Polyester vs Polyurethane Finish: Understanding the Differences

Polyester and polyurethane are used in many different applications. But what exactly is the difference between these two materials?

When it comes to choosing between a polyester vs polyurethane finish, the best option for your project will ultimately depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Let’s explore these two finishes in more detail so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your project.

What’s the Polyester Finish?

Polyester is a three-component paint that utilizes the resin + catalyst + accelerate. Thanks to its tight molecular structure, polyester has a solid content of +/- 96% which gives the product superior mechanical and chemical resistance, and limits the VOC content dispersed into the environment. Once catalyzed and dry, polyester emits no further VOC’s into the environment making it harmless to interior air quality.

The application of this class of finishes requires specialized equipment and machinery to produce a quality product. Polyester is recommended when high scratch resistance and 100% sheen are required on commercial and residential projects, and when LEED compliance is necessary.

What’s the Polyurethane Finish?

Polyurethanes come in either a mono-component or bi-component product. For instance, for our polyurethane finishes we utilize the two component product consisting of resin + catalyst. Polyurethane’s high molecular weight forms a hard but elastic film, with good mechanical and chemical resistance.

Once catalyzed and dry, polyurethane emits no further VOC’s into the environment making it harmless to interior air quality. Polyurethane is specified when sheen requirements vary from 20% to 100% on commercial and residential projects, and when LEED compliance is not a requirement.

What’s the Difference?

Polyester is +/- 96% solid content, polyurethane is between 50% to 65% solid content. Because polyester has a much higher solid content than polyurethane, polyester’s surface is stronger making it less vulnerable to scratching and chemical cleaning. However, polyurethane is more flexible than polyester making it suitable for applications where flexibility is important.

Benefits of Polyester Finish

  • Cheaper than polyurethane
  • It’s easier to work with
  • Good level of durability
  • Resistant to most household chemicals

Benefits of Polyurethane Finish

  • More expensive than polyester
  • More difficult to work with
  • More flexible
  • Excellent level of durability
  • Heat resistant
  • Stain-resistant

Polyester and Polyurethane Finish

Both polyester and polyurethane are UV stabilized and have the highest molecular structure and strength of all the finishes available, making them the preferred materials used by MAS. These finish materials offer strength and beauty, and are ideal choices for all commercial/residential interior projects.

We hope this article eased your mind on the polyester vs polyurethane finish debate. Now that you’ve decided which is right for your project, it’s time to get started. Request a quote from Mas Paints and enjoy our wide selection of high-quality finishes.