When it comes to floor coatings, you may choose from a wide variety of materials. This type of material is typically used to shield concrete floors from wear and keep steel reinforcing from rusting. Besides protecting floors, floor coatings are often used to do the following:
- Label pedestrian walkways
- Direct the flow of traffic
- Protect unsightly concrete
Concrete floors can be protected by a variety of coatings. In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common ones and talk about how they work:
Epoxy Floor Coatings
The two main components of an epoxy floor coating system are epoxy resin and polyamine hardener. Before applying, these two substances are blended together.
Chemical interaction between the resin and hardener causes cross-linking during curing. The chemical reaction produces stiff plastic covering that adheres well to most substrates.
Epoxy floor coatings are long-lasting, tough, and resistant to impact because of these qualities. Because of these features, epoxy coatings are well-suited for use in high-traffic areas, such as factories, warehouses, and distribution centers where heavy machinery is frequently used.
Epoxy’s resistance to chemicals like bleach, oils, greases, cleansers, etc. is well-known. Their chemical tolerance means they’re often used in car shops and garages.
Polyurethane Floor Coatings
Polyurethanes are long chains of molecules that are linked to a group of chemicals called carbamates. Polyurethane is a thermosetting polymer, which means it doesn’t melt when it gets hot.
If you don’t know any better, polyurethane coatings might look like epoxy-coated floors. But they have different qualities that make them perfect for different uses.
Polyurethane floor coatings are softer and more elastic than epoxy coatings, which are very stiff and resistant to impact. Because of this, polyurethane floor coatings are better for areas with a moderate amount to a lot of foot traffic.
Polyurethane-coated floors are also less likely to get scratched because they are more elastic. This is because impact loads are easily absorbed and less likely to cause scratches. Polyurethane is also able to work in places where the temperature is below freezing because it is elastic and flexible.
Polyurethane floor coatings are great for a lot of different uses, such as car parks, freezing rooms, and busy commercial buildings like shopping malls, airports, and hospitals.
The time it takes for polyurethane floor coatings to harden is another big plus. If this material is used to cover a floor, it can be used the next day. Epoxy coatings, on the other hand, need at least seven days to harden before they can be used.
Even though polyurethane has many good qualities, it also has a few problems. The first thing to know is that polyurethane floors are very sensitive to water.
When water gets on the floor, bubbles can form on the surface, which makes the floor look bad. Because of this, polyurethane floor coatings shouldn’t be used in places with a lot of humidity.
Their short shelf life and sensitivity to moisture also make them hard to work with. Because of this, polyurethane coatings usually need to be handled and put on by people who are well trained and know what they are doing.
Polyaspartic Floor Coatings
Polyurea has a part called polyaspartic. Like polyurea floor coatings, polyaspartic is a two-part system, meaning that the resin needs to be mixed with a catalyst to help it cure and harden.
Early versions of polyaspartic floor coatings had some problems, but improvements in coating technology have made them a flexible alternative to epoxy and polyurethane coating systems.
One of the best things about polyaspartic is that it can be used both as a topcoat and as a complete flooring system. In other words, polyaspartic floor coatings can do in a single coat which would normally take two coats of epoxy or polyurethane to do.
As a result, polyaspartics can cut application times, labor costs, and costs for materials by a lot.
Polyaspartic floor coatings can also be made to fit different needs. Polyaspartic esters can be changed to change how long it takes to dry and how long it stays liquid. This feature cuts down on downtime and gets assets back into service faster. Some coatings can dry in just a few hours and be used again the next day.
There are various uses for polyaspartic floor coatings that are analogous to those of polyurethane coatings, and in some cases even better. Airports, shopping centers, hospitals, and other high-traffic public spaces fall into this category.
Polyaspartic floor coatings, like epoxies, have a similar prep requirement. The breakdown of coatings of many kinds can be caused by surfaces that were not properly prepared.
Furthermore, most polyaspartics are solvent-based, even though 100% solids polyaspartic coatings have low volatile organic compound (VOC) emission rates. These solvent-based coatings provide a health risk if inhaled, requiring the use of trained personnel and protective masks and respirators.
Acrylic Floor Coatings
It takes more than just one monomer, like ethyl acrylate, methyl methacrylate, or butyl acrylate, to create an acrylic floor coating. These materials are typically treated in a solvent, typically water. These floor coatings function as a compromise between high-priced and low-performance options.
The durability of epoxy and polyurethane floor coverings is superior to that of acrylic. This means they may require more frequent maintenance in the form of buffing or re-coating than other finishes. The upfront cost of acrylic floor coatings may be lower than that of other coatings but the ongoing cost of upkeep is typically higher.
Because of these drawbacks, acrylic floor coatings are best used for decorative concrete, low-traffic surfaces, and locations where abrasions and chemical spills are unlikely to occur.
However, certain acrylic compositions can provide improved performance qualities such as heightened UV protection, slip resistance, and water resistance.
While acrylic floor coatings don’t last as long as other options, they cure quickly (in as little as an hour) and are easy to work with.
As a result, fewer workers are needed and less time is needed to complete the task. Also, if the coating becomes scratched up while it’s being used, you can just buff it right back to its original state.
Diverse Technology Industrial Inc.
Diverse Technology Industrial Inc. specializes in the professional application and installation of a wide variety of commercial and industrial flooring solutions.
Contact us at (209) 250-7828 today!