Polyurea & Polyaspartic

Dangers of Applying Polyaspartic or Polyurea Coatings Directly to Concrete

Garage floor coatings offer a fantastic solution for enhancing both the appearance and durability of your garage floor. Among the range of options available, “1-day polyaspartic” and “1-day polyurea” concrete coatings have surged in popularity. These systems boast fast-curing polyurea or polyaspartic coatings used as both the primer coat (applied directly to concrete) and the final clear top coat. The pitch? They’ll complete the installation of your garage floor coating within a single day.

However, caution is warranted. There are significant drawbacks associated with applying these coatings directly to concrete, particularly concerning moisture.

Moisture Management

A major concern with direct-to-concrete application of polyaspartic or polyurea coatings lies in their limited ability to address moisture-related issues. Unlike moisture-mitigating coating systems (that employ Moisture Vapor Barriers), which are capable of penetrating deeply into the concrete substrate, polyaspartic and polyurea coatings struggle to achieve sufficient penetration, especially in moist conditions.

The root of this issue lies in the fast-curing nature of polyurea-polyaspartics. Fast curing and deep concrete penetration are fundamentally at odds. For optimal concrete penetration and bonding, a slower cure rate is essential.

A Chemical Paradox

Polyurea-polyaspartics exhibit an intriguing chemistry that defies conventional logic. The chemical paradox? These coatings actually cure faster in the presence of moisture …not slower. Whether its moisture wicking up in the concrete itself (creating upward  hydrostatic pressure) or ambient humidity, moisture makes a fast-curing polyurea-polyaspartic cure even faster. And this isn’t a good thing. It’s so quick, it diminishes the ability of the coating to adequately penetrate and bond with the concrete slab.

But does concrete have moisture? Yes, it does. Given concrete’s porous nature, moisture rises up the concrete slab through a process called moisture vapor transmission (MVT). In the process, the accumulating moisture exerts an upward pressure over time on the inadequately penetrating primer. This can lead to delamination of the thin coating.

This is precisely why expert installers always measure concrete moisture levels first. They do this to determine the appropriate coating based on the moisture readings. Elevated moisture levels require a slower-curing Moisture Vapor Barrier as the primer coat…not a quick-curing polyurea-polyaspartic. Unfortunately, 1-day installers skip this crucial step, opting to use quick-curing polyurea-polyaspartic products for both primer and top coats to meet their promised “1-day” timeframe.

Here are some photos of delaminated 1-day polyurea-polyaspartic floors. Notice how the thin polyurea layer can be peeled back…even with your fingers!

The Illusion of a Warranty

Despite the known risks, 1-day installers in the garage floor coating industry offer warranties ranging from 15 years to a lifetime. However, a closer examination of their warranty exclusions reveals the notable omission of coverage for moisture-related issues. Consequently, when delamination occurs due to moisture, the warranty becomes null and void, leaving homeowners responsible for costly repairs.

A Superior Coating Strategy

At Garage Floor Coating of Western Colorado, we recognize the critical importance of addressing moisture-related concerns to ensure the longevity and performance of your garage floor coating. That’s why we employ a comprehensive approach, starting with our proprietary Moisture Vapor Barrier (MVB) primer coat system.

Our MVB system is meticulously designed to effectively combat moisture-related challenges by penetrating deep into the concrete substrate, creating a robust moisture barrier. This guarantees superior penetration, adhesion, and durability, even in environments with high moisture levels and high hydrostatic pressure. Additionally, we apply two 100%-solids polyaspartic clear coats (not 1) for unmatched protection against wear, UV rays, and chemical spills.

Quality Takes Time

Unlike 1-day coating companies, we prioritize quality over speed. Our MVB primer coat is a slower curing product that allows for deep concrete penetration and superior bonding. We allocate a full day for penetration, returning on Day 2 to apply the dual polyaspartic topcoats, creating a coating system that’s as durable as it is beautiful.

Backing Our Promise

At Garage Floor Coating of Western Colorado, we stand behind our products and installation process with an industry-leading warranty covering all moisture-related issues and staining from automotive fluids and hot-tire transfer. Our unwavering commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction ensures that your garage floor investment is safeguarded.

While 1-day polyaspartic-polyurea coatings offer quick installation, they come with significant risks when applied directly to concrete. We prioritize quality over speed, offering a superior solution through our proven Moisture Vapor Barrier system. Choose Garage Floor Coating of Western Colorado for a garage floor coating that truly stands the test of time.