You are currently viewing What’s the Difference Between Polyurethane & Urethane Coatings?

As you look around for high-quality industrial coatings, it’s not unusual that you’ll run into both the terms “urethane” and “polyurethane.”

Both terms are common when discussing flooring systems, especially for industrial applications. Their chemical properties make these coatings more resilient and easier to maintain than epoxy flooring under similar conditions.

Polyurethane is an organic plastic polymer material with units linked together with carbamates. This compound can be rigid or flexible. When it comes to using polyurethane in flooring, the dense bonds provide a strong coating that’s also somewhat flexible.

Each chemical grouping within polyurethane are multiple urethane units, or many (“poly”) urethane.

But what’s the difference between “urethane” and “polyurethane?”

The answer is actually really simple

There is no real difference between urethane and polyurethane; they are the same substance for which people sometimes use different terms.

Some vendors may say either “urethane” or “polyurethane” exclusively when discussing these coatings, or they may use the terms interchangeably. Because a polyurethane is made up of many urethane units, the words mean the same thing.

One reason for the difference in usage of the terms is how products made with polyurethanes were marketed over time.

In addition to coatings, polyurethane products are used in building insulation, furniture cushioning, car parts, mattresses, and shoes, among other products. Polyurethanes were invented in the 1930s and have been in wide use since the 1950s, where they first appeared in products such as adhesives, rigid foams, and cushioning foams.

Polyurethane Coatings in Industrial Applications

Most frequently, polyurethane is used in coatings and adhesives in an industrial setting.

Polyurethane coatings have a curing period that allows them to harden over the course of a few hours. Their flexibility makes them easy to apply, but once they’re cured, they become remarkably durable and improve the strength and resilience of concrete flooring.

They defend the floors underneath them from a variety of damage types, including:

  • Corrosion
  • Weathering
  • Abrasion
  • Shock
  • Heat
  • Contamination

Polyurethane coatings aren’t just great for floors: They can be used to coat equipment to protect it from rust and damage over time.

Skilled Industrial Painters in Metro Detroit

If you’re looking to give your industrial space or equipment a paint upgrade, the team at Armor Tough Coatings can help. We offer exceptional results with minimal downtime, getting you back to work faster. Schedule your consultation today!