Choosing the Best Flooring Option
I need an epoxy floor coating or I want a polyaspartic floor, are requests that we get almost everyday. Our first step, is of course, to find out what is driving the request so we can understand our customer’s needs. All too often we discover that the customer themselves are not sure which solution is right for them and the answer, like so many things in this world is, it depends. It depends on the customers application, the conditions of use, the expectations of lifespan and a host of other considerations.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a floor coatings insider or someone with an advanced chemistry degree to make a good choice. What you do need to know is that epoxy, and polyaspartic can be used individually or in combination with each other and that each has its own unique strengths. To simplify, we have outlined some of the general characteristics of each product.
Is an epoxy floor better than a polyaspartic floor? Let’s understand the differences:
- Epoxy cures slower than polyaspartic. So, Polyaspartic can be returned to regular use faster, but because Epoxy stays wet longer it tends to penetrate and bond with concrete better.
- Polyaspartic requires the use of solvents such as Acetone to penetrate concrete at a similar level to most Epoxies.
- Epoxy has a much longer working time than Polyaspartic, making it easier for the installer to apply the product and for the Epoxy to self level.
- Epoxy resins are not as UV stable as Polyaspartics, meaning that epoxy can yellow or chalk overtime when exposed to sunlight.
- Polyaspartic will cure at lower temperatures than Epoxy. Epoxy can not typically be installed below 10 Celsius. This means that Polyaspartic is the perfect solution for applications like commercial freezers or refrigeration units.
- Polyaspartics usually have higher abrasion resistance than Epoxy.
- Polyaspartic coatings can be used as topcoats over Epoxy coatings.
So, which one is better? The answer, like chocolate and peanut butter, is (in most cases) they are better together. You may ask, why then have I heard so much about Polyaspartic coatings that do not use an Epoxy basecoat? The likely answer is it allows the flooring installer to complete the job and move on to the next one faster than a system that combines both products. A 100% Polyaspartic system is not necessarily better for your floor, but it is almost always better for the installer. Does a 100% Polyaspartic floor have its place? Sure, if you have a commercial freezer or just need really fast return to service it’s an option. You have to make sure to discuss these differences with your installation contractor to make sure the motivation for using one product over the other is in your best interests.
Epoxy is fantastic as a base coating for penetrating and bonding to concrete and Polyaspartic is an excellent topcoat for providing UV stability and abrasion resistance. To maximize the benefit to you, it is best to use them in combination. To do this is playing to the strengths of each product and will help to ensure that your floor has a long and happy life.