Things You Need For Your Next DIY Garage Floor Coating Project
Planning your next DIY garage floor coating project. You do not normally bring your visitors to your garage unless you need to bring them there for a specific reason. This, however, does not mean that you should neglect this part of your house. A well-maintained garage not only relaxes the owner after a long day on the road, but also lessens the need for you to bring your vehicle in for repairs and maintenance due to wear and tear caused by your rough, cracked, and uneven garage floor.
The garage floor may not be the most glamorous of spots in your house and your garage, but proper maintenance is still essential if you wish to keep your vehicle functioning properly for as long as possible, especially its tires. A well-maintained floor not only makes the garage look more pleasant. It also makes parking your vehicle more convenient and free from hassle.
Because of this, it is very important that you pick the right kind of coating for your garage floor. While some garage owners settle for regular paint, the smarter ones use epoxy coating instead in their DIY garage floor coating project.
Advantages of Epoxy Coating
Unlike regular paint that covers the garage floor thinly and unevenly, epoxy offers more covering and protection to these surfaces. This is because it is made up of a resin-like solution that sticks and hardens onto the surface once you apply it.
Here are several reasons why using epoxy in your DIY garage floor coating project is the better choice, compared to using ordinary paint to cover your garage floor:
- Epoxy coating helps make your garage look cleaner, more beautiful, and more professional. Because of its even finish and glossy sheen, epoxy coating results to a professional-looking flooring, one that appears well maintained. And you are not even required to clean the floor every day. This is especially helpful if you decide to use your garage not only as a parking area for your vehicle, but also as a working area or even a small office space. Epoxy-coated floorings look nicer and have a cleaner feel to it, compared to concrete floorings or those that are coated with ordinary paint.
- Epoxy coating keeps your floor resistant to moisture and stains. Because epoxy is a resin that hardens well when applied correctly, you do not have to worry about water or other liquids seeping into the cracks of your floor and thereby causing it to crack some more. While this may not matter much in places where the weather is normally dry and sunny, this is doubly beneficial if you live in an area that is prone to heavy rains and snow.
At the same time, a floor coated with epoxy is stain resistant. This means that you do not have to spend long hours scrubbing and cleaning the garage floor because of stains that are otherwise tough to remove.
- Epoxy coating keeps your floor damage resistant. Not only does an epoxy coating keep your floor from moisture and stains, it also keeps your floor safe from small bruises and cracks caused by constant use and wear and tear. For instance, even when you drop heavy tools (e.g., screwdriver, pliers, wooden boxes) on the floor, there is a lesser chance for the surface to crack, compared to when you drop the same tools on flooring coated only with regular paint.
- Using epoxy as your floor coating saves you money. Because epoxy coating makes your floor durable, your maintenance schedules become less frequent and less expensive. Repairs become unnecessary until after a few years, and even then, it will not cost as much as it would had you coated your floor with regular paint instead (or if you did not apply any coating on the floor, at all).
- Epoxy coating keeps your garage floor—and the rest of your garage—relatively dust-free. Cement floors are the primary source of dust in your garage—though dust from outside roads is a major contributor as well. Because of this, having an epoxy-coated surface means that you also help minimize the presence of dust in your garage.
- Epoxy coating is simple and does not need a lot of preparation. As long as you have the right materials and tools, you are guaranteed success in your project. You do not even need to prepare a lot for the task. All you have to do is make sure that the floor is clean and dry before you apply your epoxy coating, and that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the products that you will use.
- Epoxy coating levels itself out. If you wish to resurface your floor and make it smooth, epoxy coating is the right thing for you. Because resin naturally levels itself out, you do not need to exert much effort to achieve that smooth finish, even when your floor area is littered with cracks and tiny holes.
Now that you know what the advantages of using epoxy coating for your garage floor are, you can now learn how to apply it to your own garage floor.
DIY Epoxy Coating for Your Garage
Of course, you can always hire a professional or get the services of a company that specializes in floor coatings to do the job for you. But if you want to save money and have more control on how your flooring will look like in the end, then it is advisable that you learn how to coat your garage on your own.
Below are the basic steps to follow when you are using epoxy in your DIY garage floor coating project:
- Prepare the necessary tools and materials for the project. Make sure all your tools and materials are ready before you start with your DIY coating project. Nothing is more frustrating than finding yourself in the middle of step 5, only to realize that you do not have the necessary material you need to proceed.
