Get The Facts: Read Our Epoxy Garage Floor Coating Review
The garage floor is probably the part of the house that is most subjected to abuse. Aside from having one or two cars parked on it, it is also exposed to the following harmful elements: extreme temperatures, gasoline, oil, anti-freeze, road salts, to name just a few. Plus, it usually houses heavy and various tools, machinery and equipment that can lead to premature deterioration of the floor. In addition, the garage is a “high foot traffic” area, especially if half of the garage is converted into a laundry room or music area for the band team of the kids. All these factors can lead to early wear and tear and eventually, damage to the garage floor.
Here is where having the best garage floor coating comes in. It can add years to the life and beauty of the floor. It can also keep you safe from fire and other accidents. It can even help save money. That is why extra care should be given when choosing the garage floor coating. This can be a confusing task to the average consumers as there are many options in garage floor coating, such as the following:
- Masonry paint
- Latex paint
- Concrete garage floor stains
- Acid based concrete stains
- Water based penetrating concrete stains
- Concrete Dyes
- Epoxy garage floor coating
Epoxy is one of the most commonly used materials for DIY-ers though, and this review will dig deeper into the reasons behind that.
The Pros of Epoxy garage floor coating
Durability. This property of any garage floor coatings is tested by its ability to adhere to substrate (the layer of the floor). Experiments and studies have proven that epoxy coating surpassed the other floor coatings when it comes to these 4 parameters, namely:
- Peel strength – this refers to the adhesive property of the coating.
- Dynamical mechanical thermal analysis (DMTA) – this touches on the development of physical property.
- Infrared Spectroscopy (IR) – this pertains to the chemical structure.
- Energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) – this indicates surface change of the coating.
Users and floor coating experts alike agree that Epoxy paint is the toughest among all floor coverings. Even when the most brutal treatment, such as falling heavy tools, takes place, it will hold up. This is because of its impact-resistant property. Hot tires from any vehicle can also cause most coatings to peel but not with epoxy paint. It can withstand extreme temperatures. Generally, the coating can last for 20 years or more.
Protective property. Epoxy coating is resistant to the following household chemicals:
- Transmission fluid
- Motor oil
- Brake fluid
- Liquid plumber
- Battery acid
Epoxy paint would be a great help to the floors of industrial and manufacturing plants and warehouses as well.
Safety. Epoxy coating outshines the other garage floor coatings in terms of safety. It contains less that 100 grams/liter of volatile organic content (VOC). This makes it non-flammable. Lesser accidents are also encountered because the high gloss floor coating provides brightness by 300% compared to other floor coverings. Plus, there is no irritating odor that can be hazardous to one’s health. On top of that, because of its basic and flexible properties, additional precaution measures can be availed for a minimum fee, such as non-slip surface or antibacterial sealant.
Variety of choices. Unlike other floor coatings, one has many options with epoxy coating depending on one’s specific needs and preference. Here are some of them:
- Self-dispersing epoxy floor coatings – this is an impact-resistant type that is appropriate for garage floors with high traffic and machinery.
- Self-dispersing Epoxy Garage floor coating with quartz sand – this is ideal for heavy-duty environments. The sand provides non-slip properties.
- Mortar epoxy coating – considered as the most durable epoxy type, this adds strength to the underlying concrete of the garage floor.
- Self-leveling epoxy coating – This type is mostly used when one needs a scratch-resistant surface.
- Graveled epoxy coatings – Aside from having the anti-slip property, this epoxy coat enhances the beauty of the floors. It is ideal for showrooms’ floor.
- Epoxy antistatic floor – for testing facilities or rooms that use electrical gadgets, this type can completely eliminate electrical charges, keeping everyone safe.
- Epoxy terrazzo floor coverings – This is the best option for those who want to be as creative as possible as it offers virtually unlimited designs using environment-friendly materials such as recycled granite, glass or marble chips.
- Epoxy flaked floors – when one desires both beauty and safety for the floor, this is the best choice.
Aesthetic. The dull, boring garage floor can be transformed into beautiful designs and patterns with the use of decorative chips such as mica, quartz, granite and others. One can use a single solid color or produce a decorative pattern using many colors, as he or she wishes. Beauty can also be functional as designs, colors or patterns can be used to define safety zones, work area or off-limit zones. It is UV fade-resistant also and discoloration seldom occurs.
Environment-friendly floor coating. For users who are concern with the effects of chemical solutions to the environment, they can put their worries to rest, as epoxy paint is a “green” alternative, too. There is no special waste disposal needed during cleaning and application.
Low to zero maintenance needed. Epoxy paint can create a seamless surface that can be easily cleaned by simply wiping the dirt, dust or debris on it. There is no need for special cleaning solutions. Ordinary soaps and water are used once in while to maintain cleanliness.
Easy application. Coating new or old concrete floors is easy to do. Even amateurs can do the job. A big advantage is that this product is self-leveling. This simply means that it will result in an even, smooth surface even without much effort from the user. It takes about 3 hours only to apply the coating for a typical garage. Take note that this does not include dry time, which could take 24-30 hours, depending on the climate.
