When it comes to coating the floors, epoxy and polyurethane are excellent options depending on your requirements.
Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages, which may make choosing either one more complicated. To make matters even more confusing, these materials are pretty solid and durable, making them top contenders.
However, there can only be one type of coating on the floor. This is why we have put together this little guide for you.
Hopefully, this will help clear out the confusion and allow you to pick the right one. Now, let’s move on to the essential details.
Let’s start by discussing a bit about what epoxy coatings are. Usually used on concrete flooring, epoxy is durable and resistant to damage caused by a lot of activity on the surface. An epoxy coating is versatile, allowing you to curate it at various thicknesses.
The two parts are mixed well together and then applied to any concrete surface where it is left to cure. The thing to remember here is that it is possible to change the ratios of the resin and hardener depending on the intended outcome.
The epoxy coating is customisable and delivers a glossy or matte finish. But these are just the convenience surrounding epoxy; here are some reasons why they are trendy.
As mentioned, an epoxy coating is ideal for working with concrete. One of the main reasons for this is that it bonds fast to concrete and allows the surface to be more open to topcoats.
Another reason this is so popular is that epoxy coatings are much thicker than any other material. Usually, the coat is around 8 to 15 mm wide, ideal for covering blemishes and cracks on the concrete surface. Additionally, since the coat is thick, it is much more durable and long-lasting.
Finally, this thick and hard surface is resistant to impact, high volume of traffic and even chemicals in most instances. If you want to add a coating to a surface that will be used frequently, then epoxy is ideal. Not to mention, it is 100% solid and doesn’t produce VOC.
Now, let’s move on to polyurethane coatings, but you must be wondering if epoxy is so great, why even consider polyurethane in the first place? This is because polyurethane is abrasion-resistant and highly durable while allowing you to get a matte or shiny finish.
It is also easy to install, one of its most desirable properties. We’ve mentioned some of its other advantages below.
This is the most crucial reason Polyurethane is neck and neck with epoxy coatings. While the latter can be used on any surface, it still needs polyurethane to protect it from sunlight.
Epoxy coatings can be made chemical-resistant, but polyurethane coatings have a much more comprehensive range of chemical resistance. This makes them ideal for parking spaces and any surface that might experience heavy traffic.
While this is just a matter of preference, polyurethane does have a much larger variety of finishes. There is a lot to choose from semi-gloss to high-gloss with this material.
We have gone over how the two differentiate, so let’s talk about picking one out of the two options.
The first and most important thing is cost. Generally, polyurethane costs more than epoxy; however, its value is far more performance.
When comparing the two, the lifespan of polyurethane is a lot more than epoxy. Despite costing less, an epoxy coating will require more financial attention in a few years.
This point ties in with the previous point, as the resistance of the materials, determines the maintenance cost. Epoxy coatings are very durable, thick and last long because they have ample resistance.
However, their chemical and UV resistance is not that great, so it is best not to use them in certain situations. But polyurethane, on the other hand, can be more universally used, including with epoxy, although individually, it may not fill cracks or gaps in concrete effectively.
Polyurethane takes the prize for heat and shock resistance as it usually remains undisturbed. Epoxies can also offer heat resistance to a certain level; however, they may not be the best for temperatures above 100 degrees.
The surface on which you use these materials also plays a significant role. Usually, surfaces in parking lots or any space with foot traffic have epoxy coatings since they offer good impact resistance.
However, polyurethane is a far better option for more industrial-grade surfaces like in factories or commercial buildings. This is mainly because such surfaces experience extreme temperatures, chemical spills, and foot traffic.
Irrespective of whether the surface is industrial-grade or commercial, one of the best things that you can do is mix the two. Epoxy offers excellent thickness and can bond well to concrete, while polyurethane has an excellent finish.
The two can be mixed where the former acts as a top coat and an extra layer of protection.
Mixing the two materials will optimise the flooring and save a ton of money, time, and confusion on which of the two is ideal.
But at the end of the day, it all comes down to what you want. In our opinion, they both have their functions, and the best way to take advantage of them is by mixing them.
Let us know what you think in the comments section; we will be back soon with more guides like this. Until next time!
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