Epoxy flooring is applied on top of concrete and is a mixture of resin and hardener. The two components are kept separately until needed. Once mixed you have a comparatively short window in which to apply the mixture and then leave it to set.
The concrete will need prepping first. That means cleaning and even roughing up to accept the epoxy. Once applied epoxy flooring is extremely tough and looks fantastic. Naturally, epoxy floor coatings are available in a huge array of colors, ensuring you get the right color for your project.
Epoxy floorings are effectively stain-resistant, they need very little maintenance and can absorb a wide variety of objects being dropped onto them without being damaged.
However, while epoxy is an excellent choice for many situations, it does have a few drawbacks. One of the main ones is the way in which it is applied. This often creates fine cracks which don’t affect its ability to prevent spills or be waterproof. But, they do cause issues for bacteria, giving them a place to hide. This makes an epoxy flooring a difficult choice for any area or business dealing with food and beverages.
It’s worth noting that some formulations of epoxy flooring meet the current requirements regarding VOC limits and can actually be classified as an environmentally friendly floor.
In many cases, urethane flooring steps in to handle the issues that epoxy can’t. Specifically, it is laid in one go and offers a seamless floor. There are no places for bacteria to hide and cause an issue.
Urethane is not the same as an epoxy flooring. It is a very good sealer, adding protection to any floor.
However, the issue with urethane is its ability to cover existing surfaces. Urethane flooring is rolled out, giving a coat of 2-3ml thick on top of the existing floor. That means it will struggle to cover all the cracks and pits that appear in the concrete. Alongside this, the fact that it doesn’t adhere well to concrete makes it a poor choice when resurfacing concrete floors.
Combing Epoxy & Urethane
If your budget will only stretch to one of these flooring types then in most situations epoxy is the better choice. It is durable, resists items being dropped on it, and adheres very well to existing concrete surfaces. It is also easy to apply and you’ll find it is available in a wide variety of colors, ensuring you can find the perfect color for your project.
Providing you take the time to prepare the surface properly first, it is very difficult to beat epoxy flooring in almost any scenario.
But, what most people don’t realize is that you can get the best of both worlds! Urethane flooring can be laid on top of epoxy flooring.
The best way to do this is to prepare the concrete floor for epoxy and then apply the epoxy. Once it has partially set you can add more epoxy, and repeat the process as many times as needed to get the right thickness. This will give you a perfect finish for your floor and should look great.
You can then let it partially set before administering urethane flooring on top. The urethane flooring acts as a sealant, locking the great qualities of epoxy in-situ and given extra protection. There is a reduced risk of bacteria lingering on the floor and the urethane adds an extra layer of abrasion resistance.
In short, the combination of epoxy and urethane flooring isn’t just possible, it’s hard to beat.
However, you should note that the best approach to laying this type of flooring is to get the professionals to do it. They have the tools and the experience to leave your floor looking perfect and laid properly so that it will last for years.
While the cost of this type of flooring is slightly higher than other choices, it is cost-effective in the long term and needs very little maintenance. In fact, it’s estimated that an epoxy flooring with a urethane top coating will last approximately three times longer than a standard epoxy flooring. You may never need to replace it!
Additional Points Re Epoxy & Urethane Floorings
Floorings are naturally non-slip, making them an excellent choice for a wide variety of applications. Urethane flooring tends to invite slips more, that’s why you need to ensure the non-slip compound is added to enhance safety wherever you use the floor.
Epoxy floorings with, or without, urethane top coatings are the perfect choice for any location as you can choose any color you want and even create patterns when laying it. That means you can have a unique color and look for your floor. That’s hard to beat.
Interestingly, despite being exceptionally tough, epoxy flooring is affected by sunlight. The sunlight will fade the epoxy in a surprisingly short space of time. The best way to avoid this being an issue is to use the urethane top coating, urethane isn’t affected by sunlight. It’s another reason why these two compounds work so well together.
You should also note that epoxy and urethane floorings are often talked about together because they are both polymers. That’s a substance that has a repeating molecular structure. But, they are not the same product.
Urethane is recognized as being resistant to abrasion and corrosion, as is epoxy flooring. Together they make an unstoppable team.
Laying The Flooring
As mentioned, the best approach is to get the professionals to do this for you. They will prepare the concrete and ensure it is clean and dust-free before they start. They have all the equipment to lay the floor properly and they will do it much faster than if you try to do it yourself.
In addition, you’ll get the guarantees and warranties that you need to accompany a new flooring, making it a worthwhile investment.
If you still have any doubts you should visit a local business that has an epoxy and urethane flooring. You’ll be surprised at how good it looks.