About ten years ago in one of our previous homes, we applied a coating to our garage floor and it was a total failure. It started to peel up not long after we had done it. And we eventually removed it, which was a complete pain to do.
Even though it was a complete fail, we did learn a valuable lesson from the experience. When applying a coating to your garage floor there are two extremely important aspects that should not be overlooked:
- Do the proper prep work to the concrete.
- Use high-quality commercial-grade epoxy.
Ever since that failed attempt, Brooke has been trying to get me to try again. I’ve been hesitant but she has finally convinced me to give it another try. So I decided to do it in our basement garage, which is where I park my Jeep. Having a really nice epoxy floor in “my garage” was a good incentive.
I knew our contractor (also my brother-in-law), had epoxy coated several garage floors and they are still like new (no peeling or chipping). So I got all of the details from him on what to use and how to do it.
Keep in mind that you should only do this on concrete that has not been previously sealed.
Step 1: Scrape Floor
The first step in the cleaning process is to scrape off any dried paint, caulk, or anything else that might be stuck to the concrete floor. To do this, I used a putty knife and a scraper. I started in the back corner of the garage and worked my way across and then back until I had removed all stuck on materials from the floor.
Then I used a shop vac to vacuum up all of the loose debris.
Step 2: Degrease Concrete
The next step in the cleaning process to decrease the floor. If you want, you can do this only where it needs it. To find out where it needs to be degreased, spray water on the floor. Anywhere that you see the water bead up, you know that area needs to be degreased.
But I chose to degrease the whole floor, just to be safe. I used a degreaser that I found at a local masonry store. As per the instructions, I mixed 1 part solution to 4 parts water. Then I poured it on to the concrete floor in different spots and scrubbed with a stiff-bristled broom.
After I had scrubbed the entire floor, I rinsed it off with a water hose and let it dry.
Step 3: Etch the Concrete
Etching is an important step in prepping concrete for any type of stain or coating. Most etching solutions contain some type of acid that opens up the pores of the concrete. This allows the coating to form a strong bond with the surface.
I used an etch and clean solution, which is the same stuff I used when I acid stained our basement floors. This particular solution calls for a 1 to 4 parts water mixture. I added the solution and water to a sprayer and sprayed the entire floor. If done correctly, you should see the solution start to bubble when it makes contact with the concrete.
I used the same stiff-bristled broom to scrub the solution into the concrete. Then I let it sit for about 15 minutes.
After that, I rinsed the concrete thoroughly, and let it dry overnight. It’s very important to make sure the concrete is very dry before proceeding with the epoxy. You don’t want to trap any moisture under the epoxy. This could lead to bubbles in your coating and possibly cause it to start peeling.
Step 4: Fill Joints
More than likely your garage floor will have several joints in it. These are usually created with a saw shortly after the concrete has set up.
I used a self-leveling filler to fill in all of these joints. You find this at your local home improvement store, usually in the masonry aisle.
It’s surprising how much is required to fill the joints. I used about 5 tubes. It’s pretty simple though. I used a caulk gun and slowly worked my way down each joint until they were filled.
After all of the joints were filled, I let them dry for a couple of hours.
Step 5: Mix the Epoxy
As I mentioned above, we went with a commercial-grade epoxy. It’s called Armorseal 1000 and we got it from our local Sherwin Williams store.
It comes in two parts, each in a 1 gallon can. Part A is what they can tint with any Sherwin Williams color you want, and Part B is the hardener.
I poured both into a five-gallon bucket and mixed thoroughly for 3 minutes.
Step 6: Mask Walls and Baseboards
To be on the safe side, I used a roll of paper to mask off the baseboard and lower part of the wall. This protected them from any epoxy that might splatter during the application.
I used painter’s tape to hold it in place.
Step 7: Apply the Epoxy
Brooke used a 3-inch paintbrush to apply the epoxy all the way around the perimeter of the garage. She covered about 3-4 inches out from the baseboard. That way I didn’t have to try and get really close to the wall.
I let her get a head start, then I started rolling the epoxy onto the floor. I used the same method I would as I wast painting a wall. It does go on pretty thick. So I made sure to roll it out thoroughly for a nice and even coat.
I was worried about having enough to cover the entire floor, but one coat is all it required.
Our basement garage is about 400 sq ft and we had about 1/4 of the epoxy left over.
Step 8: Sprinkle the Chips
There are plenty of places you can buy the paint chips but we grabbed ours from Lowes. They only have two color options there, but luckily one was just what we were wanting.
The chips we chose were a mixture of white, black, and tan, which we thought would go well with the color we went with for the epoxy.
Obviously, you don’t want to walk on the wet epoxy with regular shoes on. This would leave footprints everywhere. So I borrowed these homemade cleat-like soles from my brother-in-law.
I strapped them onto my feet and was able to walk on the fresh epoxy without leaving prints.
They also make special shoe attachments that you can purchase for these types of jobs.
When applying the paint chips, the goal is to get an even distribution. I grabbed a small amount (not a handful), and tossed them up into the air above the area I was wanting to cover. This lets gravity work its magic. As they fell, they spread out in the air and landed in an even, yet random coverage.
I repeated this across the entire floor. Then added more to areas that looked a little bare.
The next day, I used a broom to lightly sweep the floor to remove any loose paint chips.
Step 9: Apply a Clear Coat
After I applied the paint chips, we let it dry to about 24 hours. Then I rolled on a layer of Armorseal Rexane I. This adds a clear protective coat to the epoxy for an added layer of protection.
I applied the clear coat with a paintbrush all the way around the permitter. Then rolled on the rest.
The End Result
The epoxy coating totally transformed our basment garage. I’m very happy that we decided to do it. Here are a couple of shots of the finished floor.