What is Polyaspartic Floor Coating?
Average Cost Range: $4.00 to $9.00 per square foot
Polyaspartic floor coating is a two-part coating, like epoxy, but made with aliphatic polyurea. It is sprayed or rolled onto concrete to form a tough and durable flooring. Pigment is added to the polyaspartic flooring to give you the color you prefer. Metallic or vinyl chip packs are often sprinkled onto the wet coating for aesthetics..
January 26, 2023, by: Rob Parsell
This polyaspartic coating report covers cost, pros and cons, a look at polyaspartic floor coating vs epoxy, and additional information that will assist you in deciding if this is the right flooring for your project.
We’ve given you a brief summary of polyaspartics and average costs, now we’re going to get into the details.
MORE ABOUT POLYASPARTIC FLOOR COATING
Like epoxy, Polyaspartic floor coating is a two-part flooring system. It consists of a polyurea component, similar to polyurethane, and a hardener. This class of floor coatings is termed polyaspartics or polyurea polyaspartic coating.
The components are mixed just prior to application. The pot life, or the time in which you can apply it before it thickens too much to use, is just 20-30 minutes. It dries to the touch in 2-3 hours and can be recoated in 4 hours. Give it two days before walking on it.
This basement and garage floor coating comes in low-gloss and high-gloss options. Keep in mind that a high gloss finish has the potential to be slippery. However, sand is often added to produce a non-slip flooring.
Developed in the 1990s, polyaspartic garage floor coating is catching on with homeowners, and more contractors are offering it as a tougher alternative to epoxy coatings.
Further Reading: Garage Floor Ideas
HOW MUCH DOES POLYASPARTIC FLOOR COATING COST?
The cost of polyaspartic floor coating is $4.00 to $9.00 per square foot. The major cost factor is whether you DIY or hire a contractor for the job. The cost of polyaspartic coating when installed by a contractor is $6.50 to $9.00. DIY application costs around $4.50 to $6.25 for the coating and tools needed.
You’ll save around $2.00 to $3.25 with DIY application. Here’s what the cost looks like:
$4.00 – $6.25 for DIY
$6.50 – $9.00 when you hire pro installers
If you’re considering DIY, this two-part floor coating is sold in kits from 2 gallons to 10 gallons. The kits consist of equal parts coating and hardener.
Cost is around $4 to $6 per gallon. A gallon covers 195 to 250 square feet depending on the porosity of the surface covered. If sealers are applied to the concrete first, coverage is greater. The sealer usually improves the bond of the material to the base concrete. And because sealers are much less expensive than polyaspartic flooring, it’s a cost-effective decision to seal the slab first.
Two layers, a base coat and a topcoat, are typically applied. The result is a finished coating of 5-6 mils.
To seal or not to seal? If your concrete is unsealed, check the label of the product you choose. Some manufacturers suggest applying it to unsealed concrete. This allows the coating to penetrate the concrete, which can improve the bond and prevent peel issues.
However, sealers on concrete prevent the migration of moisture from beneath the floor to the surface of the concrete. If moisture is trapped between the slab and the applied material it might cause it to peel, a problem known as delamination.
Bottom line? You’ll be sure of getting the best results if you hire an experienced professional that will check the moisture content of your concrete and recommend the right products to give you the durable flooring you want.
Related Reading: Epoxy Basement Floor
PROS AND CONS OF POLYASPARTIC FLOOR COATINGS
Is a polyaspartic floor coating good? That’s a good question. The answer is yes, mostly, with a few potential drawbacks.
Durable and tough: This is a high performance floor coating that resists stains and abrasions – it doesn’t scratch easily. It also has high chemical resistance, ideal if your garage or basement doubles as a workshop.
Won’t fade: Apply it to a garage floor or concrete patio, and you won’t see fading or the material becoming yellow due to sun exposure.
Waterproof: This coating resists moisture penetration.
Apply it in any season: Some polyurea polyaspartic coating can be applied in sub-freezing temperatures, so you don’t have to wait for warm weather to cover your garage floor and protect it from stains and winter salt deposits.
