Polyurethane Flooring Vs. Epoxy Flooring for Your Garage

Polyurethane flooring (sometimes called urethane flooring) and epoxy resin flooring are both great at being resistant to staining, damage, oil, and general wear.  On top of this, they are both easy to clean, light reflective, and last a long time! So, which flooring should you pick?

Polyurethane floor coating

Polyurethane is a type of thermosetting polymer (a viscous liquid that is irreversibly hardened after curing), and is a high performance coating. Lots of places shorten the name to urethane floor coating, however this is technically wrong, as there is a huge difference between polyurethane floor coating and urethane. If a business is advertising urethane flooring, they will mean polyurethane.

There are many different formulations of polyurethane floor coatings. Aliphatic polyurethane is the common choice for garage floors. A polyurethane coating is only about 2 to 3 mils in thickness, and around 60% - 70% solids, this is not adjustable. Although this is a thin coating, it has a lot of flexibility, more so than epoxy, which aids in absorbing impact. Polyurethane is also more abrasion and wear resistant, as well as being more resistant to chemicals – being more resistant to solvents like methylene chloride, which is the main ingredient in paint stripper!

Polyurethane is a U.V stable floor coating, meaning that it won’t start yellowing over time when exposed to sunlight. The surface is not as hard as epoxy, but is more scratch resistant, and can handle high humidity better. 

Though polyurethane has all these advantages, its biggest flaw in comparison to epoxy is that it doesn’t bond that well to concrete. Also, its thin and dry film thickness doesn’t work as a self-levelling coating to fill in small dips in the surface. Something else to consider is that most polyurethanes have high VOC’s, and require a respirator to apply. 

Epoxy flooring

Like Polyurethane, Epoxy is also a thermosetting polymer. Epoxy has different formulations which can allow for different degrees of thickness – from 3 mils to over 10 mils in just one coating. It is easy to apply, and bonds really well to concrete. Epoxy is a great choice when it comes to resurfacing an old, worn concrete garage floor, giving it a smooth surface.

The best types of epoxy are 100% solids, and this provides a thick, solid, impact resistant flooring, which is generally solvent free. This thick liquid application helps to fill in and small cracks and bumps on the concrete. This surface resists well against hot tyre pick up, and any scratching or abrasion. 

Epoxy resin can come in many different colours, and have extra things such as pearl and glitter flakes added to it for effect. Some types of epoxy come with U.V inhibitors, though they will still begin to yellow if exposed to sunlight, which is something to consider for a garage floor.  


For garage floors, it is thought that using both floor coatings is the best option. Using an epoxy first, sticks the to the concrete well and makes the ground smooth. Following this with Polyurethane will help the epoxy from yellowing as soon, and provide an even more scratch resistant and durable surface. This method will give you the best of each floor coatings for your garage.