Polished Concrete VS. Epoxy Floor Coatings
Published on 12/07/2015
Choosing the right concrete flooring option is easy...by simply asking a few quick questions. While polishing concrete is typically the better choice when considering maintenance, repair and budget. There are some crucial questions that must be asked to be sure that epoxy or another coating is needed.
We find that in large facilities using a combination of the two are best. Ensuring chemical resistance where needed and low maintenance and scratch resistance in the remaining areas.
1: USDA food grade flooring: Polished Concrete is not UDSA food grade, and will not meet code for areas that require that type of flooring. Epoxy is typically called for in commercial kitchens, bathrooms, mechanical work areas, and some prep areas. We recommend a urethane/epoxy floor for these areas. Look closely at the spec, and remember that USDA food grade flooring is a localized specification and typically do not extend into dinning rooms, or cafeterias.
2: Chemical Resistance needed? Epoxy is a top coat while polished concrete is a redefinement of the slab. Epoxy will do a better job resisting acids, oils and greases. We are not talking about places where a spills are uncommon or where they are cleaned up promptly. We are talking about areas where chemicals are part of the job, and always present. Think manufacturing plants, auto shops, and laboratories.
3: Areas where water vapors are transmitted from below the slab should be polished. For the rare occasions where a coating is needed in areas with water pressure rising from below the surface there are some coating solutions. However if the space can be polished it is better and more economical. Water pressure from beneath the surface needs to be able to escape. Urathane and and epoxies are typically not breathable. This pressure trapped below the coating can cause the coating to come up in areas where pressure builds. Polished concrete is completely breathable and will not have this problem. No coatings are used, so nothing can peel up, pop off or scratch off.
**A note about staining**
Both polished concrete and epoxy coatings can stain. It's our opinion that if spills cannot be cleaned up with 24 hours, its better to use epoxy. Epoxy while not completely stain proof, it will block most substances longer than a polished concrete surface.