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Evaluating Epoxy Floor Coating VS Polyurethane Floor Coating


Epoxy is a thermosetting (dries in heat) polymer which is available in three different formulations for a garage floor coating and sealer; water based, solvent based, and 100% solids. These formulations allow for varying degrees of thickness for a single coating of a garage floor. They also allow for ease & efficiency of application and special bonding characteristics. Epoxy bonds extremely well to properly prepared concrete, which includes concrete grinding and acid etching, and can sometimes be used utilized for old or worn concrete that needs a new garage floor surface.

The best epoxy formulations are cleaned with a concrete grinding technique and applied with 100% solids, which provide for an extremely hard, thick, and impact resistant surface. The self-leveling thickness contributes to filling in the small cracks and imperfections of the garage floor. It also protects against hot tire pick up, scratching, and wear from abrasion during normal residential and even commercial uses. Though some epoxy formulas come with U.V. inhibitors, they may eventually yellow or amber when exposed to sunlight for any length of time.


Like epoxy, polyurethane is a thermosetting polymer and is considered a high performance coating. Of the different formulations available, aliphatic polyurethane is the desired choice for garage floors. Though they are approximately 60% to 70% solids depending on the manufacturer, a polyurethane coating is not nearly as thick and cannot be adjusted like epoxy can.

Don’t let the thinner dry film thickness fool you however. Aliphatic polyurethane has more flexibility than epoxy and can absorb impacts better. It is also much more abrasion resistant. Some manufacturer’s claim that the wear resistance of polyurethane over epoxy is almost 3 to 1. The resistance to chemicals is better than epoxy as well and this includes resistance to paint stripper and paint thinner products.

Another advantage of polyurethane over epoxy is that it is U.V. stable. This means that it won’t yellow like epoxy does when exposed to small amounts of sunlight over a period of time. The surface of polyurethane is not as hard as epoxy but it is much more scratch resistant, can tolerate larger temperature swings, and handles humidity much better. It is also available in different finishes from satin to very glossy.

Though polyurethane has many advantages over epoxy, it does not bond well to concrete and its thin dry film thickness will not work well as a self-leveling coating to fill in small cracks in the surface. Another consideration is that most polyurethanes are solvent based, meaning they may require a respirator to apply.


So, which should you use? Throughout the industry, it is believed that you will get maximum performance by using both polyurethane and epoxy together for your garage floor coating. Whether you are applying the coating yourself or hiring a professional, epoxy is best used for building up the thickness of your floor coating then following up with polyurethane as a clear coat to protect it. It will help protect the epoxy from yellowing and it will provide for a longer wearing and more scratch resistant surface.

The Idaho Epoxy Pros epoxy installation guide follows this same process to ensure long lasting quality and value of your garage floors in Boise, Eagle and Meridian areas.

If you don’t want to worry about a yellow tint at all, you can always use a colored polyurethane as a color coat before the clear coat. Polyurethane is also a better medium than epoxy to mix in anti-slip aggregate if you truly want an anti-slip surface or want a solid colored floor without paint chips. Many solid epoxy floors have a natural non-slip texture, especially when wet compared to cement.

Something else to consider is that most epoxy clear coats are not actually crystal clear like polyurethane is. Though they have no color, there is a slight yellowish brown tint to the clear in epoxy. Unless you opt for a more satin finish, polyurethane can provide a very glossy surface that proved depth to you garage floor depth.

So unless you are just doing a one-coat epoxy coating for your garage, a combination of epoxy and polyurethane is almost always the best answer to get the maximum combined benefit out of both materials and most quality finish for your garage floor. The result is a high performance garage coating that will stand up to the rigors of a working garage for years to come.


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Garage Floor Epoxy Paint Service Areas

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