Polyurea is a two-part compound that combines a basic chemical ingredient, an isocyanate, with a resin blend. Isocyanate is what determines the chemical reaction that is unique to polyurea. At the same time, the resin blend can be a variety of property enhancers determined by the intended use.
These concrete flooring coatings are prized for their quick installation and hardening. They can also last a long time because they chemically bond to concrete. However, because of the two-ingredient combination that polyurea coatings require, there can be a lot of variation in quality between different products. This can impact the performance of the coating, with some types being less durable than others.
There are many polyurea products on the market, and it is important to be aware of their differences and benefits before choosing a contractor to coat your concrete surface.
Polyaspartics: For Affordable Applications
A polyaspartic is a polyurea that cures more slowly than usual. This allows the coating to be applied over a longer period, more traditionally. Polyaspartic mixtures work well as a topcoat but have limitations when used as a base coat.
Before we continue, remember that all polyaspartics are polyurea, but not all polyurea are polyaspartic.
A polyaspartic basecoat is cheaper than a pure aromatic polyurea but has a different strength and durability. There is an increased risk of cracking and delamination when using a polyaspartic basecoat, so some may have better choices.
Aromatic Polyurea: For Reliable Base Coat Applications
Aromatic isocyanates are not light-stable, meaning that the color of the coating will fade in sunlight. However, the coating will not deteriorate as a polyurea polyaspartic would. Because of this light sensitivity, aromatic polyurea is not a quality choice as a topcoat but can be used as a strong and reliable base for concrete flooring coatings.
To apply an aromatic polyurea base coat, precision is key for the best long-term results. For optimum adhesion, installers will use seasonal blends to adjust the curing time according to the temperature. Base coats are a 1:2 ratio of A–B, and choosing a blend determines the time available to apply the base coat after mixing. Getting the mixture and timing correct is essential to avoid mistakes resulting in peeling and cracking.
Aliphatic Polyurea: For Reliable Top Coat Applications
This polyurea comprises long-chain molecules that do not contain any aromatic groups. This makes them non-polar, which gives them good resistance to water and other chemicals. They are also very tough and elastic, making them ideal for many industrial and commercial applications.
Additionally, aliphatic systems are light-stable and don’t change color when exposed to light, making them a great choice for topcoat applications. They also have a high-gloss finish that adds a valuable aesthetic improvement to your space.
To mix aliphatic polyureas, you need to use a variable-speed cordless drill at a low speed. This is to avoid air bubbles in the mixture. The ratio for mixing is 1:1 of A-B. There are different blends based on the curing time. If you want an extended pot life, use an extreme-heat mixture. The topcoat should be applied after the base coat has hardened. You must also scrape and clean the base coat before applying the top coat.
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Some advantages of polyurea coatings are that they can be applied quickly, have a long life span, and resist abrasion and chemicals. These depend on their mixture and purity, so clarify these with your supplier before making the final call.
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