Preparing for Garage Floor Epoxy: A Guest Blog Post
By Allison Meyer
How to Epoxy Your Garage Floor
Your garage floor takes a lot of beatings. So, choosing to protect that floor with an epoxy coating is a good move for those of you who spend a lot of time in your garage. The durable surface not only provides an attractive appearance, but also creates an easy-to-clean, chemical resistant surface. To add icing to the cake, epoxy flooring is fairly simple to apply.
Do a Thorough Investigation
In order to successfully apply an epoxy coating, you need to determine if the floor has a pre-existing coating. If it does, you will need to find out what type of coating it is and work toward removing it. You will need to strip any previously installed coatings such as latex floor paint or polyurethane with a chemical paint stripper.
The Importance of Prep Work
A little bit of preparation goes a long way. Garage floors are often covered with stains, dirt, and grime. Take the time to properly remove oil and grease stains with an industrial degreaser or solvent based cleaner. While doing this, you may want to open up your garage door, as the fumes can be strong.
You will also need to make sure you have an even surface. If there are any cracks or holes in your flooring, patch them up. For concrete patches, you will need to wait approximately 60 days before applying epoxy.
Check for any other residue or dirt and thoroughly remove it before starting the epoxy process. Dirt interferes with the adhesion of the epoxy, so this is not a step you want to rush through.
Lastly, you will need to etch your floor. Safety measures need to be considered when working with chemicals. Be sure to wear gloves, protective goggles, rubber boots, and open your garage door for good ventilation. Mix the etching solution with water and presoak the floor with water hose. Pour the solution over an area of about 10 square feet, starting at the furthest corner from your exit point. Use a stiff bristle broom to scrub the area in one direction. Then, go over the area again in a perpendicular direction. Once you have completed the entire area, rinse the floor with the water hose and allow to completely dry.
Choosing an ideal day to epoxy your floor may seem like an inconvenience at first, but timing can make a huge difference in the outcome. The best conditions to apply epoxy are between 50 and 80 degrees and when the floor is not damp due to rainy weather. If you apply it when the weather is too hot or cold, you run the risk of the application bubbling, peeling, and wasting your time.
Applying the Epoxy
Your concrete floor is spotless and the weather is perfect. Half the battle is won and it is time to apply the epoxy. Start by mixing the epoxy paint and slowly pouring in the hardener as you stir. Continue stirring until they are completely blended. Loosely place the lid back on the can and allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes.
Once the chemicals have had time to react, it is time for you to move. You will only have about two hours to complete your project. Again, it is important to keep your garage door open to allow suitable ventilation while you work.
First, cut in a line of epoxy around the border with a three-inch brush. Next, use a roller with an extension handle and start at the back corner. Similar to etching, start with a 10 square foot area, move in one direction, and then go over it in a perpendicular direction. Work the floor section by section, being cautious to keep even lines and making sure your roller does not become dry. If you need to apply two coats, give the first coat at least 12 hours to dry. If you want to add color flakes, stop after each section and add while the paint is still wet. Sprinkle the flakes evenly over the floor, slowly adding until you have the desired effect.
Apply the Top Coat
You’ve allowed your paint to dry for at least 12 hours and it’s time to apply the top coat. Repeat the same steps of mixing the hardener into the clear coat. Just before you begin application, give it another stir. If you opted for anti-skid granules, add them to the mixture now. Apply in the same way you did the paint. The top coat may have a milky look to it as you apply, but it will dry clear. You will need to wait at least 24 hours for foot traffic and 72 hours before parking a car.