Choosing the right topcoat for flooring systems

The last step in an epoxy, flake, metallic or plain coloured floor is the application of a topcoat to complement and protect the floor. Choosing a topcoat can be tough with so many products available. Below we review the various product types available and the advantages and disadvantages associated with each of them.

EPOXY

Advantages

  • Less expensive
  • Good resistance to chemicals
  • Low VOC water based options available
  • Excellent film thickness
  • Hardwearing

Disadvantages

  • Can have low transparency
  • Low scratch resistance 
  • Low abrasion resistance
  • Not UV stable
  • Low in slip resistance when wet
  • Low flexibility
  • Short pot life of some products

POLYURETHANE

Advantages

  • High abrasion resistance
  • Good resistance to chemicals
  • UV stable
  • Excellent clarity and clearness
  • Gloss and satin finish options
  • Low VOC water based options available
  • Easily accepts anti-slip particles 
  • Single pack available – easy to use
  • Longer pot life

Disadvantages

  • More expensive than epoxy
  • Does not bond well to plain concrete
  • Requires multiple coats for high film thickness
  • High VOC if product is solvent based

POLYASPARTIC

Advantages

  • High abrasion resistance
  • High chemical resistance
  • UV stable
  • Extremely high gloss
  • Extremely high clarity and transparency
  • Rapid curing time & return to service
  • High scratch resistance
  • Low VOC

Disadvantages

  • Short pot life
  • High cost
  • Very low slip resistance when wet
  • Application requires good understanding & skill
  • More susceptible to moisture vapour transmission
  • Less resistant to some acids

Summary

All three product types offer a good level of protection to the surface of the floor and have their place as a topcoat. Epoxy, whilst an economical option, has certain limitations such as scratch resistance, clarity and UV instability. Polyaspartic too has some constraints such a short pot life and quick application requirements, making it a little more difficult to work with. Based on that when all things are considered, polyurethane is a great general choice as a topcoat. To find out more about CCS topcoats click on the links below.

Duratrac HB Epoxy

Ultra Epoxy HB

Armourthane Polyurethane

Decrathane WB Polyurethane – Gloss or Satin

Rapid Floor Polyaspartic

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