Epoxy vs. Polished Concrete: What’s The Difference?
This article aims to help you choose the right flooring solution for residential & commercial needs. Our sales team is often asked what floor is the right product to choose and since they both use concrete slabs as their foundation there is a lot of confusion as to which product is best suited for your environment.
Comparing Polished Concrete & Epoxy Coatings
Polished concrete is made by making multiple passes of an industrial grinding machine over the concrete floor. With each pass the machine uses finer polishing pads until a smooth surface with desired aggregate exposure is seen.
Epoxy floors use a chemically hardened resin that is applied to a prepared floor in multiple layers. The epoxy starts off as a liquid and becomes hard and durable as it cures. Epoxy floors can have additives that make it perform better (stronger, waterproof, etc) and look different (colours, flake systems).
Often times the application and use of your floor will determine which product to use but let’s take a look at the benefits of each system.
Benefits of Choosing Polished Concrete
Polished concrete performs best in environments where the is no exposure to chemicals, no standing water and sees only medium-duty traffic. By sacrificing performance customers can get a lower cost floor for their project. Polished concrete is highly reflective and can double ambient light heling to improve showcasing products and reduce energy bills.
Polished concrete is best suited for freshly poured concrete and cannot be used with old, deteriorating, cracked, or pitted slabs. Polished concrete also requires semi-regular re-polishing which should be factored in when comparing polishing with epoxy coatings.
Advantages Of Epoxy Coatings
Epoxy coating systems can be formulated to work in a number of different environments. Each formulation protects the concrete slab from a variety of harsh conditions such as heavy-duty use, chemical resistance, slip resistance and more. Some industries like pharmaceuticals, food processing and high tech might require these floors to protect equipment or products. Epoxy systems work with damaged concrete since a cementitious layer can be applied restoring the surface of the concrete. Epoxy floors reflect ambient light by 6 times which helps to showcase products and reduces the need for other lighting sources. The appearance of epoxy floors can include acids stains, solid colours, chip and flake and graphics (safety lines & logos). Since epoxy is applied as a liquid the final product has no seams! No joints or cracks for dirt and grime to hide. This also makes the floor very resistant to any water or spills.
Epoxies have a high cost and lack the natural appearance and beauty of polished flooring.
Summary of Flooring System Comparisons
There are a few trade-offs when choosing between polished concrete and epoxy coatings. The first is the cost – a polished concrete floor will cost less than an epoxy system but is not as strong or durable and has less functional customization (anti-static, water-proof, thermal resistance, etc). Decorative epoxy coatings look great and can be customized to match colour and styles but it just doesn’t compare to the natural beauty of the exposed aggregate of a properly polished floor (however that is very subjective).
Often time the function of your environment will determine which flooring system is best suited for the area. Both polished and epoxy floors offer excellent value considering how strong they are and that when taken care of they can last indefinitely. Other products like carpet and tile need to be replaced periodically.
Book An On Site Visit From The Concrete Fusion Team Today!
The Concrete Fusion sales team is waiting and ready to discuss your flooring needs and deliver an incredible product for your needs. Let’s chat over the phone or have a coffee on-site and we can show you why our floor is the best option and the cheapest option over time!