Painting your garage floor with standard garage floor paint is a really bad idea and will lead to terrible results. The best way to protect your garage floor is to coat it properly using garage floor epoxy or polyurea garage floor coating. There is nothing more expensive than a cheap paint job. Looking for the best garage flooring?
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Disadvantages of Leaving a Bare Concrete Floor
The problem with leaving your concrete floor bare is almost everything will stain it. The floor may dust. Oil and grease stains will soak in. When you open the garage door, it will review a dusty, stained floor.. Heavy stains will be hard to remove, even with a power washer.
The Problem with Garage Floor Paint
Floor paint is a very thin coating that might work well in a basement or another concrete space in the house, but is it, not a good idea to coat your floor with standard garage paint? When you drive on it, hot tires will lift it right up, and even more minor cracks will show through. The surface will quickly begin to delaminate, and all the time you spend painting will be wasted. Be leary of products advertised as ‘epoxy paint’ or one-part epoxy as it is not much of a step up. Don’t waste your time and money on a cheap paint job. Coat your concrete floors once, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and give your floor the proper extra protection it deserves.
To be clear, we do not suggest that you paint a garage floor with epoxy paint. A two-part epoxy or polyurea is a much better option than a one-part epoxy paint, or worse, using a water-based paint to paint a garage floor.
What to use on the Garage Floor
- You will need a good surface preparation solution, such as muriatic acid
- A good garage floor epoxy or Polyurea coating
- concrete patch for damaged areas
- A pressure washer for floor prep.
- A degreaser or other chemicals to remove oil stains
- The right roller cover
- a stiff brush or nylon brush for edges, depending on the product used
- Cleaning supplies
- A broom
- Paint Tray
- Safety goggles or glasses
- Extra water — if no hose bib is available
The Entire Floor Coating Process
This article is not a substitute for the manufacturer’s instructions. Before you begin painting, take just a couple of moments to review the instructions completely. While it may seem easy to paint a garage floor, the last thing you want is to do the entire area again.
Clean the Floor
Before you start painting, there is a lot of prep to do. As you are getting ready for the project, you will want to clean the floor. Start by taking a broom and sweeping it out. Then take a pressure washer with a high-pressure nozzle. In some cases,, you will want to use a degreaser at full strength. Read the instructions, as in some cases, you will need to let it sit for at least ten minutes. Make sure all dirt, grease, oil, and other stains are removed. You may need to wash it more than once.
Inspect the Concrete Surface
Now that the floor is clean and dry, you should inspect it. Are there any cracks to fill? Did the floor stay wet in one area longer than another? Are there tire marks from the car? Does the surface appear to be porous concrete or is it a smooth surface? Is there any paint on the floor that needs to be removed?
Take all of this into account, as it will impact the next steps. Order concrete patch and crack filler before your start the project, and make sure you allow enough time for it to arrive.
Now that the floor is clean and you have inspected it for any damage, you can begin the process of surface preparation. Most garage floors can be etched with muriatic acid or other etching solution. In some cases, you will need to use a grinder. This is especially true if the floor does not come clean or if the concrete floor paint is still there. There is a really good article about how to etch a garage floor that we link to.
Repair & Crack Fill
Now that the surface of the garage floor is prepared, it is time for the next step before you actually coat the floor. If you are going to use a joint filler, now would be the time to do that. We are assuming you are using one meant for coating as opposed to a product like Sikaflex.
You will also want to do any crack repairs and concrete patching now. Make sure the surface is clean and free of damage, and ready to be painted (Coated). Make sure there are no visible cracks, stains, or dust, and make sure the floor is not wet at all before proceeding.
Coating The Floor
Now we need to be a little bit more general because different products work differently. Again please reference the product-specific instructions.
Epoxy: Start with a primer coat. Allow that primer to dry for about 12 hours and less than 24 hours. Now you are ready for the first coat of epoxy. Mix your Part A and your Part B, and then mix them together in a 5-gallon bucket. Pour the coating on the floor in ribbons. If it is 100% solids, you will need a squeegee to spread it. Otherwise, it will spread like thick paint with a roller. If you are only done with one coat of epoxy, make sure to spread your flake as you go. Do not allow the epoxy to dry, or the flake will not stick; once the first coat is done, allow it to dry using about the same time as above. If you are doing a second coat of epoxy, follow the same steps as above. In this case, the flake would be done now. Once you are done painting on all the epoxy, and the floors are completely covered, they should be protected with urethane.
Polyurea: Polyurea is much easier to apply than epoxy. You will not need a squeegee; a brush and roller will do. Remember, it will not hide cracks, and oil and grease stains should be removed. The cleaning step is essential.
Polyurea is available in different kits. Some kits will use two coats, while others will use three. Polyurea also has a lot of solvents in it. Make sure you have good airflow and lots of ventilation. Make sure you have chemicals or solvents for cleaning your tools. If you are going to coat the walls, we suggest you do that first. Please note we have full installation instructions and product information.
First coat: Mix your polyurea and your tint together. Wait a minute or two for the bubbles to settle out. Then pour it on the floor in ribbons just like you would with epoxy. You can use a brush around the edges and a roller everywhere else. Roll it out starting from the back left corner. Some people create a W and fill it in. If this is your only color coat, do not wait! Start spreading your flake right away. Once the painted space has dried, the flake will not stick. If this is your only color coat, after 4-6 hours, take a broom or shop vac and go over the entire space. The goal is to remove any flakes that did not stick and knock down any flakes that are not flat. Otherwise, your garage floor will feel rougher than bare concrete.
If you are doing a second color coat, the process is similar, except you will need to work from a paint tray. The same is true for the clear. The anti-skid is mixed into the final coat of clear. We suggest about 1/2 cup per gallon. You need to make sure you use all the material required and that you keep mixing it. See our instructions for more information about the second coat and clear coat.
Finishing a concrete floor is no easy task. A garage floor requires a lot of surface preparation. Deciding not to paint a garage floor or use an epoxy paint will pay dividends, as using a Polyurea or 2-Part epoxy on your concrete floor is a major step up! Check out Kyle’s garage floor epoxy review.