People researching concrete floor coatings often wonder whether they should use epoxy or urethane concrete floor coatings. The answer in many cases—although not all—is use both!
While there are many benefits to both epoxy and urethane flooring, some qualities of these flooring systems may be better suited for certain environments and applications. So, let’s take a closer look at the differences between epoxy and urethane floor coatings and when to use each.
Epoxy Floor Coatings vs Urethane Floor Coatings
Each of these floor coatings works in a different way, performs a different function, and has advantages in particular applications. Both provide protection against chemical corrosion, wear, and damage. Both are long-lasting and reduce replacement and maintenance costs. Both increase safety with non-slip surfaces. Both can increase light reflectivity by up to 300% which lowers utility bills, brightens the workspace, and improves employee morale.
Epoxy concrete floor coatings function more as a floor priming and resurfacing method; whereas urethane is more of a wear surface protecting the epoxy. Here’s a brief summary of the two types of floor coatings:
Epoxy Flooring & Floor Coatings
Epoxy is an ideal product for resurfacing a concrete floor. It can be applied from as little as 2mls to as much as 80+mls thick depending on the application and underlying floor surface. It can build up an old, cracked and pitted concrete floor and make it look brand-spanking shiny and new – and increase the floor’s light reflectivity by as much as 300%. It’s also a great way to add color to the workplace and/or use multiple colors to designate certain areas, walkways, use it for directional arrows or put a logo or other design right in the floor.
Epoxy concrete floor coatings don’t just make a floor look better; they actually protect the floor surface. Appropriate for retail, industrial, showroom and public buildings, epoxy floor coatings are popular for a number of uses including labs, manufacturing plants, hospitals, schools, automotive, aerospace, galleries, showrooms, malls, big box users, and many more. With proper preparation of the underlying concrete (which usually means diamond grinding rather than shot blasting) and expert installation for proper curing and bonding, an epoxy floor simply can’t be beat. Certain formulations of epoxy concrete floor coatings meet LEED requirements for VOC limits, making this a “green” approach to creating a new floor.
Urethane Concrete Flooring & Floor Coatings
Urethane is not an adjustable thin film floor coating. Urethane is rolled out at 350 – 500 sf per gallon, which translates to about 2 – 3ml in thickness — and there is no way to adjust that. Furthermore, urethane does not bond well to concrete, so it is not a floor coating to apply directly to an existing concrete floor. However, urethane is an outstanding topcoat and sealer for most kinds of epoxy applied over concrete floor coatings.
Urethane mortars are ideal for the food and beverage industry because it provides a seamless and smooth floor coating that is moisture and heat resistant. Urethane is also great in a lab or industrial setting because it can be chemical resistant. For companies seeking an ecological floor solution, Liquid Floors offers both VOC-compliant and odor-free urethanes for many applications.
Epoxy vs Urethane:
Choosing the Best Flooring Solution
In general, it is believed that the best approach is to use epoxy to build up floors and then urethane to seal and protect them. With urethane as a topcoat over epoxy, the floor will outlast unsealed epoxy 3:1 and you will get excellent wear and abrasion results. However, every flooring customer’s needs are unique, depending upon the particular use and desired outcomes. That’s why Liquid Floor Inc. believes in customizing concrete floor coatings for each individual application.
Liquid Floor Inc. President, Lee Davis, has been working in the floor coatings industry for more than a decade. He believes that the epoxy/urethane combo for concrete floor coatings produces the best floor possible.
If you have any questions about concrete floor coatings or you’re interested in getting a free quote, get in touch with us today!