Differences Between Novolac Epoxy and Standard Chemical Resistant Flooring

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Different Raw Materials

A standard chemical resistant floor coating and a Novolac epoxy floor coating are two different products. Regular epoxies, and when you say “standard epoxy chemical resistance” it usually refers to different formulating raw materials.

Resin Types

There is a difference between a Novolac epoxy and a regular 100‑percent solids epoxy, that being the type of resin that is used for chemical resistant flooring (polyurethane chemical resistance can also be considered).

Novolac resins have more chemical resistance than regular epoxy resins.  There are different classifications of resins. A regular epoxy is a Bisphenol A; it’s a Bisphenol actually.

Additives Make the Difference

A Novolac is a different type of 100‑percent solids resin that is by nature more chemical resistant, as opposed to a regular, run of the mill 100‑percent solids epoxy which can have a range of chemical resistance based on additives to that resin, but generally speaking can only reach a certain threshold of chemical resistance.

If you need more chemical resistance usually you have to jump from regular 100‑percent solids epoxy and go to a Novolac which is a completely separate resin for chemical resistant floors.

There are Bis A’s and Bis F’s.  These are just different resins that are a certain type of raw material and used to formulate chemical resistant floor coatings or corrosion resistant flooring.  Certain resin types use different raw material in the flooring system.

A Novolac resin is more expensive than a regular, run of the mill Bis A resin epoxy flooring. There are also many different quality levels in the Bis A and there are many different quality levels in the Novolac.  

Generally speaking, a Novolac is a more chemical resistant resin that’s used.

Chemical Resistant Chart As Guideline

You have to know exactly what you’re looking for in an industrial floor coating. If you have a situation where you have known chemicals requiring sulfuric acid chemical resistance, for example, or solvent resistant flooring or even gasoline resistant flooring, you have to go to the chemical resistance chart of the manufacturer and verify which product will work and which product won’t work. 

Chemical Resistance Classifications

There are three classifications for chemical resistance. One would be recommended, which means it can be immersed for x amount of time with no effect whatsoever.

One would be splash and spill – something that would be able to be splashed onto the floor, left for a period of time and then removed before it dried.  

Remember, most chemicals as they evaporate are usually not 100‑percent.  As the liquid portion of the chemical that you’re trying to fight against evaporates away, the chemical gets stronger and stronger and stronger.

So a splash and spill product would be one that can fall on the floor and as long as you have good cleaning habits you clean it up before it dries.

Then there would be the obviously not recommended classification. That would be one where the chemical would get on the coating and it would start to eat the coating away.

Then there’s another classification that has to do with a stainer. A stainer will be affected by some chemicals that will either attack the pigment by penetrating the coating but it won’t make it fail, it will just change the color of it. You just have know that it’s going to happen.

Certain chemicals will turn coatings purple. Some chemicals will get on to a coating and then bleach all the color out of the pigment.

Some of them will make them hazy, take the gloss off.  So these are all different things you have to look into. But there’s no one answer. You have to go to the chart and then do what the chart says basically.