How Does Polyurea Measure up to Other Coatings
For the last several posts we’ve given you the science behind coatings – to equip you better to make the best product choice for the job at hand, or justify costs to customers when quoting a project. Knowledge is power – and in the concrete coating industry, it can make the difference between choosing a product that saves you time and money… or adds more labor and maintenance.
We’ve covered what polyurea is, the difference between aromatic and aliphatic polyureas and when to use each, and what single-component, as well as 100-solids polyurea, are – and how they save you time and labor on an install. In this, our fifth article in the series, we wanted to put all this information into context:
How does polyurea “measure up” against similar coatings?
Once you “go” polyurea, there may be no going back to less versatile, less resilient and less durable materials, despite the superficial difference in cost. (Polyureas tend to be more expensive than other products on the market, but that cost is often offset by time, work and related downtime costs saved, versus other polymer based coatings.)
Here are the critical differences between polyurea, epoxy, and polyurethane:
Less Installation and Cure Time, polyurea takes dramatically less time not only to apply, but to cure, with “walk-on” capabilities within hours, and full cure within a day. Add that and 80-100-solids polyurea takes fewer coating layers to achieve the desired level of thickness, and your team can be done and on to the next project – and your customer, back up and running – in a fraction of the time of a comparable coating.
Full Range of Installation Temperatures
One misconception that some customers have is that real coating jobs are a summertime project – which is valid for epoxy coatings that must have temperatures above 50°F. As we head into the winter months, for many of us this temperature range will be a happy memory until spring for outdoor projects. With a variety of installation temperatures from 30°F below to well over 100°F, your customer doesn’t need to worry about picking the right time of year, and you, the installer, about a temperature-controlled environment or annual limits.
Greater Resilience and Maintenance-Free Longevity. Both polyurea and epoxy bond strongly to cement, where polyurethane’s relationship is vulnerable – requiring a recoat every 4-7 years. (Both polyurethane and polyurea share flexibility, but polyurea won’t need to be replaced every few years). Although epoxy’s bond is also strong, it’s susceptible to hot tire pick up – making it less desirable for use around vehicles, nixing hangars and garage floors as well as other ordinary commercial and industrial applications. Epoxy requires some upkeep, where polyurea is maintenance-free. When discussing costs with your customer, you’ll want to point out not only the cost of materials and installation but ongoing maintenance costs… which for polyurea is a very attractive zero.
Lower VOCs for Better Air Quality
In today’s age of environmental awareness – and an increased amount of customers vying to be “green” – less VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to smell and inhale as your team works are no small consideration. Polyurea has the lowest VOCs in comparison to polyurethane and epoxy, and no fragrance when curing.
Chemical and UV Resistance. Both polyurea and polyurethane have high resistance to oil. Polyurea is also scratch and chemical resistant. Both polyurethane and polyurea can be used in surface applications, where UV display is an issue – but polyurea is better than polyurethane at UV protection. (UV rays will ultimately yellow or deteriorate a less resistant coating).
Ease of Use and Oh So Good Looking, Too
Polyurea can do what epoxies can concerning workability and ease of use, as well as color, decorative additives and the like – but without epoxy’s remote administration and cure times and installation restrictions.
Polyurea isn’t always the no-brainer selection, despite its benefits over epoxy and polyurethane; every project has unique specs and budget to consider. To learn whether polyurea is the greatest fit for your concrete flooring project, click here to schedule a no-obligation consultation with one of our recommended experts.