EPOXY V. POLYURETHANE: WHICH COATING IS BETTER?

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22 February 2022 - 16:21, by , in epoxy flooring, No comments

Chemical and acid resistance, easy maintenance, and aesthetic appeal are some of the advantages of epoxy and polyurethane coatings. Throughout this article, we’ll examine some of the key differences between these two products so you can choose the right one for your floor.

EPOXY BENEFITS

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

“a class of reactive prepolymers and polymers which contain epoxide groups. Epoxy resins may be reacted (cross-linked) either with themselves through catalytic homopolymerisation, or with a wide range of co-reactants including polyfunctional amines, acids (and acid anhydrides), phenols, alcohols and thiols. These co-reactants are often referred to as hardeners or curatives, and the cross-linking reaction is commonly referred to as curing. Reaction of polyepoxides with themselves or with polyfunctional hardeners forms a thermosetting polymer, often with favorable mechanical properties and high thermal and chemical resistance. “

The Epoxy floor system provides a resilient and durable floor that can withstand a wide range of abuse, is extremely easy to apply, allows you to vary the thickness (usually between 3-15 mils), and is incredibly easy to clean. One of the benefits of epoxy paints is that they are made with different amounts of VOCs (volatile organic compounds)…this is what gives them their smelly smell. With most epoxies, low VOC formulations are available. To start the hardening process, you will mix one part A and one part B together (mix ratios will vary from product to product). Once mix properly you can apply to your floor and wait for the epoxy to bond to the concrete and cure. Unlike resins, epoxy does not have a long working time because it reacts with the hardener once it has been mixed, so 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.

 

POLYURETHANE BENEFITS

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?

All of this depends on the type of floor application and the desired end result. Besides epoxies and polyurethanes, Epoxy Central offers epoxy and polyurethane coating kits. It is best to use epoxy for the base coating (to bond to concrete) and polyurethane for the 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.

 

About author:
William Lim, a distinguished content creator and painting technologist at Painters.sg, brings extensive knowledge and innovation to Singapore's painting service industry. With a background in material science and a passion for sustainability, William specialises in residential and commercial painting, epoxy and waterproof finishes, and colour consultancy. His commitment to blending cutting-edge techniques with traditional craftsmanship has made him a key figure in transforming spaces with durability and aesthetic appeal. Shared through Painters.sg, William's insights bridge functionality and design, establishing him as a trusted authority.

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