Polyaspartic vs Epoxy
What are Polyaspartic Concrete Coating? During your search for the right floor coating, you’ve probably come across options for epoxy and a newer product called polyaspartic. These concrete coatings seem similar, so naturally, you want to know the difference. This head-to-head comparison of polyaspartic vs. epoxy will get you all the answers you need.
Both options offer durable, attractive coatings that can transform your floor from “blah” to “ta-da!” – but there are still key differences that can inform your purchase. In order to make the right choice between epoxy and polyaspartic, you’ll need to know what they are, how to apply them, and of course, the pros and cons of each.
What is Epoxy Coating?
Epoxy paint is a resin polymer that has been used to protect concrete flooring for decades. As a general rule of thumb, epoxy works best indoors, so this chemical-resistant and slip-free surface is perfect for the garage environment, where spills and puddles can create a challenge.
Typical floor epoxy application consists of a primer, a colour base coat, and two surface coatings. The style is highly customisable, which is a plus for those looking for a specific style.
On top of all that, you get to decide if you want to introduce colour chips / flake to the mixture. It’s like the cherry on top of a perfect floor.
What is Polyaspartic Floor Coating?
Polyaspartic is a hybrid material that resembles polyurethane. It was first developed in the ‘90s as a coating for steel in bridges and used for its corrosion-resistant properties. This alternative to epoxy is also known as an aliphatic polyurea sealer, which is a mix of ester and other materials.
Manufacturers can change the amount of ester to customise polyaspartic to have different traits, such as quick drying times and limited gas emissions after application. These innovations make it more versatile than traditional epoxy.
Usually, this coating has a clear, glossy finish. On its own, it creates the look of a wet concrete floor. You can add colour to the mixture for a bolder look if desired. Often, people will distribute decorative flake chips across the surface of a still-wet coating to introduce a bit more colour and non-slip texture.
How to Apply Polyaspartic Coating
Just like with epoxy, polyaspartic won’t properly bond to concrete that gives off a lot of moisture. Be sure to test the moisture levels with a plastic bag, and install a moisture barrier if necessary.
Actually applying polyaspartic is a speedy process, because it dries so quickly. The consistency and appearance of the material is much like water – it’s clear (when not using colour additives), almost odourless, and very fluid.
You’ll pour ribbons of polyaspartic across the floor and evenly spread it with a squeegee or roller. The recommended thickness of the layer will depend on the manufacturer. In an hour or less, the first coat will be dry enough to walk on, so you can begin the second coating.
This second layer will include any non-skid traction materials you might want to use. Polyaspartic is more slippery than epoxy, so this is always a good idea. Disperse them by sprinkling them over the top after the second coat is completely spread but not yet dry.
While the application isn’t a complicated process, this stuff dries fast, and I mean really fast. There’s a very short “pot life” for polyaspartic since it was developed to have a quick drying time. For this reason, you need to make sure you’re completely prepared before you start the project. Any unexpected hiccups in the process could lead to a dried-up bucket before you’re even finished applying.
Obviously, you don’t want to sink all that time and money for nothing, so keep this in mind as you make your choice. Though you can apply it yourself, many people choose to hire a professional to avoid the risks.
Pros and Cons of Polyaspartic Garage Flooring
Pros of Polyaspartic Garage Flooring
- Versatile application: You can apply it in a variety of weather and temperature conditions, so you won’t need to wait around for the right time.
- Durable: Polyaspartic dries hard, but it maintains some flexibility. This helps maintain a stain and scratch resistant finish.
- Style: Just like with epoxy, this coating offers plenty of options to customise the visuals. Colour and chip additives create a unique look.
- Quick drying time: No more annoying wait times! Polyaspartic cures within 30 minutes to an hour, so you can apply your new flooring and get back to your life.
- Air quality: With low VOCs and virtually no odour from off-gassing, you’ll be able to breathe easier.
- Colorfast: The colour won’t fade or yellow even after extended exposure to UV rays. That means your floor will keep looking great for longer.
Cons of Polyaspartic Garage Flooring
- Expensive: The benefits of polyaspartic coating come at a higher cost. If you’ve got a budget, you need to keep this cost in mind as you begin your planning.
- Weakness to battery acid: Mechanics beware. While polyaspartic is more durable than epoxy overall, it doesn’t hold up as well against battery acid. If you expect a lot of that, this might not be the best floor coating for you.
- Tricky application: DIY application is difficult since you have to evenly spread the coating with a squeegee or roller. Professional installation is recommended.
- Short pot life: There’s the potential for the coating to dry on the floor or in the bucket before the application is complete. This can trap bubbles and other imperfections on the surface and waste a lot of material.
- Possible delamination: If the concrete on your floor gives off moisture, there’s a pretty good chance that the polyaspartic can lose its bond and peel up from the floor.
Which is Better: Epoxy or Polyaspartic?
When you get right down to it, there’s no definitive way to say that one floor coating system is better. Polyaspartic and epoxy each come with their own benefits and drawbacks, and it’s up to you to decide which is a better solution for you. After comparing installation methods and the pros and cons, you should hopefully know exactly what you need for your garage.
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