Flexibility. Another advantage is that epoxy coating is suitable to almost all substrate materials such as wood, tile, metal or concrete. What’s more, even when the substrate is chipped or broken, such as in concrete, epoxy coat will still adhere and even strengthen the damaged flooring when applied.
Cost effective. Although epoxy paint’s price is higher compared with other floor coatings, it is still the wise choice when it comes to value for one’s money. You get to save a lot because application is easy and you can do it himself. Plus, epoxy paint has been proven to be durable that it takes decades before there is a need to replace it again.
The cons of epoxy garage floor coating
Nothing is perfect and that includes epoxy paint. Here are some of its drawbacks.
Floor preparation before application. Floor preparation of epoxy paint is both time-consuming and expensive. However, it is a must that this is done prior to epoxy coating. If poor preparation is done, epoxy paint will just lift or peel and that means, time, money and effort are all wasted. The performance of epoxy floor coating is directly proportional to the floor preparation. It is recommended that professionals do this to avoid errors.
Take note that new concrete floors require curing time of at least 28 days before epoxy coating is applied. For old concrete, the following activities should be done:
- Examine the surface for excessive laitance and barriers such as curing materials, oil, grease, existing sealant and dirt. One can use the “water drop” test to determine the cleanliness of the surface. If water beads form, then barriers are present. These things must be removed first prior to application of coating.
- Test for moisture. Epoxy coating will also fail if the concrete has moisture vapor transmission. There are different tests that can be performed to assess for the presence of moisture. These include the use of anhydrous calcium chloride, test for determining relative humidity and the plastic sheet test.
- Clean the surface. All areas must be free from any dirt or oils. One can use any commercially prepared degreasing solvent or compound for these. On the other hand, vacuum shot blasting, scarifying and sand blasting are done to remove sealants, laitance and curing compounds.
- Repair of defective surface. This is accomplished first before coat application.
- Profile the garage floor. One can choose whether to use acid etch or grind the garage floor. Then vacuum the floor after. After vacuuming, place a strip of duct tape to check for dust marks. If dust marks are present, repeat the vacuum.
- This is the initial coating. Start at the edge and walls of the garage until the whole are is covered. This needs at least 8 hours to dry before the application of topcoat.
- Coating the garage floor. Same procedure as priming. This takes 24 hours and more of drying time, though.
For the amateurs, floor preparation can really be overwhelming. It is advisable to leave it to the hands of the professionals. However, this adds to the cost of floor coating.
Epoxy paint and humidity do not bond together. Epoxy paint may fail when the floor is not completely dry or there is dripping of pipes or taps nearby. At the same time, one has to assess if there is a rising humidity beneath the concrete. Again, this calls for the professionals, which means additional expenses.
Epoxy coat is incompatible with weak substrate. Although one of its advantages is its flexibility, meaning epoxy coat can work on any substrate, however having weak substrate is altogether a different thing. When the floor cement is made from poor materials, the tendency is for it to break down after application of the epoxy coating.
Wet epoxy-coated garage floors are slippery and can be dangerous. Since epoxy paints are water and chemical resistant, not drying it immediately can be hazardous to those who might accidentally step on it. This usually occurs during winter when the snow on the tires melts inside the garage. There is really nothing that can be done here except to prepare ahead of time mats and rags to wipe dry the floor surface every time it gets wet.
Extensive replacement process (whether damaged or not) and difficult repair (damaged) of garage floor coated with epoxy. At some point, the homeowner may need to change the garage floor (during home renovation or just to modernize it) or repair it because of damage. Whatever the case may be, replacing the epoxy-coated garage floor will not be easy for the amateurs hence it is advisable to seek professional help in doing this.
The process involves:
- Determining the type of the previous epoxy coating used (whether it is water or solvent based). This is important, as this will be the basis on what kind of stripping solution to use.
- Preparing the floor for stripping. One would need to remove all furnishings, items or tools in the area to prevent them from being splashed with the stripping solution or other chemicals that would be used later on. After this is done, one has to thoroughly clean the floor, wash and vacuum it, to ensure that it is free from all types of dirt.
- Applying the stripper. Follow the direction of the solution. Plus, one must wear protective devices such as goggles, facemask, and gloves. Leave the solution for at least 24 hours.
- Peeling off of the old epoxy layer. Use a long-handled metal scraper to push off the old layer. Start from the corner until all areas are done.
- Cleaning the floor again. Repeat washing and vacuuming the floor.
Presence of air bubbles on the floor. This usually takes place when the following are done during application:
- Vigorous mixing. This causes the air to be trapped.
- Use of wrong roller. For example, use of thick nap roller or roller foam.
- Outgassing from the cement. This happens when air inside the cement is forced out because of warm temperature during application. The easiest remedy is to apply the coat when the cement is cooling off. This problem is not usually encountered when doing garage floor as it is usually covered and protected from direct sunlight. This is a common phenomenon when floor coating is done on an open, sunny place.
As with all things, there are benefits and drawbacks for every item there is. The important thing is having the right information to determine what would be suitable for one’s needs. Epoxy garage floor coating has already established itself when it comes to quality and integrity. However, it does not necessarily mean that it is the perfect solution for one’s garage floor. Consider the type of garage floor, budget, personal preference on colors and designs and other pertinent data before deciding to buy the garage floor coating.