What Are Ultraviolet Coatings?

We experience UV cured coatings constantly throughout our lives. The finish on prefinished flooring, nails done in a salon, coatings on beverage cans and inks on magazines are just a few. For decades, this technology has dominated factory applications, where durability and quick cure have been extremely important. In the last few years, this technology has been made available for use in refinishing floors.

Unlike conventional epoxies, urethanes, oils and acrylics, which form solid layers by physical drying or chemical crosslinking, UV cured finishes utilize ultraviolet light to instantly transform from an uncured state to a cured state.

This means that with a UV coating, a contractor can refinish a floor, and it’s 100% ready for full service the moment the job is completed. Whereas conventional coatings, even quick-cure coatings, will require days, sometimes even weeks, before full service can be restored.

Site applied UV cured coatings generally come in two types: 100% solids and waterborne. While there are exceptions to these rules, wood floors are generally done with waterborne coatings, and other substrates such as VCT and concrete are done with 100% solids coatings.

With a waterborne UV cured finish, the finish is applied, and the water is given time to evaporate. After evaporation, the film that’s left behind is solid, but not very hard. It may even be sticky, depending on the coating. Once the water is fully evaporated, usually within a couple hours, the material is cured with a uv floor machine, such as the Bulldog. After curing, the finish is 100% ready for full traffic. Rugs and furniture can be replaced, and the job is finished.

With 100% solids coatings, such as a UV vct finish, the material can be roller applied, squeegeed, or applied by some other means. The coating will stay as a liquid forever if not exposed to UV. After allowing any bubbles to pop and the coating to fully flow out, it is cured with the light. In front of the machine will be liquid, but the operator will be walking on 100% cured uv coating.

Published June 15, 2015