Urethane vs Polyurethane: What’s The Difference?

When it comes to coatings and sealants, there are many different types available on the market. Two of the most popular options are urethane and polyurethane. But what’s the difference between them?

We will discuss urethane vs polyurethane in this blog, which is one of the famous comparisons among people doing woodworking business.

However, it is important to understand the basics of both before getting into the comparison.

urethane vs polyurethane

What is Urethane?

Urethane is a type of plastic that is widely used in many different industries. It can be found in coatings, sealants, and adhesives. Urethane is known for its durability and resistance to wear and tear.

What is the Purpose of Urethane?

Urethane is most commonly used as a protective coating. It is often applied to surfaces that are subject to wear and tear, such as floors and walls. Urethane can also be used as an adhesive or sealant.

What is Polyurethane?

Polyurethane is also a type of plastic. It is made by combining two different chemicals, isocyanate and polyol resin. Polyurethane is often used in coatings, sealants, and adhesives as well.

Polyurethane is known for its flexibility and resistance to both heat and cold. It is also resistant to chemicals and UV light.

What is the purpose of Polyurethane?

Polyurethane is most commonly used as a protective coating. It can be applied to both floors and walls. Polyurethane is also used in adhesives, sealants, and insulation.

Now that we have discussed the basics of urethane and polyurethane, let’s compare them side by side.

Urethane vs Polyurethane: All The Differences

1. Durability

Urethane is more durable than polyurethane. It is resistant to wear and tear, while polyurethane is not.

This is because urethane is a harder plastic, while polyurethane is a softer plastic. Urethane can also withstand higher temperatures than polyurethane.

Polyurethane will become brittle and crack at lower temperatures, while urethane will not.

Urethane is the better option if you are looking for a durable coating or sealant.

However, urethane is not as flexible as polyurethane.

2. Heat Resistant

Urethane is more heat resistant than polyurethane. It can withstand higher temperatures without becoming brittle and cracking.

Polyurethane will become brittle and crack at lower temperatures, while urethane will not.

Urethane is the better option if you are looking for a heat-resistant coating or sealant.

However, urethane is not as flexible as polyurethane. Polyurethane can withstand higher temperatures without becoming brittle and cracking.

3. Uses

Urethane is most commonly used as a protective coating. It can be applied to both floors and walls. Urethane is also used in adhesives, sealants, and insulation.

Polyurethane is most commonly used as a protective coating. It can be applied to both floors and walls. Polyurethane is also used in adhesives, sealants, and insulation.

Urethane is better for applications where durability is important. Polyurethane is better for applications where flexibility is important.

4. Toxicity

Urethane is more toxic than polyurethane. It emits harmful fumes when it is applied and cured.

Polyurethane does not emit harmful fumes when it is applied or cured.

Urethane should only be used in well-ventilated areas. Polyurethane can be used in both well-ventilated and poorly ventilated areas.

Urethane is the better option for applications where toxicity is not a concern. Polyurethane is the better option for applications where toxicity is a concern.

5. Pricing

Urethane is more expensive than polyurethane.

Polyurethane is less expensive than urethane.

Urethane is the better option for applications where durability is important. Polyurethane is the better option for applications where flexibility is important.

6. Elasticity

Urethane is more elastic than polyurethane. It can stretch and return to its original shape, while polyurethane cannot.

Polyurethane is not as elastic as urethane. It will stretch but will not return to its original shape. Urethane is the better option for applications where elasticity is important. Polyurethane is the better option for applications where elasticity is not as important.

7. Abbrassion Resistance

Urethane is more abrasion resistant than polyurethane. It can withstand higher levels of wear and tear, while polyurethane cannot.

Polyurethane is not as abrasion-resistant as urethane. It will wear down over time with use.

Urethane is the better option for applications where abrasion resistance is important. Polyurethane is the better option for applications where abrasion resistance is not as important.

8. Heat Resistance

Urethane is more heat resistant than polyurethane. It can withstand higher temperatures without becoming brittle and cracking.

Polyurethane will become brittle and crack at lower temperatures, while urethane will not.

Urethane is the better option if you are looking for a heat-resistant coating or sealant. However, urethane is not as flexible as polyurethane. Polyurethane can withstand higher temperatures without becoming brittle and cracking.

9. Bacterial Resistance

Urethane is more resistant to bacteria than polyurethane. It will not allow bacteria to grow, while polyurethane will.

Polyurethane is less resistant to bacteria than urethane. It will allow bacteria to grow over time. Urethane is the better option for applications where bacterial resistance is important. Polyurethane is the better option for applications where bacterial resistance is not as important.

10. Food Safety

Urethane is more food-safe than polyurethane. It will not allow bacteria or other contaminants to enter the food, while polyurethane will.

Polyurethane is less food-safe than urethane. It will allow bacteria or other contaminants to enter the food over time. Urethane is the better option for applications where food safety is important. Polyurethane is the better option for applications where food safety is not as important.

Urethane vs Polyurethane: Which Is Better?

Urethane is the better option for applications where durability, heat resistance, and abrasion resistance are important. Polyurethane is the better option for applications where flexibility and elasticity are important.

Pricing should also be considered when choosing between urethane and polyurethane. Urethane is more expensive than polyurethane, but it is more durable and resistant to wear and tear. Polyurethane is less expensive than urethane, but it is not as durable or resistant to wear and tear.

Conclusion

Urethane is the better option for most applications. It is more durable, heat resistant, and abrasion resistant than polyurethane. Polyurethane is less expensive than urethane, but it is not as durable or resistant to wear and tear.

So, you should make the final decision of choosing anyone based on your needs.