Solid vs. Water-Based Epoxy Concrete Coatings: What’s the Difference?

Solid, solvent or water-based epoxy … it can make your head spin when you consider your choices for your concrete coatings! Which product is best for your specific application?

Knowing the basic properties of your coating of choice will help you decide with confidence when you select the product for you.


The Central Difference

Some solid epoxy coatings do not have any carrier agents; these coatings are typically thicker and stronger.

When a coating uses a solvent or water as its base, it makes it easier to apply, but it also thins as it dries. A coating that’s 7 millimeters thick on application will dry to 3 to 3½ millimeters thick as the solvent or the water evaporates.

Using a solvent or water-based epoxy is popular for a DIY approach, as it gives you more time to apply the coating and it is typically less expensive, but these cannot compete with solid epoxy’s durability.

Solid Epoxy: It’s a Long-Term Investment

A solid epoxy coating is what professionals use when they install concrete coatings. It provides a whole new floor that’s thick, durable and can last up to 20 years. It can withstand hot tires, grease and other chemicals and dropped power tools without sustaining damage.

Water-Based Epoxy: It’s More Like a Sealer

A water-based epoxy coating just doesn’t deliver the same level of quality. It will look good right away, but it’s a fraction of the thickness. It will offer a smooth, glossy surface, but this will fade. The pros? It is less expensive and you can apply it yourself.

Here’s How to Decide

Here are three factors that can help you make your decision on which type of coating to use:

Your Vision 
What are you trying to do with the space? Depending on the level of use your floor will get, match the durability of your coating. Think about what you want the final product to look like. A solid epoxy is a professional-level finish that is unmatched by any other option. But if you’re not prioritizing looks, this may not be a concern for you.

Your Budget 
If you have limited cash, a water-based epoxy will save some money. If you want your money to go farther, invest a little more in a professional solution.

Your Plan
Do you see yourself living in this home forever, or at least for 10 to 20 years? You will get the most out of your money with a solid epoxy. If you’re just looking for a temporary fix, choose a water-based epoxy instead.

Get a quote along with our professional recommendations when you contact Packman’s Coatings. We are happy to help you find the solution that fits your vision, budget and plan.