One flooring option that has ‘stirred up’ the industry the last few years is polyurea and polyaspartic coatings. This relatively new coating has become the latest go to for installers as an alternative to epoxy. And this has created some confusion for homeowners and construction industry professionals. The fast curing ability of this system is coming to be considered the “Pinnacle” of floor coatings and is advertised as the best of everything that a coating can do. So, if it’s not an epoxy, what is it and why would you want it on your garage floor?
Without getting too technical, polyurea is a subgroup of polyurethane. It is formed when isocyanates react with water or polyetheramines to create a urea linkage. Have I lost you yet? Well, like epoxy, it is a 2 part system that mixes a resin with a catalyst to cause a curing reaction that makes the material hard. It has low to no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and has an elongation rate that exceeds 300%, making it much more flexible than epoxy. This means it will bridge control joints and cracks with far less chance of failure than epoxy has.
This is where polyaspartics come in. What polyaspartics do is conquer the difficulties of the extremely fast cure rate of polyurea in order to apply the coating in a more traditional manner, with a longer pot life of typically 40 minutes depending on the formulation.
This means that, all polyaspartics are a polyurea, but not all polyureas are a polyaspartic.
BENEFITS OF POLYASPARTIC COATINGS
Typical polyurea and polyaspartic floor coatings are applied in just two coats; the first being acting as the primer and color coat and the second being the clear coat. Because of its fast cure rate, a complete flooring system can be installed in one day and returned to service the next. This means that you won’t have to do without the use of your floor for 3-4 days like you would for a traditional epoxy system.
There are many other benefits to a polyaspartic floor coating as well. Such as:
100% UV stable – they will never yellow.
Crystal clear finish that won’t whiten from moisture in the concrete.
Similar high abrasion and scratch resistance to polyurethane.
High tolerance to heat, meaning hot tire pick up is not an issue.
Super glossy finish
High solids content with little to no VOC’s in most applications.
Stain and chemical resistance.
300% flexibility means higher impact resistance.
Excellent wetting characteristics allowing for good penetration into the concrete for a strong bond.
Decreased chance of bubbles from outgassing due to the faster cure rate.
COSTS AND INSTALLATION FACTORS
Though a polyaspartic flooring system does have some great benefits, there are some other factors to consider before you decide if this is the best system for you.
It is not the most user friendly “do it yourself” installation and requires a minimum of two people to apply. Depending on the formulation of the polyaspartic, the average pot life is only 40 minutes. This can be very intimidating if you haven’t done a floor coating before. But that's why you’re here on our website. There are some DIY kits available but the formulations are different and come with a lower solids content in order to lengthen the pot life. Sacrificing some of the strengths of the coating. Grinding the concrete is also the recommended floor prep.
While polyurea / polyaspartic coatings are not affected by water or humidity when fully cured, humidity during installation can cause the coating to cure much more rapidly and should be monitored before installation.
Surface Solutions Sunshine Coast offer polyaspartic coating installation for as little a $10 more per square meter over traditional epoxy.
One of the biggest reasons we offer polyaspartic is the benefit of being without use of your floor for only a day. We can prep your concrete and install your coating in as little as 6 hours. You can be moving your belongings back into the garage before the day is done and park your car in it the next. This can be a huge advantage for people who can’t afford to loose use of their surface for 3 or 4 days. If you need to have a floor coating installed in less than ideal temperatures or need the advantage of being without your floor for only a day, then a professionally installed polyurea or polyaspartic floor coating may be just what you need.