Polyurethane or polished concrete: how to choose a permanent flooring

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In this article we will tell you about polyurethane flooring and its closest competitor – polished concrete. You will learn about the similar properties and differences between the two options. The article provides functional features, advantages and disadvantages, calculation technology and prices for polyurethane.

Polyurethane floors or polished concrete. How to choose a permanent flooring

Self-leveling floors are one of the latest achievements in the field of combined coating materials. The development of technology makes it possible today to use in construction materials that 10-15 years ago were used only for the production of parts. Polymers – in particular polyurethane – are the clearest examples of this evolution. In this article, we will consider this coating in the context of a comparison with a conventional polished concrete floor..

Self-leveling floor functions

The term “floor functions” refers to the tasks performed by the self-leveling floor covering material – polyurethane.

Constructive function

Polyurethane is unique in its properties, in particular in its tensile strength. The following grades of this material are used in industry and construction:

  • TT 129/124
  • Research Center PU-5
  • TSKU-SF-4
  • SKU-PFL-74
  • Ur-70 V
  • Diafor-TDI
  • SKU-PFL-100
  • PTGF-1000
  • SKU-PFL-100M
  • SUREL-20F
  • LUR-ST

Polyurethane floors or polished concrete. How to choose a permanent flooring

Variety of composition options designed for different tasks outperforms the stable and constant composition of concrete, the same in all cases.

Mechanical properties of polyurethane (average for all types)

Property Unit rev. Value
Permanent elongation after rupture % 8-10
Tear Resistance kgf / cm 30-110
Shore hardness conv. units. 40-100
Conditional stress at 100% elongation kgf / cm2 30-160
Tensile strength kgf / cm2 230-520
Temperature Range ° C 50-80

Polished concrete has higher strength values, since it is part of the slab structure, in fact, the slab itself. Of the strength characteristics, it is worth noting that a concrete floor, if damaged, does not require urgent correction of the defect. If the polyurethane coating is cut or burned through, it should be repaired immediately.

Operational function

Coating concrete with polyurethane is called “taping” (from the English tape – film, taping – covering with a film). Polished concrete has certain disadvantages that are unacceptable in many cases:

  1. It becomes slippery when wet.
  2. Cold stuff.
  3. Absorbs and evaporates moisture.
  4. Rigid surface – falling on it may cause injury or damage to the object.
  5. Dust generation.

Polyurethane floors or polished concrete. How to choose a permanent flooring

All these disadvantages are eliminated by covering the concrete with a “film”. In other words, a polyurethane floor is a “bucket of linoleum” that is firmly glued into the base. The most important task of a polyurethane coating is concrete dedusting. It is perfect for clean rooms where increased cleanliness is required.

Decorative function

Polished concrete floor is often called mosaic because of the ability to lay out large straight patterns and add color to the composition of the grout. Its appearance is not striking, even boring. This is the way the floors are arranged in most administrative and public buildings – clinics, hospitals, administrations, schools – of the Soviet era.

Polyurethane without additives has a translucent appearance, which allows it to be tinted in any color. A bright monochromatic coating can be effectively integrated into the design of the room. The polyurethane compound serves as the basis for the 3D floor, but it does not allow the application of patterns in the basic form.

Polyurethane floors or polished concrete. How to choose a permanent flooring

In general, the “decorative” difference between these two materials can be described in one phrase: the task of polished concrete is to hide dirt for a longer time, while maintaining the effect of cleaning; the task of polyurethane is to inform about the slightest contamination as soon as possible.

Comparison of advantages and disadvantages

It is logical to assume that in comparing the properties of two materials, the advantage of one will be the disadvantage of the other. For convenience, we will combine all the properties and features into one table..

Properties of sanded concrete and polyurethane taping

Polyurethane Concrete
Has tensile strength, elongation, abrasion (wear) The concept of “tensile strength, tensile, tear, etc.” missing, since the coating is part of the slab
Requires immediate repair Doesn’t require immediate repair
Multi-stage technology requiring highly skilled craftsmen and special tools All work consists in grinding the slab (screed) with a special machine *
Complete absence of dust from abrasion Small amounts of abrasion dust
Various coating options (gloss, rough) The only option coming from the concrete composition
In case of wear or aging, it must be refilled with a new compound In case of defects related to age, it is subject to regrinding. Color and pattern cannot be changed.
Protects people and objects from damage (injury) Falling onto a concrete floor may fracture

* The concrete grinder is also used for the construction of polyurethane floors.

Polyurethane floors or polished concrete. How to choose a permanent flooring

Comparative analysis leads to the conclusion that these floor options are fundamentally different. But in fact, they complement each other – taping makes the concrete floor safer and more hygienic..

How much is a polyurethane floor

Given the complexity of the technology, or rather, the scrupulousness of its execution, the main part of the cost of polyurethane flooring will not be the cost of the material, but the wages of the craftsmen. The process itself includes grinding and dust removal of concrete using special expensive machines. You can independently grind floors with a powerful angle grinder (1800-2200 W) with a hood, but this is a very time-consuming process.

The polyurethane flooring kit itself consists of two components:

  1. A – polyurethane compound – artificial resin (5 parts).
  2. B – acid hardener (1 part).

The composition of 2 components is basic and additional “additives” can be added to it:

  1. Antistatic.
  2. Conductive.
  3. Quartz sand.
  4. Varnishing.
  5. Anti-oil (fuels and lubricants) and others.
Name Appointment Packaging Packing price, cu e. Price 1 m2, at. e.
“Polyplane 1001” Finishing A – bucket 29.7 kg
B – canister 6,3 kg
205 17
“Polyplane 1002” Antistatic A – bucket 29.7 kg
B – canister 6,3 kg
225 18.5
INGRI LEVL Coat 309 Chemically resistant A – bucket 23.5
B – canister 4.5
265 22
INGRI LEVL Coat 551 Sports A – bucket 23.5
B – canister 4.5
290 24.2
INGRI LEVL Coat 309 AS Chemically resistant antistatic A – bucket 23.5
B – canister 4.5
310 25.5

Polyurethane floors or polished concrete. How to choose a permanent flooring

Calculation of the cost of polyurethane coating on the example of “Polyplan 1001”

Reference data from the instruction:

  • the optimal application thickness is from 2.5 to 3.5 mm (we take 3 mm);
  • consumption of the finished mixture at 3 kg / m2.

The sum of the mass of the components: A + B = 29.7 +6.3 = 36 kg.

One set is enough for: 36/3 = 12 m2.

Cost 1 m2 “Polyplane 1001”: 205/12 = 17 usd e.

The cost of work on the installation of a polyurethane floor will be from 10 to 20 USD. e. for 1 m2.

The price of a floor made of polished concrete will be equal to the cost of raw materials (cement, sand, crushed stone) and the services of concrete workers and a grinder (if you do not do it yourself). Materials: 4–5 cu. That is, work: 5-7 USD e.

Conclusion: a floor made of polished concrete and polyurethane are the closest relatives. The second is a coating that gives the concrete screed special beneficial properties that cannot be obtained from conventional concrete. Professional molding of polyurethane will make your floor “eternal”, hygienic and safe.

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