In concrete coatings, knowledge is power. It can mean the difference between choosing a product that saves time and money or requires more maintenance.
How does polyurea compare to other similar coatings
You can’t go back to cheaper, less flexible, or less resilient materials once you have “gone” polyurea. Although polyureas are more expensive than other products, their cost is often offset by the time, labor, and downtime savings that they offer over other polymer-based coatings.
These are the main differences between epoxy, polyurethane, and polyurea.
Less installation and cure time.
Polyurea is much quicker to apply than to cure. It can be applied in hours and fully cures within one day. You can get your customer back up and running in half the time it takes to apply 80- or 100-solids Polyurea.
Larger range of installation temperatures
Customers often believe concrete polyurea jobs can be done in the summer. This is not true for epoxy coatings which require temperatures over 50F. This temperature range will remain a pleasant memory for many until spring, when outdoor projects can be completed. With a range of installation temperatures from 30F below to well over 100F, your customer doesn’t need to worry about picking the right time of year, and you, the installer, about a temperature-controlled environment or seasonal limits.
Greater resilience and maintenance-free longevity
Polyurea and epoxy bond well to concrete. However, epoxy’s bond strength is weaker, so it must be repainted every 4-7 years. Polyurethane and epoxy share some flexibility, but the polyurea will not need to be replaced every few years. Epoxy’s bond strength is strong, but hot tires can easily pick it up. This makes epoxy less suitable for use around cars, garage floors, and other commercial and industrial applications. Polyurea, on the other hand, is virtually maintenance-free. Epoxy does require some upkeep. It would help if you discussed costs with your customer. This includes the cost of materials and installation. However, ongoing maintenance costs for polyurea are a very attractive option.
For better air quality, lower VOCs are recommended.
Today’s environment is becoming more conscious, and customers are aspiring to be more environmentally friendly. This means that your team must have fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to inhale and smell while they work. Polyurea is the most environmentally friendly of all polyurethanes and epoxy. It also has a low VOC count and a very low odor after curing.
Superior durability: Chemical and UV resistance, both polyurea and polyurethane, are highly resistant to oil. Polyurea is chemical- and scratch-resistant. Polyurethane and polyurea are both suitable for outdoor applications where UV exposure is a concern. However, polyurea provides better UV protection than polyurethane. The polyurea will eventually yellow from UV rays and may be degraded.
It’s easy to use and looks great.
Polyurea can perform the same functions as epoxy in terms of ease-of-use and workability, color, and decorative additives, but without epoxy’s lengthy application and cure times or installation restrictions.
Polyurea isn’t always the best choice for concrete flooring. Every project has its specifications and budget. To learn whether polyurea is the best fit for your concrete flooring project, click here.