If you are looking to spruce up your garage and give it a stunning new look, installing epoxy flooring can’t be beaten. Not only will epoxy give your garage floor a great new look, but it will also last longer than other garage floor coatings, be more durable, and easier to maintain.
In this article, you’ll discover why all garage floor epoxy isn’t the same and the two most important considerations to look out for before installing it. Read on to find out more.
What is Garage Floor Epoxy Coating?
Epoxy flooring is a thermosetting resin that coats the existing floor surface of your garage. The coating is typically made up of two parts that are mixed together, a hardener and an epoxide resin. The two parts combine to produce a chemical reaction and bond tightly to the prepared garage floor creating a strong and durable protective barrier.
Not only will your garage floor become more hardwearing, but it will also look great as well. Epoxy garage floor coatings are available in a wide selection of different colors, textures, and thicknesses; you can choose the look that you want for your garage. The epoxy coating adheres much better to concrete flooring than traditional garage floor paint, making it a far superior option.
What are The Benefits of an Epoxy Floor?
An Epoxy Floor is Durable
The chemical reaction between the resin and hardener once mixed results in an incredibly durable and resilient floor; this is why it is used to good effect in both residential and commercial environments. The strength of the epoxy coating means that it can stand up to all sorts of damage.
Parking heavy vehicles on this type of flooring or other equipment will be no concern; it can also handle the impact from dropped items such as weighty tools and won’t chip or crack. It also offers resilience against most types of chemicals; if you spill oil or antifreeze, it can be wiped up without staining the floor using just a little soap and water.
You’ll also find that you won’t get scratches or surface abrasions when you roll heavy equipment such as toolboxes or wheeled generators across the garage floor.
Easy to Maintain
As we have already touched on, if you spill liquids on your new garage floor after epoxy installation, it is super easy to clean up. If you found cleaning your grimy garage floor surface a time-consuming chore in the past, then you’ll love garage floor epoxy as it makes upkeep much simpler.
If you wondered where all the dust in your garage is coming from, much of it is created by the cement particles that the floor sheds. As the epoxy seals the concrete, you’ll soon notice how much less dust there is in your garage. This reduction in dust will result in you not having to clean your car so often and less chance of your significant other shouting at you for traipsing dust into the house!
The smooth surface of the epoxy floor coating makes it easy to sweep, or mop and the lack of crevices ensures that debris doesn’t get trapped, as well.
Due to the natural moisture-resistant properties of epoxy coating, if you live in an area that suffers harsh winters, you don’t need to be concerned about road salt impacting your floor; just sweep away.
This moisture protection also protects against mildew and mold, which can damage floors and walls. Not to mention, it isn’t fun working in a garage that smells bad and could give you respiratory health issues by inhaling toxic mold spores.
On the subject of health, bacteria and germs don’t adhere to epoxy, making it more sanitary, not that you’ll likely be eating your dinner off your garage floor!
It Looks Amazing
While the aesthetic appeal of your garage might not be something that you particularly care about, you’ll likely change your tune when you go from a floor that is cracked and stained and, let’s face it, unsightly, to a smooth, colorful design that looks stylish and sleek.
The options you can choose are limitless, with different colors, designs, and textures available. With many garage owners using their garages for other purposes these days, such as home gyms, home offices, and even spare bedrooms, epoxy flooring is the ideal solution.
Compared to other flooring materials, epoxy is cheaper per square foot. Its long-lasting properties, and minimal maintenance also make it cost-effective in the long term.
Similar to most other floor types, if the surface gets wet, it becomes slippery. As the water doesn’t soak into the floor with epoxy garage floor coating due to its moisture-proof properties, liquid collects on the surface instead. To combat this, you can add slip-resistant aggregate to your garage floor epoxy to make it much safer.
DIY VS Professional Installation
If you choose to go the DIY route and install the garage floor coating yourself, there are two key success factors; do the proper preparation work and use the best, high-quality epoxy you can get. This will be the mantra for this article, so be warned it will be mentioned again! We want your project to be a success, so you have a show-stopping garage floor you can be proud of; sloppy prep and inferior quality epoxy will result in disaster.
