Kitchen Flooring: The Difference Between PU, Epoxy & Acrylic Resins
If you’re involved in the re-design or refurbishment of a kitchen environment, the resin flooring that you specify will be crucial.
Kitchens present a multitude of challenges that need to be considered before you begin your project. These challenges will most certainly have a bearing on the type of resin flooring you opt for.
In this post, we’ll be discussing the three most commonly used floor resins: PU, Epoxy, and Acrylic, and identifying their differences to ensure you make the best product choice for your upcoming kitchen project.
Kitchen Environments: Key Considerations For Resin Flooring
Before we dive into the specifics of each resin flooring type, we’ll take a closer look at kitchen environments in general. Whether it’s a busy restaurant, canteen area, food court, etc. they all share the same challenges that should be factored into your design:
- Hygiene: Possibly one of the most crucial considerations is hygiene. Not only do you need a flooring solution that’s easy to clean, but one that mitigates the risk of bacterial growth in the event of surface damage to the flooring.
- Downtime: Replacing a flooring system can have significant time implications. The type of flooring you choose could be the difference between two weeks and two hours. In such sensitive times, can businesses afford to be out of action any longer?
Polyurethane (PU) Floor Coating
Due to their high compressive strength, polyurethane coatings are highly resistant to scratches, which is why you’ll often find them in high-traffic areas, such as multi-storey car parks. They also cope well in extreme temperature situations as the flooring can expand and contract, making them less susceptible to cracks.
You might be thinking,
Works well in extreme temperatures? No cracks? This is perfect for my kitchen project…
However, the big setback with polyurethane floor coating is downtime.
PU can take around 3-5 hours to dry and 3-5 days to fully cure…
Fully cured means able to resist chemical attack – including water. If you spill water on the floor, it will interrupt the curing process stopping the resin from achieving its full strength.
Therefore, you would have to close your kitchen for at least 3 or maybe 5 days to allow the installation. Costly downtime.
Epoxy Floor Resins
We’ve identified that whilst PU offers some great benefits, downtime may be a bit of a problem – particularly on kitchen projects.
So, let’s take a look at Epoxy resin flooring.
Like PU, Epoxy also has high compressive strength, meaning it can protect the underlying concrete base from impact, wear, abrasion, water ingress, oil, and other chemicals. But the cure time is much longer than PU – depending on temperature, it can take up to 7 days to fully cure. Even longer shutdown times.
A damaged Epoxy resin floor is also difficult to repair permanently. Once damaged, repairs will require constant maintenance (think of a pothole in a road). Due to the very long cure time, each subsequent repair will also shut down the kitchen for several days adding significant costs to your business.
Secondly – and perhaps most crucially – Epoxy will often discolour and corrode if exposed to lactic acid – not ideal if using dairy products. So, unless you’re working on a vegan restaurant, you may have a bit of trouble.
The Issue Of Hygiene For Your Resin Flooring
It’s important to note that, as members of the Thermoset family of plastics, both Epoxy and PU only cure once, so each layer is only mechanically bonded (stuck) to the dried layer below – leaving bond lines.
Bond lines can be a huge issue in kitchen environments. When exposed to a crack or impact damage, these layers can delaminate, creating a breeding ground for bacteria and germs.
If you opt to repair a cracked floor with Epoxy or PU, you will experience joints around the patch. Over time, these joints will eventually open, allowing for water and dirt to penetrate the floor. The result? Delamination starts again and a larger patch of floor is now required to repair.
Acrylic Resin Flooring For Your Kitchen Project
Both Polyurethane and Epoxy are not without their setbacks – most notably, the downtime and hygiene implications.
So, is there a resin flooring solution that overcomes the above setbacks?
You’ll be pleased to know that there is. It’s acrylic resin flooring.
Acrylic resin, such as Acrylicon, is from the Thermoplastic family of resins. These resins can cure and un-cure, as they are reactivated by uncured resin. There is, therefore, no risk of delamination within the flooring system, as there are no joints; Excellent for working in a bacteria-free kitchen.
Secondly, the cure time of Thermoplastic resins is unbeatable. Curing fully in two hours, Acrylicon will allow the kitchen to be back up and running with very little disruption to the business.
Find out how we were able to facilitate the installation of a complete acrylic resin floor in the prestigious Shangri-La at The Shard within 2 hours of the final coat is applied. Click here.
Acrylicon can also perform floor repairs out of hours to ensure minimal disruption to your business.
To arrange a free no-obligation floor survey from one of our local experts, get in touch.
Acrylicon, the go-to industrial flooring company, has been implemented by Unilever, Walkers, McCain, Network Rail and many more companies that understand the cost implications of shutting down.
Their fast cure combined with the immense compressive strength saves you time, money and hassle when it comes to your industrial flooring. They can work at weekends or in business downtime to ensure minimal disruption to your daily processes.
With a life expectancy of up to 4-8 times longer than traditional resins, Acrylicon’s unique chemical composition ensures you get better value for money than from any other resin floor available.
Acrylicon’s long-lasting resin flooring is used across a variety of sectors including in food factories, commercial kitchens, warehouses, hospitals, supermarkets and car parks.
All new flooring comes with a 10-year performance warranty for complete peace of mind. Every installation is carried out by trained and certified regional installers so there are no split warranties.