Epoxy vs. Urethane Floor Coating


If you’re starting a home or business floor resurfacing project, you might be trying to decide between certain types of floor coatings. Two of the most popular materials for floor surfaces include epoxy coating and urethane cement flooring. Epoxy and urethane cement both come with their own particular advantages, so it’s best to be informed before coming to your final decision. Here’s what to know about these floor coatings so that you can finish your flooring project with confidence.

What Is Epoxy Coating?

Epoxy flooring is made up of a combination curing agent and epoxy resin. Usually the ratio is one part resin to one part or two parts curing agent. When the liquid resin is mixed with the curing agent (also known as a hardening agent), the chemical reaction causes heat radiation, and for the resin to solidify. This simple combination and reliable results mean that epoxy coating can be applied quickly and safely during projects.

Epoxy Variables

Depending on your desired results, epoxy can vary in terms of viscosity, duration of curing process, thickness, adhesion properties, and degree of hardness. Epoxy can also be used for a multitude of projects, including resin art and jewelry, furniture, mold-casting, cut-resistant kitchen countertops, waterproof sealants, model-building, and more.

Casting epoxy resin, which is the type you would use for flooring, is a low-viscosity resin. This means that although the epoxy cures very slowly, in anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, thicker layers can be easily cast since the epoxy doesn’t heat up as much as higher-viscosity resins.

[Related: Do’s and Don’ts for Cleaning an Epoxy Floor]

Pros of Using Epoxy Coating

  • High abrasion and scratch resistance
  • High-strength material
  • Ability to make older, worn surfaces look shiny and new
  • Comes in multiple colors and finishes for customization
  • Does not shatter or splinter
  • Adheres well to other materials
  • Heat-resistant
  • Weather-resistant

Cons of Using Epoxy Coating

One con of using epoxy resin coating is the high cost. Most epoxy resin components are not inexpensive — but looking for a cheap alternative isn’t recommended. Epoxy floor coating offered at budget prices will almost certainly have a lower quality and could negatively impact the result of your project depending on what you’re working on. Cheap epoxy resin products may also contain hazardous solvents that could affect your health during the curing process.

What Is Urethane Coating?

Urethane coatings are used to create thin, high-gloss, durable, and smooth finishes for floors in many different industries. The terms “urethane” and “polyurethane” refer to the polymerizing carabamic compound that can produce these flexible floor coatings. Urethane coating was developed in 1937 to create things such as gum rubbers, rigid foam, and limited components of WW2 aircraft.

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Pros of Using Urethane Coating

  • High abrasion and scratch resistance
  • High gloss and smooth finish
  • Does not shatter or splinter
  • Longevity and durability
  • Protection against UV rays

Cons of Using Urethane Coating

Because of the thickness of the urethane compound, resurfacing a floor with this coating can require multiple thin layers to avoid clumping and unevenness, which in turn takes time and won’t hide any mistakes. Urethane is also not resistant to rust corrosion, which becomes an issue if you’re creating a top coat for a rusted steel surface.

From urethane and epoxy to stained and polished concrete, Specialty Flooring Inc. can answer all your flooring questions. Contact us today and let’s get started!

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