For decades, protective coatings included traditional materials such as paint, epoxy, fiberglass and vinyl esters. Some achieved more success than others, but each had its own challenges. Polyurea coating technology is not new. In fact, it has been around and in use for almost three decades now. Polyurea is newer and more advanced than these traditional coating systems and offers many advantages to the owner, specifier and contractor.
These advantages come mainly in the form of achievable physical properties, and its fast-set, return-to-service characteristics. Additionally, polyurea works over a variety of different substrates (concrete, metals, wood and more) in a wide range of temperature and humidity environments. However, like all protective coatings, using polyurea is no excuse not to perform proper surface preparation and quality control testing during application.
At left: Adhesion testing
Some common uses for polyurea protective coatings include:
- Abrasion Resistance
- Corrosion Protection
- Above and Below Grade Waterproofing
- Chemical, Environmental, or Atmospheric Resistance
- Primary or Secondary Containment
- Safety: Non-slip Walkways / Surfaces
- Potable Water Reservoirs & Tanks
- Structural Enhancement
- Blast Mitigation / Ballistic Protection
Benefits of a modern system
Polyurea’s most beneficial asset is its fast set nature. It can typically return an area to service many times faster than traditional coatings. Owners can put the facility back in use without days and weeks of revenue lost to downtime. Downtime for maintenance costs facility owners a great deal of money. This applies to most structures, including water tanks, wastewater clarifiers, parking garages, and storage tanks. Here’s the typical scenario: take the area out of service; apply a traditional coating; wait while it slowly cures. Using a polyurea system solves this problem.
Most industrial-use polyureas spray onto the substrate. Therefore, they are fast to apply and accurately proportioned and mixed. This method allows application of virtually any mil thickness in one or multiple passes. It is easy to incorporate additional features such as slip resistant additives and surface textures. UV stable colors can be achieved, and even NSF potable water approved systems are also possible with polyurea.
Other coatings are practically incomparable to polyurea when it comes to attainable physical properties versus the time savings from its rapid return-to-service and general longevity. Polyureas can be formulated to achieve a tremendous range of properties — from high elongation to superior tensile strength to hard or soft, all based on how the material is formulated and correctly applied.