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When it comes to floor coatings, you’ll want to choose one that matches the vision you have for your space. Epoxy and polyurethane coatings create bright, transparent finishes but are helpful for different reasons. Selecting a suitable coating is important because it impacts the value of your property, not to mention how well a space functions. Here’s some more information that can help you decide which one best suits your needs.
Epoxy resin coatings are durable and waterproof, making them an excellent choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and areas with lots of foot traffic. Epoxy can be mixed with colors and metallic or neon pigments for a wide range of beautiful, glossy finishes.
Polyurethane is a varnish-like coating that can be oil or water-based. Polyurethane coatings are often used on wooden floors because they dry with a range of transparent finishes and create water-resistant surfaces.
Different coatings work better for different kinds of floors. One of the benefits of choosing an epoxy coating system is that epoxy bonds well with concrete and can be applied directly on top of old or worn concrete floors.
Epoxy has a self-leveling thickness that will fill in and smooth over cracks in concrete, whereas polyurethane has a thinner dry film thickness and won’t hide existing blemishes.
The overall cost depends on the size of the space and how many layers of the product are needed. Price per square foot averages about $2-$7 per square foot.
Although polyurethane coatings are more expensive, they last longer, which makes up for the difference in cost in the long run. Price per square foot averages around $3-$9 per square foot.
Labor is usually the most significant expense, which often includes cleaning and polishing a floor to prepare it for coating.
While both coatings are resistant to chemicals, polyurethane is more stain resistant. Epoxy creates a harder and more scratch-resistant surface. At the same time, polyurethane coatings are more elastic, which means that they offer more impact and abrasion resistance and are less likely to crack or chip.
Although epoxy coatings can tolerate heat, exposure to temperatures above 120°F will soften epoxy and make it lose its glossy finish. Polyurethane coatings can withstand higher temperatures, which is why they are often used as a finish on top of epoxy flooring.
Both coatings are approved for the food industry. Still, polyurethane is more recommended because it lasts longer than epoxy and can withstand exposure to organic acids, thermal shock, and higher temperatures.
You can also add antimicrobial additives to polyurethane coatings, making them a more suitable choice for an environment where hygiene is essential.
Epoxy coatings are more versatile than polyurethane floor coatings in terms of design. They are highly customizable and cost-effective to transform a concrete floor into a work of art.
Some polyurethane floor coating benefits include a shorter curing time and a longer lifespan than epoxy floor coatings. Polyurethane is also more impervious to staining from tires, making it suitable for garages.
To decide between the two coatings, consider your purposes for the floor and what kinds of situations it will be affected by.
Sometimes using both coatings is the best option for a maximum combined benefit of getting the aesthetic look you desire while having the protective features of each one.