Epoxy vs Polyurethane: Which Floor Coating Is The Best?

epoxy vs polyurethane

If you ask for recommendations for your floor, most people would suggest either Epoxy or Polyurethane. Epoxy vs Polyurethane, are the most famous alternatives to the concrete floor. Usually, we use Epoxy or Polyurethane in spaces that receive foot traffic, spillage, stains, and others. Epoxy coatings and polyurethane coatings are widely used in industrial and commercial environments and industrial flooring worldwide. 

Both sorts of items have their own set of benefits and considerations, making it tough to choose between them. Both Epoxy and Polyurethane sound similar due to their properties but are two totally different flooring products.

The crucial difference between Polyurethane and epoxy systems is their molecular structure, which influences how molecules merge together through the curing process. Polyurethanes, in contrast to epoxies, have a greater crosslink density, making them very resistant. Before jumping to a conclusion about which one is better, let us know what both of them are.

Epoxy Floor Coatings

epoxy floor

Epoxy is a glossy, durable layer that makes a designer floor at a budget-friendly price. It’s an investment in your house, garage, or company. Epoxy flooring pays for itself by resisting grease, filth, chemicals, and other common messes. Epoxy flooring will beautify your area, transforming it into the garage of your dreams. There are many other benefits of Epoxy Flooring as well.

Epoxy is also preferred since the installation method is precise and well-designed. It’s designed to fill up microscopic cracks and defects in concrete floors and is noted for its durability. Professional Epoxy flooring is free of color changes or yellowing whether combined with colors, textures, or patterns. Epoxy paint is considerably less elastic and flexible than polyurethane because epoxy is tougher and more solid.

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Polyurethane Coatings

polyurethane floors

The word used in ordinary speech is frequently different from the accurate description, as with many industrial names. For example, it’s not unusual to hear the term “urethane” used as a shorthand for flooring. Yet, despite the wrong wording, this is a polyurethane product that is regularly advertised. 

Polyurethane is a polymer made up of organic units that are linked together by carbamate (urethane) linkages. Polyurethane may shield a surface against corrosion and other forms of deterioration. It can be glossy or matte in appearance. This sort of flooring is resistant to fire. Scratch resistance is possible if an extra coating is placed on top.

A polyurethane floor coating is a high-gloss, abrasion-resistant floor coating that is noted for its durability and flexibility. Unlike our Epoxy Flooring, which is constructed entirely of solids, even the most preferred polyurethane flooring (aliphatic polyurethane) is often 60 to 70% solids, depending on the manufacturer. 

Comments about polyurethane’s “resistance” are merely marketing ploys since the flooring is softer and more elastic than hardwood but extremely susceptible to dampness. In truth, unlike epoxy coating, polyurethane coating does not increase the thickness of a floor. Therefore, polyurethane is sometimes used as a transparent coat combined with epoxy.

Epoxy vs Polyurethane: Side-by-Side Comparison

Both epoxy and polyurethane are durable. While epoxy is hard, polyurethane is flexible and has higher cross-link density making the ideal for flexible surfaces. Polyurethane also has better chemical resistance. On the other hand, epoxy is more attractive and offers a wider variety of color and design options. Basically, both are great flooring options. You can choose either epoxy or polyurethane coating as a flooring option according to your choice.

Here, I have explained epoxy vs polyurethane from various comparison factors. Let me explain the difference between epoxy and polyurethane in detail by doing side by side comparison.

polyurethane vs epoxy


Polyurethane is made by combining polyols with diisocyanates or isocyanate compounds. Epoxy is made by a combination between an epoxy resin and a hardener that must be carefully mixed.

Both finishes have distinct characteristics due to the differences in paint make-up. Epoxy, for example, is thicker than polyurethane because epoxy requires the mixing of two coats in proportion.


Adhesion means how well the coatings bond with the surface material. When it comes to adhesion properties, Epoxy has a much better adhesion power compared to Polyurethane.

When epoxy resin and hardener are combined, the resulting epoxy bonds pretty well to any material, particularly hard surfaces such as concrete floors and masonry. Polyurethane also has a good adhesion power but not as good as Epoxy adhesion.


Both these coats are highly durable. For a coat to be durable, it should be able to adapt to various situations and should change according to the need. Epoxy is very hard and strong and doesn’t stretch much, its solid nature makes it very durable.

Whereas Polyurethane is soft and can stretch accordingly. This helps them to survive in cold, warm, and hot temperatures. So, we can say that both are highly durable.


Epoxy has a better application perspective compared to Polyurethane. Epoxy can help to level and repair bigger cracks and holes compared to Polyurethane which only has limited capabilities to fill cracks. So, this makes resurfacing concrete with epoxy a very good option.

You can choose the level of thickness in epoxy while Polyurethane offers only limited thickness. Epoxy is stronger compared to Polyurethane, so in places that face higher foot traffic, epoxy is the choice. There are different types of Epoxy floor coatings that serve various special applications.


Polyurethane has a lower hardness than epoxy paint. Polyurethane has a thick plastic-like texture that is softer than epoxy paint, particularly two-part epoxy.

This is why garage flooring is coated with two-part epoxies. Epoxy’s toughness makes it appropriate for use on surfaces that will be subjected to a lot of heavyweights.

Heat/Chemical Resistance

When it comes to heat and chemical resistance capacity, Polyurethane systems are better than Epoxy coatings. Polyurethane offers better chemical resistance and heat resistance. So, it’s preferable to use polyurethane in settings that have more exposure to chemicals and UV rays.

