Epoxy vs Polyurethane

epoxy vs polyurethane

If you ask for recommendations for your floor, most people would suggest either Epoxy or Polyurethane. Epoxy vs Polyurethane, are the most famous alternatives to the concrete floor. Usually, we use Epoxy or Polyurethane in spaces that receive foot traffic, spillage, stains, and others. Epoxy coatings and polyurethane coatings are both widely used in industrial and commercial environments across the world. 

Both sorts of items have their own set of benefits and considerations, making it tough to choose between them. Both Epoxy and Polyurethane sound similar due to their properties but are two totally different flooring products.

The crucial difference between Polyurethane and epoxy systems is their molecular structure, which influences how molecules merge together through the curing process. Polyurethanes, in contrast to epoxies, have a greater crosslink density, making them very resistant. Before jumping to a conclusion about which one is better, let us know what both of them are.

Epoxy Flooring

Epoxy is a glossy, durable layer that makes a designer floor at a budget-friendly price. It’s an investment in your house, garage, or company. Epoxy flooring pays for itself by resisting grease, filth, chemicals, and other common messes. Epoxy flooring will beautify your area, transforming it into the garage of your dreams. 

Epoxy is also preferred since the installation method is precise and well-designed. It’s designed to fill up microscopic cracks and defects in concrete floors and is noted for its durability. Professional Epoxy flooring is free of color changes or yellowing whether combined with colors, textures, or patterns. Epoxy paint is considerably less elastic and flexible than polyurethane because epoxy is tougher and more solid.

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Polyurethane

Polyurethane Flooring

The word used in ordinary speech is frequently different from the accurate description, as with many industrial names. For example, it’s not unusual to hear the term “urethane” used as a shorthand for flooring. Yet, despite the wrong wording, this is a polyurethane product that is regularly advertised. 

Polyurethane is a polymer made up of organic units that are linked together by carbamate (urethane) linkages. Polyurethane may shield a surface against corrosion and other forms of deterioration. It can be glossy or matte in appearance. This sort of flooring is resistant to fire. Scratch resistance is possible if an extra coating is placed on top.

A polyurethane coating is a high-gloss, abrasion-resistant floor coating that is noted for its durability and flexibility. Unlike our Epoxy Flooring, which is constructed entirely of solids, even the most preferred polyurethane flooring (aliphatic polyurethane) is often 60 to 70% solids, depending on the manufacturer. 

Comments about polyurethane’s “resistance” are merely marketing ploys since the flooring is softer and more elastic than hardwood but extremely susceptible to dampness. In truth, unlike epoxy, polyurethane coating does not increase the thickness of a floor. Therefore, polyurethane is sometimes used as a transparent coat combined with epoxy.

Epoxy vs Polyurethane: Side-by-Side Comparison

Now that we know what Epoxy and Polyurethane are, let’s find out the difference between Epoxy and Polyurethane. In order to find out which is better, let’s do a side by side comparison of these two based on the following parameters:

Formation

Polyurethane is made by combining polyols with diisocyanates or isocyanate compounds. Epoxy is made by a combination between an epoxy resin and a hardener that must be carefully mixed.

Both finishes have distinct characteristics due to the differences in paint make-up. Epoxy, for example, is thicker than polyurethane because epoxy requires the mixing of two coats in proportion.

Adhesion

Adhesion means how well the coatings bond with the surface material. When it comes to adhesion properties, Epoxy has a much better adhesion power compared to Polyurethane.

When resin and hardener are combined, the resulting epoxy bonds pretty well to any material, particularly hard surfaces such as concrete and masonry. Polyurethane also has a good adhesion power but not as good as Epoxy adhesion.

Durability

Both these coats are highly durable. For a coat to be durable, it should be able to adapt to various situations and should change according to the need. Epoxy is very hard and strong and doesn’t stretch much, its solid nature makes it very durable.

Whereas Polyurethane is soft and can stretch accordingly. This helps them to survive in cold, warm, and hot temperatures. So, we can say that both are highly durable.

Application

Epoxy has a better application perspective compared to Polyurethane. Epoxy can help to level and repair bigger cracks and holes compared to Polyurethane which only has limited capabilities to fill cracks.

You can choose the level of thickness in epoxy while Polyurethane offers only limited thickness. Epoxy is stronger compared to Polyurethane, so in places that face higher foot traffic, epoxy is the choice.

Hardness

Polyurethane has a lower hardness than epoxy paint. Polyurethane has a thick plastic-like texture that is softer than epoxy paint, particularly two-part epoxy.

This is why garage flooring is coated with two-part epoxies. Epoxy’s toughness makes it appropriate for use on surfaces that will be subjected to a lot of heavyweights.

Heat/Chemical Resistance

When it comes to heat and chemical resistance capacity, Polyurethane is better than Epoxy coatings. Polyurethane offers better chemical resistance and heat resistance. So, it’s preferable to use polyurethane in settings that have more exposure to chemicals and UV rays.

Epoxy or Polyurethane: Which Is Better?

Now that we know about Epoxy and Polyurethane, we can come up with a conclusion about which is better. Considering the points, Epoxy outweighs Polyurethane because of its build, strength, hardness, and its ability to fill in cracks and holes in the ground.

Also, Epoxy has a way better adhesive power compared to polyurethane. But, epoxy doesn’t shine upon Polyurethane in every aspect. Polyurethane provides better resistance to heat and chemicals compared to epoxy. But overall, Epoxy seems to be the better choice.

Epoxy is installed one step at a time, with great accuracy, care, and attention given to each element of the three-day procedure. Working with specialists entails a thorough makeover of one’s floor area, not just an experiment.

An expert will explain your alternatives in a well-thought-out manner, and your Epoxy Flooring may be installed over a long weekend or during the week when you’re otherwise engaged. The 7-day curing procedure will result in a durable, industrial-grade, high-end product.

Epoxy flooring should not be chosen purely based on word of mouth or even admiration of another’s flooring. To get a decent bargain, it shouldn’t be exclusively centered on price either. If your vision is an Epoxy surface, choose our 100% solids Epoxy which will continue to pay you back in its excellence and durability, for years to come!

Frequently Asked Questions

Epoxies are substantially harder than polyurethane, yet polyurethane is more scratch resistant. Polyurethanes do not adhere well to concrete and lack the self-leveling qualities that epoxies have when used on these surfaces.

Polyurethane are generally durable; they are not as robust as epoxy, but they are significantly more durable than wax. Polymers are the most adaptable in terms of appearance, since they may be matte, glossy, or anything in between. The greater the shine, the longer the product will last, according to one rule of thumb.

The main distinguishing factor between epoxy and polyurethane flooring is that epoxy is generally tougher, whilst PU is more flexible. Moisture-sensitive PU coatings and self-leveling materials are also more sensitive.

Newer polyurethane formulations function better than epoxies, but they take even longer to install as other choices — up to four days to completely cure — and they risk peeling and splitting because of their extended cure times.

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