DIY is doable: Kits come with clear, easy-to-follow directions. Application is pretty easy. Clean the floor to ensure a good bond. Sealing concrete first will allow you to use less mix to get the thickness you want because less will be absorbed. Then roll on the coating in one or two coats.
Healthy air quality: Most products in this class are low VOC or no VOC material. Odor is minimal too, though you’ll probably want to vent the room or leave the garage door open until the coating cures.
Quick cure time: Walk on it in 4-6 hours. Drive on it in 2-3 days.
Good looks: Pigment is added to produce a color you’ll enjoy living with. And metal of vinyl chip sprinkles add visual appeal where desired.
Price: Costs more than epoxy coatings – about $1.25 to $3.00 per square foot more depending on DIY or pro application.
Quality varies: Like any flooring material, there are basic, better and best options. If DIY, choose a product with a high solids count (usually listed on the label). If hiring a contractor, choose one that uses a quality product and has a good track record of customer satisfaction.
Short pot life: The flip side of fast curing is that the material hardens quickly. You’ve got 20-30 minutes to apply the coating once the components are mixed with the hardener.
DIY Tip – Only mix the amount you need for each of the two layers. For example, if the garage floor is 20’x24’, or 480 square feet, you’ll need 2 to 2.5 gallons of mix per layer.
Too much moisture? If you’re considering polyurea polyaspartics for a garage or basement, it is important to do a moisture test first. If a lot of moisture is transmitting through the slab, then polyaspartic floor coating is not the right flooring for your application.
If you are building a home or garage, be sure to install vapor barrier beneath the concrete. That will mitigate moisture and allow you to use this product or epoxy floor coating.
WHERE IS POLYASPARTIC FLOORING USED?
For our purposes, this coating is usually applied to garage floors.
In residential use, it is also used in basements, utility rooms, laundry rooms, pole buildings, workshops and other areas where a tough, waterproof and abrasion resistant flooring is desired.
To give you an idea of their high performance, you might be interested to know that polyaspartic coatings are used in a range of industrial settings. They provide corrosion protection to metal.
And the polyaspartic aliphatic polyurea (technical description) are UV resistant, so it can be applied to rooftops where UV exposure is an issue.
IS POLYASPARTIC BETTER THAN EPOXY?
Epoxy coatings cost less than a polyaspartic coating and are quite durable. But polyaspartics provides next-level durability, stain resistance and chemical resistance. It is more UV resistant too.
HOW LONG TO POLYASPARTIC FLOORS LAST?
A polyaspartic floor coating lasts 20 to 50 years depending on how the space is used. In most residential settings, the floor will look good and perform well for 30+ years. In short, you will probably get tired of it and want something different before the floor needs replacing from a performance standpoint.
To ensure the best durability, sweep the floor regularly. Power washing it is OK too. The key is to remove sand and other gritty materials that wear away the surface of the floor, reducing its sheen.
IS POLYASPARTIC FLOOR COATING SLIPPERY WHEN WET?
A polyaspartic floor can be slippery unless the kit you choose contains a sand additive that makes it more slip-resistant. Adding sand is definitely recommended.
IS POLYASPARTIC COATING A DIY PROJECT FOR HOMEOWNERS?
Installing a polyaspartic coating can be a DIY project. The difficulty level is easy to moderate – about the same as applying epoxy floor coatings, if you’ve done that.
The steps are:
- Clean the floor thoroughly
- Apply a chemical etching agent (optional)
- Fill cracks in the concrete
- Tape off wall edges, cabinets, posts, etc.
- Mix just enough material to apply one layer
- Roll on the first layer
- Let the first layer cure for a minimum of 4 hours, longer if the temperature is below 75F (see the label for guidance)
Layers: Two thin layers are better than one thick and goopy layer.
About the Author:
Rob joined the Home Flooring Pros team in 2014 and is a freelance writer, specializing in flooring, remodeling and HVAC systems (read more).
“I’m the son of an interior designer and picked up an eye for design as a result. I started hanging wallpaper and painting at 14 and learned enough on the job to be the general contractor on two homes we built for our family and did much of the finish plumbing, electrical, painting, and trim work myself.”