Which is the Best Industrial Floor Paint for Concrete?

 Best industrial floor paint for concrete

Which is the Best Industrial Floor Paint for Concrete?

In an industrial, warehouse or garage setting, there is no doubt that a painted concrete floor looks better and is easier to maintain and keep clean than bare concrete. But with so many coating systems on the market, how do you know which is the best industrial floor paint for concrete? This article will help you establish the most cost-effective option for your work environment.

It covers:

  • An overview of the two most popular heavy-duty coating systems – epoxy resin and polyurethane (PU).
  • The pros and cons of each of these types of paint
  • Recommended paint products
  • How to prepare a concrete floor ready for painting (an essential step!).

Types of industrial floor paint

There are many types of Industrial floor coatings available, but epoxy resins and polyurethane are the two most popular that can withstand heavy traffic.

Epoxy floor paint

There are three types of epoxy: 100% solids (no solvent or water added), solvent-based and water-based. A huge range of epoxy floor paint formulas exist, including self-levelling, quartz-filled, mortar, and anti-static.

Solids-based epoxy floor paint

This is the most simple form of epoxy coating due to its lack of solvent or water additives. Solids-based epoxy is extremely viscous, making it the strongest of the epoxy resins. However, it comes with a significant down side – a pot life of just half an hour. Installation is significantly more expensive than other coating options due to the amount of wastage.

Solvent-based epoxy floor paint

Solvent-based epoxy contains solvent as an additive to increase the product’s pot life. The coating doesn’t begin to harden until the solvent has evaporated.

Solvent-based paint is only slightly less strong than 100% solids. For this reason, it has been the go-to solution for easy installation, but with the environmental and health and safety issues associated with VOCs, water-based epoxy and epoxy alternatives, such as PU, are gaining popularity.


Water-based epoxy floor paint

Water-based epoxy provides the solution to lowering VOC content but it comes with a trade-off: it’s by far the weakest of the epoxy family. It is unable to withstand heavy use and harsh environments, making it suitable for office and laboratory environments but not warehouse or garage settings.

Epoxy pros

  • Superior hardness – solvent-based epoxy coatings offer unrivalled durability due to their hardness and compression strength, so if your floors take a regular hammering from forklifts or other heavy equipment, epoxy may beyour best option.
  • Cheaper purchase cost – compared to polyurethane.
  • Humidity tolerance – epoxies outperform polyurethane when it comes to withstanding moisture.
  • Resistant to sulphuric acid – PU coatings are less able to handle sulphuric acid spills.

 epoxy floor paint

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Epoxy cons

  • Shorter lifespan compared to polurethane – although hard, it is not flexible, making it brittle.
  • Limited chemical-resistance – although it has excellent resistance to some chemicals, polyurethane has greater resistance to a wider range of substances.
  • Long curing time – solvent-based epoxies take a long time to fully harden, which can cause considerable disruption to to work operations.

Polyurethane floor paint

Polyurethane is considered as a high quality floor and woodwork coating that dries with a thinner covering compared to epoxy. It comes in solvent-based and water-based formulas in a wide variety of finishes.

Polyurethane pros

  • Flexibility and durability – PU It is a very flexible, making it more resistant to impact and cracking compared to epoxy.
  • Abrasion and scuff-resistant – because it is cures softer than epoxy, PU can withistand scrapes and scuffs.
  • Chemical-resistanace – PU is highly resistant to solvent, alkali and lactic acid spills.
  • Fast curing time (but long pot life) – resulting in minimal operational downtime and lower labour installation costs.
  • Temperature tolerance – compared to epoxy, PU performs better in hot and cold environments.

Polyurethane cons

  • Upfront cost – polyurethane is more costly to purchase than epoxy.
  • Poor humidity tolerance – requires a moisture-free environment to cure effectively. Even though PU has a long lifespan, some will find its high upfront cost difficult to face. Epoxy is cheaper, but often doesn’t last as long.


 concrete floor paint preparation

Is epoxy or polyurethane best for industrial concrete floors?

Well, of course, there is no straightforward answer to this question. The type of industrial concrete floor coating that you choose will depend on a wide range of factors, such as:

  • Amount and type of traffic
  • Level of abrasive wear and tear
  • Level and type of chemical spills
  • Exposure to humidity
  • Exposure to extreme temperatures
  • Required finish and colour
  • Purchase cost vs maintenance costs and lifespan

In most cases, a high-quality polyurethane coating will provide excellent protection and aesthetics at the best price, given the coating’s longer lifecycle.

