Epoxy Garage Flooring vs. Polyurea Floors for a Garage

Researched & Written by Craig

There are many ways to customize your garage so that it can fit your needs and preferences more.

You can consider, for example, what is the best air compressor for home garage, or should you get an epoxy or rather a polyurea flooring. The first one is not that hard to establish, as it highly depends on the size of your garage itself, but the second one is more disputable.

One day, you may notice the signs of wear and tear on your concrete floor, including chipping, staining, or cracking, and it will seem like the right time to implement a new, solid coating.

To make it easier for you to choose the right material, we’ve prepared a comparison between epoxy and polyurea coatings. Without any further ado, let’s jump right into it!

Installation

First, let’s compare the installation process in both cases. It can be a significant factor in your decision-making concerning the garage floor coating.

Polyurea Coating – Fast Drying and Odorless

Polyurea coating on a garage floor.

The look that the new polyurea coating gives is crisp, sleek, and very clear.

When applied on a concrete garage floor, Polyurea dries immediately. It doesn’t dry out when it is in the container or due to air exposure, so it can be applied evenly without any clumps. It goes on smoothly and can be absorbed by every crevice and pore of the concrete. As a result, a garage floor can easily be protected against peeling and cracking with Polyurea.

Another advantage of Polyurea coating is the quick set time. It takes around 4-8 hours to set before you can walk on it. With just 24 hours after application, you can drive your car over it.

This can be crucial in a business where every delay means losing revenue.

Also, the installation of a polyurea garage floor coating is associated with only a little or even no odor at all. This is thanks to the material being low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These are chemical gases that some products contain, characteristic for their unpleasant smell and long-term adverse health impact. The lack of odor makes polyurea coatings excellent for indoor surfaces.

Epoxy Coating – More Time-Consuming

Epoxy coating on a garage floor.

The average cost to apply epoxy to a basement floor is $3 to $7 per square foot.

Preparations for epoxy coatings take a little longer, mainly due to the prep work needed for every crack or chip on the original floor.

If a garage is small, one person is typically enough to complete the task by themselves. The process begins with cutting in with a 3″ brush and then rolling the inside area using a lint-free medium or short pile roller. In a double garage or one with a larger surface, it is recommended to have at least two installers. One can brush the coating to the perimeter of the interior, and the other can start from a set point internally and roll out from that spot.

If you choose a garage epoxy floor, it is advised to apply at least two coatings.

Every coat needs 12-48 hours before the next one can be applied.

You may see that the floor seems ready after just a couple of hours, but the truth is it requires a few days. You can facilitate this process with proper ventilation.

When it comes to returning your vehicle back to the garage, you should wait for a week to make sure the top coat is completely dry and solid, so make sure you have that much time.

Epoxy vs Polyurea: Durability

The durability of the epoxy garage floor coating depends on the type of materials it is made of.

This product has three main kinds: a solvent-based, a water-based, and a 100% solids one. It is not hard to guess that the third one is the sturdiest and the thickest one, but also the most expensive. The other two types are less durable, thinner, and less costly – they can do the job if they are installed correctly, but they will not last as long as the 100% solid epoxy garage floor coatings.

When it comes to polyurea flooring, it is stronger than even the most solid epoxy material.

What’s more it is amazingly flexible, so it can move along with the concrete garage floor when some shifts in temperature or weight appear. You just need to be aware that with higher durability comes a higher price, and polyurea floor coatings are usually more costly than those made of epoxy.

Also, don’t forget about UV resistance. If your garage flooring is often exposed to sun, epoxies may not be the best choice, as they are prone to ultraviolet. As a result, they can end up with the common problem of “hot-tire pickup,” meaning that due to epoxy delamination, a car tire bonds to the floor and peels the epoxy from the concrete.

Epoxy vs Polyurea: Prices

Let’s go deeper into the subject of prices. Epoxy garage coating for your floors appears as a more economical option. So if you do not have the funds to spend, it can be a good option as will be cheaper than the polyurea counterpart.

The typical price of Epoxy flooring is around $3-4 per square foot installed. Therefore, for a 2-car garage flooring, the cost of epoxy coating will usually be $1,500 – $1,800. When you choose a professional to install it for you, pay attention not only to the fee itself but also the warranty details – it should be offered for 12-36 months.

For a more durable, UV, and abrasion-resistant polyurea coating for your garage flooring, you will obviously have to pay more.

It often happens that people choose epoxy at first, but after it wears out, they realize that it may be a better choice to replace it with polyurea that is much longer-lasting.

This is especially vital for companies because if their garage floors cannot be used for some time, they end up with delays and losing profits.

The usual price of a polyurea floor coating is $5-7 per square foot installed. For a typical 2-car garage flooring, you will probably be charged $2000 – $2,800. When it comes to warranty, it can range from 7 years to even a lifetime. For the best results, always ensure that the contractor you selected is an approved installer for the materials the company suggests to use.

Epoxy vs Polyurea: Maintenance

To keep your epoxy coating for garage floors in good condition, you should remove any grit and dirt that can scratch the surface or become embedded inside over time.

You also need to remember cleaning up any chemical spills, such as gasoline, antifreeze, or oil. Some substances can even change the appearance of your garage floor coating if they are not removed quickly. If you use epoxy in a warehouse or a factory, it is advised to implement extra protection like welding mats. For heavy loads, plywood can prove useful to protect your floors from any damage. Also, remember about washing the epoxy surface regularly with a gallon of hot water, 2-3 ounces of ammonia, and a microfiber mop.

When it comes to polyurea flooring, it is more resistant to chemicals, abrasions, and physical impact.

Therefore, any spills should not harm your coating, but it is recommended to get rid of them for esthetic purposes anyway. You can just use a paper towel if it is a small spill, and if it is bigger, you will need a mop with water and a bit of a cleaner. As such a surface is polished and smooth, dry spills can be easily wiped with a broom. The top coat should stay glossy for years, but you can use a commercial product of your choice to wax and polish it when you see it is wearing out. Generally, mopping your polyurea flooring with water and a cleaning agent regularly will help you to keep it in good condition for a long time.

Conclusion

When thinking about new coatings for their garage floors, many people make a polyurea vs. epoxy comparison. Nowadays, the first option seems to be more popular (especially for commercial use) than the latter because it provides more benefits. It is more durable, easy to install, and resistant to abrasions, UV, and chemicals. They are both relatively easy to maintain and provide your concrete floor with some protection, but the epoxy variant is likely to wear out more quickly.

Therefore, if a slightly higher price is not a big problem for you, it might be a better idea to invest in a polyurea solution. In this way, you will keep your floor in excellent condition and will not have to replace its coating anytime soon.

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Thanks for reading, and have a great day!