As an industrial facility manager tasked with choosing a fresh flooring system, there are several aspects to consider, as every facility has different goals and requirements. But whatever your facility’s needs are, chances are you’ll eventually weigh the pros and cons of urethane and epoxy flooring coatings.
These resin-based systems look identical to an untrained eye. They’re both long-lasting, provide waterproofing and protect your concrete floors from costly damage. It can be harder to identify differences between the systems – but these subtle variances can have a big impact on your eventual decision.
Here are a few areas to explore when comparing urethane and epoxy coatings.
Installation Time and Considerations
Realistically, how much time can your facility take to install a new flooring system? Epoxy coatings can take up to a week to fully dry and cure. Additionally, epoxy based flooring systems are sensitive to moisture vapor transmission, causing them to blister and delaminate.
Urethane cement offers a shorter installation period and return to service time. It is also much less susceptible to failure due to moisture vapor transmission but can become difficult to install once the ambient temperature gets above 90 degrees.
If your facility undergoes dramatic temperature changes, experiencing expanding and contracting cycles, flexibility could be a deciding factor in your flooring system choice. When finished, epoxy creates a hard and long lasting but inflexible surface. As your facility floor expands and contracts with temperature, your epoxy floor could crack. In contrast, a urethane concrete, expands and contracts with your floor making it a more suitable choice for spaces with drastic temperature swings, like some manufacturing and food processing facilities.
Chemical and Bacterial Resistance
At some industrial facilities, including those in the healthcare, pharmaceutical or food processing industries, sanitation and chemical resistance is of utmost importance. The good news is that epoxy and urethane cement flooring systems both provide seamless coverage and can withstand thorough, frequent cleaning. You may also want to investigate cove base installation to improve sanitation, which provides a smooth transition between the floor and the wall.
Urethane cements are particularly resistant to organic chemicals, such as lactic acid, often making it an ideal choice for some food processing facilities (particularly those working with dairy). Moreover, urethane may be formulated with intrinsic anti-microbial properties, enhancing its ability to fight bacterial proliferation. Epoxy, on the other hand, offers more resistance to harsh artificial corrosives, like sulfuric acid.
The Best of Both Worlds
Why not go with one, when you could go with both? Depending on your facility goals, you may decide to install epoxy and urethane cement in tandem. Identifying the proper flooring option based on an areas specific requirements, can lower the overall cost of your flooring while minimizing costly flooring mistakes.
Working with a skilled contractor can help you find the right flooring system to meet your industrial facility’s goals and requirements. With a deep understanding of a variety of coating formulations, we can help you get the most value from your design investment. Contact us today.