A Guide to Polyurea Coating
A Guide to Polyurea Coating
Polyureas (pronounced puh-yoo-ruh) are a revolutionary new synthetic alternative to traditional epoxy garage flooring systems. Polyureas are actually two-part composite products which are mixed together and then applied to smooth hard concrete floors or industrial flooring. In contrast to epoxy, polyurea doesn’t form a liquid but hard-to-clean, odorless coating which is then peeled off by ultra violet rays. Because of this unique characteristic, polyurea is a superior surface preparation method for concrete applications. Polyureas come in different grades ranging from ultra-fine to coarse-grit. Some specialty coatings and finishing techniques may be required for use with polyurea surfaces.
Commercial applications of polyureas have increased dramatically over the past several years. The primary reason for this is because polyurea coating is faster to apply than epoxy coatings, which reduces the amount of time needed for finishing concrete. Applying polyurea coating is much easier when compared to applying epoxy, which is made of three parts. The top coat is referred to as a hardener; a second coating is called a hardening agent and a third coating is referred to as an elastomer. The combination of these three ingredients creates a rigid liquid that is pressed into the concrete, which hardens over time.
The most common use of polyurea is on floors. Applying polyureas is also used for garage floors, industrial floors, and indoor swimming pool floors. Polyureas is used on many commercial building materials including lumber, tile, brick, stone, concrete, and concrete rebar. Because polyurea is flexible and can be formed into complex designs, polyureas is also frequently used as a coating for countertops in kitchens and bathroom walls.
Due to the high quality of polyureas, they are the preferred coating over epoxies, which are water-based products. Additionally polyureas are durable, which makes them useful for outdoor applications as well. Some types of polyurea are more resilient than others, which may mean that they will not peel up as quickly as other coatings. Resistant polyureas are great for outdoor applications as they won’t peel up as often and have less possibility of leaking.
Polyurea can be mixed at different strengths to create different densities. When mixed at a low density, polyureas are hard and non-reactive. When mixed at a higher density, polyureas become brittle and may crack. This break is caused by the expansion and contraction of the polyurea molecules as they are sprayed with a coating. The cracking and spreading of the polyurea coating may also cause some color changes in the concrete.
Another polyurea product called epoxy is a more stable version of polyureas. While polyurea is usually applied directly to the concrete, epoxy is applied with a mixture of water and plasticizers. Epoxy has a greater success rate of resisting impact, stains, and heat damage, but it can also loose its adhesive ability over time. This is why epoxy coating is sometimes applied as a layer over polyurea.