What Is the Difference Between Polyaspartic and Polyurethane?

On December 9, 2022

Polyurethane and polyaspartic coatings are the best options if you need durable protection for your concrete floors. However, they have different properties, so it’s critical to understand the difference before choosing one.

This blog post explains the key differences between polyurethane and polyaspartic top coats so you can choose the best one for your specific needs.

What Is a Polyurethane Coating?

Polyurethane is a reaction polymer comprising a polyol resin and a curing agent. Simply defined, it is a liquid that dries into a paint-like film or underlying layer.

However, polyurethane coatings usually work best as top coats. They create a relatively thin film that protects your concrete surfaces from chemicals, oils, spills, and wear from a heavy foot or automotive traffic. They also provide a beautiful glossy finish.

While polyurethane coatings provide several similar protective properties as polyaspartic coatings, they have a few differences, including the following:

Polyurethane coatings often cost less than their polyaspartic counterparts.

Polyurethane costings have a longer cure time of 24 to 48 hours. Meanwhile, a polyaspartic top coat can cure in a few hours.

Polyurethane is usually solvent-based and may contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, you can find some coatings with low-VOC formulations.

Polyurethane coatings or sealers can come in water-borne formulations. However,  it’s impossible to formulate polyaspartic polyurea in waterborne forms.

Since polyurethane offers numerous similar benefits as polyaspartic coatings, including UV protection, you can use them in various spaces, including residential garages, warehouses, and commercial spaces.

What Is a Polyaspartic Coating?

Polyaspartic is a hybrid substance that resembles polyurethane. Its use dates to the 1990’s when it served as a steel coating in bridges. A polyaspartic coating is an aliphatic polyurea protective layer applied to concrete or metal surfaces through painting, plastering, or spraying to prevent erosion and corrosion.

Like polyurethane coating, these 100% solid, fast-curing, and UV-resistant coating systems penetrate the surfaces and protect them from stains, scratches, and cracking. These attributes make polyaspartic coatings popular for residential, commercial, and industrial concrete flooring, offering long-lasting beauty and protection.

We’ve seen that polyaspartic and polyurethane coatings offer several similar advantages. However, polyaspartics provide a few more benefits:

Polyspartic coatings cure quickly. Thanks to their faster return-to-use time, these coatings are an excellent option if you can’t close your business for prolonged periods.

Polyaspartics don’t contain VOCs, emitting less odor and ensuring cleaner air than their polyurethane counterparts.

It is possible to apply polyaspartic coatings in a thicker layer. As such, you can use these coatings as a complete flooring system instead of just a top coat. Since you can apply them in a thicker coating, you can minimize the number of coats necessary to ensure maximum protection.

Thanks to their quick cure time and unique qualities, polyaspartic coatings are an excellent flooring option for industrial garages, showrooms, restaurants, and other commercial spaces.

Chemical Differences Between Polyurethane and Polyaspartic Coatings

Polyaspartic and polyurethane coatings derive their unique qualities from their production process. Polyurethanes result from the reaction of polyisocyanate and polyalcohol (polyol) with the help of a catalyst and various additives.

Isocyanates can be aliphatic or aromatic. That means you’ll get either an aliphatic polyurethane or aromatic polyurethane, depending on the isocyanate used in the reaction.

On the other hand, the reaction between a polyisocyanate and an amine-terminated polyester resin results in a polyurea. The reaction between an aliphatic polyisocyanate and a diamine produces polyaspartic polyurea, simply called “Polyaspartic.”

Which Is Better: Polyspartic or  Polyurethane?

Polyaspartic and polyurethane coatings are both excellent choices for floor coatings. But which one should you choose?

While polyurethane is more hard-wearing, polyaspartic coating offers better flexibility. Therefore, polyurethane is a better option if you want a coating that can withstand heavy traffic.

On the other hand, polyaspartic makes a better option if you want a coating that can assume the shape of the surface on which you apply it.

Both coatings offer exceptional abrasion resistance and will protect your surfaces from regular wear and tear. So, the coating option to choose depends on your specific needs.

Contact Rush & Reef Concrete Coatings for Polyaspartic Coatings in Dallas

Now that you understand the difference between polyurethane and polyaspartic coatings, Rush & Reef Concrete Coatings is the go-to company if you need top-quality polyaspartic top coats in Dallas, TX.

We provide epoxy and polyurea base coats and polyaspartic top coats. In addition, our epoxy coatings come with a lifetime warranty. Contact our team at Rush & Reef Concrete Coatings at (469) 389-5807 for a free quote on all your floor coating needs

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