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Basics of Garage Floor Epoxy Paint

Painting – Garage Floor Epoxy Options

How to Apply an Epoxy Garage Floor Coating – A DIY Introduction

This article is not a step-by-step installation guide for garage floor epoxy paint. This is an introduction to what needs to be done. We have instructions for every system we offer. If you are looking for complete instructions, please have a look there.

Preparing your garage floor for epoxy

If your garage floor coating is going to fail nine times out of 10, this is why. Poor floor preparation. Depending on the coating, grinding or etching should be acceptable. Most other options are not. For instance, you should scrape off any paint or other debris and degrease your floor to prepare a clean surface that allows for an even layer of epoxy. Even the best epoxy kit won’t work if you neglect to give it a good, clean surface to stick to.

Scrub oil stains

You may need to scrub oil stains with a degreaser or cleaner. Specialized removers are also available. As part of your DIY epoxy garage floor process, you can first spray some water to determine which areas need degreasing. If the water forms beads on the surface, use a degreaser or cleaner in this area.

Checklist for Preparing the surface before applying the epoxy

  • The floor must be clean
  • The garage floor must be dry
  • All oil must be removed
  • The substrate must be profiled
  • Moisture content should be below 3-4
  • Cracks should be filled
  • Expansion joints can be filled
  • All dust must be removed
  • Read the instructions and double-check all product counts

Taking these steps will help with your epoxy DIY project and ensure the epoxy coating gives you the results you want when completed. Otherwise, skipping any of these steps could result in low-quality results, requiring more frequent maintenance and repairs.

Tips for Applying Epoxy Floor Coatings

  • Epoxy requires a primer. Hard stop. No exceptions
  • Leave a day for surface preparation and three days from preparation to installation.
  • Do a moisture test
  • Never leave 2 parts of epoxy in a can or bucket
  • Always have a helper for flakes
  • Start at arm’s length from the back wall. Work left to right and back to front
  • Always pour epoxy out in ribbons.

Test Your Concrete for Moisture

You can use a calcium chloride test or the sheet method. Concrete moisture meters are generally not accurate.

Sweeping and cleaning of the floor

After all surface prep is done, and between coats, you need to keep the floor spotless. You can use a compressor, leaf blower, broom, or any combination. Just do not use water within 3 days of coating the floor.

Fill all cracks, holes, etc., with epoxy

We have specialized repair epoxy and crack fillers for every application Do not confuse crack fillers and joint fillers. Concrete repairs should be done after grinding or etching.

How to Apply Epoxy: Prime the floor with a suitable epoxy primer

Most primers can be applied using a roller and tray. Often primers are clear. Mix it up and apply the suggested coverage. This is the easy part.

Application of the first coat of epoxy paint

Premix Part A and Part B. Mix Part A and Part B together in a plastic bucket. Pour it on the floor in ribbons and start spreading the epoxy coating ASAP. Have a second person working behind you throwing the flake.

Apply the final coat of epoxy

Let the first coat dry, typically around 12 hours, and repeat the process for the second coat of urethane. 

Mixing your epoxy coating

Mix slowly and mix each part completely. Use a drill mixer on reverse and keep the head below the surface.

Required tools and supplies

  • Taping, plastic, and drop cloths
  • Solvent for clean-up
  • Rollers and roller covers
  • Suegee for certain epoxy
  • Cut in brushes
  • Paint respirator
  • Buckets
  • Mixer
  • Measuring cups
  • Etching material or grinder

Mixing single-part polyurea

With single-part Polyurea you just want to mix slowly so as not to force activation

Choosing an epoxy garage floor coating

Be careful. There are a lot of products. Some are awesome, and some are terrible. In general, we would suggest our epoxy, Legacy Industrial, Armor Poxy, and a handful of other industrial brands,

Types of epoxy garage floor coatings

As you learn more about how to apply garage floor epoxy, you may come across different types of DIY epoxy garage floor coatings, such as: 

Quartz epoxy

This kind of epoxy consists of 100% solids epoxy in combination with a type of quartz aggregate material. It’s ideal for many applications that require something durable and aesthetically appealing, making it great for many residential and commercial spaces.

For instance, you can use quartz epoxy DIY solutions in garages, locker rooms, pool decks, restrooms, and healthcare facilities.

Metallic epoxy

Another option is metallic epoxy, which uses high-solid epoxy along with metallic pigments that form many visual elements. Create many types of color combinations and even install the epoxy to look like materials such as stone, marble, and granite. 

These coatings are popular in a variety of spaces, including garages, car dealerships, showrooms, restaurants, and event venues. 

Self-leveling epoxy

If a concrete floor has sustained a degree of damage or wear, it may benefit from the installation of a self-leveling epoxy garage floor coating. These coatings are best for refreshing your garage floor’s look and come in many available glosses and colors based on your needs.

Chip epoxy

This epoxy flooring consists of 100% solids epoxy and vinyl flakes to create “chips” that can be both durable and decorative in their designs. This type of floor coating is particularly popular in locations that see higher levels of foot traffic, but they may also work in spaces with light vehicle traffic.

Some examples of spaces that might use chip epoxy, in addition to garages, include schools, grocery stores, retail showrooms, shop floors, and restaurants, among others.

Epoxy floor curing times

Every product will vary slightly. In general, you want to wait about 12 hours and less than 20 between coats.

A note about applying epoxy in sections

If you apply epoxy in sections, you may end up with lines, thickness variation, and even color variation. It is possible but highly discouraged.

Roll on the epoxy concrete floor paint

If you want to use a roller as opposed to a squeegee, you need to go with 90% solids instead of 100%. Make sure to use a roller that is chemical resistant and does not shed.

How To Paint a Garage Floor: Brush on Epoxy Paint Around the Perimeter

For high solids epoxy, you can dip the brush into one of the ribbons and spread it into the corners. You can often turn your roller and get all the floor that way. For 100% solids, you may need to ‘push’ the coating into the corer

Epoxy, polyurethane, or polyurea clear top coat

It depends. If your locality will allow a Polyurea, that is best. An aliphatic urethane is also acceptable. Epoxy top coats are not great. They yellow over time and don’t have durability. They should only be used in areas where VOC laws prohibit other top coats.

Epoxy coating your stem walls.

Stem walls are often rougher than the floor. You can roll epoxy on them, but you need to get the flake in while wet. Make sure you protect the floor. We would do walls first.

The cost of an epoxy kit and installation

Different variables will factor into the overall cost of any DIY epoxy garage floor solution. These factors can include the following:

  • The amount of preparation involved
  • Any repairs that you need to perform before the application
  • Material quality
  • The number of times you’ll need to coat the flooring
  • Applying the coating yourself or having a professional install it

Figuring out how to apply garage floor epoxy and what your project will entail will give you an indication of the total cost.