Floors in residences, offices and other such places have seen a series of styles through the years. Until recent times, it was a mixture of cement and sand that would be used to coat most indoor floors in urbanite Ethiopia. Such floors would have been covered by other plastic sheets. For the years that followed, tiles and ceramics have dominated the fashion of coating floors in the capital. Recently, however, the use of epoxy to coat floors and kitchen tables seem to have made an entrance into the business and trend. In this article EBR’s Eden Teshome writes about the material, the trend and the business behind epoxy coatings, and its shifting global market.
If Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s (PhD) administration is known for one thing, it has been the rebranding on the looks of public offices. One public office in particular, the Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWE), is said to be the point of pride even for the PM himself.
As one walks into the Ministry’s reception, they’ll see the beautiful floor coated with a shiny epoxy material. The custom made epoxy coated floor made the interiors of the Ministry very attractive. Indeed, the faux resin epoxy material and the ocean effect design has given the Ministry’s reception quite a pleasant look.
The Ministry is not the only one to have its floor coated with epoxy. It has now become a slowly but surely growing trend to coat floors with epoxy in the capital, introducing a new line of livelihood to young men and women, while bringing a new look to residences, parking lots and offices.
Kalid Abdu is the owner of Inter Emirates Ethio-Industrial Services Development PLC, a company that imports epoxy from Dubai, in the form of a two-pack topcoat for concrete floors that is chemically resistant and made of epoxy resin that has been polyamide cured.
“I’ve been in the epoxy flooring business since 2016.” Kalid shares his story on how he entered the business. “Back then, it wasn’t as well known as it is today. Compared to earlier years we can say the business is growing, but there are still not enough professionals in the field. It is a [fast growing] industry, with [lucrative] profit margin.” Kalid told EBR.
The commercial sector is seeing an increase in the popularity of epoxy flooring solutions. Epoxy flooring adds value by offering proprietors of businesses adjustable aesthetics, rapid installation, minimal maintenance, and optimum durability. But it’s also becoming more common in residences nowadays as a flooring option.
For long Epoxy Floor Coating is usually recommended for heavily trafficked areas in factories, workshops, warehouses, showrooms, garage floors, cellars, packing and similar spaces. However, this is only becoming a thing of the past.
“Until now, industries and hospitals account for the majority of our clients, but demand from residences is rising.” Kalid told EBR. “The ultraviolet-resistant epoxy we are currently offering is in high demand in residential areas as well as other businesses and is used for outdoor spaces like terraces and parking lots.”
There are various standard forms of epoxy flooring, including: Epoxy terrazzo flooring offering a seamless, colourful, aesthetically pleasing, and long-lasting flooring surface. This kind of flooring is made from a combination of coloured epoxy and certain particles such as marble, mother of pearl, glass, and granite. Following the mixture’s setting, the floor is ground and polished, revealing the aggregate and producing a smooth, aesthetically pleasing, and durable floor finish. Not only are epoxy terrazzo floors durable and aesthetically pleasing, they also require very little upkeep and have a long lifespan (upwards of 40 years). Large commercial venues benefit greatly from this floor system’s beauty, longevity, and durability.
“Our epoxy resin, which costs about ETB1700 per litre, is imported from China and Turkey. We are working to provide epoxy flooring for tables, kitchen tops, hospitals, garages, and parking lots,” Biniyam Mesfin, General Manager of Vector Epoxy Flooring told EBR. “In comparison to other flooring solutions, it is pricey, as it costs about ETB 2500 per square metre. But because granite is more expensive than the epoxy coating, it is a more affordable option for kitchen tops and tables.”
“Most of the time, epoxy outperforms ceramic tile when the advantages of a durable epoxy floor are compared.” Biniyam says. “Epoxy floors certainly live up to their reputation as being durable, low-maintenance, safe, and aesthetically appealing.”
According to Biniam, this affordable choice will have people choosing epoxy over tiles over and over again because it lasts for years on end. Demand has increased lately, and once individuals are aware of the product, Biniam believes people will eventually shift their interest towards epoxy flooring.
There are also challenges to the infant line of business has been facing. The industry doesn’t have as many professionals as it needs. When Biniam and his colleagues first began, they had to take lessons on how to make epoxy coating online from a page called Sika on YouTube. Sika is a Swiss multinational specialty chemical company that supplies to the global building sector and motor vehicle industry. After that, they started to train and hire experts on site. Recently, they decided to expand their business by opening training sessions to those who want to join their line of business.
“The sessions will last no longer than one week and the trend will grow as more professionals enter the market soon,” Biniam hopes.
Mehari Belay owns a furniture store called Coco Furniture. Mehari learned about epoxy coating through TikTok videos and wanted to give it a shot by replacing the granite he typically used for kitchen countertops.
“Epoxy is more aesthetically beautiful and less expensive than granite.” Mehari told EBR. “Granite is stronger and of higher quality. If granite is used, the price can reach ETB 7 ,000–20,000; if epoxy coating is used, the price ranges from ETB 3,500–4,000 [for average kitchen top size]. People choose what they wish to use, and we put that into action.”
Around Haya Hulet area in Yeka District, Abinet Moges owns a ten-story building. The building still needs finishing touches, and Abinet already completed the installation of ceramic tiles on six levels before learning about epoxy flooring, but he now says he is interested in experimenting with the latest trend of epoxy coating for the rest of the remaining floors.
“I’ve been in the real estate business for seven years, and used ceramic floors in each home I’ve constructed and have noticed cracking and chipping over time.” says Abinet. “Epoxy floors don’t have those kinds of drawbacks. Additionally, epoxy floors doesn’t compromise when it comes to looks; they are available in a wide range of designs and colours, which is fantastic.”
Epoxy coatings can be utilized in a variety of end-user industries, including building and construction, automotive and transportation, industrial, marine, and aerospace, thanks to its characteristics of corrosion resistance, flexibility, and exceptional adhesion.
During the forecast period of 2021–2028, the global epoxy coating market is anticipated to rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2Pct, from USD36.53 billion in 2021 to USD52.13 billion in 2028. This is explained by the rising spending on township development, housing, built-up infrastructure, and building development projects in emerging nations like China, India, and others, where epoxy coatings are frequently utilised for concrete coating applications.
Global powerhouses like China and Saudi Arabia continue to experience extraordinary growth in the industry despite COVID 19’s crippling effects, which is driving up demand for epoxy resin goods in the flooring sector. Companies are turning their attention eastward due to rising demand brought on by urbanization, even though market growth in North America is increasing gradually. The Middle East and the Asian Pacific area, according to market research, have boosted spending for urban infrastructure improvements, which has led to growth in the worldwide epoxy resin market share.
It’s important to note that the usage of epoxy has increased not only in North America but also in nations like Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and South Africa. As a result, China and the Middle East are the main actors fueling demand and market expansion in the epoxy resin industry. Epoxy product usage in the global market was around 3.2 million metric tons in 2020; by 2026, the demand is expected to increase to 4.3 million metric tons.
Epoxy coatings are often applied over concrete floors to give a high-performance, smooth, and durable surface that can support heavy loads and endure for many years. Industrial settings, warehouses, and commercial buildings frequently employ epoxy flooring to ensure sanitary and secure conditions for staff, machinery, and inventory. An epoxy coating needs a clean, slightly porous surface in order to adhere adequately. Epoxy may not adhere to polished or sealed concrete. Moreover, the concrete needs to be fully cured. Before putting epoxy floor coating, it is essential to cure any large cracks and chips in the concrete surface and to clean off any grease.EBR
11th Year • March 2023 • No. 115