Trying to find the best epoxy coating for your garage floor and your budget can be difficult. With a lot of epoxy products, commercial installers, and manufacturers to choose from, it can be confusing. Perhaps even overwhelming. Especially, if you don’t know what exactly that you want or how the coating system works.
The easiest way to solve this problem is to break it down. That’s correct. Break it down into the different types of epoxy products available. And then, explain how they are installed together as systems. You can opt to purchase and install the epoxy by yourself. Or, you can hire a garage floor contractor with their own products.
Here, we will help you to eliminate the confusion you may have about epoxy. We will also tell you the options available so you can choose which one is the best for you.
Water Based Epoxy Paint
Water based epoxy is easy to apply. It also has a longer pot life which reduces the worry of getting it applied as soon as possible. That’s right, unlike how other epoxy products require. Its application is almost as easy as paint. That is why it is advertised as epoxy paint. Due to this, it is marketed to the DIY people.
Your first choice of epoxy coating here is the DIY epoxy kits. From which brand? Well, for instance, Quickrete or RustOleum. Both can be purchased from your local hardware store or home improvement center. It costs about $50 to $70, depending on which brand. They are available in either tan or gray
These kits are designed as a single coat system. They have about 50% solids content of epoxy. Their coverage rate is around 250 square feet. They cure a thin coat of about 3 mils with a matte to a semi-gloss finish. And yes, they roll on easy as well.
This type of epoxy coating is inexpensive. However, it is the least durable. Its resistance to stains and chemicals is not as good as other types of epoxy coating. Moreover, it is susceptible to hot tire lift.
If you like this type due to its easy application, should you refrain from using it? Not necessarily. Why? Because you can increase the protection as well as the durability. You can do it by using a more professional multi-coat kit that gives a second coat of epoxy clear as a top coat. Doing this will double the thickness of the coating. Yes, from 3 mils to 6 mils. Brands like The Original Color Chips offer this kind of kits. The price starts from $175.
High Solids Epoxy
High solids epoxy has the best resistance to abrasion, stains, and chemicals. They have high solids content. The highest being 100% solids epoxy.
The 100% solids single coat system is a lot thicker. It also cures to about 10 mils or more, depending on the brand. The good thing about this is that a single coat of 100% solids epoxy has more durability than two coats of standard water based product. This type of epoxy coating makes for a great color base coat to a multi-coat system. After all, they have high build and are available in many color options.
What about the price? Well, it depends on the solids content and the brand. You should expect to pay at least $115 for clear epoxy that will cover about 250 square feet. The price goes up from this point for the standard colors as well as custom tints. With an average price of $180, a lot of these kits include the tools needed to apply them. Plus, a bag of colored acrylic paint chips or flakes to apply to the floor.
Compared to the water based epoxy, high solids epoxy has better value. However, it is not as friendly as. Indeed. It needs to be back rolled when applied. It also has a lot thicker viscosity too. Not to mention its pot life, which is shorter. Yes, it needs to be applied within 30 to 40 minutes after mixing.
Clear Epoxy or Polyurethane Top Coats
If you want to improve the single coat 100% solids epoxy, you will need to add a coat or two of clear epoxy or polyurethane. This is known as the top coat. This clear coat system will increase durability and thickness as well as gives your floor gloss and shine.
In adding a top coat, you will have the option of adding additional paint chips to the base coat. You can apply them to full refusal. Full refusal is when you throw the chips on until they don’t stick anymore. Or, sprinkle them sparingly. That’s up to you.
There are two reasons why you may want to do a full refusal.
First, doing this will give your floor increased thickness and durability, texture as well as producing an anti-slip surface.
Second, it can give your floor any custom look that you want. Indeed. There are many different colored chip combinations that are available to choose from.
Which one is the best epoxy coating for your garage?
Now, the most important question: which one is the best?
The best one will be a premium multi-coat epoxy system. It consists of
- A primer coat
- 100% solids base coat
- One or two top coats of clear epoxy or polyurethane
- Acrylic colored paint chips (optional)
It is not uncommon for a garage floor to be 30 to 40 mils thick. And this type of floor systems can last between 15 and 20 years.
Any premium epoxy system will involve a primer. Most of the primers will have around 50% to 70% solids content, which mill make for a thinner coat and consistency. There are a lot of reasons for using a primer. One is that the thinner consistency will make the epoxy seep deeper into the concrete’s pores. Thus, creating a better bond. Another is that it creates better adhesion for the base coat as well as prevents bubbles and pinholes which can happen due to the concrete outgassing.
This epoxy system is the most expensive of garage floor coating options. Yet, it has the best value. It has the best return for your money. The cost may vary. It depends on your garage’s size.
If you have 2 car garage and you do it yourself, expect to spend a minimum of $850 in materials (epoxy primer, color base coat, clear top coat, acrylic color flakes).
For contractors, the price starts around $4.50 a square foot with a similar system.