Epoxy Floor Maintenance
What it takes to keep your epoxy floor looking great
Tips, techniques and suggestions for keeping your epoxy garage floor looking like new.
If your epoxy floor was sealed with a quality clear sealer, it should be very easy to keep clean. The sealer penetrates into the epoxy and concrete giving it a non-porous surface which is easy to clean with a broom, mop or your garden hose.
Unsealed surfaces are porous and will suck down dirt and contaminants which makes them much more difficult to clean.
Your epoxy garage floor
Homeowners greatly appreciate the look of their epoxy floor and consider it a valued addition to their home rather than having a dirty, cracked and gray floor to come home to each day.
Realtors regularly mention "epoxy garage floor" in their listings right next to the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. An epoxy garage floor adds appeal and value to the equity in your home.
Maintaining the "like-new" look of your garage floor for many years is probably less difficult than vacuuming the carpets in your home.
The different types of epoxy floor coating systems - Helping you make a choice for your project for maximum cleanability
- Epoxy Garage Floors
This will give you descriptions of various epoxy floor coating systems. You may be surprised at which one of the most cost-effective systems we recommend.
How durable is an epoxy floor?
- Will it last?
Find out what factors affect an epoxy floor's ability to survive for decades.
How to prepare a floor for the application of an epoxy coating - Don't even THINK of putting down an epoxy floor without proper surface preparation
- Epoxy Floor Prep
Tips and techniques on how to prepare your garage floor to give the epoxy maximum durability and the best appearance.
Cleaning up oil, automobile fluids and chemical stains
Assuming that your epoxy floor has a clear sealer on it, you can clean up spills and drips from the car by just wiping them off with a paper towel or rag. If the spot was particularly oily, use a brush and some water with a little Dawn, Ajax or Palmolive liquid dish washing detergent and rinse it off. That will remove any oily residue. It is just that easy.
If your epoxy floor has no sealer, oil or auto fluid stains may permanently discolor the surface. Be sure to wipe the spills up immediately. If you do have some old stains, select a de-greaser that is orange oil based. The orange oil will emulsify the old oily residue and the powder in it will suck the oily residue to the surface within a day. Then all you have to do is sweep off the dirty powder. You might have to repeat the process to get results.
These orange oil based products are the most eco-friendly type, will not harm your floor or your body and are your best bet to remove the stain. (Just make sure that the product is not designated as a 'paint/urethane/epoxy remover'. Most of these harsh removal products contain an extremely aggressive solvent called Methylene Chloride which WILL harm your epoxy floor and your skin. Read the label and avoid them.)
If this recommended cleaning process does not work well, click on: Repairing an epoxy garage floor.
Dirt, leaves etc.
The sealed non-porous surface leaves little for dirt to stick to. Just sweep it down with a broom, damp mop it or wash it off with your garden hose. You will be surprised at how much faster and easier it is to clean than the old bare concrete surface.
If a puddle of dirty water dried on the floor, you may need to brush it with a little Simple Green, Dawn, Palmolive or any liquid dish washing detergent and water and then rinse.
White hard water stains
These whitish stains can usually be removed with common household white vinegar. (It costs about $3/gallon at your local grocery store.) Apply the vinegar and give it several minutes to work and then rinse. Brushing with a stiff brush will help the vinegar work better and faster.
If the vinegar doesn't remove the stain, use a diluted Calcium/Lime/Rust remover product. You can find several different brands at your grocery or hardware store, usually in the cleaning products section. (One brand is "CLR". Another is LimeAway.) Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Rinse the cleaner off thoroughly with water and allow the surface to dry before inspecting the result. Using a fan or leaf blower on the wet surface will speed the drying time.
Vinegar or these CLR removal products will not hurt your sealed epoxy floor. If your floor was not sealed, test a small inconspicuous area first and let it dry to see if there were any adverse effects.
Household chemical spills
Virtually no household chemical or automotive fluid will harm a properly sealed epoxy floor. Clorox, Windex, battery acid, Draino, gasoline, oil, radiator fluid, brake fluid, ammonia or just about anything else won't hurt it.
Just wipe up the spill with a rag or paper towel. The surface will not be harmed.
If your floor wasn't sealed, many household chemicals and auto chemicals will create a stain or eat into the epoxy surface. Make sure that you clean them off ASAP with lots of detergent and water.
Black tire marks
Your epoxy garage floor may eventually acquire a few black tire marks. These are also easy to clean. Using a stiff bristle brush*, scrub the tire marks with a 5 to 1 solution of Simple Green or other citrus cleaner and rinse. The marks should come out quickly and easily.
As with other types of stains, tire marks will be more difficult to remove if your epoxy floor has not been sealed with a clear sealer.
* Note: We use the stiff 3x9" 'acid brush' from the household cleaning products department of Lowe's. The acid brush from Home Depot is not as stiff or as durable. Don't know what Menard's carries since we are in California.
Slip-resistance vs. cleanability
Depending on how it was installed, an epoxy floor might be a bit slippery when wet.
A 100% broadcast of 1/4" or larger decorative chips will normally provide an adequate slip-resistant surface. Additives like Rhino-Grip can be incorporated in the sealer to create a more sandpaper-like texture which will enhance wet traction. However, the additional texture will make the surface somewhat harder to clean. It is a trade-off.
What to avoid
Do not use any cleaner or paint stripper that contains Methylene Chloride (read the label). This is a very harsh solvent that is used almost exclusively in products designed specifically to remove epoxies and urethanes. This chemical will harm your floor and your skin. It is not something that you would normally think to use to clean your floor or even have in your home.
This is about the only chemical that will damage a properly sealed epoxy floor. (Many other harsh cleaners can damage an unsealed epoxy floor.)
Repairing a damaged epoxy floor
- Epoxy floor repairs
Best ways to repair a damaged epoxy floor
If you have no sealer on your epoxy floor
Here's an idea
A clear resin-based sealer applied during the installation of your epoxy floor is by far the best way to go to ensure maximum durability and clean-ability.
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. 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 so often.
We recommend 3750 Gloss Floor Wax from Versatile Building Products at GarageCoatings.com. Use the search box at that site to search for "3750 Gloss Floor Wax". 3750 is a cross-linked polymer wax, not a carnuba wax.
Cleaning tools to use
Normally a broom or a damp sponge mop is more than sufficient to clean an epoxy coated and sealed floor. Recently we did an interior floor for a customer who did not have a vacuum, broom or mop. She was used to cleaning her smooth inside wood laminate and tile surfaces only with a "Swiffer" mop. She felt that the new epoxy/chip surface had a bit too much texture for her "Swiffer" . . . even though I had showed her sample boards before beginning.
We came to an agreement where we sanded and put down an extra coat of sealer at additional cost to further smooth out the surface so she could use her "Swiffer" on it. Informed her that the new surface might be more slippery than the original installation. She wasn't too concerned as it is an interior floor which rarely gets wet as opposed to a garage floor. Now she is happy using her "Swiffer".
California Concrete Restoration, Inc.
Laguna Hills, CA
Click here to email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are outside our normal operating area of Orange County, CA., email us with your name, location, phone, email address and what you want to accomplish. We should be able to get you get in touch with a professional in your area who can solve the problem.
Note: we are also designated as Moderator on Versatile Building Products' internet dealer forum.
More cleaning tips - Why just stop with the garage floor?
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