Urethane vs Acrylic Coating: Best Type for Your Office Floor?

Urethane vs Acrylic Floor Coating

Choosing the best type of material for your office floor could be a task. You need to have the proper knowledge about the different types of office floor to select the best fit for your office and budget. Aside from the commercial flooring, you also need to choose the best type of coating to use on your office floor to make sure that it would last for years. 

For vinyl, laminate, terrazzo, or ceramic floors you have two main options: acrylic (also known as wax) and urethane treatments. These are the two main floor surface treatments. Both treatments have unique advantages as well as disadvantages. 

Now, which question is, which is best surface treatment for the office flooring? Urethane or Acrylic?

What is Urethane Floor Coating?

Urethane floor coating is a top-of-the-line hard floor coating. It is one of the most used products in architectural planning. It is flexible and it permits high traffic and large machine use. It can resist wearing and would only need minimal attention in terms of maintenance. 

Due to its high density, it appears to stay glossy for a longer period of time and could resist scratches. It is easy to clean and has uncomplicated maintenance procedures.

Urethane floor coating is customizable. You can choose between matte and semi-gloss finish depending on your office style. 

Common Problems with Urethane Floor Coating

One of the main drawbacks of Urethane floor coating is the cost. Because of its material and its long lifespan, the application of urethane floor coating is much more expensive than an acrylic floor coating. 

Another problem with urethane floor coating is the application time. Urethane floor coating is a thick compound. It must be applied in thin layers to avoid material lumping and uneven thickness. It also takes hours to dry. 

Aside from thin application and longer drying time, urethane floor coating does not cover imperfections. You will need to apply an epoxy primer first followed by the urethane coating, thus the additional costs. 

What is Acrylic Floor Coating?

Acrylic floor coating is an industrial-grade waterborne floor coating. It could be applied in the interior or exterior of the building. You could choose between solvent-based and water-based. Solvent-based are for exterior applications while the water-based acrylic coating is for interior application. 

Acrylic floor coating is quick-drying, non-slip, and abrasion-resistant. It is used popularly in commercial industries. 

Common Problems with Acrylic Floor Coating

Durability is the number one drawback when it comes to an acrylic floor coating. It wears down easily compared to urethane floor coating thus the need for often re-coating. It is also only available in a gloss finish so if you’re not a fan of shiny or semi-gloss sheen floors, there’s no alternative to it.

It may also be worth mentioning that residual sulfates, solvents, or surfactants that are not removed properly or are accidentally left over after the reaction process may have  either short or long-term health consequences which is why it’s important to work with a professional to avoid such circumstances.

Things to Consider When Selecting a Floor Coating 


In terms of cost, acrylic treatment gets a point. It costs less for the initial application. It is less expensive pricing that is usually between $.50-$.80/square foot depending on the size of the area and the condition of the floor. Urethane treatment is pricier compared to acrylic. It requires a larger upfront investment. But the good thing about urethane treatment is that it lasts longer compared to acrylic coating. The price for urethane coating usually costs between $1.00-$1.75/square foot depending on how big the area is and the condition of the floor. 


In terms of appearance, both acrylic and urethane floors have a great initial appearance. The difference is that acrylic coatings need to be re-coated more often than urethane coating to maintain their appearance. The frequency of acrylic re-coating depends on the traffic in the area where the acrylic coating is applied. It could be every few weeks for high traffic areas and six months for the low traffic areas. 

Urethane coating can maintain its appearance for five years (medium traffic area). Urethane coating is available in gloss, semi-gloss, and matte finish while the acrylic coating is only available in gloss. 


Urethane coating is easier to clean compared to acrylic coating. It has a hard and dense surface that can be cleaned easily through sweeping or mopping. It only requires a few hours of labor (depending on the size), and few cleaning solutions to maintain. An acrylic coating can resist scuffs and stains. It only needs a simple buff to make it clean but would need more chemicals to properly maintain. When in doubt, it’s always best to consult a professional cleaning company to ensure what the proper cleaning methods should be for your flooring.


Urethane floor coatings are more slip-resistant compared to acrylic floor coating. Urethane floor coating slip-resistance could also be enhanced further through increasing additives for areas that are frequently damp and are prone to slips. 

Health issues

Urethane and acrylic coating fumes could cause skin irritation as well as asthma. Make sure to contact professionals who are knowledgeable enough about these issues to make sure everyone involved is safe. 


Common acrylic mixtures are about 35% solids while oil-based urethane is about 50% solids. This means you need to apply at least 4 coats to get the same protection 2 layer coating of urethane has. A gallon of acrylic could cover about 600 square feet while a gallon of urethane covers about 400 feet.