Are you interested in epoxy coating your garage floor but feel intimidated by the process? This blog post will show you that epoxy coating your garage floor is a relatively simple process that you can complete in just five easy steps. Follow these steps to achieve a professional-looking finish that protects your concrete and makes cleaning up spills a breeze.
As a bonus, we will discuss the benefits and costs of DIY and professional projects alike.
Table of Contents
- What Are Epoxy Floors
- Epoxy Garage Floor Benefits
- Epoxy Garage Floor Cost
- The DIY Route
- The Professional Route
What is epoxy flooring?
Epoxy flooring is a product that involves applying several layers of epoxy to a concrete floor, usually with a certain thickness.
The typical thickness required is at least 2mm but can be thicker if desired. There are many different types of epoxy finishes, and each one comes with its pros and cons.
Epoxy Garage Floor Benefits
There are more benefits to epoxy garage flooring than you might think. Adding this type of flooring to your garage will help you in many ways, including:
Aesthetic – Whether you’re trying to sell your home or want it to look nicer, epoxy flooring is a great solution that gives your garage a more modern look and feel.
There is a huge array of epoxy garage floor colors to choose from, as well as vinyl-colored chips or flakes that you can add for variety. Customize it the way you want.
Clean – Not only will your new floor cover up most existing stains, it typically outperforms regular cement, which tends to soak up permanent stains.
Liquids and solids that come in contact with your garage floor, such as dirt, oil, and antifreeze, can be extremely damaging. Epoxy floors are resistant to stains, making it easy to clean up any chemicals that end up on your garage floor. Keep in mind that spills can alter the appearance of your epoxy if you do not clean it up promptly.
Durability – Epoxy flooring can prevent your cement floor from staining and cracking. Cement is susceptible to undesirable changes when exposed to heat and cold. Adding a layer of epoxy can act as a sealant from the elements.
Epoxy Garage Floor Cost
The cost of getting an epoxy garage floor depends on the garage size and if you hire it out or do it yourself. Here’s a breakdown:
Let's crunch some numbers. A typical two-car garage ranges anywhere from 400 to 720 square feet. According to Homeflooringpros.com, the epoxy floor will cost you anywhere from $0.60 to $2.85 per square foot, not including tools. So, for a 720 sq/foot garage epoxy floor your starting costs would range from about $432 to $2052.
The DIY route is the least expensive you can take. Hiring a professional to install the epoxy floor for you would cost anywhere from $2.50 to $9.00 per square foot. The low to high costs for a 720 sq/ft garage range from around $1,800 to $6,480.
Concreteguymn.com claims that epoxy floors can increase the value of your home by up to $8 sq/foot. Depending on what you pay, it could result in a positive ROI for your house in addition to previously mentioned benefits.
The Professional Route
As you might have guessed, going the professional route is easier for you. You won’t have to worry about epoxy mixing ratios, dry times, crack filling, etc.
We recommend getting at least three quotes from different epoxy floor specialists before deciding on one. Be sure you look at each company's Google reviews, if they have any, to make sure you are working with an honest company or individual that provides high-quality epoxy floors.
How To Do It Yourself
Epoxy garage floors are a popular choice for do-it-yourselfers and professionals alike. Here is a quick guide on how to epoxy a garage floor.
Before you begin the five-step process, ensure your floor is as clean as possible. You can do this by power washing or using a garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle attachment. If you have oil stains, you'll need to remove them with a commercial degreaser. Once the floor is clean, let it dry completely before proceeding.
Here are some suggested tools you will need to clean your floor:
- Push broom
- Squeegee attached to a long broom handle
- Wire brush (optional)
Our first step is to clean off any surface debris on your garage floor such as dirt, garbage, sawdust, etc. When doing so, make sure you collect it properly to avoid polluting the surrounding environment.
Second, you need to wet the surface of your garage with a hose or power sprayer. Note, that there may be sections that repel water. These are typically where the concrete pores have been filled with water-repelling liquids such as oil.
The third step is to use a heavy-duty degreaser. Ideally, use one that is non-toxic as many oil degreasers usually are. According to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, even minimal amounts of degreaser entering the environment can have drastic consequences on the local groundwater reserves. Degreasers are even capable of evaporating and contributing to local air pollution and smog levels.
