The History of EPIC® High-Performance Floor Finish
EPIC® was first developed and formulated in 2008, and it continues to be manufactured “in-house” by Ultra Durable Technologies, Inc. (UDT). The journey to produce EPIC grew out of the necessity to create truly “Ultra Durable Floors®”.
As a floor technician and manager (10 years), UDT owner Travis Negaard learned about the challenges inherent to traditional acrylic finishes commonly known as “wax”. The frequent need for recoating, buffing, and stripping became a frustration to him. Travis became excited when the very first acrylic-free urethane finish was introduced to him by his father, Roger Negaard.
As a janitorial and commercial floor-care salesman (5 years), Travis learned which applications work well and which applications are challenging for urethanes.
As a distributor (8 years) of several different early-generation urethanes that were being applied to VCT and vinyl flooring, Travis learned a lot about the technology and gained a more acute awareness of the pros and cons of urethane floor finishes.
The pros of urethane floor finishes:
• Extremely durable and sustainable
• Very glossy
• 1 coat
• No buffing
• Chemical resistant
The cons of the “first generation” urethanes:
• Potential for “ambering” or discoloring from UV and dirt and grime penetration over time
• Scratches that cannot be buffed out
• Scratches that fill with dirt and it becomes unsightly
• Potential for peeling
• Recoats that look different – more depth of image and deep scratches are hard to hide
• Difficult to remove
Travis set a goal to take over the urethane finish manufacturing process so that UDT could improve the urethane product and eliminate the “cons”.
Ultra Durable Technologies purchased multiple, strong UV light machines and created its own testing process for the UV resistance of its urethanes. Through ongoing testing, UDT developed a matrix of UV stabilizers and blockers that protect the EPIC finish from ambering and do not diminish the stain resistance, gloss, and flexibility.
Scratches and re-coat issues
Travis Negaard’s mantra from the beginning has been that “less is more, thin to win”. The majority of the benefits of EPIC do not come from applying a thick coat. The “thicker the better” mentality comes from the concrete and janitorial industries. Through numerous tests, Travis found that thicker coats rarely provide any benefit to the system because wearing through the finish is almost never the issue or problem. The durability of EPIC is actually increased with a thin application. Scratches, if and when they appear, are more superficial in a thin coat versus a thick coat. Recoating over a thin coat of EPIC with another thin coat of EPIC does not affect the depth of image, allowing for a more sustainable recoat process. This increases the life cycle of the urethane system as a whole.
Potential for peeling
Some customers have experienced urethane finishes peeling off of the floor. Oftentimes, poor adhesion is a result of a poorly prepared floor. Ultra Durable Technologies provides training courses addressing how to recognize different floor types and how to prepare each of the floor types for EPIC. Proper preparation (removal of all acrylic and contaminants) is crucial for the performance of EPIC.
Once properly prepared, EPIC was developed to stick great to bare vinyl, linoleum, VCT and LVT floors. EPIC was also formulated to be extremely flexible. The flexible nature of EPIC allows the finish to absorb extreme wear and rebound back to its original appearance. This combination of adhesion and flexibility results in an extremely durable product.
Removal of urethanes
The removal of urethanes from VCT, vinyl and other surfaces has been a challenge. By applying EPIC in much thinner coats than other products, the removal process is much easier. Additionally, UDT formulated EPIC to ride a fine line; the chemical resistance is great, but not so much that it cannot be removed. EPIC can withstand alcohol hand sanitizers, betadyne, and quaternary cleaners. However, it can still be removed with EPIC Remover as needed.
EPIC Legacy – Consistency
One of Ultra Durable Technologies’ core values is to “deliver consistent and reliable products and service”. We know that our customers depend on consistency. This is why any and all product changes are well thought out and thoroughly tested in advance.
Since UDT began manufacturing EPIC in 2008, technology and innovation have led us to improve the formula. Every improvement is tested rigorously before it is implemented into production. The growth of Ultra Durable Technologies has been steady and methodical, and UDT has not experienced product failures since it began production.
UDT has come a long way, and it will continue to strive toward making EPIC even better in the future.