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Homegrown: Southern Epoxy Flooring

August 9, 2018

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — There is much to admire in the St. Jude Dream Home, as the eye settles on any number of details that help make the home stand out.

In the garage of this year’s St. Jude Dream Home is the St. Jude logo painted on the garage floor, which in turn has a striking glossy finish. That look extends to the front and back porches as well.

Those looks come courtesy of Southern Epoxy Flooring, which was opened by Robert Thompson two years ago.

A Kansas native, Thompson met his future wife, Missaha, in Tupelo a few years ago. A project superintendent in the construction industry for 15 years, Thompson notices many details when it comes to buildings.

“I noticed a lot of the floors here were stained but peeling, and I thought there was a need for this kind of flooring service because there was really nothing here doing that,” he said. “I had a friend in Kansas City who’s been doing this for 15 years and I trained with him. I learned the ins and outs and then I moved here and started my business.”

As the name suggests, epoxy is the coating used on the floors. Epoxy is an adhesive material made from polymers that, when used in this application, provides a protective coating to a surface.

Southern Epoxy Flooring garage floor system is long-lasting and comes with a 15-year warranty.

But the finish has unlimited possibilities, from patios, porches and office floors to swimming pools and even countertops.

In addition to his experience as a project manager for 15 years, Thompson also has worked for an engineering firm as an inspector and has been on projects across the country.

The opportunity to open his own business was one he couldn’t let go by.

Having lived in Kansas for so many years, however, moving to Mississippi was a bit of a culture shock.

Thompson also first thought he could work for a company with his experience, but decided he could do better on his own and be his own boss at the same time.

“It took about a year of planning before I even opened up,” he said.

First he had to see if there was a potential market, but from what he could tell, there was. Now the tricky part was explaining how the epoxy would work exactly.

And it is a little more complicated that pouring it from a bucket and spreading it.

“It’s a two-part chemical reaction, and it cures either quickly or slowly depending on the temperature,” Thompson said. “In Mississippi, it cures fast. It’s also chemical-resistant, water-resistant and you don’t have to worry about bacteria growing underneath it.”

A problem of “sweating” concrete garage floors is eliminated by the epoxy coating, Thompson added.

“We prefer to put the epoxy on concrete, because the epoxy is rigid once it cures,” he said. “If you put it on a wood subfloor, there’s potential of cracking if you use it.”

As for upkeep, no special treatment is needed to clean the finish.

And while there are other epoxy finishes available, most others pretreat floors with an acid wash, something Thompson said he does not do.

“We wash it and/or shop blast the surface to prepare them properly,” he said. “That’s how to correctly apply epoxy. It’s made to last.”

In addition, some 30 different colors can be used to add another unique look to the surface, which is brought out by the glossy finish afterward.

As for the Dream Home where his work is highlighted, Thompson said the hard work and late nights to get everything done were worth the effort.

“We’ve really enjoyed working with the St. Jude Dream Home the past two years and hope we can do it again next year,” he said.

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Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, http://djournal.com

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