So you’re tired of looking at your stained, cracked and just plain ugly garage concrete. You want an easy and affordable way to put down a strong finish and have probably already heard that a garage floor epoxy is the way to go – it’s truly the modern garage floor paint! Hey, it also works well on basement floors too. If your home is aging, you most likely have years of accumulated oil stains from various cars, paint and other liquid dribbles from projects past. And let’s not forget the really ugly rust stains or the salt that has soaked in from those icy winters. Whether you’re getting ready to sell your home and want to make improvements or are thinking of converting your garage into a nicer space (as an escape perhaps!), putting down an epoxy garage floor coating can really transform the space you used to think was only for storing cars and everything else that didn’t fit inside the house!
What is garage floor epoxy?
Simply put, an epoxy coating for your garage floor is very much like the epoxy you’ve used to glue things together. Essentially, a resin comes together with a hardener to form a really strong bond. As chemicals come together and “cure”, the result is an extremely hard substance. Sounds like the sort of thing you’d want to protect your garage floor, doesn’t it? In fact, this kind of “garage floor paint” is much stronger than a normal cement surface. What’s more is that when you finish a garage floor with epoxy, you’re combing a sealant and paint (plus texture, if desired!) to permanently seal and conseal your old surface. You end up with a pretty attractive (clean and hi-tech) floor coating. If you’re convinced this is the way to go, read on to see how to apply epoxy to your garage floor. It’s actually not too difficult for the average DYI’er.
How to apply a garage floor finish
Putting down an epoxy finish isn’t as complex a project as you might think. In fact, the hardest part may be getting your garage cleaned out and your floor bare in the first place! After that though, there are just a few basic steps. Nothing is terribly back-breaking, and there are some built in breaks as you wait for the materials to set up (harden). If you’ve attempted to clean off stains and other gunk already from your floor thinking that would do the trick (but didn’t), don’t worry. Your time was not wasted. The first step to the process is getting your floor free of any raised grime or gunk and other surface soils. After that, give it a good sweeping, and you’re reading to go.
- The first thing you need to do is get the floor ready for a deep cleaning. The cleaner the better when it comes to applying garage floor epoxy paint. To do this, scrape any hardened materials such as old glue, chewing gum, etc. off the floor surface. Then sweep the entire floor free of all visible dirt. Don’t forget those corners with the dusty cob webs!
- Secondly, we’re going to deep clean your concrete. This means applying a solution to remove any remaining dirt any other soils and also to degrease. Fortunately, the Quikrete company creates an entire garage floor epoxy paint kit that comes with a cleaner/degreaser/etcher all in ONE CONTAINER. Their Bond-Lok solution will clean, degrease AND etch your concrete. (That’s three in one, in case you’re counting)! Etching is important because it allows an acid to open up surface pores for a better adhesion of the epoxy.To apply, simply mix the Bond-Lok concentrate with water into a gallon watering can. Sprinkle around your concrete and work in with a brush (broom handle attachment is recommended). Rinse everything out after scrubbing with a garden hose. If possible, squeegee excess water so it will dry faster. Now, wait for the floor surface to dry OVERNIGHT. Note: Don’t worry if the solution rinses onto your driveway, lawn or other plants. The solution is neutralized after it’s been applied and rinsed with water. When scrubbing though, be sure to protect your skin and eyes just in case anything splatters.
- Now it’s time to mix and apply the garage floor epoxy mixture. Using the Quikrete kit, simply pour the can marked “Part B” (hardener) into the can marked “Part A” (base). Let the mixture sit for about a half hour. This is called the set-up, or “sweating time”. It’s ready for application after this resting time. Use a 3″ or 4″ paint brush and paint epoxy on the sides and corners of your garage floor first. You definitely want to do this first as opposed to rolling the epoxy on the big surface areas. When you’re done “cutting” the edges, you can roll on the epoxy coating just as you would if you were doing regular painting. Use a roller cover with a 3/8″ nap height. Work on a 2’x6′ or 3’x5′ section at a time just to ensure a balanced application. Also, don’t apply if it’s too hot (over 90-degrees) or too cold (less than 45-degrees).
- The next step is optional, and it involves adding texture to your new epoxy garage floor coating. This is where the flakes (flecks) come in. These are for cosmetic appeal only as they help add dimension and design to your floor. Quikrete’s kit comes with the flakes and an easy-to-use applicator. You just shake the little canister evenly around your floor just after rolling out your epoxy paint. Use a lot if you like them, or use a little if you prefer.
- Now, sit back and relax. You need to let your garage floor paint dry overnight; or at least 12 hours.
If you want even more details about the above steps, the Quikrete kit comes with an instructional DVD so you can really see what you’re doing and to help answer any other specific questions about how to apply this terrific garage floor coating.
How great is your new epoxy garage floor?
When your done, you have so many benefits other than just a really cool looking garage floor finish. The biggest factor is protection, of course. Epoxy garage floor coatings help protect floors from oil and grease-you know all the stuff that leaks out of cars, mowers, bikes and the like? It makes for easy clean-up when the inevitable happens. Salts also cannot penetrate, and the coating is so strong it withstands intense heat such as on a hot day when your heated, black rubber tires come into contact. Also, garage floor epoxy helps to keep your garage clean overall. Dust and other dirt particles don’t easily settle and accumulate on coated floors like they would on bare concrete. If you come into your house mostly through the garage, this is a big bonus, i.e. it helps to keep your house cleaner! If you’re happy about these results, try this epoxy on your basement floors too.
If you want, you can go the extra mile, and apply a top coat to add even greater protection and visual appeal to your floor. Quikrete makes a clear coat epoxy finish that goes right on top of the layer you just completed – see it here. It truly gives it that glossy, “showroom” appearance and is one more layer of protection. This is helpful if you do a lot of work in your garage and want to keep the floors looking good for years to come. It also comes with an ingredient to reduce slipping (skidding) on top of your shiny floor. To apply, simply mix Part A and Part B like you did earlier, add the anti-skid powder. Let sit for 30 minutes, then paint and roll on in the same way as before.