The best industrial concrete floor paints on the market

We recommend Flormax Single Pack PU to almost all customers that come to us looking for a hardwearing industrial concrete floor paint for the following reasons:

  • Single pack – no hardener required
  • Fast drying times – touch-dry in 1 hour and fully hardened in 12 hours
  • Easy to apply by brush or roller
  • Tough, durable finish
  • Excellent coverage
  • Suitable for concrete, timber and steel substrates
  • Excellent resistance to water, abrasion, solvents and chemicals
  • Maintenance schedule – annual with heavy traffic, up to 5-yearly with low-traffic
  • Semi-gloss finish, tintable to any colour
  • Anti-skid additive available.

For work environments that need a floor coating with epoxy-qualities, we recommend Joton’s Penguardor Jotamastic 90.

How to prepare a concrete floor for painting

It is essential that you prepare your concrete floor properly before painting it, making sure that it is clean, dry and free from oil, dirt, rust, grease and any other contaminates. Failure to do so will result in poor adhesion and a compromised finish.

There are several ways to achieve a perfectly prepped concrete floor. The method you choose will depend on the condition of the concrete and they type of coating that you will be applying. Always refer to your paint manufactuer’s technical data sheet for details of how to prepare the surface that you’re painting. Your supplier should also be able to help you if you have any questions or concerns.

METHOD 1: Brush or vacuum

This most basic preparation method is suitable for newly poured concrete or floors that are in good condition with minimal contamination.

  1. Use a brush or vacuum cleaner to remove any loose or friable material.
  2. Use a floor sander or wire brush to abrade the surface for better product adhesion.

METHOD 2: Solvent cleaner

Solvent cleaners cut through oil, grease and stubborn stains in concrete. They are fast drying, allowing you to repair or coat the floor very soon after application.


  • Solvents are toxic and produce a strong odour, making the unsuitable for use in food preparation areas.
  • Always use the correct respiratory protective equipment when using solvent cleaners in an enclosed environment. Refer to the product’s technical data sheet for details.

METHOD 3: Degreaser

There are a wide variety of degreaser preparations available for concrete floors that are moderately to severely contaminated with grease and grime. Procedures vary, but most products require you to take the following steps:

  1. Spray or pour the solution onto the floor and brush it over the substrate to be painted. Use neat for severely contaminated floors or dilute in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Allow to penetrate for the amount of time stated in the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Scrub the surface thoroughly with a broom to lift the oil, grease or grime.
  4. Rinse the surface thoroughly, using something like an Aquavac to remove the waste.
  5. Allow the concrete floor to dry completely before applying primer or direct-to- concrete paint.

METHOD 4: Acid etching

Hydrochloric acid etching is commonly used to dissolve laitance (weak surface layers) and open up concrete pores to allow the sealer coat to penetrate. An etched surface should have the texture of sandpaper – more than one application may be necessary to achieve this.

  1. Pre-damp the surface to be treated.
  2. Dilute the etching solution according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Spray or pour the diluted acid solution across the floor.
  4. Leave to penetrate for 2-3 minutes. You should see a bubbling reaction.
  5. Scrub the concrete with a stiff broom to promote vigorous bubbling.
  6. Immediately rinse the floor thoroughly with fresh water to prevent salts forming on the surface of the concrete.


METHOD 5: Shotblasting

By far the quickest and most effective type of concrete preparation, blasting removes previous coatings, contaminants, friable layers, and laitance. Care must be taken not to remove too much of the substrate as this can result in an overly porous and rough surface.

 concrete power grinding ready for floor paint

METHOD 6: Power grinding, sanding or scraping

As with shotblasting, these methods can remove previous coatings, contamination, loose matter and laitance. However, the process is much slower and not as effective.

Scarifying / Scabbling

Scarrifiers and scabblers remove the top layer of concrete. This method of preparation is only necessary when inspection reveals that the floor needs to be taken down to a sound surface.

Diamond Grinder

High-speed diamond grinders can be used to key a floor; remove any existing coatings, contaminants or weak concreate; or level uneven and scarred floors to a laser-level finish.

Need More Help With Floor Paints?

For further professional advice on industrial concrete paint and floor preparation, call our Total Paint Support Team on +44(0)1302 856666 or emailsales@ultrimaxcoatings.co.uk.

 aerosols consumables and sanding aerosols

 paint and thinner  spray equipment and spray guns  tools and equipment

Get Expert Support

Need more information before buying a booth? Our Total Paint Shop Support Team can help you with any enquiry.

Call: 01302 856666

Email: sales@ultrimaxcoatings.co.uk

YouTube: Need advice but like watching short videos? Check out our YouTube Help Channel.

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