Many DIY enthusiasts will want to carry out the task themselves because they relish the challenge and love feeling satisfied with a job well done once completed successfully. Others will take on the work themselves to save money, and there’s no shame in that; who doesn’t want to save some cash. It should be pointed out, though, that if you factor in your time and the additional equipment needed, it will add to the project’s cost.
Choosing a professional garage floor installation service will undoubtedly be more costly, but they will have a combination of expert knowledge and the best tools for the job; they will also be using commercial-grade epoxy.
While we are on the subject of the quality of the epoxy, much of the cheaper DIY kits that you’ll find at home depot and the like have a low solids content, this makes them easier to mix and apply, but they have a much shorter lifespan. Higher solids mean that that the pot life isn’t so high, so you need to work fast before it hardens; for this reason, if you are using epoxy with a high solid content [which you should be] and installing it yourself, see if you can get someone to help you, and speed up the job.
You’ll also get a warranty if you hire someone to install it for you; if you’ve installed it yourself and it goes wrong, you’ll have to suck it up and start again; if the professionals mess up, they will have to fix it at no extra cost.
Assuming you are going to do it yourself, let’s look at the installation process.
How to Install Garage Floor Epoxy
Begin by clearing everything out of your garage; take into account that everything will need to be out for 48-hours so ensure anything of value is safe. Get all your tools and materials ready beforehand; a handy tip is to organize all the equipment on tables outside the garage. This will make it faster to find stuff and save on backache.
If you’re sensible, wear safety gear such as gloves, goggles, and a mask; long pants and a long-sleeved shirt are recommended. You are dealing with various chemicals, so it’s best to play it safe.
Start by giving the floor a quick sweep to get rid of all the dust and debris that is on the surface. Using a scraper remove all gunk stuck to the floor, then vacuum up all the loose dirt and debris.
Using a stiff brush and degreaser, remove all grease from the concrete floor; if you don’t get rid of the grease, it will repel the epoxy coating and prevent it from adhering to the surface.
Next up, wear the safety gear we recommended and mix an etching solution with water, following the manufacturer’s instructions. The etching solution ensures that the epoxy coating will bond strongly to the concrete surface. Pour the solution onto the floor; if it is working properly, it will fizz and bubble. Using a bristle brush, scrub the entire garage floor with the etching solution to work it in.
If you have a pressure washer or can borrow one, it will be useful; remember our prep mantra, you need to get rid of all oil, dirt, and debris as thoroughly as possible. If you haven’t got a pressure washer, hose the garage down after the etching and ensure it is completely dry before applying the epoxy.
Your epoxy should come in two parts and will require mixing; follow the directions on the tin, get yourself an adequately sized bucket, and mix it per the instructions.
Mask the bottoms of the walls of your garage with painter’s tape so that you don’t accidentally get epoxy all over your walls.
You’ll then need a roller and a brush to apply the epoxy to the concrete surface. Start by applying the epoxy to the perimeter of the garage close to the walls using the brush. For the rest of the floor using a roller, it is suggested to work in measured sections. Work fast and thorough as the epoxy only has a limited pot life and will only remain liquid for a couple of hours. If you can get a helper to work on the perimeter while you use the roller, it will make the job less of a race againts time.
If you have colored chips to decorate the flooring, sprinkle them after you’ve completed each section. If you are applying a second coat, then wait 12 hours before you apply it; you’ll also want to hold out on spreading the decorative chips until then as well.
Once you have added the number of coats, you will want to leave the floor to dry for at least 24 hours before walking on it and give it a few days to a week before driving your car back in the garage.
Stand back and admire your new beautiful garage floor.
Common Issues with Garage Floor Epoxy
Epoxy coatings peeling – There can be several reasons why your new epoxy floor is peeling; if you use a one-part or cheap epoxy kit, it can often be the problem. If the concrete surface of your garage has already been treated or sealed, it will affect how the epoxy bonds with the concrete; use a diamond grinder to grind off any coatings that were previously applied to the surface. If you have a new garage and have recently poured a new concrete floor, allow around a month for it to cure before applying an epoxy coating. If your concrete garage floor is too smooth, the epoxy won’t adhere to it, so make sure that you have roughened it a bit during preparation. Hopefully, these troubleshooting tips will save you the heartache of peeling floors.
