Polyaspartic vs Epoxy

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Polyaspartic vs. Epoxy

During your search for the right garage floor coating, you’ve probably come across options for epoxy and a newer product called polyaspartic. These concrete coatings seem similar, so naturally, you want to know the difference. This head-to-head comparison of polyaspartic vs. epoxy will get you all the answers you need.

Both options offer durable, attractive coatings that can transform your garage from “blah” to “ta-da!” – but there are still key differences that can inform your purchase. In order to make the right choice between epoxy and polyaspartic, you’ll need to know what they are, how to apply them, and of course, the pros and cons of each. 

What is Epoxy Coating?

Epoxy paint is a resin polymer that has been used to protect concrete garage flooring for decades. As a general rule of thumb, epoxy works best indoors, so this chemical-resistant and slip-free surface is perfect for the garage environment, where spills and puddles can create a challenge.

Typical garage floor epoxy application consists of a primer, a color base coat, and two surface coatings of polyurethane. The style is highly customizable, which is a plus for those looking for a specific style.

In addition to the color base, you can choose the finish, so you can go with a high gloss or a more matte look if that’s your thing. On top of all that, you get to decide if you want to introduce color chips to the mixture. It’s like the cherry on top of a perfect floor.

Cons of Epoxy Garage Flooring

  • Affordable: When you’re working on a budget, epoxy will offer a quality coating without putting too much pressure on your pocketbook.
  • Durable: Epoxy dries hard, so it can withstand the high traffic and other demands of your garage.
  • Chemical-resistant: Regular battery acid and oil spills in your garage? That won’t be a problem!
  • Style options: Spruce up your garage floor with your choice of color, finish, and mix-ins. You truly get the opportunity to customize your floor.
  • Long pot life: This coating won’t dry up in the middle of the project, so you can complete manual application without a huge rush.
  • Adheres easily: The longer drying time ensures that epoxy forms a solid bond with the concrete floor. It’s not going to lift up and peel away.

What is Polyaspartic Floor Coating?

Polyaspartic is a hybrid material that resembles polyurethane. It was first developed in the ‘90s as a coating for steel in bridges and used for its corrosion-resistant properties. This alternative to epoxy is also known as an aliphatic polyurea sealer, which is a mix of ester and other materials.

Manufacturers can change the amount of ester to customize polyaspartic to have different traits, such as quick drying times and limited gas emissions after application. These innovations make it more versatile than traditional epoxy.

Usually, this coating has a clear, glossy finish. On its own, it creates the look of a wet concrete floor. You can add color to the mixture for a bolder look if desired. Often, people will distribute decorative chips across the surface of a still-wet coating to introduce a bit more color and non-slip texture.

Cons of Polyaspartic Garage Flooring

  • Expensive: The benefits of polyaspartic coating come at a higher cost. If you’ve got a budget, you need to keep this cost in mind as you begin your planning.
  • Weakness to battery acid: Mechanics beware. While polyaspartic is more durable than epoxy overall, it doesn’t hold up as well against battery acid. If you expect a lot of that, this might not be the best floor coating for you.
  • Tricky application: DIY application is difficult since you have to evenly spread the coating with a squeegee or roller. Professional installation is recommended.
  • Short pot life: There’s the potential for the coating to dry on the floor or in the bucket before the application is complete. This can trap bubbles and other imperfections on the surface and waste a lot of material.
  • Possible delamination: If the concrete in your garage gives off moisture, there’s a pretty good chance that the polyaspartic can lose its bond and peel up from the floor.
An image showing a graph with the differences between epoxy and polyaspartic.

Polyaspartic vs. Epoxy: The Showdown

Now that we know a little more about both of these garage flooring options, let’s compare them head-to-head!

Durability
Epoxy is very durable, but it is still vulnerable to abrasion. Polyaspartic, meanwhile, is more flexible, and won’t chip, scratch or scuff. It’s definitely more durable.

Winner: Polyaspartic

Cost
Polyaspartic costs more than Epoxy. The material on its own is pricier, and when you factor in the cost of hiring a professional installer, the difference gets even more dramatic.

Winner: Epoxy

Drying Time
It takes an hour or less for one layer of Polyaspartic to dry. Compare that to epoxy, which can take approximately 16 hours for a single coating. If you’re the impatient type, polyaspartic is for you.

Winner: Polyaspartic

DIY Installation
You can apply epoxy on your own using a roller brush. The longer drying time allows for a more relaxed pace. Polyaspartic requires application with a squeegee or roller, and it dries so quickly that there isn’t a lot of room for mistakes.

Winner: Epoxy

Air Quality
Epoxy can potentially decrease the air quality in your garage, and you need protective gear during application. Meanwhile, polyaspartic has low VOCs and hardly any off-gassing odor.

Winner: Polyaspartic

Nonslip
Polyaspartic gets very slippery when wet, so it’s a good idea to use chips in the surface to add texture and traction. Epoxy can also benefit from added traction, but it’s still not as slippery.

Winner: Epoxy

UV Stability
Some epoxy products can fade or yellow over time when exposed to UV radiation, so be sure to check your product before purchase. Polyaspartic is always formulated to be colorfast, and it won’t fade or yellow.

Winner: Polyaspartic.

Which is Better: Epoxy or Polyaspartic?

When you get right down to it, there’s no definitive way to say that one floor coating system is better. Polyaspartic and epoxy each come with their own benefits and drawbacks, and it’s up to you to decide which is a better solution for you. After comparing installation methods and the pros and cons, you should hopefully know exactly what you need for your garage.

“When choosing a professional to install an epoxy flooring system, the absolute cheapest may not be wisest decision. A product designed to last a lifetime, if installed incorrectly can make for a very expensive corrective action!“