Although I have yet to do my own garage floor, in our industry it is one of my favorite transformations. Offices, restaurants, warehouses, garages, and basements floors are not something that usually makes a person stop and say wow. But not only can it transform the look of your floor, but the epoxy coating also helps to protect it. It is great for both residential and commercial applications.
A perfectly applied epoxy coating will transform your floor into a professional looking floor with both beauty and function. If you are worrying about imperfections in the concrete such as hairline cracks or pock-marks, an epoxy floor coating may be your best solution as it will hide all those imperfections. It is highly resistive to wear and damage due to foot traffic and/or machinery.
Let’s first start with what it is not. An epoxy floor coating is not paint. There are paints that have small amounts of epoxy in them and are sold as a one-part epoxy system. This is not the same thing as an Epoxy Coating.
Epoxy coating is a two-part product consisting of one-part epoxy resin (Part A) and one-part polyamine hardener (Part B). The hardener is what gives the epoxy its strength.
Unlike paint that dries, epoxy cures. When the two parts are mixed, it starts a chemical reaction that creates an exothermic (energy and heat) curing process. This process produces a cross-link giving epoxy its superior strength and durability. The result is a coating much thicker than paint and bonds to a properly prepared surface.
Besides looking fantastic, the hard, thick application you get from an epoxy coating creates a durable and resilient surface that is resistant to impacts, chipping, chemicals, stains and surface abrasion. You don’t have to worry about damaging the floor.
The coating hides minor imperfections such as spider cracks and flaws in the concrete. Epoxy is also anti-dusting. Much of the dust in a garage is created from the cement floor shedding. Normal traffic on bare concrete kicks up this powered that then collects on what is being stored in the room.
The coating is also naturally moisture resistant. Meaning you can easily clean it with a dust mop or broom and a little soap and water.
Because the thicker, multiple coat epoxy floors wear so well, warranties of up to 15 years or more for installation by professional installers is becoming common. Many manufacturers of 100% solids epoxy warranty the product against defects for the life of the floor.
As tough as an epoxy floor coating is, it’s not resistant to everything however. Welding is hard on epoxy, it can create burn marks from the hot slag that falls on it. It’s also not a good choice for garage floors that have moisture issues. The moisture from underneath the slab can cause epoxy to de-laminate if it is too high a content.
An epoxy floor coating requires good floor preparations. Often it will involve floor grinding, or acid etching of the floor in preparation of the epoxy. It is critical that it is done right, or the epoxy coating will not adhere properly. Patching or repairing large cracks or other damage to the concert is also required in the preparation.
The primer is what binds to the concrete to provide adhesion for the subsequent layers and provide for a higher build. Some primers will also act as a moisture barrier for those cement floors that are somewhat susceptible to moisture vapor that moves up from the soil through the concrete to the surface. Primers are normally required when there has never been a coating applied, or the concrete is brand new. Not all floors require a primer.
The next coat is the color coat or base coat. This may sometimes be applied without primer depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. The color coat can be a variety of colors and can be used as a solid color surface or you can add multi-colored flake if desired. Flake is applied while this coat is still wet so the vinyl pieces actually settle into the epoxy coating. Flake can also help to draw your eye away from mild imperfections in the concrete and gives the surface a nice uniform consistency.
The final coat is the clear top coat. This is what gives the finish that glossy look and depth. We make sure to apply a final clear coat that resists yellowing.
Because of the curing time needed between epoxy coats, total time to complete the job and be able to park your car is approximately 3 to 5 days.
The least expensive method is to apply the garage floor epoxy yourself. A single coat 100% solids epoxy kit that will cover a standard 2-car garage can be purchased for less than $300. This doesn’t include any expense for floor prep or additional tools however. Expect to pay approximately $200 more if you want to add a clear top coat.
A professional installation generally starts around $4.00 a square foot depending on the area you live in. This usually includes a minimum of 3 coats and the cost goes up from there depending on the number of top coats involved and how much color flake is applied in the base coat. A typical 2-car garage is approximately 400ft² to get an idea of cost.
When reviewing the different epoxy options available, the best garage floor epoxy is going to be a 100% solids multi-coat system. Though it is the more expensive option for a floor covering, it is arguably one of the most economical of installations when compared over the duration of the floor. Remember you get what you pay for both in product and in preparation.
Whether you are turning your garage into a show piece for storage and cars or just want something to protect your garage for years to come, a good system such as this will last years and give you one of the best returns for the dollar.