Guide to Resinous Flooring Systems

Resinous floors will improve the durability and resistance of your existing floors. However, there is a multitude of coatings available that boast different properties, making some better options for specific applications than other floorings. Making the most informed decision requires knowing about all the types of floor resins available, including their advantages and applications. Following this guide to floor coatings can make that decision easier.

1. Epoxy Coatings

Epoxy Floor Coatings

Epoxy coatings are perhaps the best-known types resinous floor coatings. They have multiple advantages over concrete and metal floors for numerous facilities. With uses in many industries, epoxy floor coatings are versatile and essential for industrial and commercial applications.

What Are Epoxy Coatings?

Epoxy coatings differ in the curing agents used in their formulas. While multiple curing agents are available, some are more common than others. Two of the curing agents most often used with epoxy resins are polyamide and polyamine. These curing agents impart specific properties to the epoxies, so choosing the right curing agent is critical to the flooring’s performance.

Polyamide coatings have a molecular arrangement that lowers vapor pressure. Its specific chemistry makes polyamide epoxies better for primers. Properties of polyamides that make these epoxies better for primers include its wetting ability, adhesion, flexibility and re-coatability. While these coatings have good moisture and alkali resistance, they do not have as much resilience against chalk or acids.

Situations that require extra film hardness and chemical resistance in the flooring can use polyamine epoxies. Despite these benefits, polyamines have a lower pot life compared to other epoxy curing agents.

What Are the Benefits of Epoxy Coatings?

All epoxies share certain benefits, regardless of the curing agent. Seamless flooring prevents microbial growth by eliminating places for bacteria to hide. The smooth nature also makes epoxy floors easier to clean than other types of seamed floor systems. In situations that require protection from static electricity, epoxy coatings outperform other floor coverings because the epoxy dissipates the static. While epoxy itself is nonstick when dry, it can become slippery when wet. To mitigate this safety hazard, additives can be added to the liquid floor to provide some texture and slip resistance.

Epoxy coatings have several benefits over bare floors, especially in industrial and commercial applications. The epoxy’s curing agent type will determine the exact benefits of the surface. For instance, the polyamide offers benefits in resistance to abrasion, moisture and corrosion. It’s also extremely flexible.

If you select polyamine epoxies, compared to polyamide versions, the flooring will have the ability to withstand damage from heat, micro-induced corrosion and chemicals. Epoxies with polyamine are also useful window coverings.

Applications of Epoxy Coatings

Epoxy coatings have numerous applications. Facilities that use epoxy floor coatings include those in varied industries. Commercial applications of epoxies include hospitals, schools, laundries and retail facilities. These types of places must have flooring to withstand a lot of foot traffic without losing its ability to be adequately cleaned. Industrial uses of epoxy coatings include pharmaceutical plants, laboratories, clean rooms and manufacturing sites. In many industrial locations, the ability to sanitize the flooring is essential. That makes epoxies a good option for medical industries where cleanliness is paramount.

The downside to epoxy coatings is the amount of care required for safe installation of the flooring. The chemicals used can cause health problems, and prolonged exposure to them, as may occur with applicators, can increase the risk of developing sensitivities to epoxies. To ensure the safety of themselves and those who work nearby, those applying epoxy flooring systems must use ventilation, personal protection equipment and proper chemical handling methods.

While epoxies are popular, they still require mixing, and each layer must completely dry before another is added. Additionally, moisture from the flooring can seep through the epoxy. It also can be susceptible to damage from outdoor exposure to UV rays. These are not problems for many facilities that use epoxy flooring, but for facilities where these disadvantages could be problematic, other flooring systems are available, some used alone or in conjunction with epoxy coatings.

2. Polyaspartic Coatings

Polyaspartic Floor Coatings

An alternative to a slow-drying epoxy is polyaspartic coating. These dry fast enough to allow for multiple layers in a single day. For projects under a strict timeline, a polyaspartic coating’s drying speed becomes useful. But this coating has other advantages, too, and properties that make it better suited for particular uses than for others.

