Trouble shooting 101: Why is my floor paint still tacky?

By Bradley Hext

Trouble shooting 101: Why is my floor paint still tacky?

You’ve painted your floor and are happy with the results but 24 hours later, the paint still feels tacky. What’s gone wrong? Here, we’ll look at the reasons why paint may stay tacky even after painting and cover the correct preparation before painting a floor to ensure it dries exactly as you’d like next time.

What type of paint should I use to paint floors?

As you’d imagine, the type of paint used for floors differs from traditional emulsion that is used on walls and ceilings. Floor paint requires extra hardeners to ensure that it stands up to the pressure of footfall. Single pack floor paints are easy to use and relatively affordable. This type of paint comes ready prepared so all you need to do is give it a stir and you’re good to go but the paint isn’t as durable for areas with high footfall and certainly not in commercial or industrial areas that may see vehicle or forklift use. For such areas, tradespeople will likely use Epoxy floor coatings. Epoxy paint is tough, durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear but does require the correct application for the best results.

Why is my floor paint still tacky? 5 possible reasons

To put it simply, paint remains tacky when it can’t dry properly. This can be caused by a few factors…

  1. High humidity

If the space you’re working in has a high humidity level then your paint may not have the chance to dry. Check humidity levels and consider a dehumidifier if your humidity levels are above 70%.

  1. Not enough hardener used

A hardener can be added to paints to increase the resilience of the mixture. This is a great idea for areas likely to see a lot of traffic but if you get the mixture wrong, your floors may not cure correctly – which can lead to tackiness, blisters or other issues – or it can result in a mixture that’s too viscous to produce a smoot effect.

  1. Wrong temperature

Here in Britain, we’re known for our changeable weather conditions and this can actually affect how your paint dries. If you’ve painted in the middle of winter, for example, your paint can take longer to dry than expected. You could try warming up the room and see how this affects your paint job – you may need to repaint when the weather is more predictable.

  1. Too many coats have been used

It may seem like common sense that if you want your floor paint to be hardwearing and longstanding then you should use an extra coat of paint or two. If you paint too thickly or too quickly then you can encounter “blocking” – this is when a dried layer of paint prevents the coats underneath to dry.

  1. Your floor hasn’t been adequately prepped

Without adequately preparing your surfaces for preparing, you can run into countless problems, including tackiness after painting. Floors require exceptional paint bonding and performance to withstand the unique pressure they will be subjected to.

Floor cleaning and surface preparation should be carried out before painting – particularly for concrete floors and cement screeds – to ensure new paint will adequately adhere. The minimum prep required is to ensure floors are clean and dry before you begin to paint. Use a stiff bristle or wire brush to ensure all visible dirt, dust and loose particles are removed and vacuum the floor immediately before applying paint. Do your research and if the area to be painted is likely to be subject to chemical spillages, vehicles use etc. ensure you are using the best and most suitable methods for preparing the space.

Some rules for surface prep
  • Ensure concrete or cement is completely dry before painting – this can be up to a month after laying.
  • Thoroughly remove all loose materials or dirt before painting floors.
  • Fill any cracks, holes or surface defects with a hydraulic cement.
  • Consider using a high-quality primer.
  • Use the best quality paint for the job at hand – our Jotun Jotafloor Rapid Dry Floor Coating is designed for a range of floor types, is fast drying and easy to apply.

Check out the Elmbridge floor coating range or get in touch with a member of our team to find out which paint is best for covering floors.

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