Concrete garage floors can become unsightly over the years because of oil stains, spilling gas or chemicals on them, and wear from the tires of the vehicles and equipment you store in the garage. Fortunately, you can improve how the floor looks by applying epoxy on it.
However, the concrete must be prepared for the epoxy so the floor covering lasts for several years and remains attractive. Use these tips to prepare your garage floor.
Test for Moisture
It’s important to determine if epoxy can be applied to a garage’s concrete floor. To do this, take a piece of plastic, or a plastic bag, tape it down, and leave it in place for 24 hours.
After the 24 hours have passed, lift a corner of the bag and check the floor for moisture. If it is dry, you can apply epoxy to the concrete, but if there is moisture, you shouldn’t use epoxy because the water pressure can break the bond and ruin the floor.
Prep the Floor
Before you can begin applying epoxy on the floor, you need to evaluate the condition of the concrete, and then prepare it. Start by noting the types of stains that may be on the floor and where there are cracks or other damage so you know how to prepare the floor for the epoxy.
Next, you will need to remove the oil stains, then clean and degrease the floor. Etching it with acid will also help get the concrete ready to accept the epoxy so it will stick to the floor and improve its durability. Rinse the floor and vacuum it to remove any remaining debris.
Create a Smooth Surface
The concrete should be smooth before you begin applying epoxy to it. Fill in any cracks on the floor and let them dry before you begin to paint epoxy onto the concrete. After the surface is smooth, you can start applying the first coat of epoxy.
Selecting an Epoxy
There are three types of epoxy products that you can use to coat the garage floor:
- 100% solid epoxy
- Solvent-based epoxy
- Water-based epoxy
Solid epoxies are expensive and they dry rapidly, so they can be frustrating for an amateur to use and get a good result. Solvent-based epoxies are easier to handle, but they emit hazardous fumes. The person applying the epoxy must wear a respirator while painting, the garage should be well-ventilated, and other people, and pets, should stay away from the area due to the fumes.
A water-based solvent is the best choice for DIY homeowners. It is easier to apply, they do not give off dangerous fumes, and they come in a wide variety of colors. At a minimum, two coats should be applied to the floor to improve the coatings’ durability.
You will need about two to three gallons of epoxy for a typical two-car garage floor. An epoxy floor is easier to clean than concrete, so spills won’t necessarily stain it and the garage will look like a showroom.
Marc Poulos began his real estate and financial services career, but he soon realized that his true passion was beautifying homes. He started working with various small craftsman shops before serving an apprenticeship with the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Chicago. His commitment to excellence won him Top Apprentice from Washburne trade school in Chicago – the country’s premier school of its kind.