Do It Yourself (DIY) epoxy garage floor coating
Thinking of using the Home Depot, Lowe's, Sears or Menard's $99 epoxy kit for your garage floor?
You probably won't be happy with the initial result and certainly not within a year or so.
As they say, "You get what you pay for." Your garage is the first entry point when you come home. It should look as pleasing and as inviting as your kitchen or living room floor. A well coated floor adds value to your home and gives you additional living space you want to be in.
Since the coating in these inexpensive kits stain or peel up or fade sooner than later, we frequently have customers ask us to grind off the $99 kit job and do the job right.
Don't fall into this false economy trap. Read the following to see why.
Coating concrete is not as simple as painting a wall in your home
Concrete is a very different animal
The walls in your home are probably porous sheet rock or plaster. They will suck up water-based wall paints almost immediately. Your concrete garage floor needs to be equally as porous for the epoxy to sink in and bond well. That may take some work.
The walls in your home are also not subject to water intrusion, abrasion from hot auto tires or chemical attacks from gasoline, battery acid, motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid etc. as is your garage floor.
Your garage floor needs much more attention to its proper preparation and the quality of materials used on it to insure maximum durability and attractiveness.
Surface preparation - Skip this step and you will regret it later
- Epoxy garage floor prep
Free information about what it takes to properly prepare your floor for maximum beauty and durability.
Use the right materials - You won't be happy with the $99 hardware store kit
Should you use them?
The purpose of the decorative chips is four-fold.
1.) They hide minor imperfections in your concrete floor's surface.
2.) They provide a much richer looking surface.
3.) They provide a slip-resistance surface.
4.) The cost of the chips and installation is usually far less than the cost to completely prepare a concrete floor for a monochrome installation.
DIY kits usually only give you 1-2 lbs of 1/16" decorative chips. 1-2 lbs of decorative chips spread over a typical 400 sq ft 2 car garage floor won't give you any of the benefits listed above. (Professional installers use 35-50 lbs of 1/4" decorative chips on a 2 car garage to achieve these benefits.)
You can buy additional tan or gray 1 lb packets of 1/16" chips from the big box stores for about $8.50/lb. That is going to get very expensive very fast if you want to achieve these benefits.
Do you need a professional installer?
- Do it yourself or hire a professional?
The pluses and minuses of doing the job yourself or hiring a professional to do the floor.
Epoxy floor maintenance
The best ways to keeping your epoxy floor looking like new
Your DIY kit probably did not include a clear sealer
(A good sealer is very important)
A clear, resin-based and UV-resistant sealer applied during the installation of your epoxy floor is by far the best way to ensure maximum durability, beauty and clean-ability. (Store personnel selling the kit almost always cannot recommend a sealer that is compatible with the kit's epoxy and is UV-resistant.)
If your floor didn't include a sealer and you don't want to invest in one, here is Plan B:
1.) Clean the floor thoroughly with a stiff brush and Simple Green or some other mild cleaner.
2.) Rinse completely and allow to dry or blow dry with a leaf blower.
3.) Put down a coat of an acrylic floor wax per the manufacturer's instructions. Several brands are available at your grocery or hardware store. MAKE SURE that the product says that it is non-yellowing (hopefully that means UV resistant) AND that it gives you an easy way to strip it off. Most of the acrylic floor waxes specify using a diluted ammonia solution with a stiff brush and rinsing for their removal. (It may take more than one pass.)
These acrylic waxes are a second best solution to protecting your epoxy floor but they will need to be stripped and renewed every year or two since they are not nearly as strong as a good sealer.
As an alternative we recommend 3750 Gloss Floor Wax from www.garagecoatings.com. Use the search box at that site to search for "3750 Gloss Floor Wax". This is a more durable cross-linked coating than the grocery store brands.
Don't make the mistake of putting down a coat of hardware store urethane over your epoxy floor. Almost all of these urethanes are for interior use only and will turn yellow or blush white from sun exposure within a year or two.
California Concrete Restoration, Inc.
Laguna Hills, CA
While we operate in Orange County, CA and immediate surrounding areas, we can usually give you a reference to professional installer in other areas who uses professional-grade materials. Email us your name, contact information and what you would like to accomplish.