Regardless of which type you use, ensure that you catch and dispose of it properly. Apply the degreaser to the stains and the spots on your garage floor that seem to repel water. Use a squeegee to spread the degreaser across the entire floor surface. Then use your scrub brush to work the degreaser into the trouble spots. You may have to use a wire brush for more intense stains.
Let this sit for at least 15 minutes (this may vary depending on the degreaser you use).
Once it’s had time to sit, squeegee all excess liquid off the floor. Wet your floor with a hose in order to help pick up the remaining chemicals, then squeegee the rest off.
Your garage floor should now be noticeably cleaner than it was previously. You may have to repeat the process multiple times to get all the stains off the garage floor.
Check out this YouTube video from On The Workbench about how to degrease your garage floor.
Let’s dive into the 5 steps of finishing your garage with epoxy.
1. Concrete Etching and Power Washing
This is one of the most essential parts of preparing your garage floor for epoxy resin. Concrete etching means that you are roughing up your concrete with acid. This is done because if the surface cement is too smooth then the epoxy isn’t likely to bond as it should and could potentially peel off.
Your epoxy floor coat kit should have specifics on how to apply the acid to your garage floor, but we will briefly go over this step.
You should have specific safety equipment and tools ready, such as full eye protection, chemical resistant rubber boots and gloves, a chemical respirator, a power wash hose attachment, and a pump sprayer.
An overview of this process is as follows:
- Wet driveway before etching to ensure acid doesn’t harm it
- Mix your muriatic etching acid with water to dilute
- Using a pump sprayer, apply diluted acid
- Let sit for the recommended amount of time
- Rinse off with water
- Power wash to finish
- Let dry for approximately two days
This is not an overly complicated process, but it is extremely important to get it right for the longevity of your new epoxy garage floor.
2. Fill Floor Cracks
Next, fill all the cracks in your garage floor with concrete caulking. Without this, it is easy for sawdust, dirt, chemicals, and bugs to get trapped in them. It is crucial that you fill these before applying the epoxy.
Purchase the appropriate caulk and use a standard caulking gun to apply. Make sure you smooth it out and avoid smearing it onto the rest of the concrete.
3. Apply The First Coat
The goal of this step is to get the epoxy to absorb into the concrete, which is why we etched the cement, to begin with. As you apply the epoxy, press down firmly as you apply a thin coat.
Wear latex gloves to avoid getting any epoxy on your skin as it is very difficult to remove. The other tools you will need are a large bucket for mixing, a mixer, a small roller for edges, and a roller with a long pole for larger areas.
The epoxy comes in two cans, usually labeled an “A” and can “B.” Mix the two together along with a reducer, or water, to thin the epoxy (check labels on cans to see what you can mix with it and how to mix it all together). This will allow the epoxy to seep into the concrete as much as possible. Let the mix sit for about 30 minutes before applying to allow the chemical reaction to start.
After application, let it dry for at least 24 hours or as directed by the instruction on the can. To help prevent epoxy fumes from building up, keep the garage door open to allow for proper airflow.
4. Second Coat and Colored Flakes
Once you have given the first coat 24 hours to dry, use a scraper to remove any bubbles or dirt that may have stuck during the drying process. Once you have scraped them away, take a leaf blower to remove any settled dust or dirt.
Leaving out the reducer this time, create another mix from the “A” and “B” cans of epoxy. Allow the mix to sit for 30 minutes, then apply the second coat. We recommend doing this in small sections and then adding the colored flakes by throwing them on as you go. This provides a nice colored texture to your floor once it’s finished.
Again, once finished, let it dry for about 24 hours.
5. Apply Top Coat
After you've let the epoxy dry and set for at least 24 hours, it's time to apply a topcoat. This will give your garage floor an extra layer of protection against wear and tear. Plus, it'll make it look even more smooth.
Again, let it dry for at least 24 hours.
If you would rather watch a step-by-step video demonstration, we recommend the below video from the youtube channel Paint Life TV.
Due to their durability and stain-resistant properties, epoxy floors can last for quite some time. Doing a DIY epoxy floor is less expensive than hiring a professional, but requires several days of work.
Hiring a professional is costly, but can save you a lot of time. We recommend obtaining multiple job quotes before making a final decision on a contractor.
Epoxy garage floors look great and could result in a positive ROI for your home.
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