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What’s the difference between MMA, PU and Epoxy Flooring?

There are three main resin flooring types available – MMA resin, polyurethane and epoxy. Each resin type has its own features and benefits, here we explore MMA in depth and look at the comparative resin flooring types.

Degafloor only offer fast curing methyl methacrylate, known as MMA resin. Degafloor are able to meet the vast majority of customer needs, regardless of industry, this is due to the outstanding and unique benefits that come from the use of MMA resin.

Different types of resin cure and times

Cure times affect how quickly an installation can occur and then how quickly the floor can be returned to full use – or other trades come back into the area to work. When a resin floor has reached physical cure, it is trafficable, however chemicals are still released into the air until the resin reaches a full chemical cure.

Cure typeDegafloor MMA flooringEpoxy/Polyurethane flooring

Time to full physical cure

(i.e. able to fully traffic)

2 hours12 – 48 hours
Time to full chemical cure

(i.e. able to fully use)

2 hours3 – 10 days

 

 

 

 

 

 

Installation Temperature

Degafloor can be installed at temperatures down to -30°C without any detrimental effect on cure time. For most epoxy and polyurethane resins, manufacturers guidelines advise they should not be installed at temperatures of less than 5-10°C, with the optimal cure temperature being approx. 20°C.

The speed of cure for epoxy or polyurethane installations is greatly affected by temperature. The higher the temperature, the faster the cure – please note most epoxy and polyurethane specification sheets quote cure times at 20°C. However, if epoxies and polyurethanes are exposed to temperatures below 5°C during the curing process, there is a high probability that the installation will be compromised.

Speed of installation

Nearly all resin systems are installed in multiple layers – primer, main body coat layer and seal coat/s. As Degafloor products cure fully in just 2 hours, there is no real downtime between the application of each layer.

Most epoxies and polyurethanes typically need at least 4 – 8 hours to cure between applications, resulting in significantly longer installation periods.

Bonding technology

MMA resins are thermoplastics which achieve a chemical bond between each installation layer, resulting in a monolithic finish. In reality, each new layer chemically fuses to the previous layer (or existing subfloor) creating a virtually unbreakable bond.

Epoxy and polyurethane resins are thermosetting and achieve only a mechanical bond between installation layers. In reality each new layer ‘sticks’ to the previous layer (or existing subfloor).

Shrinkage and detailing

Degafloor resin flooring systems do not shrink and accordingly installation is both simple, repeatable and the finished floor reliable.

Polyurethane resin floors often require retention chases to be cut into the floor and at all termination points to try and offset the shrinkage stresses that occur when the floor cures. This complicates the installation and can result in performance problems.

Degafloor MMA resin can be bonded directly to drainage channels and other potential areas of weakness to create reliable and durable installations. In many cases polyurethane and epoxy finishes will require an expansion joint to be installed in these areas which may create points of weakness.

Slip-resistance

Degafloor offer a range of MMA flooring solutions to meet varying slip resistance requirements. This is especially true of industrial environments, where outstanding performance is required.

The Degafloor Full Broadcast and Quartz Trowelled with Aggregate systems utilise quartz aggregate which stays suspended at the top surface of the system, creating a consistent and textured finish that delivers marketing leading performance.

Most polyurethane systems are trowel-applied and rely on the installer leaving part of the aggregate within the resin mix ‘exposed’ to create slip resistance. This method often results in an inconsistent surface finish and, together with early wear, can result in unsatisfactory slip-resistance.

Durability

Degafloor resins are totally UV resistant and do not become brittle with age. Many polyurethane resins are not UV resistant creating long-term performance issues, including discolouration. Additionally, some epoxy formulations have been proven to become brittle over time resulting in poor long-term performance.

Resin flooring temperature resistance

ProductTemperature resistance
EpoxyUp to 60°C
DegafloorUp to 80°C
PolyurethaneUp to 120°C

 

 

 

Degafloor products offer excellent temperature resistance at a thickness of just 4mm. However, polyurethane resins can withstand temperatures of up to 120°C when installed at a thickness of 9mm.

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