Polycuramine or Epoxy Garage Flooring: Which is Better?

I’ve seen plenty of damaged garage floors, including one in my own home from a leaking hot water tank. 

The right flooring would have made some of the damage much less impactful. But, there are so many options that it can be hard to know which one makes sense.

This guide will examine two of the most popular options, polycuramine and epoxy epoxy coatings, to help you decide.

Pouring epoxy on floor

What Is Epoxy Flooring?

Epoxy arguably isn’t flooring, at least not technically. Rather, epoxy is a protective cover for existing flooring. You can’t lay epoxy down by itself. It always has to go over-top of something else, like concrete.

Traditional epoxy flooring is a mixture of resin and hardener that coats the base of a garage. This usually gives it a slightly glossy finish to make it visually attractive. You can add color flakes to epoxy flooring, but that’s not necessary for a great look.

Also, remember that a proper two-part epoxy coating isn’t the same as one-part epoxy paint. Personally, i recommend always going with an epoxy coating for better durability. You can check out my in-depth guide here.

Durability

Most epoxy floors wear out after about ten years of casual use. High-traffic areas, like workshops, usually see it wear out in 2-3 years instead. While it lasts, though, it’s among the most durable flooring options you’ll find. High-quality epoxy floors may last up to 20 years under casual use, especially in a temperature-controlled garage.

High-quality epoxy is exceptionally durable while it lasts, being functionally waterproof and impervious to problems like mold and mildew. Epoxy is very stain resistant, apart from a few select chemicals. It’s also durable enough to hold up under heavy traffic, and is even used in industrial applications.

Most epoxy has a compressive strength of more than 5000 psi. That makes it comparable to some forms of high-strength concrete. By contrast, residential concrete has a compressive strength of around 4000 psi. Epoxy is more durable than the concrete below it when going against crushing force.

This aspect is crucial to understand if you go shopping for epoxy.

Some companies will advertise specific compressive strengths, but this is largely irrelevant for all but the most specialized applications. Practically all epoxy is better than traditional garage flooring, and unless you’re bringing in ultra-heavy objects, there’s no functional difference.

Choosing the Right Epoxy

The highest-quality epoxies are solid-based. The less percentage of solids in the epoxy means that some of the material evaporates as it dries. That leaves you with a thinner coat over your garage floor than you may have expected.

Now, it’s important to emphasize that quality matters a lot when you’re getting epoxy flooring. High-grade epoxy is significantly better than lower-quality materials, and it’s worth the investment. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll pay more for it. However, you’re likely to get several years of additional use out of it. That’s a great bargain by any measure.

Epoxy vs. Polyurethane

Polyurethane is a competitive resin for two-part epoxy.

Epoxy is noticeably better in its ability to bond to concrete and its overall surface hardness. It’s also relatively easy to apply, and these properties make it popular for many people.

Polyurethane isn’t quite as hard and doesn’t bond to concrete as well, but it has outstanding flexibility. It also resists UV light better than epoxy, making it a better choice in areas with a lot of sunlight. Both products resist chemicals well, although polyurethane is a bit better. However, polyurethane is more challenging to apply than epoxy, so it’s not as good for DIY buyers.


What Is Polycuramine?

Polycuramine is a trademarked product from Rust-Oleum. You’ve probably heard of them before. They’re a coating company that produces a series of colorful and protective products for household, commercial, and industrial needs.

Polycuramine is a proprietary mixture of polyurea, urethane, and epoxy that combine into one flooring. It’s durable, although not as much as Rust-Oleum’s marketing would have you believe. When they say it’s 20 times stronger than epoxy, they’re referring to basic epoxy paint, not high-quality flooring.

However, marketing gimmicks aside, polycuramine is still a tough, eco-safe product that’s relatively easy to apply and provides a glossy finish.

At a minimum, Polycuramine is better than many older kits, including lower-quality epoxy paint. However, it’s only similar to good epoxy, which makes it hard to pick between the two based on this alone.

There’s one other detail that’s important to bring up here. Polycuramine is still a new product on the market, so many people aren’t familiar with it yet. We also don’t know the true long-term performance of it. Epoxy, in contrast, is an established and generally reliable product.

Application

A standard application will cover between 200 and 250 square feet. Of course, that depends on factors like how porous the concrete beneath it is. Applying it too thinly has obvious problems. Realistically, it’s better to try and cover about 200 square feet per pouch and not try to stretch it further. You may also need to apply a second coat, which raises the price.

Polycuramine is safe to walk on after about 10 hours, and safe to drive on after 24 hours. That’s noticeably faster than some other garage flooring materials. It’s near-impervious to most chemicals, so it’s suitable for many riskier environments.

Polycuramine also has a wide range of application temperatures. You can apply it between 40 and 90 degrees, which is a comfortably wider range than most epoxy.

The mixture is about 96% solids, with a highly glossy finish once it has set. That’s comfortably high and perhaps the best one can realistically expect from a mixed product.

Polycuramine is also self-leveling, which means it works well on uneven garage floors. However, you’ll want to apply more than one coat if you have anything more than the slightest slope. Otherwise, there’s a real chance it will flow downhill, and you’ll have sections that have no coating at all.

