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Epoxy vs Polyurea: Which One is Better?

New and Improved Residential and Commercial Floor Coatings for Austin, TX

Epoxy Floors Aren’t Your Only Option

Over the years, epoxy has grown to be one of the most popular floor coatings on the market with many people considering it to be the go-to as an easy and affordable floor coating solution. However, epoxy flooring in homes and businesses isn’t the only solution available. With products like polyurea and polyaspartic coatings on the market, there are now even more customizable and durable floor coatings to choose from. 

However, since epoxy flooring has been the go-to floor coating for so many years, people may not be familiar with the added advantages of upgrading to some of the newer floor coating options or the more advanced systems. This is where Casey Custom can help.    

We’ll take you through everything you need to know about some of the popular floor coating options available to you at Casey Custom Decorative Concrete by looking at epoxy vs polyurea and systems that offer the combined benefits of two superior coatings. The more you know now, the easier it will be when it comes time to de

The Floor Coating Breakdown

A Guide to Understanding Epoxy vs Polyurea

While your concrete surfaces may seem strong on their own, floor coatings offer added protection against cracks and other potential damage. When you then customize the materials and colors, you can add more personality to your space. There is a wide variety of popular floor coating solutions to choose from but we want to focus on the most commonly compared – epoxy and polyurea. 

Epoxy Floor Coatings

At the center of the conversation about the best floor coatings for Austin homes and businesses is epoxy. Epoxy coatings are one part resin and one part hardener which mix together and harden into the plastic-like material that is epoxy. Epoxy coatings are thin films (often glossy but sometimes matte) that are applied to concrete surfaces like garage flooring. While they are most commonly used as industrial and commercial floor coatings, residential epoxy flooring is common since it can be applied to concrete, metal, and wood. Epoxy flooring in Austin has been popular for many years because of its affordability, easy application, and aesthetic benefits, but it does have some drawbacks. 

Epoxy floors will generally protect against corrosion, wear and tear, and other forms of damage since epoxy is very strong and durable. It is however brittle. The coating may crack or chip if something heavy is dropped on it or when it is consistently exposed to extreme temperature changes as we see in most Texas months. Austin epoxy floors are granted a lifespan of about 5 years but while it can be maintained with regular cleaning, the coating is not UV stable and will usually begin to yellow anywhere direct sunlight hits it within 3-6 months after application. This on top of the coating’s heat limitations commonly brings the lifespan down to 12 months when facing the Texas climate. Also, when it comes to chemical spills, epoxy coatings can contain them but are not considered to be resistant to them.

Polyurea Floor Coatings

Like epoxy, polyurea is a type of thermal-set plastic but it is more flexible than its competitor. Polyurea coatings are applied to surfaces as a liquid which then cures into a solid film that acts as an extremely durable protectant even when exposed to some of the most extreme elements. It is highly resistant to abrasion, chemical spills, and extreme temperatures. This makes polyurea coatings great for high-traffic areas, spaces that are exposed to harsh chemicals or cleaners, and areas that experience sometimes extreme temperature fluctuations. 

Not only are polyurea coatings a great option for protective use, but they also have decorative concrete applications as well. Since polyurea coatings can be pigmented during manufacturing to achieve a wide range of colors, they can pull double-duty in protecting your surfaces and adding character to your space. Outdoor areas are a perfect application for polyurea coatings since they are UV resistant and won’t fade or yellow over time.

Epoxy vs Polyurea

When putting the two types of coatings side by side, there are a few obvious differences that will be apparent in the battle of Epoxy vs Polyurea

Cure Time can be critical when it comes to floor coating application, especially in high-use areas that can’t be out of service for too long. Whether it’s residential epoxy flooring or commercial, it can take the coating up to 72 hours to fully cure whereas polyurea typically cures within 24 hours but at Casey Custom, you can expect a 1-2 hour cure time. It is also recommended not to place heavy items or park on epoxy for 3 days after installation. 

Durability is a huge factor in floor coatings depending on the level of stress your surfaces will be under. Epoxy is very versatile and can protect stone, metal, tile, concrete, and other materials from damage. However, polyurea is more flexible and less likely to crack or chip over time even in the most extreme conditions. 

When looking at epoxy vs polyurea, only one offers a fast cure time on top of extreme temperature, chemical, and abrasion resistance. Epoxy floors can have their benefits in low-stress environments but if you need a floor coating that can handle almost anything thrown at it, polyurea will serve your floors better.

Taking it a Step Further With The Polyurea/Polyaspartic System

Why Choose One When You Can Have Both?

Polyaspartic Floor Coatings

The polyaspartic coating is a decorative concrete coating that is made from a polyurea hybrid so it shares many of the same qualities as the polyurea coating. However, unlike polyurea coatings, polyaspartic coatings are applied as a two-coat system and are UV stable.

The similarities in the durability of the polyaspartic and polyurea floor coatings can make it hard to choose which will work best for your needs so when it comes to polyurea vs polyaspartic, it’s a close call. 

Cure time is a slight differentiator between the two. While they both take less time to cure than epoxy floors, with the materials used at Casey Custom the cure time for polyurea coatings is 1-2 hours while polyaspartic takes 2-4, even with its two-step application process.

Both polyurea and polyaspartic coatings have their advantages and are found to be superior to epoxy floor coatings. but when it comes to choosing between the two, the comparison of polyaspartic vs polyurea isn’t always necessary. Especially since there’s an advanced coating system that combines the benefits of both.

The Polyurea/Polyaspartic System

With the polyurea/polyaspartic system, the basecoat will typically be 100% polyurea which is then combined with the polyaspartic topcoat, both of which are two parts. The system has been well-tested and comes as a result of the well-thought-out combination of the benefits of both polyurea and polyaspartic coatings. This creates a floor coating that is strong, durable, flexible, and resistant, all at the same time. In high-traffic areas, you won’t have to worry about cracking, chipping, or scuffing whether you’re using it on concrete, metal, or even wood. It’s also a great alternative to residential epoxy flooring and can be used on your garage floor, as a pool deck coating, and as a concrete floor coating in any other area. 

Texas is unique in its extreme temperatures but the polyurea/polyaspartic system can stand up against the fluctuating Austin weather and can be applied regardless of temperature whether it’s for function in your home or in an industrial facility. As an added bonus, the combined system is non-porous meaning it won’t soak up spills and stains, making it even easier to maintain.

Questions About Upgrading Your Epoxy Floors?

Call Casey Custom Decorative Concrete in Austin, TX

We’ve worked with a wide variety of coating products and have found that the combined system offers the best to our clients both in durability and beauty. Polyurea and polyaspartic coatings may cost more upfront but with the added safety, durability, and versatility benefits, it becomes well worth the investment. Proper application and maintenance of polyurea and polyaspartic coatings can result in a floor coating that will last you up to 15 years which is a decade longer than the expected lifespan of epoxy floors.

As one of the only PENNTEK dealers in Central Texas, Casey Custom Decorative Concrete is the place to go if you want to explore your options for your Austin floors. Casey Custom specializes in polyurea and polyaspartic coatings so if you’re in the Austin area, give us a call today and you can have your floor coating installed by our factory-trained and certified team in no time. We offer residential, commercial, and industrial concrete solutions so don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have about which coating option is best for you and your floors.