Epoxy vs Acrylic: Comparing Surface Coatings

Nick Shushan
By Nick Shusan , Epoxy Expert and the CEO of NYC Epoxy Flooring.

December 26, 2022

Choosing a suitable material for your surface is more than how beautiful or durable they are. When talking about the best material for surface designs, epoxy and acrylic are often mentioned.

Epoxy and acrylic are the most common finishes for concrete floors used in the building industry. These two coatings will last a long time because they stand up to chemicals and acids, are easy to clean, and look good.

Before you decide which one to use on your property, you should compare and contrast them to know which one meets your goal. Here look at how epoxy and acrylic differ from each other.

What is Epoxy?

Epoxy is made from epoxy resin and polyamine that harden when heated. The hardener and thermosetting resin work together to form a strong bond.

It comprises a group of chemical compounds with large molecules of subunits that are recurring in nature, making the resulting epoxy solid and flexible. Epoxies are very easy to use, come in different thicknesses, and give you a durable and solid floor.

Epoxy coating is a great way to finish floors because it sticks very well. It can also be used to fix cracks, holes, and other damage on the surface of concrete floors and to resurface old or worn-out concrete.

What is Acrylic?

Acrylic is a thermosetting resin that is typically water-soluble, but it polymerizes and solidifies in minutes when it reacts with water in the air.

Acrylic adhesives are often used in hobby and craft applications, although they may also be used in certain industrial situations. Acrylic adhesives are often utilized when great temperature resistance is required.

Their “glass transition temperature,” Is high meaning they take a long time to melt and may keep strength when heated. Acrylic adhesives can also be used to deal with difficult-to-glue materials or materials that do not react well to conventional adhesives.

Epoxy and Acrylic: How Do They Compare?

From a distance, you may need assistance identifying the difference between epoxies and acrylic. But they are significantly distinct and have varied uses depending on their purpose and application.

How do you choose between these floor coatings based on your goals? How is one superior to the other, and what do you enjoy more about the one you choose? These epoxy vs. acrylic distinctions can help you answer such queries.

Features Acrylic Epoxy
Abrasion resistance Less resistant Resistant
Humidity and moisture resistance Sensitive Resistant
Tolerance to temperature changes Less tolerant Tolerant
UV Resistance Less resistant Highly resistant
Durability Very durable Very durable
Chemical Resistance Resistant More resistant
Cure time Short time Long time
Smell Awful odor No odor
Bond Strength Stronger bonds Less stronger bonds

Affordability

People judge products by their prices; the same is true when deciding between acrylic and epoxy.

As earlier said, the resin makes epoxy more durable, which drives the price. Also, water-based solutions are relatively less expensive than products made of 100% solid epoxy resin.

Finishing

Epoxy coating gives a high-gloss finish, while acrylic coating gives you a wider range of finishes, from matte to glossy.

Also, decorative concrete, where there isn’t a lot of foot traffic, is a better place to use acrylic coatings. Acrylic is more of a protective coating and doesn’t penetrate the concrete.

On the other hand, epoxy coating is better for crowded areas with much activity because it is more durable and sticks better to the floor. Since epoxy has a hard finish, it protects the surface of the concrete from chemical spills that are too strong for paint.

Usability

If you want to focus on interior floors, you should use epoxy coating, while acrylic coating can be used on interior and exterior flooring.

Material weight

Installing and shipping heavy items are more expensive. Epoxy resin is stronger and lasts longer than other materials but is very heavy. Because they are heavy and dense, shipping them costs more than shipping acrylic.

Heat resistant

If you want a coating that is heat resistant, then you should buy epoxy resin. While acrylic resin will cope well in moderate temperatures below 100 F, anything above that will be a stretch. The surface might start warping or burning.

However, epoxy can cope with extreme temperatures and open flames without any problems. So if you aren’t worried about which withstands more heat, go for epoxy.

Application

Sometimes, the application process for epoxy and acrylic can be stressful. Here, you’ll find out the main ways in which epoxy and acrylic coating applications are different.

Also, it’s essential to know that epoxy has a longer drying time compared to acrylic. Furthermore, you should be careful while applying the coating because it could be ruined if the floor is wet. However, there is a test for moisture that can tell if a floor is dry.

To achieve optimal results, employ the services of a professional. Acrylic and epoxy can be used in the following places:

Acrylic Coating

  • Stamped concrete exterior surfaces
  • Interior flooring

Epoxy Coating

  • Places with high traffic
  • Kitchens and living rooms
  • Factories

Conclusion

From the above comparisons of acrylic and epoxy, it’s clear that each has its pros and cons for different projects.

Although they are both used for coating, they have differences and are suitable for various purposes. Therefore, the application determines the best fit as they serve different purposes.

So, to achieve maximum results from your job, you should figure out which adhesives best suit your goal.

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