If you are looking to make your garage floors good-looking as well as strong, then epoxy is the answer to that. However, the most common mistake that people make is to confuse epoxy with paint. In reality, both are completely different having different compositions. Epoxy makes the coating tougher in comparison to paint but it is also a bit trickier to deal with it.
So, if you are thinking of epoxying your garage floors on your own, you need to be well acquainted with the steps to get the perfect finish. And, if you are really able to master that skill, you will save a lot of bucks because professionals charge quite a lot for it. As for DIY, the overall cost of the project is considered to be in the range of $150 to $250.
Ready to learn the process? Well, I hope yes, so let us begin.
What do you need to Epoxy Garage Floors?
As always, you need to gather the supplies before you start with the work. So here is the list of tools and materials you need to epoxy:
- Stiff brush
- Working gloves
- Garden hose
- Paintbrush (around 3 inches)
- Roller extension handle
- Paint roller (9 inches) with nap roller cover (½ inch)
- Epoxy floor coating kit
- Concrete degreaser
- Painter’s tape
- Plastic sheeting (if required)
Steps to Epoxy Garage Floors
Epoxy floors coating kits usually have 2-part epoxy, etching solution, color chips, and an instruction list. Many a time, an online link is mentioned from where you can get the instructions. The range of colors available in the market is not much wide with white, gray, and brown being the common ones.
1. Do the repairs
For best results, you need a concrete floor that is in perfect shape. So, if your floor has some serious cracks, spalls, or chips, you need to repair those at first. After you have done the patching, you need to wait for it to fully dry.
2. Time for cleaning and degreasing
Cleaning the floor before the epoxy regimen is crucial. So, with the help of a broom and a shop vacuum, get rid of all the debris. To remove grease, use a stiff brush and a good quality degreaser. A garden hose can be used for rinsing the degreaser. After that, let the floor dry.
3. Etching is next
Use the etching solution in the kit and mix with water. Pour it on the floor and work on it with a broom or a stiff brush. Do not get confused if you see foam as it is natural and signifies that it is working perfectly. After you are done, wash the area with a garden hose. It is advisable to wait till the area is fully dry. Remember that it will take a few days for that.
While this is the usual process, you must follow the specific instructions mentioned in the kit. And, since the etching solutions mostly have muriatic acid in diluted form, you must avoid direct contact with eyes and skin. So, wear gloves and goggles as well as a mask.
4. Prepare the area
Before you epoxy, it is recommended to apply painter’s tape at the edges of the wall. You may also go for plastic sheeting. If possible, removing the baseboards is also a smart choice. This actually helps you epoxy right next to the walls. It also saves the pain of cutting in the edges using the brush.
5. Time to mix the epoxy
The 2-part epoxy comes with a hardener or catalyst and resin. You need to mix them prior to the application. Stir the resin continuously while mixing the catalyst. Continue till they are properly mixed.
Cover the container and allow the mixture to rest for some time (follow the instructions for that). If your kit has decorative chips, do not mix them here.
6. Apply carefully
When the mix is ready, you need to immediately start the application process. To apply the coat, you can dedicate a maximum of 2 hours and if you live in a hot and humid area, the time you can dedicate to apply the epoxy might be less. Your garage must be well ventilated throughout the process.
With the paintbrush, cut along the edges, and then with the help of the nap roller cover, spread the epoxy over your garage floor. Working in 10×10 foot sections is recommended. You can take help from someone with the cutting work in order to get the entire thing done quickly. The edges of the epoxy that was earlier applied must be rolled to maintain a wet edge. When rolling, make sure you are getting an even coating throughout.
If you want to apply the decorative chips, do it once you are done spreading the epoxy. Just take a few at a time and toss them over the floor.
If the application of the second coat of epoxy is required for your garage floor, it is recommended that you wait for at least 12 hours before that.
7. Dry the garage floor
When you have worked so hard to epoxy the garage floor, it is obvious you do not want to ruin it. So, wait at least a day or until the floor gets completely dry before walking on it. And, as far as putting your car back inside the garage is concerned, it is better not to do that for about a week.
The level of difficulty of this project is thought to be intermediate and in general, the work time required will range from 8 hours to 10 hours (unless your garage is unusually big). You may get it done quicker if someone offers you a helping hand. But, irrespective of whether you get a helper or not, this is a project that a person can do single-handedly with the right techniques and a bit of patience. Just remember that safety comes first so keep yourself protected throughout the process with gloves, a mask, and goggles. Also, wear full sleeves.