Updated: Apr 5
Choosing the right coating system is important. The right choice increases productivity and means long-term cost efficiency. The wrong one might lay the groundwork for untimely and costly failures.
Foresight of which coatings are better suited for different environments leads to an efficient and effective coating job.
There are many different types of coatings that can be applied to concrete surfaces.
Coating systems that we want to compare from traditional one to advanced one are:
-Polyurethane or Urethane
-Polyasportic or F1.
Let’s go through each one and see the cons and pros and then compare them together.
Epoxy coatings are a great option if you are looking for tough and attractive flooring. They combine polymer resins and hardeners that result in a chemical bond with the concrete. Plus, there are many colors and decorative options to choose from.
Epoxy coatings are also widely used as primers to improve the adhesion of automotive and marine paints especially on metal surfaces where corrosion (rusting) resistance is important.
Epoxy resins are also used for decorative flooring applications such as Terrazzo flooring, chip flooring, and colored aggregate flooring.
Epoxy coatings make for an extremely strong, and long-lasting flooring solution. Epoxy floors thrive in commercial locations such as garages, kitchens, factories, and warehouses. Not only are epoxy floors extremely tough, but they are also highly customizable. The ability to make your floor into an incredibly strong work of art, means they are also highly attractive.
Epoxy floors are oil resistant, easy to clean, and won’t get worn down by foot traffic which is why they are ideal for residential garages.
Unlike bare concrete, they won’t get ruined by a small oil leak. Not only are epoxy floors incredibly tough, they also reflect light very well. Its proven that an epoxy floor can brighten up a room by up to 300% just due to their reflective surface.
Epoxy coatings are often used in industrial and automotive applications since they are more heat resistant than latex-based and alkyd-based paints. Epoxy paints tend to deteriorate, known as "chalking out", due to UV exposure.
Change in color, known as yellowing, is a
common phenomenon for epoxy materials and is often of concern in art and conservation applications.
Epoxy resins yellow with time, even when not exposed to UV radiation, that's why it is not recommended to be used as a clear coat.
A fully epoxy system might require up to five days, which is a long time and during this time the floor would be out of service
Polyurethane or Urethane (urethane can be used as a solvent and in a form called polyurethane)
Polyurethane is a hybrid coating similar to Polyaspartic which we are going to talk about it soon. Innovations in the technology have made these coatings a more versatile option compared to epoxy.
Polyurethanes are softer, more flexible and offer better color and gloss retention compare to Epoxy. They perform well as structural protection, are more versatile in terms of protecting assets in harsh weather conditions and offer better impact resistance.
For example, tanks, exterior pipes, barges, or exterior concrete are better protected with polyurethane coatings.
Polyurethane coatings are used mostly topcoats over Epoxy coatings. They cannot be used as a complete system.
This system is known as Epoxy and Urethane coating system.
Epoxy and Urethane coating systems offer two layers of protection over a surface. These perform well in heavy industry settings because they’re more tightly cross-linked and less permeable, offering good substrate protection, increased chemical resistance and greater hardness. Due to these qualities, metal and concrete substrates protected by epoxy and urethane combinations stand up well to use and abuse.
Since epoxy and urethane systems need two coats to do, it adds to labor costs, material costs and project timelines.
Typically Epoxy or Polyurethane floors can take 4 or 5 days to install
Epoxy and urethane coatings also can tolerate exposure to many industrial chemicals. For instance, surfaces protected by epoxy and urethane coatings stand up well against sulfuric acid, which is used in a wide variety of industrial processes. However, certain organic acids present in food production, such as nitric acid, can harm epoxy and urethane coatings.
Epoxy and urethane coatings are well-suited for interior spaces with controlled environments.
F1 or Polyaspartic
F1 Fast Floor System is two component Polyaspartic.
Now what is Ployaspartic?
Ployaspartic is a type of aliphatic polyurea.
Polyurea is a subcategory of polyurethane. It is like epoxy in that it is comprised of a two-part component that combines resin with a catalyst to create a curing reaction. This is what causes the material to harden.
While any polyaspartic coating is a polyurea, that does not mean that a polyurea is a polyaspartic coating. Confusing right? I know.
Let’s talk about it in more details.
Polyaspartic technology (F1) is a rapid curing, hybrid coating system, designed as a decorative yet durable coating for commercial and industrial flooring.
Polyaspartic technology relatively is new on the industrial coating scene. It is like polyurethane, but the curing time is way faster. Polyaspartic can cure in three to four hours but polyurethane take longer time to cure (at least 24 hours).
