There’s no question – commercial and industrial floors need to withstand a lot. From foot traffic to heavy machinery and more, your warehouse flooring sees a lot of action every day. So how do you protect it from the wear and tear of your operations? Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions available that will provide safety and longevity.
Several warehouse floor coating solutions will protect and enhance the look and security of your space. So which one is right for you? To help you answer this question, we’ve compiled what you need to know about four popular warehouse floor coating options. In his article, we’ll detail each product, followed by the pros and cons of application.
Armed with this information, you will better understand which warehouse floor coating options best meet your operation’s aesthetic, safety, and durability needs.
Epoxy warehouse floor coatings are a high-performance solution known for their hardness, durability, and impact resistance, making them popular for warehouse and other industrial floor applications.
Epoxy floor coatings start with an epoxy resin and a polyamine hardener that are mixed before application. When combined, a chemical reaction occurs, and the elements cross-link as they cure – resulting in a hardened, rigid plastic coating material that bonds well to most base layers (like concrete) when applied.
Hardness, durability, and impact resistance are just a few of the epoxy flooring pros, making them highly popular in industrial facilities, such as warehouses, logistic centers, and other areas that endure forklift and other heavy machinery traffic. Another pro of an epoxy floor coating is its resistance to chemical products, such as solvents, acids, oils, grease, bleach, cleaners, and more. For this reason, warehouse epoxy floor coatings are popular in automotive-related industries.
Ready for more good news? Epoxy warehouse floor coatings are also aesthetically pleasing and economical. With a high sheen and variety of colors and finishes, such as granite, metallic, or marbled, epoxy coatings are beautiful and durable. Epoxy floor coatings are relatively inexpensive per square foot and easy to apply directly to pre-existing concrete, wood, or steel. Coupled with their durability, this makes epoxy flooring coating an economical, long-term solution.
Despite these many advantages, there are a few drawbacks to consider before installing a garage or warehouse epoxy floor coating – and most of the epoxy floor coating cons involve installation.
First, the floor has to be thoroughly cleaned to remove any traces of grease, oil, or solvents before the epoxy floor coating is applied. In addition, any damages to the surface, such as cracks, must be repaired before application. All of this preparation can add up and take a considerable amount of time.
Wet epoxy during application smells terrible, and the fumes can be toxic – especially to asthmatic individuals. So wearing protective eye and mouth covering during the application is essential, and the entire area should be as ventilated as possible.
The finished coating will also take time to cure – anywhere from 2 to 7 days, depending on the type of epoxy warehouse floor coating used and the size of the application.
Polyurethane floor coatings are highly elastic, anti-corrosive, and popular for their high shine and endurance. We most commonly see polyurethane floor coating on basketball and other indoor sports courts; however, this type of coating is also popular in high-traffic commercial areas like malls, airports, and hospitals or industrial settings like warehouses and automotive garages.
Polyurethane is a polymer composed of organic units joined by carbamate (urethane). Polyurethane floor coatings look much like epoxy at first glance; however, they are softer and more elastic, making them more resistant to abrasion and better suited for areas with moderate to heavy pedestrian traffic. This elasticity and flexibility also make it more adaptable to environments with low freezing temperatures.
Aside from the beautiful shine and flexibility, one of the main advantages of polyurethane floor coatings is its quick curing time. Once coated, floors can be operational within 24 hours – much faster than epoxy floor coatings.
One of the main drawbacks of polyurethane floor coatings is their high sensitivity to moisture. Exposure to moisture and wetness can create bubbles and blemishes on the surface, which is why polyurethane floor coatings won’t wear well in spaces with high humidity or exposure to moisture.
This high moisture sensitivity also makes working with and applying this flooring challenging, so we highly recommend using well-trained and knowledgeable professionals during application.
Polyaspartic is a hybrid material that resembles polyurethane in that it is a solvent-borne two-component polyurethane coating. Due to their exceptional corrosion resistance, polyaspartic coatings were initially used in construction projects, like coating steel girders on bridges.
However, polyaspartic floor coating has become much more common since the 90s. It’s used in much the same way as epoxy and polyurethane coatings, becoming a highly versatile alternative for commercial and industrial floor coating.
The primary benefit of applying a polyaspartic flooring coating is that it can act as both a flooring system and a topcoat – much like paint with primer. So, polyaspartic floor coatings can achieve in a single coat what epoxy and polyurethane accomplish in two or more coats. That’s less time and labor for application.
Another big benefit of a polyaspartic floor coating system is low volatile organic compounds (VOCs). So not only is it more environmentally friendly than the other systems, but it’s better for application in areas with lower ventilation, such as storage tanks or smaller industrial spaces.
And finally, a polyaspartic floor coating can be formulated to dry faster, so businesses can get back up and running more quickly.
Much like epoxy floor coatings, a polyaspartic flooring application requires careful floor cleaning and preparation to ensure integrity. Also, avoid using polyaspartic floor coverings where a “breathable” concrete sealer is specified.
Think of acrylic floor coatings as the middle ground for warehouse or commercial space floor coating cost and performance. It’s an interior/exterior, semi-gloss, industrial-grade, single-component waterborne floor coating best used in lower-traffic areas with a lower risk of abrasions or spills.
A good quality acrylic floor coating will offer some UV protection, slip resistance, and resist water and spills. An acrylic floor coating also cures a lot faster than its epoxy or polyurethane counterparts – drying as quickly as an hour after application.
However, since acrylic floor coatings are not nearly as durable as epoxy or polyurethane coatings, they will need more frequent buffing or recoating. Also, beware of using a lesser quality acrylic coating. If you are using an acrylic floor coating at your place of business, we highly recommend consulting professionals to get the high-quality grade your business space probably needs.
If your business is operating in a warehouse or other high-intensity work environment, consider your flooring needs carefully. You need a solution that is as tough as your business operations. Now that you’ve read about the pros and cons of epoxy flooring and other commercial flooring coatings, which will you choose?
If high-quality warehouse epoxy floor coating is what you need, contact PPD Painting for help. We offer the most advanced floor coating products on the market to enhance the look and safety of your Chicago or Cincinnati area commercial space. Plus, we have a multitude of colors and finishes – ensuring your commercial concrete floors don’t just last but look good doing so.
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Mary Della Chiesa