Thanks to new developments in coating materials, now, a polyaspartic coating is available that can be applied without a primer in a single coat. With a fast-drying option that does not require a primer coat when applied to metal, facility managers can upgrade floor coverings in less time. Despite its fast drying time, the new polyaspartic maintains the standards set by the coating industry for resistance to corrosion and weathering.

What Are Polyaspartic Coatings?

Before it became a popular flooring option, the polyaspartic coating was used to protect steel beams and girders from corrosion when exposed to weather. Today, it still has this application in addition to creating high-gloss, fast-drying flooring in many building types. This coating comes from integrating aliphatic polyurea into the mixture. The chemical combination gives this floor covering its protective qualities.

What Are the Benefits of Polyaspartic Coatings?

Polyaspartic coatings serve as a lower volatile organic compound, VOC, emitting option. This property puts fewer pollutants into the air during application, making it a greener, healthier alternative. Lower emissions from the coating is always a good option, especially if the surface requires application in an occupied space, but a polyaspartic coating also dries quickly — in hours rather than days.

Applications of Polyaspartic Coatings

Due to its corrosion resistance and high-gloss, this flooring option is ideal for places that require a floor to withstand harsh conditions. Its flexibility and impact resistance make it suitable for warehouse floors and other concrete surfaces. Like it was initially used, it can still be applied to exposed metal beams and girders to protect them from the elements in outdoor settings.

3. Methyl Methacrylate MMA Coatings

Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) Floor Coatings

Like polyaspartic coatings, methyl methacrylate, MMA, resins dry quickly and wear tough for long-lasting durability. The properties of MMA coatings make it better for sites that require disinfecting and rapid drying time. For those in a hurry, MMA may be the resin of choice for the flooring system.

What Are MMA Coatings?

MMA is used to create resins as well as the durable product Plexiglas. When methyl methacrylate is used as a coating, it allows concrete to repel water. In facilities that have consistently wet floors, this surface is a viable option. While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not consider MMA to cause cancer in humans, it can cause some health problems.

Due to the irritating nature of MMA to the lungs, eyes and skin, those installing MMA resins or floor coatings should have appropriate protective wear and experience. The odor from MMA during application, though harmless to long-term health, is strong enough to cause dizziness and illness in some. Cross-ventilation is a must when coating with MMA resins.

What Are the Benefits of MMA Coatings?

MMA coatings dry quickly, in as little as an hour. In places with a short time for floor coating, MMA is one of the best options for a fast-drying, durable resin. Additionally, methyl methacrylate resists staining and damage from solvents, salts, fats, alkalis and natural acids. It creates a seamless surface that adheres to future refresher coats.

Applications of MMA Coatings

Due to its water-repellent and seamless nature, MMA is often used as an industrial protective coating in locations such as pharmaceutical facilities and food or beverage processing plants or storage areas. Supermarkets that also need durable, easy-to-clean flooring are only one of the many commercial applications for MMA coatings. In these areas, preventing microbial growth is not optional. It is required by law. Without seams or pores, bacteria have nowhere to take root in an MMA floor. The seamless floor is easy to disinfect, and most common disinfectants will not harm it.

4. Urethane Cement Flooring

Urethane Cement Flooring

While fast-drying floor coverings are suitable when the time is tight, sometimes, slower drying products are better because they increase working time to ensure a smooth application. Urethane cement floors, like epoxies, have longer working time. These floors are combination products that mix concrete with urethane to reap the benefits of both. While standard urethanes are used for single layers, urethane cement flooring is an all-in-one system that doesn’t need primers.

What Are Urethane Cement Floors?

Urethane is a trusted floor covering option but adding Portland cement and sand to the urethane improves many of the urethane’s original qualities. With cement incorporated in the mixture, the flooring can be as thick as a quarter-inch and can protect in multiple applications better than other varieties of urethane.

What Are the Benefits of Urethane Cement Flooring?

Urethane cement flooring solves many of the problems with epoxy floors such as decolorizing, vapor emission and blistering. By mixing cement into the urethane, the layer acts as a stellar sealant. This surface protects the floor from chemical damage and can be laid at lower temperatures.