Below is a list of the tools you will need for the project:
- Paint roller
- Wheelbarrow (for carrying your tools and materials)
- Electric fans
Below is a list of materials you will need for the project:
- Concrete or driveway cleaner and other cleaning materials
- Commercial etcher
- Epoxy crack filler
- Epoxy floor paint
Aside from the tools and materials listed above, make sure you also have on hand a pair of safety goggles, rubber gloves, and a respirator with an organic and vapor filter. These are necessary tools to ensure your health and safety, since you will be dealing with strong chemicals which emit harmful fumes that may cause damage to your eyes, skin, and lungs.
- Make sure you have proper ventilation in your garage. First things first. Before you start applying any chemical on your garage floor, make sure that your garage is properly ventilated. This is important because of two reasons: First, the chemicals you will use will release harmful fumes, so it is important that your working area is well aired so you do not end up suffocating while applying your epoxy coating. Second, a garage with good ventilation makes it easier for the epoxy to harden and dry, even without the help of any drying or ventilating equipment, such as big electric fans and the like.
- Clean your garage floor. Once you have checked that your garage is properly ventilated, you can proceed with the next step, which is to clean the floor area.
Sweep the surface and wash it down with warm water with soap. You can also use bleach or a commercial concrete or driveway cleaner to remove stains from the floor. Just spray the cleaner onto the surface and let it soak for a few minutes before rinsing it off.
You can also scrub the floor to get rid of hard-to-get stains and dirt in between cracks. After scrubbing, rinse the floor with water, starting from the back of your garage, all the way to the front. You may want to apply pressure to the floor to get rid of gritty dust and stains. Pressure washers are usually available for rent in most cleaning centers.
- Repair the floor cracks. After you have cleaned the floor, check for big and spider cracks across the surface. Use a concrete or mortar-repair compound for small cracks, and concrete patch for the bigger ones. Makes sure the cracks are completely clean and dry before you apply the mortar compound or concrete patch. Otherwise, the dirt will remain embedded into the cracks even after you have sealed them off, which may cause unwanted damage to your flooring in the long run.
- Etch your floor’s surface. To make sure that your concrete floor absorbs the epoxy coating later on, you should first test if your surface is porous enough. To do this, pour a small amount of water on a section of the floor. If the floor absorbs the water, then it means that it is porous enough. But if the water remains above the surface and forms into small puddles instead, then this means that your floor cannot absorb substances quickly enough.
If this is the case, you will have to etch the surface to make it absorbent enough. To do this, purchase a commercial concrete etcher and follow the manufacturer’s instructions that come with the product. You will know that you have successfully etched your floor when you hear a fizzing sound while you are applying the chemical on the surface. Note, though, that you have to let the floor dry overnight (or longer) after applying the concrete etcher. Use electric fans to speed up the drying process. Your concrete floor should feel like sandpaper to the touch after the etcher has completely dried up.
- Apply the primer. Use a primer as a base before you coat your floor with epoxy. A primer makes the epoxy last longer, compared to when you apply the coating directly on the floor. Let the primer dry for at least eight hours before proceeding with the next step.
- Mix your epoxy solution. Make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions on how to properly mix your epoxy, depending on the size of the surface area of your garage floor. After mixing, let the solution stand for a specified time. Again, check the manufacturer’s instructions before applying it to the floor. Remember to use up all of your mixed epoxy within a specific period, since you will not be able to use the excess because it will dry up and become hard.
- Apply your first coating. Dip an epoxy roller (the recommended size is 9 inches wide, 3 inches long) into your mixed solution, but only halfway, so that only half of the roller is covered. Roll the epoxy on the floor, starting with a W pattern of about 3 to 4 square feet in size, then backrolling to fill up the space between the pattern. It will usually take you 60 seconds to complete this procedure, and about an hour or two to finish applying the first coating to your floor. Let the first coating dry overnight, making sure that the garage is well ventilated so that the drying process will not take too long.
- Apply your second coating. After making sure that your first coating is completely dry, you can proceed to applying the second coating of epoxy. Add non-skid granules to your second coating mixture, since these will help make your floor less slippery. This is very important, especially if you live in an area where it rains or snows a lot. Repeat the procedure you did for the first coating (see step #8), and leave the surface to dry overnight, or for another 16 hours.
Learning how to apply epoxy coating on your garage floor by yourself will save you money and time, and will allow you to give a more personal touch to your garage. Just remember to follow the steps listed above, and to wear protective gear before you start your DIY garage floor coating project.