Potential Issues

However, like all products, polycuramine has its flaws. Notably, it’s not UV stable, which means it turns yellow if you expose it to sunlight regularly. That’s not a significant issue for garages without windows. It’s worth noting that epoxy isn’t any better, but a discolored polycuramine floor is difficult to remove.

A more important issue is how thin it goes on. Polycuramine is about three millimeters thick when applied correctly,  compared to about ten millimeters for epoxy. This thinness is another reason why it’s often better to use at least two coats of polycuramine and possibly three. That means the price can go up quickly.

It can also be challenging to apply polycuramine if you’re not used to doing floor coatings. It’s easy to put it on too thick in some areas and end up with much less coverage than you expected. Many people DIY these kits, so coverage issues are pretty common.

Colors may also vary slightly between kits, even if they’re the same UPC\SKU. That can make it awkward when you need to apply more than one of these kits. Having a large, discolored section of flooring is always bad for a garage’s overall appeal.

There is some good news for additional coats, though. Polycuramine has a 7-day recoat window, compared to most products that have less than 24 hours. It means you can easily add another layer without having to do more than clean the surface.

Image: Rustoleum.com

Polycuramine vs. Epoxy: Product Options

So let’s explore the different polycuramine vs. epoxy product options. Epoxy is the clear winner, although many of these products are lower-quality that you shouldn’t necessarily choose.

As a trademarked and branded product, polycuramine is only available in a few colors directly from Rustoleum under their Rocksolid brand. It’s worth noting that color choice is limited, since its a proprietary compound.

By contrast, epoxy comes in a wide array of colors and patterns for flooring, which we discuss in more detail here. You can even layer epoxy coatings to create a custom look. I always recommend using a primer and a protective top-coat for an even longer lifespan.

Epoxy also comes in single-component paints, but these are noticeably inferior to a two-part mix.


Polycuramine vs. Epoxy: Abrasion Resistance

The highest-quality epoxies have higher abrasion resistance than polycuramine. The primary metric for this is called the Taber C-17 abrasion test. It’s meant to mimic actual wear from things like wheels and foot traffic.

That’s not too critical if you only walk through your garage once every few days. However, if you use your garage as a workshop, or do car repair, you want to have a Taber C-17 score of 5 mg or less.

Adding a protective coating on top of epoxy will give it much higher abrasion resistance. That will help it beat out polycuramine for durability.

Polycuramine vs. Epoxy: Cost

As you might expect, the cost for epoxy flooring can vary greatly. It will depend on the type of epoxy coating you choose, the size of your garage floor, and whether you need to hire contractors to do the work. Most people spend between $1500 and $3000 to coat a typical two-car garage, for both materials and labor.

Polycuramine is noticeably cheaper, with a 2.5 car kit (covering roughly 450 square feet) retailing for about $280. However, as we discussed above, it’s recommended to add at least one additional coat when applying polycuramine. That will noticeably increase the total cost.

Most people apply polycuramine themselves, so this price does not include labor or the fees for prep work.

The important thing here is that polycuramine is noticeably cheaper than epoxy while being almost as good while it lasts. That’s the deciding factor for many homeowners.

However, even this isn’t as simple as it can seem at first. Because polycuramine is such a new product, we don’t know it’s true lifespan.

Things like excessive UV exposure or an improper application can shorten the lifespan of a polycuramine floor. However, it’s safe to say that it’s highly reliable for two years and somewhat iffy after that.

High-quality epoxy in a home garage usually lasts at least five times as long, but at three times the price.

If you expect to stay in your home for more than a few years, a good epoxy coating will probably cost less over time.

Polycuramine vs. Epoxy: Application Speed

Are you wondering about the time it will take you to apply polycuramine vs. epoxy? Well, polycuramine wins, hands-down, for how fast you can use it after applying it. You can walk on a polycuramine floor in 8-10 hours, and drive on it after 24 hours.

Epoxy is ready for light traffic after 24 hours, but you’ll need to wait 7-10 days before you can drive on it. This depends on the outdoor temperature and humidity.

For some, that’s a big delay in using your garage, or moving your stuff back in.


Choosing Between Polycuramine and Epoxy

Polycuramine is an exciting addition to the roster of floor coatings that homeowners have access to. Ultimately though, epoxy coatings are still better for most situations.

Here’s why.

The biggest concern for floor coatings is reliability. Most regular homeowners only need to apply a floor coating once or twice during their entire time at a property. If you need to apply coatings more often, something is going badly wrong.

There are still questions about how well polycuramine will hold up over time. Especially if you have a lot of foot or vehicle traffic, this can be a big concern. Once a floor starts going, you usually have to replace the entire coating. Early reports suggest it may have a shorter life than advertised, so epoxy’s reliability makes it a better choice overall.

Finally, when comparing polycuramine vs. epoxy coatings, the price difference can be another big factor. For most people, garage floor coatings are more of a “nice to have.”

But if you rely on your garage floor coating to stand the test of time, epoxy coatings are the better option for most people.