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Garage FloorEpoxy or Polyaspartic - Which is Best As Base Coat Layer of a garage floor coating syste

Decorative epoxy floor coating

At EncoreGarage we use a combination of a high-grade deep penetrating epoxy base layers with a clear polyaspartic or epoxy top coat layers. On day one of the installation process the concrete is mechanically prepared utilizing a dustless mechanical grinding process. This process removes surface contaminates and opens up the pores of the concrete so it can properly absorb the epoxy base layer. Next, all necessary patch and fill work is done in order to repair cracks and other surface imperfections and get the concrete ready for the coating installation.

The installation process starts by applying a thick layer of 100% solid deep penetrating epoxy. This epoxy is designed to absorb deep into the pores of the concrete surface. It's slow curing and deep penetrating chemical design promote much deeper penetration into the concrete pours than any other epoxy or fast curing polyaspartic thereby creating a superior adhesion. PVC flakes are then broadcast into this base epoxy layer. The following day the floor is scraped and cleaned for a smooth textured profile. A clear polyaspartic or clear epoxy top coat is then applied and the floor typically cures by the next morning. This two-day process is generally accepted in the industry as the superior application process.

We recently had a customer trying to decide between our company and a competitor. Our competitor was offering a one-day garage floor coating application using polyaspartic materials for both the basecoat and topcoat. At first thought a one-day install sounds enticing but is it really what is best for the quality and longevity of your garage floor coating? Let’s compare. Polyaspartic materials are fast curing and UV Stable. This is most beneficial when used as the clear topcoat in a garage floor coating system because it means there will be no effect from prolonged exposure to sunlight and typically allows the floor to back in use in 24-36 hours. When it comes to the basecoat component of the system (the material layer applied directly to the concrete after prep) we believe that a deep penetrating epoxy is the ideal choice. We recommend only 100% solid high-grade deep penetrating epoxies be used as a basecoat layer and this is based on years of experience and recommendations among major coating suppliers. The reason is simple, since epoxies cure much slower than polyaspartics, they can penetrate much deeper into the pours of the concrete before curing and this creates a much stronger adhesion. Additionally, deep penetrating epoxies are engineered with special additives that enhance the ability for the material to absord further into the pours of the concrete.

This process allows us to complete a floor coating system as a two-day installation. Be cautious of contractors using polyaspartics to achieve a one-day installation or claiming that polyaspartics are a better material than epoxy for the base layer of the system. Most contractors who use polyaspartic for the base coat layer do so to finish jobs faster, and streamline operations by using only one material for everything. They then make the sales claim that they offer a better system because they use polyaspartics for everything. While it's true, these floors can be installed in just one day, it definitely does not make for a better flooring system. One day installs only increase the job profitability for the contractor. Imagine how much more profitable the job becomes when they only have to make one trip out. It all sounds great until floor starts having issues a few years later. Our experience has shown polyaspartics simply do not bond as well as 100% solid high-grade deep penetrating epoxies do.

We have observed that contractors who use polyaspartics for both the base and top coat layers in a system tend to use lower quality polyaspartics. These materials can be up to 30% less solid than comparable higher-grade epoxies and polyaspartics. Meaning they contain solvents that evaporate out as the material cures. So when the floor dries it will be 30% thinner and may also have a strong solvent smell as it cures. This can affect the durability of the flooring system. The obvious reason lower grade polyaspartics are used is to save cost in order to be competitive in the overall bid. High grade polyaspartics are far more expensive than even high grade epoxies so if a contractor were to use only high grade polyaspartics exclusivly in their coating system (assuming it even made sense to do so) they would simply not be price competitive in the residential marketplace.

At EncoreGarage we only use 100% solid epoxy and polyaspartic materials that contain no solvents and are VOC free. We have developed our coating process through years of experience and use material components based on where they are designed to work best in the overall system. In the end, our advice is to stick with the process and materials that have been proven reliable over years in the residential garage flooring industry.

EncoreGarage is a full-service garage makeover company that offers custom installed garage storage systems and FLEXCORE™ advanced polymer Floor Coating Systems. EncoreGarage serves clients in the Greater Akron, Medina, Cleveland, Canton, Columbus, and Pittsburgh areas.

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