Polyurethane is a polymer that has a significant presence in the flooring industry. Organic units that make up a polyurethane coating are connected by carbamates.
If you want to improve your floor, polyurethane coating can be a very good option. Epoxy coatings are less suitable in some areas. In such areas, polyurethane flooring can be a great alternative to epoxy floors. It is a more than capable protective coating for your floors. You can apply multiple layers of polyurethane coatings. Every extra layer of coating will improve the protection of your floor. Here are many different polyurethane products available in the market. You can choose the one that best fits your needs.
Polyurethane flooring can be found in many different forms. There are two main categories of polyurethane floor finishes.
- Transparent Flooring
- Opaque Flooring
Different types of opaque polyurethane floor finishes
Opaque polyurethane floor finishes can also be classified into many different types. They are:
Before applying the polyurethane coating, you have to make sure the area is well-ventilated. Then remove all the objects from the floor surface and clean the surface. You also need protective gear when applying the epoxy coating. The fumes produced during the installation process can be dangerous. The protective gear that you have to wear includes a respiratory mask, eye protector, and hand gloves.
Once all the debris is removed, you have to sand the floor for better adhesion. After that, vacuum the floor and clean the surface with mineral spirits to get rid of any dust present on the surface after sanding. After the dust is clear, you have to seal the area with masking tape to make sure that the polyurethane will not go to places where it shouldn’t.
After the preparation is complete, you can start applying the polyurethane coating. It’s best to mix all the polyurethane in one big jar before applying it for a more durable finish. Once the mixture is complete, you can use a clean stirrer to clean any lumps in the polyurethane. Then you start applying the polyurethane with a new paintbrush. Start applying the coating using a roller from a corner that is farthest from the exit to make sure that you will not have to walk over the surface where the coating has already been applied. After the first coat is applied, you have to wait for a few hours to apply the next coat. Read the instructions given in the polyurethane can and wait for the appropriate amount of time.
Once you have applied all layers of coat, use abrasive pads to even out the surface. Also, immediately clean any spills or unwanted debris on the surface of the final coat that has been recently applied.
Since the installation process for polyurethane floors can be complex, it’s best to hire a professional to do it.
Materials / Equipment Required To Install Polyurethane Floors
These are the materials and equipment that you’ll need to install polyurethane floors:
- Mineral Spirits
- Sanding Machine
- Stirrer Stick
- A Big Container/Jar
- A New PaintBrush
- Abrasive pads ( grit sandpaper, steel wool, e.t.c. )
- Lambswool Roller
- Masking Tape
- Paint Tray
- Cutting Pad
Here are some advantages of using polyurethane coating on your floor:
- Elasticity / Flexibility: Polyurethane floors are extremely elastic and flexible for a floor surface. They are very soft to walk on. It is the main feature that differentiates polyurethane from other flooring systems.
- Durability: Polyurethane floors are not as hard as other types of floor surfaces. But, they are still very durable because they are better at absorbing impacts because of their flexibility and elasticity. They are durable in every condition ( cold weather, hot weather, e.t.c. ) unlike some other flooring options that need a perfect condition to be durable.
- Chemical resistance: The surface underneath will not be damaged by any kind of chemicals when you use polyurethane coating. So, if you are working in a place where dangerous chemicals are used regularly, having a polyurethane coating will be helpful. They are resistant to both solvents and alkalis.
- Short curing time: They are a very short curing time compared to other flooring options. Water-based polyurethane’s curing time is especially quicker.
- Less chance of damage: They will not easily get scratched like other harder flooring options. Cracks are also less likely to appear.
- Resistant to high temperature: They are resistant to high temperatures which means that they can sometimes prevent accidental fire hazards.
- Slip Resistant: They are many flooring options that can make your floor surface less slippery. But, most of them will become slippery when they are wet. But, that’s not the case with polyurethane flooring systems. They will provide a very good grip even when they are slippery.
- Fit For Places That Need Sterile Conditions: Polyurethane is easy to clean and can also be applied in places where the conditions need to be sterile.
- Affordability: They are very durable meaning that you will save a lot on repair costs. When you eventually have to upgrade the floor, you can just replace the top coat among many layers of the top coat instead of having to change the entire flooring system.
These are some places, surfaces, or situations where polyurethane floors are superior or as good as other flooring options:
- Hardwood Floors
- Floors In Cold Areas
- Garage Floors
- Floors In Chemical Laboratories
- Pharmaceutical Industry
- Food Industry
Polyurethane For Wood Floors
Wood floors are a lot more flexible and elastic when compared to other types of surfaces like metal, concrete, e.t.c. So, it’s best to add a protective layer that is also very flexible to deal with the elongation of wood floors. Adding polyurethane coating will just enhance one of the main qualities of wood floors i.e. softness while walking. On the other hand, other protective floor coatings may remove the best property of wood floors. This makes polyurethane flooring the best option for wood floors.
Polyurethane For Garage Floors
Polyurethane coatings are great for your garage floors as well. They are resistant to chemicals like oil, grease, e.t.c. In case of liquid spills, the floor will not get slippery. Polyurethane will also make the garage floor extremely durable as its flexibility will easily take impact your cars. When your garage floors are flexible and soft, your cars will also have to bear less impact. It will be great for the longevity of your car as even minor impacts can pile up to create a big issue for your car. Polyurethane floors will reflect light making your garage space brighter.
Both water-based polyurethane and oil-based polyurethane are very common. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages.
In terms of looks, water-based polyurethane gives a more transparent look to the floor. So, if you like the look of your existing surface and do not want to make major changes to the looks, you should choose water-based polyurethane. On the other hand, oil-based polyurethane adds glow to your existing surface. The finish of an oil-based polyurethane coating is shinier when compared to water-based polyurethane. Some may the natural looks of water-based polyurethane and others may prefer the glow of polyurethane coating.
Water-based polyurethane contains less percentage of solids than oil-based polyurethane. It makes the oil-based polyurethane a more durable and stronger option. So, you have to apply more coats when you apply water-based polyurethane. Water-based epoxy dries quickly and you can apply the next coat within two hours of applying the previous coat. But, when you use oil-based polyurethane, you have to wait at least 5 hours to apply the next layer of coating. This also means your floor becomes unusable for longer when you use oil-based polyurethane. When applying the oil-based polyurethane, you have to put up with a strong odor. But, that’s not the case with water-based epoxy.
Polyurethane coating and epoxy coating have become very common flooring options. Their purposes and application areas are quite similar. So, they are often compared with each other. Many people do get confused about which one to choose.
Both flooring options are durable. Epoxy’s durability comes from its hardness and sturdiness. Polyurethane floors are durable because their flexibility allows them to absorb high impact. While polyurethane can handle a lot of pressure, it’s best to use epoxy floors in places like factories heavy trucks, equipment, e.t.c. If you’re looking for a flooring option that is very attractive and offers a wide variety of design options, you should choose epoxy floors.
If you looking for the best coating for places that are exposed to a high level of chemicals and UV rays, you should definitely choose polyurethane coatings. In low temperatures, epoxy can harden itself without curing properly. So, if you are not careful, you’ll not be able to get the desired finish with the epoxy floors. In that case, polyurethane is the better option.
If you are looking for a floor that is easier to install by yourself and doesn’t produce dangerous fumes, solid epoxies are a far better option.
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