22 Mar Polyurea Flooring vs. Epoxy Flooring: What’s the Difference?
In the market for a coating for your concrete floor? Two of the best options available are epoxy flooring and polyurea flooring. Below, we’ll introduce and compare the two to help you with your decision.
What Is Epoxy?
There are actually many different types of epoxy. For the most part, though, we can split them up into four different categories:
- Waterborne Epoxy Paint
- High Solids Epoxy
- Clear Epoxy or Polyurethane Top Coats
- Premium Multi-Coat Epoxy System
Some of these are used in tandem with one another, too.
There is also quite the discrepancy where price is concerned, as well. The most affordable version would be a waterborne epoxy paint, which might go for as little as $50. You could also spend as much as $850 for the premium multi-coat epoxy system.
In any case, a general definition for epoxy may be that it is a seamless flooring system made from a combination of hardeners and resins. While the end result is a hard surface, this type of flooring is poured into place. The chemical reaction of the two main ingredient types is what causes the hardening to occur.
Epoxy has become quite popular for everything from home garages to commercial warehouses and much more.
What Is Polyurea?
Next, let’s talk about polyurea, which is probably the one people are far less familiar with. This makes sense because, of the two, polyurea is far newer.
Polyurea is a type of polyurethane. It’s a subgroup, to be specific. It’s made with isocyanates are mixed with polyetheramines or water to make a urea linkage. Just like with epoxy, polyurea is a two-part mixture that involves a catalyst coming together with a resin to bring about the curing reaction that results in polyurea becoming hard.
There is also polyaspartic, which is a type of polyurea. This aliphatic version has a longer pot life than polyurea and, thus, can be applied in a much slower manner. Typically, it can take anywhere from 15 to 120 minutes before polyaspartic will cure.
At face value, then, it might seem as though this newer material has a lot in common with epoxy and the differences may be largely superficial. That’s why we should take a closer look at a comparison of the two.
The Pros and Cons of Polyurea Flooring
We’ll start the comparison by looking at the good and bad of polyurea. It has a high tolerance to heat and is also UV-resistant, which means you won’t have to worry about discoloration over time.
It is also very scratch-, chemical- and abrasion-resistant, yet has a beautiful, high-gloss finish. Despite its high content of solids, polyurea can be applied with little to no VOCs.
As we touched on above, many people also see it as a real advantage that polyurea cures so quickly.
The main drawback of choosing this material is the cost. You will spend significantly more on polyurea than you would on most forms of epoxy. Most people end up spending even more by trying to do it themselves. Polyurea is not very DIY-friendly, so you run the serious chance of needing to hire professionals (*cough* PDC Coating) after your initial installation effort.
The Pros and Cons of Epoxy Flooring
On the other hand, epoxy is renowned for being extremely affordable. Nonetheless, its durability is such that people trust it in warehouses and loading docks where giant machinery rolls over it daily.
It is also chemical-resistant, yet you still have plenty of options for aesthetics.
For some people, epoxy is preferable because it cures so slowly and, thus, can be applied with a manual gun.
Compared to polyurea, it isn’t as flexible and lacks some degree of durability when it comes to things like abrasions and UV exposure, generally leaving you needing to make repairs after only a couple years or less.
The truth is that you can be happy with either choice, and the biggest difference is budget and longevity you’re looking for in the product. However, if you’d like a custom assessment of which material would be best for your flooring, contact PDC Coatings today. We’ve been helping customers do the same for 15+ years.