Published Thursday 26th of December 2013 // Updated Wednesday 8th of February 2017
Industrial floors, whether in factories or warehouses, require a high level of strength. Therefore, they are most commonly constructed from concrete, one of the strongest and most common manmade materials on the planet. However, a concrete floor is only as good as the sealer with which it is applied. The concrete sealer is just as important as the concrete floor itself, especially in settings such as industrial locations. Urethanes are one of the most common, and best, choices for industrial floors, as they feature incredible resistance to nearly any problem you could imagine.
Aliphatic urethane is the type of urethane that is most commonly used as the topcoat for epoxy floor systems. There are two other types of urethane: aromatic and waterborne. Aliphatic, however, is a better choice for concrete sealing because it will not turn to the color amber when exposed to UV light (from the sun), like aromatic urethanes will. While waterborne urethanes also will not amber, they are not as strong as aliphatic, which offers excellent abrasion and chemical resistance, as well as strong color and gloss retention. Aliphatic urethanes, such as the Ghostshield Urethane 645, are most well known for offering UV stability and are highly resistant to severe chemicals and abrasions, due to their chemical composition. Their bonds are extremely strong, and they typically last for a long time.
Before applying a urethane topcoat an epoxy base coat is used as a primer. Using an epoxy primer and urethane top coat is called an epoxy floor system, which is a series of products that are used on floors that feature heavy traffic, such as in airports, commercial retail stores, or industrial settings. They typically consist of a primary coat of a basic epoxy, designed to bond to the substrate on the surface, much like an acrylic surface sealer. Because the particles of material are larger than with penetrating sealers, the epoxy will not delve within the concrete, instead pooling on the surface to be spread out evenly during application.
After this epoxy base coat of Epoxy 325, there usually is another coat of epoxy to help increase the durability of the concrete and its new coating system. After this coat, you can add paint chips or decorative quartz to add a little zest to your otherwise boring concrete surface. Once the paint chips and two other epoxy coats have dried, you are ready to add the urethane topcoat. An aliphatic urethane, while slightly more expensive than aromatic, is really the only choice of topcoat. Aromatic will yellow at the slightest sunlight and will also not last nearly as long, as it is not as strong of a bond.