Much is said and much is claimed about concrete floor coatings.
Let’s compare the three of the main contenders Polyurea, Polyaspartic and Epoxy.
What is Polyurea, Polyaspartic and Epoxy?
Polyurea is technically a subgroup of Polyurethane. It is formed when an isocyanate reacts with water or a polyetheramine to create a urea linkage. Polyurea is a two part component that mixes a resin with a catalyst to create a curing reaction responsible for hardening the material.
Polyurea has an elongation rate that exceeds 300% making it far more flexible than epoxy. For this reason, it is ideal for industrial pipe coatings, spray on utility tray liners and fillers for joints. Due to its extremely fast cure rate, most Polyurea’s require a professional installation involving specialised equipment.
A Polyaspartic is a type of aliphatic Polyurea. A Polyaspartic conquers the challenges met with the extremely fast cure time by extending the pot life of the product and therefore extending the application time. A professional installer will have only 10-30 minutes to professionally install the Polyaspartic before it is beginning to set or even fully cure.
Now we have discussed what a Polyurea and Polyaspartic is, let’s talk about what this means to you.
The two biggest advantages of Polyurea and Polyaspartic:
1. One Day Install
Because of their fast cure rate a complete coating system can be installed in as little as one day, meaning you can return to using the area next day. Epoxy usually takes a minimum of 3-5 days for installation and curing time. For you this means less time out of the space and less headache on where to put your belongings during installation.
The following is a comparison between iCOAT Polyaspartic and epoxy garage floor coatings.
FLOOR COATING COMPARISON
iCOAT POLYUREA / POLYASPARTIC
|Odor||Very low||Low to high|
|Bonding Characteristics surface bond only||Deep penetration within||Topical|
|Number of Coats||2||2-3|
|Duration of Work up to 80m²||1Day||3Days|
|Return to Service-Foot Traffic||8 Hours||24/48 Hours|
|Return to Service-Vehicle Traffic||24 Hours||4-7 Days|
|Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s)||Low||Low to high|
|Vertical Surfaces and Outer Edge||Yes||No|
|Hot Tire Pick Up Resistance||Yes||No|
|Salt Stain Resistance||Yes||Moderate|
|Abrasion Resistance||Extremely High||Moderate|
|Chemical Resistance||Extremely High||Moderate|
|Applications Stable||Indoor/Outdoor||Indoor only Non UV|
2. Anytime of Year Installation
Polyurea and Polyaspartic coatings can be applied in a wide range of temperatures from below freezing to well over 45°C compared to Epoxies that require much more moderate climate conditions. Many Epoxy installers do install in extreme temperatures, they do so knowing that the setup and cure times are much longer and that they run the risk of premature failure.
In terms of overall durability and flexibility, Polyurea and Polyaspartic wins hands down over even the strongest epoxy material. Because it is flexible it can move with the concrete when there are shifts in weight and temperature.
Polyurea and Polyaspartic 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.
Polyurea and Polyaspartic cures quickly with virtually no smell meaning down time is negligible when compared to Epoxy.
Without going too much into the detail here are some of the disadvantages of Epoxy flooring.
1. Many epoxy’s have strong toxic fumes. Until the epoxy has cured the fumes can cause inflammation in the eyes and nose plus throat and lung irritation. Dust from sanding and normal wear and tear should never be inhaled as it contains the component chemicals, this is a real health hazard for Asthmatics.
2. Epoxy takes a long time to harden completely. It takes several days to cure properly so if it is inside the home this can be a real inconvenience.
3. High traffic and heavy impact wear out epoxy floors and in these situations new coats are constantly required. The surface chips and cracks fairly easily so you could incur extra costs in repairing and fixing the damaged areas.
4. Epoxy floors can be extremely slippery when wet so be prepared for the additional costs of anti- slip additives.
Value for money Polyurea and Polyaspartic wins every time.