Methods of Installing High Build Urethanes

When there comes a need for a surface that is both chemical and abrasion resistant more and more people are relying on High Traffic Urethanes. They perform great under extreme conditions. Unfortunately there is a bit of a learning curve for first time installers. When applying this product there are a two very crucial things that need to happen and in this article we cover all of them.

What Are High Build Urethanes?

High Build Urethanes are a high solids material. They are typically 90% solids or higher. This type of coating cures even if there is the presence of high moisture in the atmosphere. This coating forms a protective coating film on the surface of the concrete by reacting chemically with the moisture in the air. Manufacturers also add finely ground aluminum oxide to the materials which is what give it a different consistency than the typical epoxies.

Method Of Application

The typical method of pouring out the contents and squeegeeing it around in order to spread it do not apply with high build urethanes. This time the thought process has to be, “thin to win” or you may see less than desirable final finish.

Dip & Roll Technique

Installing the coating in the manner previously mentioned could cause the film to be too thick and that can lead to a plethora of problems.  The prefered method by installers is the dip and roll method. Using an 18-inch roller and pans is, in my opinion, the best method to use. The process is to dip and roll then cross roll the floor.

A standard size room of 400-500 square feet can be done with a crew of two. However the faster you can roll the product on the better it will do to hide the roller marks so a crew of three installers would be a better fit. Two installers can work fast on dipping and rolling the urethane on the floor in one direction while the third can cross rolling. Using this process makes the installation go very quickly and as mentioned before minimizes the likelihood of roller marks.

Thin To Win

The thickness of the application is also just as important as the method you use to apply it on. As recommended by the manufacturer High traffic urethanes must be applied thinly. The average rate of application is between 400 to 450 square-feet-per-gallon, wow, that’s thin. Apply them too thick and the coating will can start to show micro bubbles in the film if you keep at it those small bubbles will turn into large blisters. The only solution to remove those is complete removal of coating and restarting from scratch.

Unlike other situations where you would normally sand down a few bubbles from the surface, sanding these coatings down is not easy due to the presence of finely ground aluminum oxide.


With the increasing popularity and demand of high build urethanes it may be a good idea to get familiar with the product. Do not be alarmed, if you follow the to suggestions we discussed here you can be sure to put out a some good final product.

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