Did you know that concrete can last around 50 years with proper care? While this is the general lifespan of concrete, it’s rare for a homeowner’s concrete to last so long. How can you stop your garage floor’s concrete from dusting, cracking, or otherwise ruining?
One of the best ways is with garage floor coatings. Polyurea vs. polyaspartic floor coatings is one of the longest-running arguments in concrete floor coatings, but which is best?
Picking a winner is difficult, as both are great for their purposes. Read on for more information on both coatings and which is best for you.
Threats to Concrete
To begin, what sort of forces are threatening your concrete flooring? Many of us believe concrete to be one of the toughest materials you can use in construction. Why does such a rugged material need protection?
Concrete is strong, but it’s far from impervious. Here are four of the largest threats to concrete.
One of the first things that will ruin your concrete is weathering over time. Any material will weaken as the years go on, and concrete is no exception.
Direct sunlight is exceptionally corrosive to concrete. To this end, most garage floor coatings have UV resistance in them to help shield the concrete from sunlight.
If your concrete is new, then such issues are more of a threat. Trying to set concrete in an environment that’s too hot or humid can cause the concrete to set poorly. As a result, cracks and breaks will appear in the cement and worsen from there.
Extreme heat and cold are the most common weathering effects that will threaten your concrete. Snow, hail, and other types of precipitation can cause issues as well. Keep your concrete safe from the elements to extend its life.
Speaking of elements, water is the most dangerous thing for an uncoated floor. Small cracks in concrete are easy targets for water to seep into.
Over time, water will cause the concrete’s cracks to grow and worsen. The process can become severe enough that the cracks go through the entirety of your garage floor.
Worse, it’s difficult to patch-repair concrete and keep it aesthetically pleasing. While you can mix new concrete and patch it over the crack, this will often leave a difference in color or elevation. Many choose to place a rug over the crack instead, but this doesn’t solve the damage as it grows.
In winter, water that seeps into the cracks can freeze. When it freezes, it will expand and make the crack larger. A few medium-sized cracks can be all it takes to ruin your concrete floor.
If you’ve spent much time in a garage with an unsealed concrete floor, you may have noticed fine dust around. The white dust is most concentrated on the floor but can blow around the room with air and wind.
The dust is from the top of the concrete slowly rubbing away and dusting off. Such dust can provide an issue for people with respiratory problems like asthma. Regardless of any existing issues, inhaling the dust can damage your lungs.
Disregarding the severe health risks, many also find the dust unsightly. It’s seen as a sign of a concrete floor that isn’t being cared for properly. While you can sweep the dust out with a broom, the dust will return as the concrete continues to fade away.
Concrete floor coatings are the best fix to this problem. The concrete is protected under a sturdy “shield” of sorts that will stop the dusting. Not only will this extend your concrete’s life, but it will also stop the dust from getting into the air.
Cracking is the result of multiple stresses on your concrete. Over time, an unprotected concrete floor is guaranteed to begin cracking.
Weather and temperatures are the most likely causes of cracking. However, even if kept safe from these forces, weight and strain will cause the eventual cracking. Driving your car in and out of the garage will put many tons of weight, straining the floor.
There are also threats from the turning of your vehicle’s wheels. Large vehicles can leave skid marks and rub away the top layer of the concrete. As time goes on, these issues will become bad enough to crack the concrete.
Regardless of your eventual choice in polyurea vs. polyaspartic coatings, both are great for protecting your concrete from this threat. Having a top layer to shield from tire marks will stop the turning wheels from rubbing away the top layer.
Now that we better understand some of the threats to concrete, we can begin looking at our choice of coatings. While there are many epoxy alternatives, polyurea and polyaspartic coatings are the most popular.
Here’s a quick guide on what to expect with polyurea garage floor coatings.
One of the most notable benefits of polyurea coatings is that they’re installed quickly. Many choose to do these installations themselves if they have DIY masonry experience. It’s better to hire professionals, as a small flaw in the coating can damage its integrity and ruin its protection.
Polyurea forms a long-lasting chemical bond with the concrete rather than sitting on top. As a result, it lasts significantly longer and provides stronger protection than other epoxy alternatives. Small flaws in the concrete would be fatal for other garage floor coatings but pose less of a threat to polyurea.
Additionally, polyurea is one of the hardest garage floor coatings. It’s extremely durable but also provides a level of flexibility that stops it from breaking.
Finally, polyurea is resistant to cracking, chipping, and fading away. The coating is long-lasting and will provide years of protection to your concrete floor.
Polyurea is installed similarly to other types of epoxy alternatives. You’ll first want to prepare the surface by removing any sealers, dust, trash, and other contaminants from the ground.
Afterward, repairing cracks, joints, and other flaws is necessary. From there, you can apply the primer and install the coating as usual.
You should discuss the installation with the professional team that’s examining your garage. Their process may vary from others.
Polyurea has a long lifespan, particularly when cared for properly. You can expect the coating to last for around three decades.
Maintenance is still necessary – you won’t install polyurea and then move on. Make sure you’re performing the proper care to keep your polyurea lasting as long as it can.
With polyurea’s many benefits, it’s difficult to think of something better. Polyaspartic coatings give polyurea strong competition with many benefits that people prefer over its competition. Keep reading to make an informed decision in the polyurea vs. polyaspartic debate.
Polyaspartic coatings aren’t installed as quickly as polyurea. A slowed-down rate allows the coating to be applied over time, helping the team be thorough and avoid flaws.
The coating is also more affordable than most alternatives. While it isn’t cheap to coat an entire garage, it’s cheaper than polyurea and many other epoxy alternatives.
Polyaspartic coatings need a base coat before installation. The cause of this is that the coating will bond to the concrete, but cure too quickly. The result of this is that the bond will fail as the concrete naturally cracks.
Additionally, polyaspartic coatings aren’t resistant to acid. If you spill something strongly acidic over the coating, it can quickly eat through and ruin the flooring.
The coatings are also impossible to install while moisture is present. Once installed, the smooth surface does not provide a strong grip. Water on the surface will be a slippery falling hazard.
You can get around the slipperiness of the coating with a non-slip additive while installing the coating. Unfortunately, this will increase the cost of the flooring.
Finally, the floors are tough and great at protecting the concrete. While this is a great benefit, it also provides difficulty with any further modifications to the floor.
Installation for polyaspartic coatings takes longer.
Still, installing concrete floor coatings isn’t easy in any situation. If you aren’t practiced or knowledgeable about synthetic materials, it’s often best to hire professionals.
Installation involves preparing the floor by removing any contaminants and flaws. Afterward, layers are placed over time. Be sure to add a base layer to stop the polyaspartic from bonding too tightly with the concrete.
If installed properly, polyaspartic has a lifespan of about two decades. With proper care, the flooring will last a few years longer.
The lower lifespan is one of the reasons that polyaspartic is cheaper than polyurea. However, twenty years is still a great lifespan for a protective flooring. If you own your home, you won’t need to redo the polyaspartic for quite some time.
If you’re selling your home, polyaspartic coatings are a great way to increase its value. You won’t need to worry about the lower lifespan, but the coating will make the house sell for significantly more.
Polyurea vs. Polyaspartic Garage Floor Coatings
The polyurea vs. polyaspartic debate has gone on for years with no clear winner because both are fantastic choices. Polyurea is wonderful for its long-lasting and aesthetically-pleasing protection. Polyaspartic is a strong competitor for its lower price and easier installation.
For more information on which epoxy alternatives are best for you, be sure to browse our site. You can also contact us to learn more about our American-made polyurea and application equipment.