Garage floors usually see a lot of wear and tear, so we have to take proper care of them. Our heavy vehicles crunch onto this space a few times a day. We also have several projects going on in the garage at any time. All this means that we should know how to epoxy garage floors properly.
The right method can change up those boring and ugly cement floors. That way, we can turn them into something more functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Epoxy allows you to give those garage floors a showroom appearance while toughening them up even more. There are several application methods, along with various colors, blends, and flakes to choose from.
Epoxy Is Not Paint -- But What Is It?
If anyone knows how to epoxy garage floors, they’d know very well that this coating is not a type of paint. If you want to paint your garage floor, you’ll have to go for something latex and acrylic.
Certain paints might have some epoxy in their formulation. That will mean a more durable coating, but nowhere near the pure epoxy experience.
This dishwasher incorporates the AquaStop system, which has a precisely engineered tub and a robust molded base to prevent any leaks. Additionally, sensors detect leaks and quickly pump out any water that may otherwise cause damage.
Epoxy itself is more of a thermosetting resin that you can apply to the floors as a type of coating. You can make epoxy by mixing equal parts of epoxy resin and polyamine hardener. The latter is a catalyst that makes epoxy a strengthening compound.
We talk about paint drying, but we have to leave epoxy to “cure.” That might be reminiscent of leather, which also has to cure to be usable.
Once you mix the two parts that form epoxy, there’s a chemical reaction that triggers the exothermic curing process. This process is what gives you cross-linked polymer structures, resulting in high durability and super strength.
When this process is over, you’re left with a neat epoxy coating that’s quite a bit thicker than paint and will bond to your prepared surface. In this case, the surface means your garage floors.
Here’s Why Epoxy Garage Flooring Stands Out
Epoxy flooring does require quite a bit of effort. Wondering why should you go the extra mile?
First off, an epoxy coating provides an excellent finish. It makes your garage floors look presentable, with the thick and hard layer being extremely resilient. Any impact, spill, or abrasions will be a thing of the past.
Dropped a tool while carrying out a project or holding a garage party? There’s no need to worry about damaging a floor with an epoxy finish!
The epoxy will also be cover them up nicely. It will seal up those tiny cracks and minor flaws, while also preventing dust from a cement floor. There won’t be any more of that pesky gray dust collecting on your stuff and getting into the house.
If you live in a wet or snowy climate, another great advantage of epoxy is that it’s resistant to moisture. Any road salts or icy layers that can form on the floor won’t present a permanent problem. All you’ll need to do is wash them with a bit of soap plus water. Any dust or other debris are also easy to clean up on a dry epoxy floor.
Epoxy coatings are also resistant to stains, oil, anti-freeze, gasoline, and any other chemicals that can affect a garage floor. Plus, you don’t have to worry about any damaging equipment such as jacks, jack stands, and rolling toolboxes.
However, you do have to be careful about getting a quality epoxy for this job. A low-quality epoxy kit will probably not be as resistant.
How to Epoxy Garage Floors like a Pro
Now that you know the benefits of knowing how to epoxy garage floors, it’s time to learn how to epoxy garage floors in the right way:
Step 1: Collect the tools
Several epoxy garage floor coating kits are available on the market today. These include those with a two-part epoxy, an etching solution, and/or some color chips or flakes for decoration.
There might also be some epoxy kits that contain instructional DVDs. This inclusion will make things easier for you, especially if this is your first time conducting such a task. That way, you can start learning how to epoxy garage floors through a video instead of relying on just text instructions.
Be warned, though, as the color choices for many epoxy kits might not give you a lot to choose from. Most of the coatings are simply gray, brown, or white. However, you can find some more options if you know where to look. Here’s what you'll need for your epoxy garage floor project:
Step 2: Clean the debris
One major step in learning how to epoxy garage floors is to prepare the floor first. Without this step, you’ll essentially be locking in all the grease that’s currently on your floor at the moment. It’s not enough to simply run a broom around the garage; you have to properly degrease the floor and clean it thoroughly.
Once the floor is as clean as possible, your epoxy will be more likely to stay put and give you the best results.
You can remove the existing grease on your garage floors with a stiff brush and degreaser combined. The broom and wet-dry vacuum will clean up all kinds of debris. Finally, you can rinse off the degreaser with the garden hose.
Once the garage floor is dry, it’s now time to practice how to epoxy garage floors.
Step 3: Use the etching solution
There should be an etching solution in your epoxy coating kit. You should follow the directions in the packaging and wear all the safety gear that it recommends.
Now, you have to mix water in the etching solution and pour it on the garage as directed. Then, you’ll need to work the solution in with a broom or stiff brush. This solution will fizz up and foam quite a bit, so you should ideally be wearing gloves.
There’s no need to worry about the fizzing here, as it tells you that the solution is doing its work in abrading the floor surface.
Once you think the solution has done its job, rinse the garage floor with the hose. You then have to let the concrete dry out completely. In certain climates, this could take days. If the weather is usually dry, though, you can leave the floor to dry out overnight.
Step 4: Prepare the floor
Now that you've cleaned the floor thoroughly, it’s time to prepare the room itself for the epoxy coating job. You can do this by first applying some painter's tape on the bottom of the garage walls. It’s a very wide kind of tape that will protect your walls from getting any unwanted splashes.
If you have plastic sheeting and want some extra protection, cover the bottom from a few feet of your walls with it. You can use the tape to secure this sheeting.
If there’s any baseboard in the room, you can remove that before starting coating your garage with epoxy. That will allow for rolling the epoxy as closely to the walls as possible. Plus, you wouldn't have to make use of a brush to make sure the edges are neat.
Step 5: Work with the epoxy
Learning how to epoxy garage floors means that you need to know how to mix the epoxy correctly. You need a hardener and epoxy resin for this step. It’s best to mix up the epoxy just before you have to apply it.
You can stir the resin first, and then pour in the catalyst while still stirring. Once you finish the catalyst, you’ll have to stir for a few more minutes. The two parts should be completely blended.
You now have to place the lid on the mixture and let it “cure.” The exact time for your epoxy mixture will depend on the manufacturer's directions. These will vary according to the temperature and climate you’re in.
Step 6: Apply the epoxy mix
Finally, it’s time to apply the epoxy coating. You should start the application right when the epoxy mix gets ready. That leaves about a two-hour window. If the weather is hot, you have even less time before the mix hardens and becomes useless for applying.
Make sure you have the garage properly ventilated while the curing and application are going on.
For the application itself, you’ll use your 3-inch paintbrush for the edges. Then, use the roller and an extension handle for spreading your epoxy on the garage floor. It might help if you work in sections of 10 by 10 feet.
You may also ask someone to help you to cut the edges so you can save some time. You can maintain that necessary wet edges by moving the roller over them from time to time.Above all, you should make sure that the epoxy coating is as even as possible. Once you’re done with each section, you can apply your color chips manually.
Step 7: Let it dry
You should leave the single epoxy coat to dry for at least 12 hours before applying a second coat. Once you’re done with all the coats, don’t walk on the new surface for about a day. You might also have to refrain from parking your vehicle in the garage for several days.
Park the Car!
Now that you know how to epoxy garage floors, you can park your car in style! The shiny floor can even enhance the value of your home and will provide a durable experience for your garage.
Start checking out epoxy coating kits today and share which one seems best to you in the comments below.
Featured Image via flickr