Although single-application epoxy floor coatings are available, multi-layer floor coating systems are often considered more durable and longer-lasting. The best multi-layer epoxy floor coating systems consist of a primer layer, a solids basecoat layer, a layer of acrylic/vinyl chips, and a topcoat layer. If you want to compare epoxy garage floor coatings, you should start by comparing the quality and reliability of each layer of the respective multi-layer systems.
The Primer Layer
Because of their relatively low solids content, primers are thinner than their basecoat counterpart. Their thin consistency allows them to adhere well to concrete and resist bubbles and pinholes that may form when concrete off-gases. Also, primers make it easier to achieve a more uniform thickness for post-prime layers.
The Basecoat Layer
Premium basecoat layers are often 100% solids epoxy coatings. The benefits of epoxy coatings on garage floors are that they resist abrasions, chipping, and staining. The thick epoxy coating is durable and covers minor imperfections like hairline cracks or chips in the flooring.
The Acrylic/Vinyl Chip Layer
Although the chip layer is mostly decorative, it also has some functional attributes. For example, the chip layer can help deaden excessive noise and cover slight imperfections in the flooring. The chip layer can also be as thick as 3-5 mils, which creates a more impact-resistant garage floor surface. Lastly, unlike epoxy, the UV-stable acrylic/vinyl chips do not yellow or discolor when exposed to sunlight.
The Topcoat Layer
The main reason to add a top coat of clear epoxy or polyurethane to your multi-layer coating system is to give your garage floor an attractive glossy shine. However, a couple of topcoat layers also adds thickness and durability to your garage floor coating.
Finally, when you compare epoxy garage floor coatings to determine which combination of products is right for your garage setting, consider first the condition of the underlying concrete and what kind of traffic your garage floor will be exposed to. For example, a garage floor with a lot of foot traffic may need a topcoat that is laced with an anti-slip aggregate; whereas, a garage floor with a lot of vehicular traffic will benefit from a vehicular traffic coating that is very durable and resists staining.
The best epoxy floor covering for any garage setting will have several layers applied to maximize durability, longevity, and functionality.