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Which is Better for Your Property? Epoxy or Urethane Flooring?

Jul 10, 2021

To most people, urethane and epoxy coated floor surfaces look identical. It’s understandable considering they have many similarities in the way they look and where they are used. But if you’re a property owner or manager, and you have to make the choice between the two, it’s important to understand where they differ and which one is the right fit for your property.

The truth is one isn’t better than the other. That’s because they both have unique strengths and weaknesses that work for particular uses and cases. Using urethane or epoxy on your property might be your best choice, or it may lead to headaches if it is the wrong fit.

At D’Palma Bros, we can help assess what is most applicable to commercial, industrial, or residential use. Not sure about this? Give us a call! Our trained professionals will happily answer all your queries. We offer both Urethane Concrete Flooring and Epoxy Coating products and services that suit your need.

What are the similarities between Epoxy Flooring and Urethane Cement flooring?

Epoxy and urethane are both Thermosetting Polymers, which offer durability. They maintain the floor’s texture and look for a long time.  They’re also both hard-wearing, which means they can withstand machine and foot traffic.

They protect the floor surfaces from liquid spills and more. Both floor coatings promote safety with their non-slip surfaces. This feature is especially important in workspaces.

Another less mentioned advantage of using the epoxy and urethane is how they increase light reflectivity. This helps make rooms look brighter. While this also adds to the safety feature above, the effect spills over to efficient energy use and actual savings in power bills, too.

Combining these characteristics, you can see how these two coatings have similar protective, maintenance, aesthetic, and safety qualities that are ideal for commercial and industrial flooring systems. But the similarities end there.

poxy is more suited to handle machine traffic. In warehouses where forklifts are often used, it can withstand the greater load.

Time-sensitive projects favor the use of urethane because it typically takes epoxy seven days to cure.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Epoxy

Epoxy products usually come in two parts – a resinous substance and a hardener. These parts are then thoroughly mixed together before it is applied to a treated concrete substrate, which in most cases is concrete floor. Then it is allowed time to cure. Although there are many different epoxy products in the market with their own characteristics, the following qualities are generally found in all of them.

Epoxy bonds well to concrete. When it comes to mechanically bonding to a concrete substrate, epoxy does it better. There is a huge caveat though, in that the concrete floor needs to be prepared properly first. This means ridding the surface of loose dirt and debris. It also often means the substrate has been diamond-grinded or abrasive shot blasted. Once the concrete has been carefully prepared, and the epoxy coating applied and cured, it will become a strong and well-adhered system.

Epoxy’s build and thickness is notable. Unlike urethane, epoxy can be installed in thicker applications giving it more body and therefore, more able to fill in minor concrete blemishes and hairline cracks. It also improves the overall durability and hardness of the system.

Installing concrete floor epoxy coating is easier. This coating is easier to install and does not have other complex installation issues unlike urethane. It is also a more cost-effective solution in many cases.

Overall, epoxy coatings offer a harder, more impact-resistant floor compared to urethane. Its bond with the concrete substrate, together with the thickness it is able to sustain, makes it hard to beat in durability.

But it’s not all good. Epoxy has its limitations, too. This coating is sensitive to UV light. Over time, with enough exposure to sunlight, epoxy changes colors. It is also not as abrasion-resistant as urethane concrete sealers, making it prone to scratches.

Epoxy coatings are only resistant to a more limited number of chemicals. Using it in the wrong situation will guarantee bad results in the long run.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Urethane

Which brings us to urethane – a thinner solution no doubt, but it also has its unique advantages over epoxy which makes it applicable in other situations.

First up is urethane’s incredible resistance to UV light. Unlike epoxy, urethane doesn’t turn yellowish even after continued exposure to sunlight.

Urethane cement is resistant to a wider range of chemicals. Although it ultimately depends on your case, if you are dealing with potentially damaging chemicals, urethane is most likely the coating for you.

Urethane coatings are more abrasion-resistant, too. They can last four times longer than epoxy coatings when it comes to impact and abrasion.

This coating also offers more finish options giving you more room to take aesthetics into consideration. This is especially helpful for marking certain parts of your flooring.

Urethane takes significantly less time to cure compared to epoxy. A coating project can be completed overnight with multiple layers.

But urethane is not perfect, either. It’s highly sensitive to humidity during installation. Even the slightest moisture can cause unattractive damage to the surface after it’s been cured.

What’s Best for your Property? It Depends

What really matters here is what these qualities mean to your particular needs.

If your business is in something like food processing, urethane floor coatings would possibly be your best bet. In carparks, the oil and abrasion resistance of urethane is also a no-brainer. On the other hand, if your work involves handling chemicals such as sulfuric acid (like a battery factory does), then epoxy comes out on top. It’s important to know what exact chemicals and solutions you’re working with, so be sure contact us for assistance and recommendations. Our trained experts are ready to help.

In terms of durability, the thickness of epoxy is more suited to handle machine traffic. In warehouses where forklifts are often used, it can withstand the greater load.

Time-sensitive projects favor the use of urethane because it typically takes epoxy seven days to cure.

Working with Dex-O-Tex Products & Services

The D’Palma team is trained to assess your property, make recommendations, and install the right flooring solution for you. We handle these jobs regularly and offer only the best service possible. Don’t hesitate to contact us with questions or to request a consultation. D’Palma Bros. is ready to help!