Does anyone give it much thought as to why someone would do a DIY epoxy garage floor? How many homes have you visited, that had the basement floor painted?
Perhaps the answer is none, but then, there is always the first time. If you dislike the dirty look of your concrete basement floor or garage floor, think about applying an epoxy finish to give it a shiny, smooth, and brighter look.
It’s simpler than ever these days as epoxy floor kit is becoming more and more common. There are arguments at some places that those aren’t good quality, but you can do your own research on it. If it’s a set that is sold as a kit when the primer and epoxy are sold on the shelves, you should be good to go.
What exactly is epoxy flooring? For example, take the showroom and garage of a dealership, their floors are clean, and shiny with a high luster. Their garage area looks great even though cars are fixed there, and driven over the concrete repeatedly. That is the beauty behind epoxy flooring, it is very durable.
Epoxy floor coating is made of resin and a hardener. When they are mixed together, the bonding results in a thermosetting reaction. The result is a sealant that is tough, strengthens concrete, cleans easily, resists chemical absorption, and provides a showroom look to your concrete floor.
Basic tools needed for painting epoxy
The application of epoxy floor paint to a basement floor is not difficult to do with the proper tools. The items needed prior to getting started are: Protective clothing, rubber gloves, mask, eye protection, paint pan, roller, paint brushes, masking tape, drill to mix paint, paint mixing paddle, gallon bucket, 5-gallon bucket, and thinner.
Once all the listed supplies are in order, the measurements of the concrete flooring that is to be epoxied with epoxy floor paint are needed. In general, one gallon will only cover an area that is 24×24.
Step one: clean the floor
The next step involves prepping the concrete floor by washing it with plain dish soap and water and allowing it to dry completely. Also, pay attention to any stains that are on the floor from oil and paint, remove these stains from the concrete using thinner. After removing the stains, rinse thoroughly with water, and allow to dry for 24 hours.
If you’re working in a space that doesn’t allow water use, use a vacuum to clean it completely and use thinner and water on the stains only. The most important thing is that it’s clean of anything else than concrete.
Step two: apply acid to the floor
In this next step, protective clothing, gloves, mask, and goggles are needed, as an application of muriatic acid and water is going to be applied to the concrete floor. The formula to follow is one cup of muriatic acid to one gallon of water. Mix the two ingredients in a bucket and pour some of the mixtures onto the concrete floor. Take a broom that has stiff bristles, and brush it over the entire floor. Follow up with another plain cold water rinse.
The reason we do this is that poured concrete that has cured isn’t the best surface for anything to adhere to. When we use muriatic acid it will make the surface so that the epoxy can adhere. If you can’t use muriatic acid, the same thing can be achieved by grinding the surface and vacuuming it clean. Like this, it would be the first and second step of this guide.
Step three: mix the epoxy with hardener
Next, if the epoxy floor coating is a one-component epoxy like epoxy floor paint, skip this step. If it is the two-component epoxy paint and hardener, they will need to be mixed together into a five-gallon bucket for five minutes.
Use a drill and paint mixing paddle to mix the two components completely. I’ve had trouble before with badly mixed epoxy so I don’t recommend mixing with a stick to beginners.
Now if the manufacturer label says to wait for a time, do so. If it’s ready to use straight away, proceed to the next step. I recommend using epoxy that has a longer working period for beginners. Fast setting epoxy paints start to get gum like fast so it might not work out for a total beginner.
Step four: add tape and paint the edges
Using the masking tape, tape off the edges of the wall along the floor to prevent the epoxy from getting onto the walls. Using a flat narrow paintbrush, paint along the edges of the walls, and any other small areas that are unreachable with a roller.
Now, it’s important here that you remove the tapes after you have done the borders. The epoxy will harden into a rubber-like coating so if you get a lot on your tapes, it will be hard to get them off nicely once the epoxy has cured.
You can’t go around removing them either after you have coated the floor as it needs to be left alone for few days. You should check the manufacturer’s label what it says about when it can be walked on.
Step Five: use a paint roller to paint the surface
Next, pour some of the paint into the roller pan, roll the paint roller into the paint to coat the roller, and start to roll the epoxy paint onto the floor starting at the far edge of the room, working your way outwards.
It’s important that you work systematically. Epoxy with hardener has a short working time so you need to plan ahead when you work. You mix the stuff and then start rolling as fast as you can. If you work like a painter in old movies the epoxy will be unworkable before you get to the other end.
This of course, depends on the hardener. The ones that we use at balconies have 30 minutes working time so it’s good to check. If it’s short time, get one of your friends to help you so they can mix more if needed on big surface.
Allow the paint to dry completely for at least 24 hours before walking on the floor. More time might be needed depending on the thickness of the layer. Depending on the paint, it might be needed to paint twice even.
DIY epoxy flooring is a good way to bring our garages to today’s standards. Most of the homeowners appreciate good-looking garages as they can already picture themselves working on different projects over there.
It is also good for only having your car there as it’s easy to clean surface that wont get stained by the car leaks. As sure as concrete will crack, car will leak oil.
The disadvantages of epoxy flooring are that it is a hard surface. So if you get it wrong, it will be hard to fix. You will have to cut the surrounding with a utility knife and pour a patch like you would do with concrete if it’s thick epoxy.
Another disadvantage is its short working time with hardeners. If you are a slow worker, get one that doesn’t need a hardener as they are easier to use and closer to traditional paint. This will save you from stress.
Other than these two, I can say that rest are qualities that are used in the wrong place. Epoxy is hard, as stated before, so if it’s placed that expands and shrinks a lot, it’s going to crack. This can be the case with garage floors that are vulnerable to extreme temperature changes.