Epoxy and Polyurethane coatings exemplify superior long term qualities such as chemical and acid resistance, ease of maintenance, and aesthetic appeal. We will take a look at some of the differentiating factors between the two so you can decide what product suits your floor best.
Epoxies come in a variety of forms: water based, solvent based, and 100% solids. The different types of products will give you varying benefits. At its core epoxy is
Epoxies are extremely easy to apply, allow for varying degrees of thickness (usually between 3-15mils), and give you an extremely durable floor that can withstand the abuse it receives. One of the benefits to epoxies are they are made with different amounts of VOC levels (volatile organic compounds)…this is the really smelly odor that the paint gives off. You can request the low VOC formulations in most epoxies. When applying you will typically mix one part A and one part B together (mix ratios will differ from product to product) to tart the the hardening process. Once mix properly you can apply to your floor and wait for the epoxy to bond to the concrete and cure. Epoxies do not have a long working time because once mixed the epoxy reacts with the hardener so it is important to remember that time is of the essence.
The strongest and least odor producing epoxies are 100% solids. This means there little to no VOCs in the epoxy as this will give you the strongest coating when applied. It will dry thick provide an abrasion resistant surface. Not only will the epoxy fill in hairline cracks and dings in the floor but thickness will be level when rolled or squeegeed out due to its self-leveling properties. Epoxies can be used in a variety of applications from home garages and basements to airplane hangers and commercial grade food processing plants.
Polyurethanes are also thermosetting polymers that are usually used as topcoating products on floors.
The most common type is aliphatic polyurethanes as they are anywhere from 55-75% solids and dry 1-4 mils thick depending on application process. Aliphatic polyurethane’s are extremely flexible and allow for good impact resistant. They are also UV stable meaning when sunlight is exposed on it they will not yellow over time like some epoxies.
when it comes to hardness epoxies are much stronger but polyurethane are more scratch resistance. Polyurethanes do not bond well to concrete and do not exemplify the self leveling properties that epoxies do when applied to on these surfaces. Most polyurethanes also have high VOC level and will have quite an odor when applied.
So What Should I Use on My Floor?
This all depends on the floor application and what the desired end result. Epoxy Central sells both epoxies and polyurethanes as well as epoxy and polyurethane coating kit. Epoxy should be used as the base coating (to bond to concrete) and the polyurethane can be used as a topcoat (flexible, scratch resistant, UV stable).
If you are questioning what product you think suits your flooring needs please reach out to us and we can help guide you to making the best choice for your floor.
4 thoughts on “Epoxy v. Polyurethane: Which Coating is better?”
Hi, A mositure barrier it the best option. and there are dustless removal options for prperation aswell. We do work in San Sntonio tx , and Austin.
we are renovating an attached garage that was converted to an apartment in the early eighties. It had indoor-outdoor carpeting originally, which we removed and cleaned the concrete floor by scraping and steaming. We are planning on having a water proof laminate floor installed that can withstand extremes in temperature, since it will be unheated in the winter for several months. There seems to be moisture that occasionally appears in the floor. Would it be beneficial to seal the floor with an epoxy paint, and can we get away with just acid etching it? Diamond grinding is a no start because of the dust generated. Thanks for your input.
It might be worth running a moisture test to see to find out how much moisture is coming through the slab. If moisture is present it will need to be sealed. I would recommend using our Moisture Vapor Barrier Epoxy which essentially “locks in” moisture in the slab not allowing it to penetrate through.
The Brew Floors Team
we are renovating an attached garage that was converted to an apartment in the early eighties. It had indoor-outdoor carpeting originally, which we removed and cleaned the concrete floor by scraping and steaming. We are planning on having a laminate floor installed that is designed for outdoor use, since it will be unheated in the winter for several months. There seems to be moisture that occasionally appears in the floor. Would it be beneficial to seal the floor with an epoxy paint, and can we get away with just acid etching it? Diamond grinding is a no start because of the dust generated. Thanks for your input.