To understand the polyurethane vs epoxy flooring differences, we will first need to look at each category and understand what they really are. Although both resin applications have some similarities, they are easily identifiable by a few differences. While both can be called resins, the two should not be considered the same. For the purposes of comparison, this article will discuss the difference between the two materials by using flooring resin applications.
Polyurethane vs Epoxy Flooring Differences
What is Polyurethane?
Polyurethane is a plastic material invented in the 1930s as an original replacement for rubber. The material can be in a flexible or solid form. Polyurethane is the choice material used by companies that manufacture end-user products such as floor coatings, adhesives, sportswear, and even car parts. It is a more environmentally friendly material that is used in applications that benefit consumers because it is a more modern and safe plastic that makes the products conveniently versatile.
What is Epoxy?
Epoxy is a component or a material that you use in the making of epoxy resins. Epoxies were designed to speed up the chemical reaction of the additives during the curing process. Epoxies are able to withstand water, heat, and other harsh chemicals. They also make excellent structural adhesives because of the durability of epoxies and their ability to withstand heavy loads. You can find epoxies in a one-component application as well as a two-component application with an activator.
Molecular Structure of the Materials
The main difference between polyurethane vs epoxy is their molecular structures. Their different molecular structures determine how they will fuse during the curing process. The molecular structure of polyurethane makes the material harder to wear out. The durability is especially important for larger structural applications. The molecular structure of the polyurethane resin makes it an effective material in applications that will experience conditions such as high impact, a range of extreme temperatures, and chemicals that are corrosive.
Effectiveness for the Environment of Application
While polyurethanes are more durable, epoxies are a good option for application in environments with lesser extremes. Epoxies come in a wide range of colors making it good for adapting to different environments. What epoxies lack in durability, they make up for in the aesthetics and versatility in its application. With this, epoxies allow for better designs in homes, commercial spaces, and businesses.
Polyurethane applications are known to be heavier and thicker because of the impact expected on the flooring. Epoxies are more commonly used when there is an issue with weight and space because it is lighter and thinner. Epoxies are used in a wide range of environments like airports and even shopping centers. In these places, there is a lighter impact to the floor, unlike heavy industrial buildings or factories that are home to heavy machinery.
While we can compare polyurethane and epoxy flooring resin applications, it can’t be said that one is better than the other. It depends on what you need from the flooring over a longer period. When deciding on the type of application to use, look at what the environment will experience in terms of situations like impact.
In a heavy impact environment such as a factory with large machinery and equipment, polyurethane is the way to go due to its durability and absorption capacity. Will the environment experience heavy impacts or have lighter weight on it? If it is lighter weight, epoxies are a better option as they will not require the thicker layer. If you are looking to design the space in a certain way, epoxies will also be able to assist in the aesthetics. With these few factors in mind, it will not take long to decide which application is best for your specific need.
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