When installing a floor, urethane cement can stand in for the primer with or without an epoxy coating on top. The Portland cement in the mixture blocks water from rising through the base floor, even without a moisture barrier. This durable flooring resists microbial growth and prevents thermal shock on the surface. With this type of flooring, creating a non-skid floor is done merely by adding extra sand on top of the floor. Add grout coating on top to keep the sand in place.

When working in a cold space, the number of flooring options is significantly limited by the lower temperatures preventing proper drying, but urethane cement floors can be applied at colder temperatures than other options. This temperature range for application means refrigerated units or outdoor loading docks during winter can have durable floors.

Applications of Urethane Cement Flooring

With its stellar durability, urethane cement flooring appears on commercial and industrial floors across many industries. Anti-microbial properties mean food processing plants, drink manufacturers, commercial kitchens and pharmaceutical companies can use this flooring. Its low drying temperature makes this one of the few options for chilled areas like refrigerated warehouses or storage units. Manufacturing facilities, machine shops and other industrial buildings can use heavy-duty urethane cement mortar mix, which resists abrasions best at its thickest depth of one-quarter inch.

5. Aliphatic Urethane Coatings

Aliphatic Urethane Floor Coatings

Most other coatings are often used alone to create the flooring system, but others, like aliphatic urethane, is commonly used with epoxies. Typically used as a topcoat, aliphatic urethane is another urethane coating for industrial and commercial flooring systems. This coating creates a durable, antimicrobial top layer that produces a high gloss for both practicality and beauty. It can also mitigate some of the disadvantages seen with epoxy floors when used as a topcoat.

What Are Aliphatic Urethane Coatings?

Aliphatic urethane is not used in isolation in a flooring system. It often is used as a topcoat to rectify the issues epoxies have with blistering and lack of durability in outdoor applications. Adding a coating of aliphatic urethane over epoxy improves the performance and longevity of the flooring system.

What Are the Benefits of Aliphatic Urethane Coatings?

Aliphatic urethane seals floors against water and chemical penetration, protecting the epoxy beneath. This topcoat increases the UV and weather resistance of the flooring, making it a preferred option for outdoor applications.

Aliphatic urethane has other uses as well. Other benefits this topcoat option brings are higher wear and chemical resistance, increased toughness and greater flexibility. Unlike some other flooring options, aliphatic urethane can bond equally well to concrete or epoxy. This bonding property makes this product suitable for use as a surface sealant or as a topcoat to enhance epoxy floorings.

Applications of Aliphatic Urethane Coatings

Industries that can use aliphatic urethane over flooring in their facilities are as varied as airports and manufacturing. The increased wear against traffic and abrasions mean this topcoat is best for warehouses and high foot-traffic areas such as warehouses and public venues like malls and airports. Industrial facilities that deal with liquids and experience chemical spills should use a chemically resistant flooring like aliphatic urethane. With its UV and heat resistance, this floor coating is suitable for outdoor applications, but applications for this topcoat extend beyond these uses, too. Many other industrial and commercial facilities that require the protective benefits and tough wearing of this substance can use it in their commercial floor coating systems.

Floor Coating System Durability Cure Time Time Until Traffic Ready Flexibility Wear/Abrasion Resistance Chemical Resistance Moisture Resistance Anti-Microbial
Epoxy Coatings Good 8 hours 48 hours Average Good Good Average Yes
Polyaspartic Coatings Good 1 hour 48 hours Good Good Good Average Yes
Methyl Methacrylate (MMA) Coatings Great 10 minutes 48 hours Good Great Great Average Yes
Urethane Cement Flooring Excellent 8 hours 48 hours Below Average Excellent Excellent Excellent Yes
Aliphatic Urethane Coatings Great 8 hours 48 hours Good Great Excellent Excellent Yes

Find Your Resinous Flooring System Here

We have 30 years of experience in commercial and industrial flooring. Our company has lasted that long because of our competitive prices, practical solutions and professional workmanship. See how we can improve your facility with a new flooring system. Our wide range of resinous flooring solutions means we will have the coating your facility needs. From fast-drying MMA coatings to durable aliphatic urethane topcoats, our selection and expertise will ensure you have the perfect flooring. Contact us at Penncoat today by filling out our form online to take the next step in getting your resinous flooring system.