Both ployaspartic and polyurethane coating are more versatile options compared to other systems like epoxy coating but polyaspartic esters can be manipulated to suit varying applications. Manipulating the esters allows for controlled drying times and extends pot life. Also, Polyaspartic coatings can be used as a complete flooring system but Polyurethane coatings cannot.
Curing Characteristics Based on Polyaspartic Esters
The curing characteristics of polyaspartic coatings are somewhat different than traditional polyurethane coatings. They have a curing profile that shows a dependency on both temperature and humidity.
Generally, higher temperatures accelerate the curing speed of coatings by increasing the kinetics of the chemical reactions needed to form a polymeric film. If solvents are present in the coating, increasing temperature also works to speed up solvent flash-off, thus resulting in faster drying of a coating.
Humidity, on the other hand, normally has minor effects on the curing characteristics of solvent-borne and solvent-free coatings. The curing characteristics of aliphatic polyurea(polyaspartic) coatings based on polyaspartic esters, however, exhibit a rather dramatic dependency on humidity, which in a catalytic manner accelerates the curing/drying process. This provides the opportunity to develop some unique fast cure coatings with relatively long pot life, thus fulfilling special curing performances and productivity requirements.
The effect of temperature and humidity on the dry times of the polyaspartic ester-based polyurea coating are presented in Table 5.
A traditional polyurethane topcoat polyurethane is also presented (Table 5A) for comparison purposes; as expected, it does not show much of a dry time dependency related to humidity in this study.
As you see polyaspartic coatings cure much more quickly. That limits lag time, allowing assets to be put back to use more quickly. It has a robust application window with ability to apply at low temperatures and high humidity.
Polyaspartic floor coatings also provide a number of other benefits, including complete UV stability, meaning they will never yellow. It means it is available in clear gloss, clear satin and can be pigmented.
When coating concrete, polyaspartic can be installed in both clear and pigmented form. Additionally, broadcast media such as quartz and/or vinyl paint chips can be incorporating, as well as metallic pigments.
A clear finish also helps ensure there are no worries about the floor blushing because of moisture presence in the concrete. It also provides a high-gloss finish and high tolerance to heat.
Polyaspartic technology eliminates a step in the coating process compared to epoxy and urethane combinations, saving labor and material costs, and shortening project timelines.
Polyaspartic technology is a lower- and zero-VOC (volatile organic component) coating therefor it’s safer to apply in confined spaces like storage tanks, railcars, or pipes where ventilation is minimal. This also can save on taxes levied against high VOC outputs.
It’s fine to apply polyaspartic coatings on top of old epoxy-coated floors. They feature a strong intercoat adhesion with epoxy coatings. Your installer can apply a fresh coat of polyaspartic topcoat over old epoxy coatings that are still well-bonded to the substrate.
The area must be prepared before applying a new polyaspartic coating. Sand the old epoxy floor first. The surface must be vacuumed for excess dust and then wiped clean with the right solvent or adhesion promoter.
Garages | Auto service centers | Laboratories | Cafeterias and many other interior concrete floors like factories, commercial and industrial premises, car refinishing shops and anywhere that a fast curing, high performance coating is necessary.
Is a Polyaspartic floor better than an Epoxy or Polyurethane floor?
Consider these comparisons:
Typically Epoxy or Polyurethane floors can take 4 or 5 days to install.
Polyaspartic can cure in three to four hours.
Polyaspartic quick dry time provides unmatched labor-saving capabilities above epoxies and polyurethanes.
Because Polyaspartic cure so fast, they can save you a bundle on labor costs.
Epoxy Resins tend to yellow over time and may not be color-fast.
Polyaspartic are UV stable and do not yellow allows this to be used in areas saturated by the sun throughout the day.
Epoxy is suited for controlled environments.
Polyaspartic technology is a Lower-and zero-VOC coating therefor can be apply in spaces where ventilation is minimal.
For proper curing without any curing defects, epoxy coatings must be installed at temperatures around 55 degrees F.
Polyaspartic can be applied around freezing temperatures, making them perfect for walk-in freezers and the like.
Epoxy resins less flexible and less abrasion resistant.
Polyaspartic has an excellent long-term wear capability allow for longer life without re-coating.
Polyurethane coatings perform very similar to Polyaspartic, but they take longer time to cure (at least 24 hours) and need to be applied very thin (4 to 6 mils per coat)
Polyurethane coatings are used mostly topcoats over Epoxy coatings. They cannot be used as a complete system in itself.
Polyaspartic coatings can be used as topcoats over Epoxy coatings (to save costs) or they can be used a complete flooring system.