Epoxy Vs Polyurethane: Which Is Better For Flooring?

Among popular resin coatings used currently, epoxy vs polyurethane are the two flooring materials that attract the most attention. But which one should you choose for your floors? This article will introduce the differences between these two outstanding resins. 

Overview Of Epoxy & Polyurethane

What Is Epoxy?

Epoxy is one of many popular organic compounds constructed using chemicals, air, or heat to harden the substance. 

You can take advantage of this resin for many purposes besides floor coating. Epoxy can work as an adhesive, a cement binder, and much more. 

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What Is Polyurethane?

Polyurethane, a synthetic resin called PU for short, works as an alternative floor coating that offers a wide range of uses. 

You can also use PU for woodworking projects, such as wood cabinets. In the current market, there are a lot of different PU resins. Some are water-based, some are oil-based, and some are solvent-based. 

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Further watching: Alkyd, Acry, Epoxy and Polyurethane Coating – Understanding the Difference

Epoxy Vs Polyurethane Flooring: Detailed Comparison

Flexibility & Elasticity 

In general, the elasticity of epoxy floor coating is extremely poor. It is harder and more brittle than PU. Meanwhile, PU flooring is highly elastic and flexible, which offers better resistance to scratches or similar damages. 

So, this is why you will often notice the use of polyurethane flooring in heavy traffic areas like multi-story car parks. 

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Installation

As regards installation, polyurethane is extremely sensitive to humidity. The exposure to moisture can ruin the entire curing floor coating, making it imperative that you leave the area to dry during the installation. 

In contrast, epoxy resin floor coating is completely fine when affected by water while you carry on the installation. However, the exposure to water should be far lesser, which means that epoxy can still handle the areas attacked by moisture. 

Time spent on installing and curing varies remarkably between the two resin floors. While a multi-coat epoxy area takes a whole week to cure fully, the same area of polyurethane flooring completely dries over a weekend. 

Overall, flooring products made of epoxy and polyurethane resins are acceptable for DIY installation. Compared to epoxy resin systems, the installation of PU options seems to be far harder, all because of their sensitivity to moisture and faster curing time. 

This being the case, it would be best if you are experienced in the self-installation of PU flooring. 

Price

Compared to epoxy, it might initially cost you more with a polyurethane system. But the PU flooring will be far more cost-effective in the long run. If you haven’t heard, the PU’s lifespan lasts twice as long as that of epoxy – five years. 

Resistance

PU resins are proud of their unrivaled properties of resistance to solvents, organic alkalis, alkalis, inorganic, and corrosion. At the same time, epoxy systems feature poorer resistance to organic acids, which you can find in large food & drink production quantities. 

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Heat Tolerance 

PU resins offer superior resistance to thermal shock, cold, and heat. On the other hand, as exposed to heat fluctuations, epoxy resins tend to be more rigid and separate from concrete substrates. 

For instance, a standard two-pack, 100% PU coating, can tolerate 120°C, whereas epoxy systems have a decent heat resistance of up to 65 °C

With an excellent heat resistance of a maximum of 120°C, polyurethane floors are ideal for the use of food and beverage environments. Its nature of high durability enables the resin to resist the hot oven’s thermal shock or chemical attacks from some by-products. 

Despite providing a poorer heat resistance, you can rely on a solid epoxy resin coating system. Its surface will not deteriorate when suffering constant traffic from heavy pallets, wheeled equipment, and pedestrians. 

Epoxy Vs Polyurethane: Which Is Better For Flooring?

Human living standards have been far better for thousands of years thanks to advanced methods to cover the ground. The history went by with hard-packed dirt floors to natural stone ones. Then today, with new developments, humans have employed a broad range of different applications to invent better, safer flooring methods.

The existing types of floor in a commercial world require the durability of withstanding heavy uses over the years. At the same time, they must be safe and non-slip. Or else, an improperly finished floor will cause dangerous situations that lead to injury. In the case of these two types of flooring, they both offer extreme safety. 

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However, there is no right answer when it comes to epoxy or polyurethane. It depends on the specific requirements of different industries or what you are looking for from these resins.

In addition to weighing the two resin options’ advantages and disadvantages, always remember to take the type of applications you are going to use for your floors into account. 

Once you have determined what substances and situations your flooring surface will get affected by most often, you can go for the right type of resin. 

Which is Highly Recommended For The Food Industry?

The molecular structure speaks of the main difference between polyurethane materials and epoxy systems. This structure affects the fusing process of molecules during the curing stage. 

Essentially, epoxies provide a lower cross-link density compared to polyurethanes, making them less durable. In other words, PU materials are stronger and more suitable for the food industry. 

Moreover, polyurethane flooring systems offer food processors and producers greater opportunities to take hygiene to the next level. It means that you can incorporate antimicrobial additives into PU resins to upgrade the floors themselves. Doing so helps prevent bacterial growth effectively. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, after reading about the comparison between epoxy vs polyurethane, you all are clear about these two types of resin flooring so as to make the right decision on which one you should choose for your floors. 

If you want to discuss specific products that best satisfy your unique needs and requirements, feel free to drop a comment in the box below.