One garage flooring option that has created quite a buzz in the industry the last few years is polyurea/polyaspartic floor coatings. This relatively new coating has become the latest favorite for installers as an alternative to epoxy and has created some confusion for home owners as well. The fast curing ability of this system is being billed as the “Holy Grail” of floor coatings and is advertised as the best of everything that a coating can do.
So if it’s not an epoxy, what is it exactly and why would you want it on your garage floor? Let’s unravel the confusion about polyurea and polyaspartic floor coatings and see why many garage flooring companies are pushing this new product.
Without getting too technical, Polyurea is a subgroup of polyurethane. It is formed when isocyanates react with water or polyether amines to create a urea linkage. Like epoxy, it is a 2-part component that mixes resin with a catalyst to cause the curing reaction that makes the material hard.
It has low to no VOC’s and has an elongation rate that exceeds 300% making it more flexible than epoxy. It is commonly used for spray-on bed liners, interior pipe coating, liquid containment lining and many other industrial applications such as tunnel coatings and fillers for joints. Because of its extremely fast cure rate (less than 5 seconds and fully hard in less than 5 minutes), most polyureas require specialized equipment for application.
Polyaspartic is a type of aliphatic polyurea. To quote Bayer Material Science:
What polyaspartics do is conquer the difficulties of the extremely fast cure rate of polyurea in order to apply the coating in a more traditional manner with a longer pot life of 5 to 120 minutes depending on the formulation.
So in essence, all polyaspartics are a polyurea, but not all polyureas are a polyaspartic. So to lessen the confusion, this means that when you see a garage floor coating or kit being advertised as a polyurea, or a polyurea polyaspartic, it is really some formulation of a polyaspartic coating.
Now that we’ve covered these eye numbing explanations, what does it mean for you? The two biggest advantages of a polyaspartic or polyurea garage floor coating are temperature and time.
Unlike epoxy, a polyaspartic coating can be applied in temperatures as low as -30F to as high as 140F depending on the formulation. That means you don’t have to wait till spring or summer to coat your garage floor if you live in a colder climate.
Typical polyurea and polyaspartic floor coatings are applied in just two coats; the first being both the primer and color coat and the second being the clear coat. Because of their fast cure rates, a complete flooring system can be installed in one day and returned to service the next.
This means that you won’t have to do without your garage for 3-5 days like you would for a full epoxy system.
There are many other benefits to a polyurea/polyaspartic floor coating as well. These include:
Though a polyaspartic or polyurea flooring system does have some great benefits, there are some other factors to consider before you decide if this is the best system for you.
The first is cost. To have it professionally installed will cost more per square foot than an equivalent combined epoxy and polyurethane system.
It is also not the most user friendly installation and requires a minimum of two people to apply. Depending on the formulation of the polyaspartic, the average pot life is only 20 to 30 minutes. One thing to keep in mind is that like epoxy, not all polyaspartics are created equal. Some of the DIY kits that are being offered are not of the same quality as the more professional versions. So shop around and compare if you want to install a garage floor coating yourself. The formulations are different with lower solids content in order to lengthen the pot life. Diamond grinding the concrete to a surface profile of 2-3 is also the recommended floor preparation.
While polyurea / polyaspartic coatings are not affected by water or humidity when fully cured, humidity during installation can cause the coating to cure much more rapidly and should be monitored before installation.
They also can be slippery when wet. If you are not applying full paint chips to add texture, it is advisable to add a slip resistant aggregate into the top coat to increase the anti-slip properties of the coating.
One of the biggest reasons that professional installers are offering polyaspartic floor coatings is to sell the benefit of being without your garage for only a day. A good installer can prep your concrete and install your coating in as little as 6-8 hours. You can be walking on it and moving your belongings back into the garage before the day is done and park your car in it the next. That can be a big plus for some people who can’t be without their garage for 5 days.
If you can’t be without your garage for a few days or need to have a garage floor coating installed in less than ideal temperatures, then a polyurea or polyaspartic floor coating may be just what you need. It’s a great additional garage flooring option if the cost is in the budget.
If you like the idea of the quick return to service but don’t want to pay for someone to do it for you, make sure you are confident in your abilities to apply such a rapid curing system before you decide to pull the trigger.
You’ve put in gorgeous cabinets, you’ve got slat wall and hooks galore, and yet nowhere to fit the Christmas decorations, tote bins, and bulky bikes. Why not start looking up? Vertical space is often the greatest missed opportunity when it comes to storage in the garage. Through unique products and strategies, you can get everything out of the way without having to compromise your parking space.
One of our most popular items is our Strong Racks Overhead. These are easy-to-install metal racks that can mount directly into your ceiling to provide you with heavy duty storage in spaces usually filled with nothing but air. With a 750-1000lb weight capacity and various sizes, the possibilities are endless. We also have various motorized and hand-crank storage platforms to help you easily raise and lower any heavy items you’d like to store overhead. It’s convenient, it’s simple and it keeps your floor clear.
Another wonderful use of vertical space is for bicycle storage. These items can be bulky & awkward to try and put on the wall or tuck away in the corner. From motorized bike storage to simple pulley systems, we’ve got solutions for whatever space you’ve got. Not only does this help free up floor space, it also helps protect your bikes from being damaged while in storage.
Do you need some ideas or a visual? Stop by our showroom today and a professional will be happy to walk you through our wonderful array of solutions to help you maximize your storage space.
We don’t build garages, we make them better!
Once you have determined what sorts of storage solutions you will use cabinets, shelving, slatwall, etc. — the next question is what material to use. This is largely an aesthetic choice, but there are some practical implications of metal versus wood choices. There are pros and cons with each alternative that the garage planner must really consider.
“Wood” refers to all sorts of wood — plywood, veneer, natural woods, and even pressboard or particleboard. There are major benefits to using wood. Normally it is less expensive and is easier to paint/maintain. It can also be simpler to install and is normally easier to modify for your particular needs (ie. Changing hinges or decorative hardware.)
Another benefit of using wooden cabinets is that they do not necessarily need to be “special made” for the garage. You can repurpose kitchen cabinets, old furniture, and even shipping crates and convert them to use as garage storage cabinets. By painting them a common color and unifying hardware, you can create the look of a custom-made solution.
That being said, however, wood is susceptible to a destruction by pests, moisture, and age if not properly maintained. This is particularly true for particle board if it is not kept dry.
Metal garage cabinets come in both aluminum and steel, with some varieties made from stainless steel. Metal cabinets offer rigidity and strength with aluminum cabinets being somewhat lighter in weight that steel. Steel cabinets can be very effective, especially when carrying a heavy load. Stainless steel and aluminum cabinets are resistant to rust, but still need to be maintained.
These types of cabinets can be painted or powder coated, a process that forms a durable protective coating on the surface, similar to paint. Metal’s downfall is that it’s more expensive and it’s susceptible to corrosion, particularly steel, in areas that aren’t protected from moisture or corrosive chemicals.
Whatever you are in the market for, The Garage Store has a wide range of both wood & metal cabinets available in various colors & finishes to suit your specific needs. Stop by our showroom today and let us help you perfect your garage!
Are you looking to install some of our products yourself? Take a look through our installation instructions below to help make your do-it-yourself project run smoothly & easily. If you encounter any bumps along the way, please feel free to give us a call at (403) 258-1110 and we will be happy to help walk you through it.