Welding burns – If you use your garage as a workshop to weld in, you should understand that an epoxy floor will end up with marks that resemble cigarette burns if welding sparks land on it. To prevent this, use a welding blanket or some other protection method to cover the floor in the area where you are welding.
Hot tire pick up – If you park your vehicle in your garage when it has hot tires, they will expand with the heat. Once the heat transfers to the floor, it will cause the epoxy coating to soften. When the tires cool down, they contract, and they grab at the floor coating, pulling it up off the concrete. So how can you avoid this? The two biggest culprits to cause hot tire pick up are the two usual suspects, low quality, inexpensive epoxy floor kits, and/or poor preparation. The solution? Invest your money in quality epoxy and your time in quality preparation to prevent hot tire pickup.
Epoxy Garage Floor FAQ
Let’s finish with some frequently asked questions about garage floor epoxy.
How long does garage floor epoxy coating last?
One of the primary benefits of epoxy garage flooring is that it is more long-lasting than other options. The question of how long it will last is a tricky one as so many factors come into play. It could last from a year to a lifespan of decades. You might think this is a bit vague, but you’ll find many horror stories online of people installing epoxy coating on their garage floors and it peeling up in a short span of time. Typically as we have highlighted in this article, this happens due to the poor prepping before installation or using an inferior quality epoxy kit.
You can also opt for either single or multi-layer floor epoxy for your installation. If you choose a single-layer, just a top coating should be used. For multi-layer, several layers are installed, which will take longer to wear down than in the case of a single-layer.
Another factor that you should take into consideration is the amount of traffic your garage receives. If you use your garage to park a couple of cars and just drive in and out a couple of times a day, it will last longer than if you have a busy garage. If cars are driving in and out all day, you are moving heavy machinery in, out, and around your garage, or it is frequently used for other purposes, it will get more wear and tear and need to be repaired or replaced faster. Finally, you should ensure that you give the floor a good sweep regularly to remove dust and mop up any spills as soon as possible; a good periodic clean is always a smart move as it can help keep it in good shape for a longer period of time.
Does epoxy garage floor increase home value?
A nice-looking, well-maintained garage is undoubtedly going to be something that adds value when you come to sell your house. A dirty and uninviting garage, with a battered door and oil-stained floors, will not add any appeal. It’s a well-known fact that the curb appeal of a new garage door can add thousands of dollars to the selling price of a property. If a potential buyer sees a stunning looking epoxy coated floor once the garage door has lifted, there is no way it can’t add value.
Is garage floor epoxy worth installing?
Apart from the potential benefit of adding value to your home compared to other garage floor coatings, epoxy is considered economical. It’s less expensive, longer-lasting, and harder wearing than most other materials.
Can you repair an epoxy garage floor?
While epoxy garage flooring is long-lasting and durable, it won’t last forever. If the surface has become damaged or needs refreshing, it can be recoated. The same as when the epoxy was first installed, you should make sure the floor is appropriately prepared; if not, the new epoxy coating will not adhere. Clean the area you are repairing with a grease-cutting detergent and etch the surface to ensure it will bond with the new coating.
What is the maintenance like for an epoxy garage floor?
Epoxy floor coatings are non-porous, which means that they don’t absorb liquid. If you spill some oil on the floor or another liquid, it is easy to just wipe it up without leaving unsightly stains on your garage’s surface. The smooth surface also makes the floor easier to brush out dust with a broom.
What are the downsides to epoxy floor coating?
The only real limitation to epoxy coatings is that they tend to fade in the sun as they are not UV resistant. This shouldn’t really be an issue if you install it on your garage floor as it won’t be subjected to the sun’s rays.
Is epoxy garage floor coating toxic?
Just as with regular cans of paint that you purchase in your local hardware store, it is best advised to try to avoid breathing in the odor that epoxy coating gives off when installing it. To prevent kids and pets from ingesting it, you should ensure that they are not around when you start the installation process. For the first 48 hours, you should adequately ventilate the garage to reduce the odor and fumes given out. Once the epoxy floor coating has been set and is ready to use, it is perfectly safe for any person or pet to use the floor. So, in brief, it is no more toxic than regular paint.