tend to conceal scuffs and scratches better.

After reading that summary you’d be forgiven for only wanting to apply the more forgiving semi-gloss floor. That might be the case, but I still think you should always come back to the original answer: let the client decide.

This restaurant floor is both full-gloss and semi-gloss.

Costs and defects can be explained

If your client is set on a full-gloss floor, you can now at least inform them why it might cost them a little more - the product might be more expensive, the preparation needs to be more thorough and you may need to seal the slab or apply an extra coat if the slab is porous - and why it’s seen as a higher risk in terms of bugs, dust or fluff. You should also advise them that day-to-day cleaning of their full-gloss floor will take a lot more work than a semi-gloss floor.

It also goes without saying that before you offer your client a full-gloss floor you should’ve tested the product and know you can deliver the result the client is wanting. If you haven’t or you’re not sure then you’re probably better off to not take on the job.

What other reasons have you come to learn for choosing a semi-gloss floor over a full-gloss floor?

Take care and keep smiling,


Want to learn more about this and related topics? We suggest the following Epoxy School courses:

Bronze Card Course

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Short Course 2:
Solid-colour Floors

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