I know, choosing the most suitable coats for hardwood flooring is not easy as there are lots of factors to take into account. The first and upmost one is to decide whether to use polycrylic or polyurethane. This article is to share with you everything you need to know about the pros and cons between polycrylic vs polyurethane. So keep reading.
What is polycrylic vs What is polyurethane
Polycrylic is a water-based coating applied to wood surfaces to prevent dirt and dust as well as adding a shine to wood.
Polyurethane has two systems, namely water-based polyurethane and oil-based polyurethane.
Water-based polyurethane uses water as dispersion medium while oil-based polyurethane uses organic solvent systems. There has been a definite trend in converting existing resin systems to waterborne resins, for ease of use and environmental considerations.
Polyurethane can be applied to wood surfaces as a protecive top coat to achieve durable, abrasion-resistant results.
Let’s walk you through the main differences between polycrylic and polyurethane via seven aspects:
1 Base: polycrylic is water-based, while polyurethane has both water-based and oil-based. As we all know, water-based system has low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and is odorless and environmentally friendly.
2 Durability: polycrylic is not durable enough, only suitable for indoor surfaces like cabinets, furniture and trim, but not the surfaces that are subject to heavy traffic or that are exposed to water or heat a lot. Polyurethane is durable.
3 Drying time after application: 2hours vs 12 hours. As we can see, polyurethane takes longer to dry, but in return, it will help enhance more protection against heat and moisture.
4 Outcome after application: surface retains its original look vs surface gets ivory yellowish shade
5 Easy of cleaning: polycrylic is easy to clean with only soap and water, while oil-based polyurethane is a bit hard to clean. It might need to use a special solution (mineral spirit or a paint thinner).
6 Usage: good to use on indoor surfaces. Polycrylic has running consistency, which makes it hard to apply on vertical surfaces. vs oil-based polyurethane can be used on outdoor furniture or surfaces, with good resistance of water and heat.
7 Coats needed to achieve a desirable outcome: polycrylic is thin and that’s why it always needs 6 to 8 coats to get a desirable outcome. Polyurethane only needs 2-3 coats.
Here is a chart showing detailed differences
- Solids Content: 30-35%
- Price: $50-60 per gallon
- Color: Clear
- Dry Time: 1-2 hours
- Clean Up: Water
- Coats Needed: 6-8 ,four coat minimum required
- Solids Content: 45-50% more leftover materials to seal and coat your wood
- Price: $30-40 per gallon
- Color: Amber Hue
- Dry Time: 12-18 hours
- Clean Up: Mineral Spirits
- Coats Needed: 2-3
So, how to choose?
Both are clear finishes and can give furniture and wooden surfaces a shiny finish. To conclude, oil-based polyurethane is the most durable one and it looks better, last longer and cost less. While water-based polycrylic has lower VOCs, with ease of clean up and the quick drying.
If you need to apply on surfaces that are exposed a lot to adverse wether conditions, like outdoor furniture, oil-based polyurethane should be a good choice. If you need to apply on interior surfaces, then polycrylic is a nice option. Both polycrylic and water-based polyurethane fit anywhere Low VOCs are Needed.
High grade water-based polyurethane can be equally as duarable, smell less, dry faster and have lower VOCs. But you need to do some research on that before picking a brand.
You can learn a bit more in this video on Polycrylic vs Polyurethane: What’s The Difference?
SioResin is a leading manufacture specializing in developping sustainable products and technologies in new material field.
With one-stop integration in development, production, sales and services, We provide professional solutions regarding water-based polyurethane, water-based acrylic resin, water-based UV-curing resin, silicone resin, water-based Additives and waterborne Curing Agent etc.