Polyurethane, as well as epoxy resin, are the most common synthetic materials used for industrial flooring, garages, logistics centers, and retail malls. There is sometimes a misunderstanding that these two forms of synthetic floors are the same. These two types of flooring are highly different, and their underlying polymeric nature varies significantly.
Some industries choose epoxy and polyurethane flooring because they allow for continuous flooring options and provide a sanitary and weatherproof surface. Let’s read about the differences between the two to understand which suits you better.
A Polyurethane Floor: What Is It?
A polyurethane floor is a concrete floor that has been coated with thermoplastic polyurethane, a polymeric composition made up of hydroxy bases and diisocyanates.
Polyurethane is applied to the surface of the concrete floor, forming an extra millimeter layer. This attempts to preserve the floor by decreasing porosity, making it impermeable and less susceptible to temperature, UV radiation, and chemical exposure. Another advantage of polyurethane flooring is its increased flexibility.
Technological advancements in the building sector have enabled the creation of a hybrid mix of concrete and polyurethane, resulting in the whole structure having a synthetic component rather than just the surface.
What Is An Epoxy Floor?
Epoxy flooring is another type of concrete construction that is continually coated with a synthetic substance. In this case, it is epoxy resin. It is also known as polyepoxide, which is a compound made up of a succession of reactive polymers or prepolymers.
Once thoroughly bonded to the cement floor, the epoxy resin offers improved mechanical durability against abrasion produced by machines and walkers. Epoxy flooring also displays increased resilience to moisture and a superior finish.
How Resistant Are Epoxy and Polyurethane Flooring?
Epoxy flooring is often seen in heavy-duty sectors such as equipment manufacturing, warehousing, logistics, and general manufacturing.
Since these sectors often demand procedures involving heavy vehicle movements, such as the usage of forklifts, epoxy floor treatments are chosen because they are tougher, offering greater longevity and compressive strength. If the flooring is susceptible to battery acid, epoxy is the ideal material.
Polyurethane flooring, on the contrary, is more elastic and hence scratch-resistant. The elasticity of polyurethane flooring may also operate as a waterproofing system to minimize concrete fractures from moving through to the coating and appearing on the surface, making it an excellent solution for locations such as multi-story car parks.
PU flooring is also a superior choice when it comes to chemical exposure, particularly in food sectors that deal with the manufacturing of dairy, milk, and beverages, which exposes the flooring to acids.
Primary Differences Between Epoxy and Polyurethane Flooring
The fundamental distinction between epoxy and polyurethane flooring is that epoxy flooring is generally tougher, whilst PU flooring is more flexible.
PU coatings and self-leveling substances are also significantly more sensitive to the presence of moisture. As a result, if condensation, floor wetness, or excessively high humidity are present during the installation of PU flooring, bubbles, blisters, pinholes, and wrinkles, as well as debonding difficulties from the concrete substrate, may develop.
Epoxy flooring is less susceptible to moisture than PU flooring materials, yet it is still more sensitive than PU flooring.
PU flooring is a fantastic option to take into account if a project has to be completed quickly since it cures generally quicker than epoxy flooring materials. However, because of their shorter pot life, PU flooring materials demand competent applicators, thus it is best to engage a professional.
Are Epoxy and Polyurethane Flooring Systems Heat Tolerant?
Polyurethanes have excellent heat, cold, and thermal shock resistance. When subjected to heat variations, epoxies are inherently more stiff and may move with the concrete substrate.
To illustrate, a normal two-pack, 100% solid epoxy coating has a heat tolerance of up to 65°C, but certain PU systems can withstand 120°C. This thermal shock tolerance is especially useful in settings where frequent temperature fluctuations occur.
How Much Do They Cost?
While a polyurethane system is initially more expensive than an epoxy system, it is significantly more cost-efficient in the long run. In fact, the PU system has approximately twice the longevity of epoxy. PU solutions also offer benefits such as better protection from wear and tear, abrasion, and resistance from impact.
Epoxy and Polyurethane flooring systems are both high-functioning and offer plenty of room for creative freedom with multiple design options. It is helpful to be aware of the differences between the two solutions in order to make a more fitting choice for your commercial space.
If you are unsure, contact us at Duphill and we will be happy to answer any questions, make suggestions, and help you with your flooring.