The "problems" that people commonly know about polyurea include things like UV stability, the seemingly slippery surface, and the "high" cost. In reality, these "problems" are most often a result of poor product quality, incorrect installation, and a misunderstanding of the benefits and limitations of polyurea products. Webfoot addresses the 7 most often mentioned problems with polyurea and we use our expert knowledge to put the rumors to rest.
1. Costs More than Other Coatings
Chemline, a trusted industry supplier for nearly 30 years, calls polyurea “the premium coating option.” (source) Due to this status as premium, the most common issue with polyurea is the high price point.
However, the value of polyurea coatings is seen in both the long-term performance and efficiency of the product. They can be installed in one-day, but will last 15+ years. Unlike other flooring options, polyurea coatings won’t require regular replacement or costly regular maintenance. When looked at on a 15-year timeline, polyurea coatings cost more upfront, but less over time. This timeline is illustrated in the graph below, which shows a cost comparison of different garage flooring options over 15 years.
Over a period of 15-years, polyurea cost less than other flooring options.
For a space where you are looking for your floor to last for the long haul, investing in polyurea is a great choice. If you have a space where you want the most cost-efficient option just for right now, then other coating options may be the right fit for your budget and needs.
2. Different Product, Different Performance
Variations in the coatings marketed as polyurea lead to misconceptions about performance. Here are a two commonly misunderstood products on the market:
Aromatic systems are not light-stable, despite being durable and long-performing in all other ways. In sunlight, the coating’s color will fade, but the coating won’t deteriorate in the way a polyurea polyaspartic would. Because of this light-sensitivity, aromatic polyurea is not a quality choice as a topcoat, but functions as a strong and reliable basecoat. In contrast, In contrast, aliphatic polyurea systems are light-stable, which means they don’t change color when exposed to light. They also have a high-gloss finish that adds a valuable aesthetic improvement to your space. As a result, they are a great choice for topcoat applications. So, if used as a basecoat with an aliphatic polyurea topcoat, a coating using aromatic polyurea is 100% UV stable.
All polyaspartics are a polyurea, but not all polyureas are polyaspartic. A polyaspartic is a polyurea with a slowed-down cure rate. The purpose of this is to allow the coating to be applied over a longer time frame and in a more traditional manner. Polyaspartic mixtures function well for a topcoat application, but there are limitations when used as a basecoat. As a basecoat, they will form a weaker surface bond to raw concrete that deteriorates over time. However, a polyaspartic polyurea will function well as a topcoat and allow for installation and cure time in less than 48 hours. For these reasons, you should avoid 2-layer polyaspartic systems, because they won't have the workhorse characteristics of a pure polyurea system.
When choosing a polyurea floor, knowing the details of the product can help you get the benefits you are looking for.
3. Professional Installation Required
Polyurea concrete coatings are not DIY-friendly. Coatings not installed by a professional lead to errors that can ruin the durability and longevity of your polyurea floor.
Polyurea concrete coatings have a narrow margin for error, and require high levels of precision. In fact, when consumers watch professionals install polyurea they describe it as a 'two-man dance' because of the efficient coordination that crews need when working with short cure times. Using the correct equipment and being fully educated about the mixing of polyurea compounds is needed to get the right result.
High-quality industrial-grade equipment is also necessary to properly prep a concrete surface for the application of polyurea. Without thorough grinding and mending of the floor, the concrete coating won’t successfully adhere to the surface and this impacts its performance.
To enjoy the benefits of polyurea as a coating, you should get your floor installed by a professional who gets their product from a reputable manufacturer and has the tools and experience to do a high-quality job.
4. Appears Slippery When Finished
Aliphatic polyurea topcoats, or pure polyurea coatings, are appreciated for their smooth and high-gloss finish. At a glance, it’s easy to feel concerned about the surface being slippery when wet. It’s required for outdoor and pool-side coatings to include a slip-resistant additive, but it’s also good to consider if this is useful in an indoor space. If you’re using your garage as a home gym, or want to coat your mudroom, choosing to include silica sand in your topcoat is a safe choice. Or, if you’re coating a steep surface like an inclined walkway.
There are two types of silica sand as options: 4095 heavy grit and a lighter, shark grip. Or, you can use a mixture.
5. When & Where Polyurea is the Right Choice
Polyurea is the best choice for both indoor and outdoor residential spaces. This includes garages, entryways/mudrooms, driveways, patios, and walkways. But we also see polyurea as an exceptional option for many commercial spaces. Polyurea is anti-porous, anti-chemical, and anti-microbial making it easy to clean in businesses like pet facilities, salons, or locker rooms. It’s also a way to repair commercial entryways, or walkways, in cold climates where exposed concrete can be damaged by the use of snowmelt and rock salt. In these situations, a coating with an anti-slip additive is a long-lasting and safe improvement.
6. Two Damages that Void the 15-year Warranty
A pure polyurea coating is incredibly durable, but not entirely indestructible. Although pure polyurea is likely the right choice for most residential and commercial spaces, it does have limitations. The two things that void your warranty are battery acid and metal-studded tires. These things won’t cause your coating to immediately crack or peel, but will erode the coating over time.
Beyond acid or tire studs, a polyurea concrete coating won’t hold failing concrete together. In the occurrence of a natural disaster that breaks your concrete and causes substrate failure, our coating won’t function as glue. Luckily, Webfoot Concrete Coatings can be called to repair any cracks and damage.
7. What Polyurea Can & Can’t Repair
As part of the installation process, normal wear and tear like cracking will be mended. But, there are a few things that polyurea can’t repair, like a crooked floor. Polyurea coatings are not self-leveling, because they are a thin coating that is absorbed into the pores of your concrete. Just like they won’t mend structurally failing concrete, they won’t level out your crooked floor.
Polyurea Concrete Coatings at Webfoot
Advantages of Polyurea Coatings
The advantages of polyurea are dependent on the variety, or purity, of the polyurea product. Different products have very different physical properties and life spans. Webfoot examines polyurea in-depth to explain why we've committed to our multi-layered pure polyurea system.
Professional concrete coatings deliver professional results. We’re supporters of a good DIY project, but when it comes to concrete coatings we make it look easy because we’ve mastered the art. We’ll resurface your floor following a 5-part process: grinding, mending, basecoat application, chip system broadcasting (optional), and topcoat application. And we’ll do it all in one-day.
Polyurea Concrete Coating Cost
Polyurea concrete coatings are a great choice if you are willing to invest more money upfront for a type of coating that will last long-term. The overall total cost of your project will vary based on the 5 Cost Factors of a Concrete Coating Project.