Epoxy vs Polyurethane: Price Comparision

The main difference between epoxy and polyurethane is their cost. Polyurethane coatings are typically more expensive than epoxy flooring. The epoxy flooring installation process is well-designed and more straightforward than that of Polyurethane flooring. That’s why the initial installation cost of polyurethane coating is higher.
Polyurethane flooring is slightly more durable than epoxy flooring. Epoxy flooring, on the other hand, is a cost-effective flooring option over polyurethane floor coating. If you have to choose a flooring option based on the price between epoxy and polyurethane, epoxy is always a better option.

Epoxy Vs Polyurethane For Various Application Areas

Both epoxy coating and polyurethane coating have a wide range of application areas. Let’s discuss which is better, epoxy or polyurethane, in different situations:

What’s Better For Wood Floors: Epoxy or Polyurethane?

Both epoxy and polyurethane coatings are great for wood floors. You can choose either epoxy or polyurethane coating for wood floors since they are very durable. Epoxy coating provides a very sturdy surface. Polyurethane handles the impacts better because they are very flexible, which makes them durable.

Epoxy floors have a harder surface than polyurethane floors. So, if you are looking to find a better solution for your home, polyurethane coating will have an advantage because it provides a soft surface to walk on. Polyurethane floors also provide better slip resistance when used on the wood surface. Polyurethane also provides better chemical resistance. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for customized designs, you should choose epoxy floors. Epoxy coating is also thicker than polyurethane coatings. So, if you are looking to change the level of your floor, you should choose epoxy coating. They also have better resistance to moisture & humidity, both of which can damage the wood floor quickly. Epoxy coating is also better at fixing extreme damage to your floor.

What’s Better For Chemical Laboratories & Food Industry

Obviously, the main requirement for a floor in a chemical laboratory & food industry is that it should be chemical resistant. While the epoxy coating is also resistant to chemicals, it cannot compare with polyurethane when it comes to chemical resistance. So, polyurethane coating is a better choice for a floor in a chemical laboratory & food industry.

What’s Better For Restaurants: Epoxy or Polyurethane?

Restaurants need a floor that is appealing to their customers. This means the floor needs to be attractive. Both the restaurant kitchen and dining space need a flooring system that is quite easy to clean. Restaurant floors also need to be strong in order to withstand heavy foot traffic. Based on these requirements, we can safely say that epoxy coating is a better option for restaurants. There will be no problem using epoxy for restaurants as it is an FDA-approved material.

What’s Better For Showrooms, Retail Stores, etc?

Epoxy is highly customizable. This means you can set the design of car showrooms, retail stores, salons, barber shops, etc based on your choice when you use an epoxy coating. Epoxy is the clear winner (design-wise) when choosing between epoxy and polyurethane coating. Polyurethane coating may be good but they do not provide a wide variety of designs. So, spaces that need to be attractive should always choose epoxy flooring.

Epoxy or Polyurethane: Which Is Better?

Now that we know the difference between Epoxy and Polyurethane, we can come up with a conclusion about which is better. Epoxy & polyurethane floor coating benefits are endless. But, there can only be one winner in epoxy vs polyurethane. Considering the points, Epoxy outweighs Polyurethane because of its build, strength, hardness, and its ability to fill in cracks and holes in the ground.

Also, Epoxy has way better adhesive power compared to polyurethane. But, epoxy doesn’t shine upon Polyurethane in every aspect. Polyurethane is better chemical and heat resistant compared to epoxy. But overall, Epoxy seems to be the better choice.

Epoxy is installed one step at a time, with great accuracy, care, and attention given to each element of the three-day procedure. Working with epoxy specialists entails a thorough makeover of one’s floor area, not just an experiment.

An expert will explain your alternatives in a well-thought-out manner, and your Epoxy Flooring may be installed over a long weekend or during the week when you’re otherwise engaged. The 7-day curing procedure will result in a durable, industrial-grade, high-end product.

Epoxy flooring should not be chosen purely based on word of mouth or even admiration of another’s flooring. To get a decent bargain, it shouldn’t be exclusively centered on price either. If your vision is an Epoxy surface, choose our 100% solids Epoxy which will continue to pay you back in its excellence and durability, for years to come!

Frequently Asked Questions

Epoxies are substantially harder than polyurethane, yet polyurethane is more scratch resistant. Polyurethanes do not adhere well to concrete and lack the self-leveling qualities that epoxies have when used on these surfaces.

Polyurethane are generally durable; they are not as robust as epoxy, but they are significantly more durable than wax. Polymers are the most adaptable in terms of appearance, since they may be matte, glossy, or anything in between. The greater the shine, the longer the product will last, according to one rule of thumb.

The main distinguishing factor between epoxy and polyurethane flooring is that epoxy is generally tougher, whilst PU is more flexible. Moisture-sensitive PU coatings and self-leveling materials are also more sensitive.

Newer polyurethane formulations function better than epoxies, but they take even longer to install as other choices — up to four days to completely cure — and they risk peeling and splitting because of their extended cure times.

The disadvantages of polyurethane are:
1) Polyurethane floors are more prone to scratches since they are softer than epoxy floors
2) They are sensitive to moisture. It may create bubbles on the floor surface
3) If a thin coating is applied, cracks may appear.

Polyurethane is generally more expensive than epoxy coating. However, the cost of both flooring depends on the materials used and application methods.


Ryan Pepple

My name is Ryan Pepple and I am the founder/president of Best Coast Epoxy Coatings Inc. I do all the residential jobs myself and use a crew to complete commercial jobs. You can call the number mentioned on the site to talk to me.

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