How to Apply Epoxy Garage Floor Coating
Are you tired of stains on your garage floor? Are you tired of the smell in your garage from products that saturate the porous concrete floor? Well, I am. I have decided to coat my garage floor with epoxy coating to create a protective surface that prevents saturation and penetration. Epoxy coatings also protect against shop chemicals which may also penetrate your garage floor. Here’s how you apply epoxy coating. Just to let you know, the preparation takes longer than the actual application.
Shot Blasting Machine, Grinding Machine, or Etching Acid
Broom & Vacuum (If using a Grinding Machine or Etching Acid)
Epoxy Floor Kit
3/8” Nap Roller Covers
Paint Extension Pole
3” Paint Brush
Drill & Stirring Bit
Paint Tray Liners
5 Gallon Bucket
Choosing an Epoxy Coating
For a residential garage floor, a water based epoxy coating is recommended. Water based epoxy coatings are user friendly – they are easy to apply, emit low level fumes, and spills can be cleaned up with water whereas solvent based or 100% solid epoxy coatings cannot. Solvent based or 100% solid epoxy coatings, generally used in commercial applications, are more durable. However, they are more expensive, emit higher levels of hazardous fumes, and are more difficult to apply because of their thickness and quick dry time. In my opinion, solvent based and 100% solid epoxy coating should be applied by a professional contractor who specializes in applying epoxy coating. As a consumer, you most likely will not be able to purchase solvent based or 100% solid epoxy coatings without proper certification.
You can purchase epoxy coating from a paint supply company or home improvement center. Sherwin Williams sells a product called H&C Shield-Crete Garage Floor Epoxy. H&C Shield-Crete Garage Floor Epoxy 1-car garage (200 – 250 sq. ft.) kit sells for about $75.00 and includes epoxy base color, activator, a bag of Deco-Flakes, a packet of cleaner/degreaser powder and a packet of nonskid additive. The Sherwin Williams H&C Shield-Crete Garage Floor Epoxy coating contains 46 ½% of solid epoxy. Please keep in mind, that the higher the solid %, the more durable the epoxy.
If you want to apply epoxy coating to a new concrete floor, wait 30 – 60 days for the concrete to completely cure to allow for proper epoxy bonding. A good way to test to see if the concrete has cured is to place a rubber mat or plastic taped on the floor and leave it overnight, if the concrete floor is damp or black/darkened where the mat/plastic was, then don’t apply the epoxy coating – the concrete floor has not cured. Wait another 30 days and check it again, most likely the concrete will have cured by this time. Personally, I recommend just waiting 60 days for the concrete floor to fully cure.
Do not apply epoxy coating in cold weather. Wait until there is a consistent weather of 60 – 90 degrees before applying the epoxy coating.
If your garage floor is susceptible to excessive moisture then epoxy coating is not recommended, as the epoxy coating will not last.
The concrete garage floor must be roughed up prior to an application of epoxy coating, regardless of whether or not the floor is new, painted, and/or sealed.
Open the overhead garage door to provide proper ventilation. You may also want to wear gloves, pants, and long sleeved shirt. It probably won’t be necessary to wear safety masks when using water based epoxy, however you may want to keep children and animals away from the area, so they don’t inhale any fumes.
Step #1 (Repair Existing Surface, If Needed)
Repair any holes and/or large cracks in the concrete with a concrete filler. There are various concrete fillers available such as Quikrete and Bondo. If the existing garage floor is severely damaged it may need to be completely resurfaced. If it is determined that the severe damage is caused by settling and/or heaving then the entire concrete garage floor may need replaced.
Step #2 (Prep Floor)
The easiest way to prep your concrete garage floor is to use a grinding or shot blasting machine to rough up the entire garage floor surface. I recommend using a shot blasting machine, as it roughs up and cleans/vacuums the surface simultaneously. If you use a grinding machine you will need to sweep and vacuum up the surface after you have roughed up the floor. If there is sealer on the floor make sure the sealer is completely removed from the entire floor before apply the epoxy coating, as epoxy coating will not adhere to a sealer. NOTE: If water beads up on the floor is has been treated with a sealer.
You can also clean the floor with an all-purpose cleaner and then use an etching acid, however, this can be laboring and you may need to repeat the process.
Step #3 (Protect walls)
Tape plastic sheeting from bottom of edge of walls to a minimum of about 1’ foot high to prevent splattering of coating onto walls.
Step #4 (Epoxy Coating)
First, slowly mix the two part epoxy coating components together with a drill and a stirring bit – based on the square footage of your garage, pour enough in a 5 gallon bucket to complete a 1 coat application of epoxy. I don’t recommend mixing enough for 2 coats. Mix new coating when you are ready to complete the 2nd application. Once you have the two components together, then continue to mix for about 3 – 5 minutes until they are completely blended. Wait for the two components to completely react with each other – follow the manufacturer’s instructions as to how long to wait before applying the coating. Make sure you keep the epoxy coating out of the sun. If the paint can feels warm don’t worry, it should, it means the two components are reacting with each other. The manufacturer will also let you know how long you have to apply the coating – it can be anywhere from 2 – 24 hours.
Using a 3” paint brush apply the coating along the perimeters of the garage floor. Then use a 3/8” nap roller w/frame attached to a paint extension pole and start applying the coating. Coating a 2 car garage should take only about 1 hour. Once you have the first coat of epoxy applied wait a minimum of 8 hours before applying the 2nd coat. Use a 3” paint brush and apply coating again to the perimeters of the garage. Then complete the 2nd coat application. Wait approximately 12 hours before walking on the floor and about five days before parking your vehicles in the garage.
If you want to help prevent a slippery floor, then use non-skid color granules. There are two(2) ways to apply the non-skid granules, one is to add it directly to the coating mixture – making sure the granules are mixed in evenly. The other way is to apply epoxy coating in sections of about 10’ x 10’ and then hand scatter the granules onto the epoxy coating – remember to scatter the granules as evenly as possible and don’t paint yourself into a corner. The scattering method makes a rougher non-skid surface.
Glossy Top Coat
You can also apply a clear top coat to produce a shiny glossy finished coat – showroom floor finish.
Well, it was a lot of work, but now my garage floor looks like a new floor in my home and it’s a lot easier to clean.