Is polyurethane cement the best flooring solution for food manufacturing facilities? Why has one company recommended polyurethane cement and the other epoxy? Epoxy seems to be the fastest solution, is this right?
There are a lot of questions when it comes to deciding which flooring solution is best for your needs, and there are a lot of factors that influence this decision.
First, let’s get going on a basic comparison of these two flooring options.
Epoxy resins vs Polyurethane Cements:
Epoxy resins have been used for many years in food manufacturing facilities. This is because in general, they have a fast installation time, bond well to prepared concrete, and are durable under medium foot and forklift traffic conditions. High solid epoxies provide good protection against acids and alkalis, but not against lactic acids, being one of the key reasons epoxy resins are not suited to dairy production facilities. Another concern with epoxy resins, is that they don’t handle cold or thermal shock conditions very well. While not always relevant to food manufacturing facilities, epoxies are sensitive to UV light, so they will amber or yellow over time.
Polyurethane cements have recently been used far more frequently in food manufacturing facilities. They are highly durable, and can be applied in various thicknesses. They have good resistance to thermal cycling, and excellent acid and chemical resistance, including lactic acid. They are typically low odour, seamless, and easy to clean. Polyurethane cements have greater resilience and elasticity than epoxy resins, making them more resistant to scratching and marring. The elasticity makes this type of floor suitable for freezers where storage temperatures may reach -30°C.
So should Polyurethane cements always be used instead of epoxy resins?
No, it always depends on the situation. With the bonding properties of epoxy resins, they are often selected for floors that have an oily substrate, or as a first layer to ensure maximum adhesion to the surface, where limited preparation can be done.
Epoxy resins can also be used in areas where maximum hygiene requirements must be upheld. This is because a stipple finish can easily be achieved, increasing the floor’s resistance to bacteria growth. See below image of a stipple finish floor:
What are the best areas for epoxy resins to be used in?
Typically, we recommend areas such as Cleanrooms, laboratories, High care areas, Medium-wear manufacturing rooms,
warehouses & food storage facilities.
What are the best areas for Polyurethane cements to be used in?
While it depends on the type of system (installation time, coat thickness, durability etc.), we typically recommend polyurethane cement systems for wet or dry production rooms, coolrooms and freezers. Some polyurethane systems have higher durability than others, so it’s important to do your research prior to approving the spend.
What about SteriFloor? Are they mainly epoxy resins or polyurethane cement system?
Four of our SteriFloor solutions are polyurethane cement systems: SteriFloor Schnell, SteriFloor Beschützen, SteriFloor Stärke and SteriFloor Schützend.
We have two epoxy resin systems: SteriFloor Keimfrei, and SteriFloor Sauber.
And in regards to which flooring solution is the fastest, again it depends on the system. Our fastest flooring solution is SteriFloor Schnell, a polyurethane cement flooring solution.
For more information on where we recommend each system is used, take a look at our SteriFloor page: www.alliedfinishes.com/sterifloor.