Two reliable flooring solutions for concrete floors in commercial, industrial and institutional facilities involve epoxy and urethane fluid-applied systems. A more recent contender is polyaspartic flooring, a distant cousin of polyurethane floor finishes that is rapidly growing in popularity. As a relatively new technology with unique properties, how does polyaspartic flooring compare and contrast with more traditional epoxy floor coating solutions?
Epoxy and polyaspartic flooring are similar in that both can be used as midcoats and topcoats. And while both can be used as prime coats, epoxies stand out as the most commonly used primer coating product in the industry. Both epoxy and polyaspartic coatings are compatible with several other resin types, including urethane mortars. This is a huge benefit in both cost and time efficiency, as underlying flooring systems may not need to be replaced prior to installing the new system.
Like epoxies, polyaspartics are also versatile solutions that can be utilized in different flooring systems customized to better fit the needs of a specific facility. Aesthetically, the options are limitless – both can be tinted to add color, and they can also incorporate decorative elements such colored chips, flakes, and powders to create unique textures and designs. Looking for an attractive flooring option that can withstand heavy foot traffic? Both epoxy and polyaspartic floorings could be solutions. Traditionally, epoxy floors have had difficulty retaining color without yellowing over time, but the team at Florock has long been an innovator in developing epoxy coatings with superior colorfastness and durability.
Epoxies and polyaspartics are generally compatible and, if from the same manufacturer, can often be used together on the same floor.
One of the major benefits of polyaspartics is that they have an exceptionally quick cure time, allowing installation to be faster and incurring lower labor costs. The coating begins to cure within minutes, and can be ready for foot traffic in just 1-2 hours. The standard cure time for epoxy is approximately 6 to 8 hours, which works well for many schedules, but can be a severe inconvenience for others. In 24/7 facilities such as hospitals and mission critical settings, where even a brief period of interrupted access has serious consequences, the rapid installation of polyaspartics provides an important option.
One limitation of epoxy flooring is its narrow range of installation temperature – as floor and room air temperatures near 55 degrees Fahrenheit, the chemical reactions behind the curing process slow and can eventually stop. Polyaspartics, on the other hand, can be successfully installed at lower temperatures, so long as an extended cure time can be allowed.
For areas that must be kept at a certain temperature – walk-in freezers and cold storage warehouses, for example – this flexibility can mean the difference between having to completely halt operations and experiencing only a brief interruption. With epoxy flooring, facilities with partially exposed or poorly-insulated rooms may be limited as to what time of year floor renovation projects can be scheduled, but with polyaspartics, you set the schedule – not the weather.
One benefit of choosing an epoxy flooring system is that it is typically a thicker, more viscous coating. It is more easily modified by adding fillers for affordability or creating an aggregate mortar for heavy duty strength. Both epoxy and polyaspartic resins can create highly durable surfaces with good chemical resistance, however the extra thickness of epoxy can provide the additional level of smoothening and reinforcement needed for some facilities’ floors.
Whether epoxy flooring, polyaspartic coatings or a combination of both is best for your facility needs, the regional and local network of Florock experts can help advise you. Contact us for a free evaluation of your facility.