What are Polyurea and Polyaspartic Garage Floor Coatings
This relatively new coating has become the latest favorite for installers as an alternative to epoxy. However, it has created some confusion for homeowners.
Polyurea is a subgroup of polyurethane. It is formed when isocyanates react with water or polyetheramines to create a urea linkage. Like epoxy, it is a 2-part component that mixes resin with a catalyst to cause the curing reaction that makes the material hard.
It has low to no VOC’s and has an elongation rate that exceeds 300%, making it much more flexible than epoxy. Because of its extremely fast cure rate most polyureas require specialized equipment for application.
Polyaspartic is a type of aliphatic polyurea and it has a longer pot life than polyurea. So in essence, all polyaspartics are a polyurea, but not all polyureas are a polyaspartic. This means, when you see a garage floor coating being advertised as a polyurea, or a polyurea polyaspartic, it is really some formulation of a polyaspartic coating.
Benefit of Polyaspartic Coatings
The two biggest advantages of a polyaspartic or polyurea garage floor coating are temperature and time. Unlike epoxy, a polyaspartic coating can be applied in temperatures as low as -30F to as high as 140F depending on the formulation. That means you don’t have to wait till spring or summer to coat your garage floor if you live in a colder climate.
Typical polyurea and polyaspartic floor coatings are applied in just two coats; the first being both the primer and color coat and the second being the clear coat. Because of their fast cure rates, 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 your garage for 3-4 days like you would for a full epoxy system.
There are many other benefits to a polyurea/polyaspartic floor coating as well. These include:
100% U.V. stability – they will never yellow.
Crystal clear finish that won’t blush from moisture in the concrete.
Similar high abrasion and scratch resistance to polyurethane.
High tolerance to heat, meaning hot tire pick up is a non-issue.
High film build-up that can be controlled by the applicator.
High gloss finish
High solids content with little to no VOC’s in most applications.
High stain and chemical resistance. This includes salts for winter climates.
Good flexibility for 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.
If you need to have a garage floor coating installed in less than ideal temperatures or need the advantage of being without your garage for only a day, then a professionally installed polyurea or polyaspartic floor coating may be just what you need.