Choosing between a new polyaspartic garage floor coating or a new epoxy garage floor coating can be difficult, especially if you are new to the world of coatings. In the past, most people only had epoxy, but many decorative coating contractors are now offering the “newer” polyaspartic coating technology over the last decade. There are numerous beautiful features that both floor coating systems offer, but which one is right for your floor?
Polyaspartic Floor Coatings
Polyaspartics have been around for decades and found their primary uses early on in corrosion control applications on metal and concrete parts of bridge structures. Around 2005, ArmorThane was one of the first players in the garage makeover and garage improvement market to use Polyaspartic resin technology for garage floor coatings. In those days, almost everyone on the market resisted the technology and tried to push epoxy, thinking polyaspartic would not hang around and would not hold up.
Well, it did hang around and for many, many years. It has proven to hold up very well in a wide variety of conditions, and ArmorThane was one of the first to use polyaspartics in the garage concrete flooring market. In the last few years, the advantages and long-term reliability of polyaspartic have become so widely known and apparent that today, many contractors offer polyaspartic resins in addition to epoxy.
Polyaspartic coatings are a great option for many reasons. For one, it is very easy to apply and can typically be done in only one day, minimizing installation trips, cost, and inconvenience to homeowners. This coating is also easy to apply in extreme temperatures from hot to cold, allowing you flexibility in deciding when you would like to have your project done. Unless working with a very exotic epoxy formulation, as a rule of thumb, epoxies should not be used when temperatures are below 55 degrees F. For those contractors that use the only epoxy, their installs come to a halt when fall temperatures start dropping. Polyaspartics can be used in temperatures well below zero.
One of the first benefits of polyaspartic coatings is that they are UV stable, making for a great topcoat, meaning that it will not discolor or yellow from the sun. This yellowing or ambering is possibly one of the famous shortcomings of most epoxy formulations. Polyaspartics also features excellent scratch resistance, making them extremely durable and useful for areas of high traffic. As well, they are much, much more elastic than epoxies, meaning that when your concrete expands and contracts with changes in temperatures, the polyaspartic floor coating will “move” with the concrete much better. As a result, adhesion to the concrete is highly refined. Polyaspartic floor coatings are, however, a more costly option than epoxy.
Epoxy Floor Coatings
Epoxies have been around for many, many decades, and their main advantage is their low cost. When it comes to flooring, epoxies tend to be less elastic, and in environments where the substrate, concrete, is exposed to wide temperature variations over the year, they can “pop” off the floor. Below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, epoxies are a ‘no go’ for installation as curing can be extremely slow and result in partially cured flooring systems. Even when you’re within the right application temperature, epoxy takes longer to cure than Polyaspartic, usually taking five to seven days before you can use the floor compared to 24 hours with polyaspartic floor coatings. And of course, all epoxy floor coatings frequently use a similar resin technology based on DGEBA (bisphenol-A and epichlorohydrin), which features an aromatic ring, making it inherently flawed yellowing and ambering when exposed to the sun (radiation). If the floor will be exposed to UV light from the sun, over time, epoxies will yellow and should not be recommended for outdoor or sunlight-exposed floors.
Be wary of more modern companies touting “100% UV Resistant Epoxies” or derivatives thereof. Many of these companies use the same commercially available epoxy resins (DGEBA) as the lower cost epoxies and pairing them with a higher cost cycloaliphatic amine (hardener). While this system has enhanced UV resistance to yellowing/ambering, it is only temporary. The system may last six months longer than a floor without a cycloaliphatic hardener, but it will yellow just the same in time. It wouldn’t be honest to say that technically a 100% UV resistant epoxy could not exist, it could, but at this moment in time, it would make zero sense from a financial and a technical standpoint. A few saturated cycloaliphatic epoxy resins exist in the marketplace that could be paired with a cycloaliphatic hardener. Still, these are so inherently expensive to manufacture and are not widely used simply because they are not being manufactured. The largest epoxy companies in the world do not even make these types of resins for flooring because of drawbacks such as increased cost, poor cure rate, unsuitable film formation, etc.… They are so cost-prohibitive to introduce for the increase in UV protection. The recommendation is to use a polyurethane / polyaspartic flooring system which also comes with other improved technical performance features such as increased cure, hardness, elasticity, etc.…
To find out how ArmorThane’s polyaspartic coatings can work for you, give them a visit today by clicking here or read on below about a couple of their top available products.
ArmorFloor is a two-component, aliphatic polyaspartic for moderate to severe chemical environments in indoor or outdoor applications. Its resilience, durability, and UV resistance make it an excellent choice for many uses. Slip resistance Color Quartz or other abrasive materials may be applied. Decorative Color Chips are often used for design.
ArmorDeck Coating – Two-Step Process
ArmorDeck Basecoat SF is a single component, high solids, solvent-free, low odor, environmentally safe, liquid applied, moisture-cured, aromatic urethane polyurea elastomeric waterproofing base membrane. It is typically used as an exterior coating on concrete or plywood decks, patios, walkways, marinas, and sports areas.
ArmorDeck Topcoat must be applied within 48 hours. Slip resistance Color Quartz or other abrasive materials may be applied. Decorative Color Chips are often used for design.
ArmorDeck Topcoat is a polyester, aliphatic, single component, liquid applied, moisture-cured, urethane polyurea surface protection coating. This adds durability, excellent weather ability, seamless waterproofing membrane, UV resistance, and abrasion resistance.
These products may be applied with a roll-on or trowel process or applied with airless or conventional spraying equipment.