When choosing a concrete floor covering for an industrial setting, there are a few standard options—options commonly implemented in industrial capacities across the world. Arguably the two most popular options are epoxy and polyurethane. Both have particular strengths to consider, and there’s not a one-size-fits-all option. What we recommend is looking carefully at both materials to see which one makes the most sense for your company. In this post, we’ll highlight some key attributes of both concrete floor coatings.
First, consider some of the operational differences between these flooring types. In other words, consider the impact for the end user, once the installation itself is complete.
In many respects, epoxy floors are going to be more robust here. They tend to be harder and more durable, with higher compression strength. They can simply handle more wear and tear than polyurethane floors, which is why epoxy is preferred in heavy-duty industrial settings. If you are in any way concerned about durability and want something that can withstand a lot of activity, epoxy is probably going to be the superior option.
Polyurethane floors are not without their advantages, however. They are softer, but also more elastic, which can make them better withstanding scratching and abrasion. The elasticity of polyurethane allows it to absorb some of the impact of dropped items. Furthermore, the elastic coating of polyurethane works better in freezing chambers; it’s a common option for car parks, too, where that elasticity is really advantageous.
Something else we should note: These two flooring materials respond differently to certain chemicals. Polyurethane fares better with lactic acid spills, for example, while epoxy floors might deteriorate in these conditions. This makes polyurethane better for most food-related industries. Then again, epoxy floor coatings are more resistant to sulfuric acid and many other industrial chemicals.
The bottom line: It’s best to talk with one of our technicians before deciding which option is better suited for your particular industry.
It is also worth noting that epoxy and polyurethane differ in how they are applied. In some cases, this can impact the time it takes to complete installation.
One major consideration is that polyurethane flooring is extremely sensitive to humidity. If condensation appears on an uncured/unfinished polyurethane floor, the result can be ruinous. Along similar lines, epoxy flooring is very sensitive to moisture during the installation process—though not necessarily to humidity. In environments where there is high humidity, and where that humidity cannot be mitigated, epoxy is almost always going to be the preferable option.
Speaking more generally, polyurethane is known for being a little bit harder to work with than epoxy is. In fact, many manufacturers simply won’t sell polyurethane flooring products to anyone but experienced flooring professionals. If you intend to tackle your concrete floor coating as a do-it-yourself project, you can pretty much plan on using epoxy.
There is one final dimension to consider, and that’s cost. Is polyurethane or epoxy the more expensive choice for your concrete floor covering?
There simply isn’t a straightforward answer to this question. That’s because, within both categories, there are countless specific products to choose from, and the price point can vary wildly.
Moreover, picking the “cheaper” option isn’t going to provide good value if it turns out to be a poor choice for your setting, and if you end up needing to re-cover your floors sooner rather than later. As such, we would recommend first deciding whether epoxy or polyurethane is the better choice for your needs, and then to look at the price point of different products.
Making the decision between epoxy and polyurethane flooring is difficult, and the ramifications can be significant and long-lasting. The good news is, you don’t have to make the decision alone. You can get an expert opinion to guide you toward the best, most value-adding concrete floor covering. Concrete Coatings of the Carolinas is here to provide it.
We love talking with clients about their floor coating needs, and helping them make an informed decision. Contact us today to start that conversation.