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Polyurea vs Epoxy: Comparing Concrete Floor Coating Options

calander Jun 11 , 2019 user-iconAnderson Painting
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When your concrete floor shows signs of wear and tear, such as cracking, chipping, or staining, it might be time to install a new, durable coat. The next step is to decide which type of floor coating is best for your floor. More options are good, but it can be difficult to make a decision between the various types of epoxy floor paint (and other materials).

For starters, the most common flooring options are epoxy and polyurea. Of course, within these two categories are various subcategories and application methods. To keep things simple, however, let’s broadly examine epoxy and polyurea floor coatings, their similarities, differences, and which option is better for different scenarios.

Epoxy Floor Coatings

An epoxy paint coating is more of a glue than a type of paint. That said, these coatings often look like paint and come in various colors just like paint. Also like paint, epoxy coatings aren’t just meant to make your floor look fresh and bright, but to protect its surface from all kinds of damage. Concrete floors are susceptible to impact damage, water and chemical damage, vapor transmission, thermal shock, and much more. A proper, thick epoxy coating job will strongly adhere to the concrete and keep these various forms of damage at bay.

Not all epoxy concrete floor paint is the same, of course. Without getting too deep in the weeds, epoxy coatings come in three main types: water-based, solvent-based, and 100% solids. As you might have guessed, 100% solid epoxy is the thickest, most durable, and most expensive option, while the other two types are a bit cheaper, thinner, and less durable, though they still get the job done if installed properly.

On that note of installation, epoxy floor coatings are relatively easy to apply and it only takes professionals about a day (or less) to get the job done. Depending on the size of your floor and type of epoxy coating, it may take another day or a couple of days for the coat to completely dry and cure, however.

Polyurea Floor Coatings

While serving the same purpose as epoxy floor coatings, polyurea coatings have distinct advantages and a few drawbacks of their own. Polyurea is a flexible, synthetic material used for a number of products and purposes, such as lining tanks and trucks. The material is just as useful for concrete floors, as it quickly and strongly bonds to concrete while providing a smooth, virtually impermeable surface that protects the floor from impact, water damage, chemicals, heat, and sunlight.

In terms of overall durability and flexibility, polyurea wins over even the strongest epoxy material. Because it’s so flexible, the material can move with the concrete when there are major shifts in weight or temperature. Of course, all of this durability comes at a cost, and polyurea coatings are typically more expensive than their epoxy counterparts.

As far as installation goes, polyurea cures extremely quickly, which can be good or bad, depending on your perspective. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to make a mistake and risk needing to undo your progress and start again (which is costly). That’s why it’s best to hire a professional contractor with experience in polyurea floor coatings. They’ll get the job done quickly and properly so you can enjoy your new, durable floor.

Polyurea vs Epoxy: Which is Better?

Every contractor you ask will probably give you a slightly different answer to this question. It’s a subjective matter, since different customers require different solutions for their unique floor and situation. Many factors are in play, such as floor type and function, budgetary concerns, aesthetic preference, and much more.

At Anderson Painting, our vote is for polyurea, which is why Anderson Painting contractors are experienced in applying Penntek polyurea floor coating solutions. We believe this process is the best option for all concrete floors, residential and commercial. To learn more about our flooring options and process, call Anderson Painting today at 919-610-1855 or email us at info@andersonpaintingnc.com!