How to Epoxy your Garage Floor

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Epoxy Floor your Garage

You finally got the tools hanging neatly on an outlined pegboard. All your paint and supplies are carefully organized in clearly labeled cabinets. There is just one problem, your car. It’s just sitting there in puddle of oil on a dirty concrete slab. What do you do to add that finishing touch to your dream garage? Why not give it that professional shine and luxurious appeal of epoxy flooring. A simple, colorful, and pristine epoxy floor will have both you and your car feeling like you have entered a showroom every time you come home.

Epoxy flooring not only gives your garage that professional look but also protects it from the elements by resisting oil stains, beading water, and cleans as easy as wiping your kitchen counter. The color chips and custom paint hide annoying imperfections in the concrete and the anti-skid additives give you the grip you need on a snowy day. As we explain with the help of This Old House technical editor Mark Powers on the following pages, you just need one weekend to prep and paint the epoxy on. Isn’t it time your garage not only became a sight to be seen but one that’s worth driving up to?

Steps to Epoxy the Floor of your Garage

It’s never been easier to create your dream garage. Just follow these simple steps to transform your garage into a showroom floor:

Applying an epoxy floor coating to concrete is as easy as painting your walls. And just as with painting, the success is in the prep work. Once the calculations, choice of color, and cleaning have been taken care of, the actual process becomes the easier part.

Step One:
First, to bond well, epoxy requires an even, totally clean surface A. few minor rough spots are all right, but remember you must patch any potholes and cracks, allowing them to cure fully. The concrete in your garage must be at least 60 days old and not sealed for the epoxy to adhere. You can tell if your floor already has a sealer applied on to it if water beads up or if once you get to Step 2 in this process, the etching solution doesn’t foam. If this is the case, you’ll need to remove the sealer with a chemical stripper or a special machine can be used for this as well Also, if your floors are painted they may be recoated if there’s no peeling

However, keep in mind that stripping the floor does not clean it all the way. If there is any trace of dirt or grease then this will compromise the epoxy adhesion. As such, cleaning and etching is a step that should not be overlooked. Different manufacturers provide a multitude of cleaners; make sure to check out the ingredients before you choose what type is best for you. Chemical cleaners vary widely as well and they range from harsh degreasing liquids and etchers to less evasive and less effective organics. You can eliminate a lot of stress by by procuring a floor maintainer for roughly $40 dollars per day.

Generally, epoxy coatings kits provide almost everything you will need. When you have finally chosen the right kit, make sure you have checked to see whether or not you need to order any extra supplies. Many epoxy manufacturers recommend or suggest that you use two coats of the epoxy paint and a topcoat. Most standard kits only supply enough for one coat. If you decide to add color flakes, a process that helps disguise your concrete’s natural blemishes, determine how intensely you’ll disburse them across the floor as to ensure you don’t come up short.

Also, check to makes sure that if your garage’s foundation rises above grade at the bottom of the walls, you consider coating another few inches up the vertical surfaces to make cleaning the garage easier. Then decide if you want to include antiskid additive. These are granules that give the finished floor sandpaper like surface. This may be a good option in rainy or ice-prone regions.

Step Two:

Once the floor is clean and ready for it’s coating, it all comes down to timing. Begin by choosing a day to do the work using the following tips. Ensure that the concrete won’t be damp from rainy weather or other elements. Second make sure you begin your epoxy process when the temperature is roughly 50 to 80 degrees, otherwise the application can become bubbly and peel. Once you begin the application process, you will only have about 2 hours to work with when you mix the epoxy paint and hardener. As such, you’ll need to plan out in advance how best to paint the epoxy, ensuring that you allow yourself a way out of the garage. So you should ideally start in a back corner. Finishing the application process typically takes a drying time between each step of about 12 to 24 hours. Remember than even when the whole process is complete, you still have to wait and not park the car on the epoxy coating for at least 72 hours.

For those whose foundation rises above grade level, before you paint the epoxy coating on to the base your walls begin by applying painter’s tape. Also remember to place plastic sheeting along the walls around the edge of the foundation of said walls. Then remember to thoroughly remove dirt and dust from all corners and seams using an old paintbrush. You can skip to the third step if your floor has not been previously painted.

For painted floors: Using a floor maintainer fitted with a light-sanding pad, scuff the paint to de-gloss it. Sweep away the dust. Then, using a bristle broom and multi-purpose cleaner, begin to scrub the surface. Then make sure you rinse the floor allowing it to dry for at least 4 hours. Continue with Step 3.

 Tip 1: To ensure that your floor is clean, once your floor is dry you can stick a piece of duct tape and then peel away. If there is any dust or particles on the tape, clean the floor again.

Step Three:

For new or bare concrete: mix the etching solution with water in a plastic watering can, always make sure you follow the manufacture’s guidelines. Also remember to wear all the appropriate protective gear recommended when you are around chemicals. These include safety glasses, gloves, and rubber boots.

Next begin by wetting the floor with a hose. Then, pour the solution over a large area in the corner farthest from your exit point, ideally a 10ft by 10ft area. Using a bristle broom, scrub the area in one direction, continuing over once more, in a perpendicular direction.
Continue by etching the floor in small sections, till you have finished the entire garage. Once again, rinse the floor with a hose. Start in the first corner you began with, moving forward. Do this till the water is completely clear. Again, to make sure everything dries according, allow up to 4 hours.

 Tip 2: Stubborn, dark discolorations may be the sign of a set-in oil stain, which will require additional scrubbing with fresh solution.

Open both the epoxy paint and epoxy hardener cans. Begin stirring the epoxy paint and slowly pour the hardener into it. Make sure to carefully stir the two components for at least 3-5 minutes until they are fully blended. Once both solutions are fully blended, put the lid ever so loosely back on the can. Now set it in a corner away from the sun, for about 30 minutes. If the can feels warm don’t worry, as the compounds mix, they tend to get warmer.

Now, once the epoxy formula fully mixed, you must use it within 2 hours for it to cure proper. Remember as with all chemicals, always keep the garage well ventilated.
Then, pour the epoxy into a roller tray fitted with a liner. With a 3-inch paintbrush, cut in a line of epoxy around the border of the area to be covered, painting it into seams and corners. Move to the corner farthest from your exit. After this, with a 3/8-inch-nap roller fitted with an extension handle begin to roll a 10-by-10-foot section with epoxy paint. When epoxy is mixed correctly, it will feel slightly thicker and stickier than normal house paint. Reapply the epoxy to the roller and go over the section in a perpendicular direction, this is to ensure you are feathering out uneven lines. Continue this by covering the floor section by section till you have completed hour entire garage.

If you plan to use two coats, finish the entire floor. Then allow it to dry 12 to 24 hours, adjusting the hours based on weather conditions. Then you may begin to recoat it in the same manner.

 Tip 3: Keep a wet edge as you move from section to section so there won’t be clear seams when the paint dries.

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