Polymer Concrete – Polyester vs. Vinyl Ester

POLYCAST trench drain

For many applications, selecting the right drainage system material is critical. There are several differences between a standard polymer concrete system and a vinyl ester concrete system. While both are polymer concrete systems, these differences have a direct impact on a project’s durability, lifespan and cost.

Polyester – Polymer Concrete

Introduced in the late 1950s, Polymer concrete is a concrete made with aggregate (medium to coarse-grained sand, gravel or crushed stone, etc.) and a polymer resin of some design (most often polyester or epoxy), instead of the typical cement and water combination. When comparing it to a standard cement based concrete, the resin takes the place of Portland cement (most commonly used since the 1800s) as a binder, creating a chemical reaction allowing for higher flowability. This resin has unique properties, such as high strength, low water absorption and fast setting.


  • Low permeability (absorption)
  • Resistance to freeze/thaw cycles
  • High durability and impact resistance

A polymer concrete system has low absorption rates, making it a versatile choice for many projects. It is resistant to a number of environmental factors. This system is highly durable and impact resistant. The rapid curing of a polymer concrete product makes it ideal for time sensitive applications. 

Interlaken Grate

Typical Applications

Knowing the details of a project’s application is imperative in choosing the right system. A polymer concrete system may be the answer. This system’s versatility allows for its use in a number of areas. It has low absorption rates, which increases its flow capacity or how much water can move through it at one time. This makes it an ideal choice for driveways, highways and parking lots. The thermal resistance creates an ideal product for many manufacturing facilities that need to move liquid away from an area quickly. Durability is a staple of this system, providing excellent drainage and a heavy duty grate option for loading docks, parking structures even airports.

Vinyl Ester – Polymer Concrete

Vinyl Ester is a different form of polymer concrete. Introduced in the 1960s, it is created from the same aggregate base as the standard system, but with different additives or resins. Instead of polyester or epoxy, a vinyl ester resin is used as the bonding agent. This creates a chemical reaction within the mix resulting in several changes in the physical properties of the concrete, which allows for use in high temperature and corrosive applications.


  • Increased thermal protection
  • Broad chemical resistance
  • Low water absorption

A system using vinyl ester polymer concrete has a higher resistance to acidic or corrosive chemicals as well as a higher degree of thermal protection. This is made possible by being less porous on a molecular level, which allows for a broad chemical resistance and low water absorption.

POLYCAST 600 Vinyl Ester

Typical Applications

Like the polymer concrete system, the vinyl ester version also has the versatility of being suitable for multiple projects. Since this system has different physical attributes caused by its molecular make up, it is ideally suited for use in chemical applications and holds up to extremely high temperatures up to 180°. A brewery is a great example of this type of application.

Choosing the correct system for your application is incredibly important. Material is the key for successful long term functionality and drainage. While both concrete systems may look the same, they are fundamentally different and react accordingly depending on the application.  

Trench Drain Systems is the largest stocking distributor for polymer concrete products in the U.S. The experts at TDS can help you find the right drains to fit your plan and budget. Contact us for a free quote or for further information on drainage solutions visit TrenchDrain.com or DrainageKits.com

Phone: 610-882-3630

Email: [email protected]

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