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You may be asking yourself what to use to upgrade the look and function of garage floors and hear about epoxy as an alternative to painting or tiles.
Epoxy coatings have usage on all surfaces where heavy-duty service is required. They provide a tough, protective coating with outstanding hardness. Most concrete flooring tends to receive a high amount of traffic and heavy wear and tear in garages. Using an epoxy floor coating is an excellent way to protect it.
Epoxy is a type of polymer, a group of chemical compounds that consist of large molecules with repeating subunits. Polymers’ molecular structure gives them their toughness and elasticity, making polymers (both natural and artificial ones) ubiquitous in daily life.
Wool, rubber, Styrofoam, and epoxy are just a few of the polymers that you likely already know. This particular polymer plays an essential role in construction—as adhesives and in coatings.
Epoxy Garage Floors
Epoxy floor coatings and epoxy floors are two different treatments with similar names.
While an epoxy floor coating is a relatively thin layer of epoxy.
An epoxy floor consists of a thicker (at least 0.20inch) layer of epoxy that creates an unbroken, glossy surface that can be installed in various colors.
They tend to be more common in commercial than residential construction. Epoxy durability in high-traffic conditions justifies the extra expense.
Is It Worth to Epoxy Garage Floor?
Epoxy flooring is extremely durable and will last for years to come.
You’ll find you must reapply the paint frequently to keep the floors looking great. You won’t have to touch your floors again for years after the coating is applied with epoxy.
Epoxy floors are easy to maintain. They are seamless and liquid-tight.
What Is the Benefit of an Epoxy Garage Floor?
An epoxy coating will also protect your garage or home floors and make them easier to clean.
You’ll be able to work on your car in the garage and not worry about any more oil stains on the floor. And the floor will withstand all the wear and tear you can throw at it. Epoxy flooring is resistant to chemicals, so regardless of what type of work you do in the garage, your floor will be safe from harm.
Epoxy floors also combine well with underfloor heating.
You can personalize your space with any pattern or color you want.
Epoxy Offers Lots of Colors and Patterns
An extensive palette of colors and decorative patterns is created by mixing different colors and/or vinyl chips and quartz aggregate in the top epoxy layer.
Some do double duty by providing anti-skid properties to the finished floor.
- If you want a smooth, high-gloss surface, then keep in mind that epoxy is only slippery when wet.
- You can buy chips or tint designed explicitly for use in resin.
How Long Will Epoxy Garage Floor Last?
- Epoxy can last 5 to 15 years in a residential garage.
- The heavy-duty epoxy coating has a lifespan of 20-30 years if professionally installed.
- One of the biggest factors in how long your epoxy coating is going to last is the current condition of your concrete slab.
- Keeping the epoxy floor clean will help it last years to come.
- The process of surface preparation for epoxy is a serious task that needs to be done correctly to expect your epoxy’s full lifespan.
What Are the Disadvantages of Epoxy Flooring?
The most common reasons for a failure of some sort in your epoxy floor coating are:
- The floor was not properly prepared
- the epoxy floor coating used was water-based or another low-grade type of epoxy
- the epoxy was not rated for the type of traffic on it (heavy vehicles)
- the floor has an issue such as moisture, oil stains, corrosion or granular concrete with exposed aggregate.
When coating your floors with epoxy, it’s essential to have ideal weather conditions of 60°F to 90°F and less than 85% humidity. If applied under adverse conditions, the concrete will form a film of moisture, affecting the epoxy’s bonding ability. Also, any moisture trapped will start to bubble up, eventually leading to undesired repairs.
Not all concrete floors will hold epoxy floor coatings. First, check the moisture and if the concrete sealer was used.
Older, cracked, or oil-stained concrete is a tough candidate for paints, stains, or coatings. That’s because getting them to adhere correctly will require you to do two days or more of sweeping, pressure washing, acid etching, and patching before any coating.
Test Your Concrete Floor for Moisture
Lift the corner of a plastic bag that’s been taped to the garage floor for 24 hours. If it’s dry underneath, you can proceed with a garage floor paints epoxy coating. If you see moisture under the plastic, don’t coat the floor with epoxy; water pressure will break the bond.
Analyze the floor and weather before considering an epoxy garage floor, test to determine if dampness is coming up through the concrete from the ground. If moisture is evident, your floor isn’t suitable for epoxy. Also, forgo the project if a concrete sealer was previously used (you’ll know a sealer has been used if water beads up when applied to the surface).
Suppose you’re dealing with a new slab. In that case, you must wait a minimum of 28 days, preferably two months, for the floor to cure and dry thoroughly before applying epoxy flooring. And if you’re dealing with a previously painted floor, the best advice is to remove the paint.
Do not attempt to apply epoxy over existing concrete sealers. These need to be removed first, as epoxy will not adhere to them. Also, floor paint is not a good base for epoxy and needs to be removed as well.
How Thick Is Garage Floor Epoxy?
The thickness of epoxy flooring can range from anywhere between 300 microns (0.01 inches) and 5mm (⅕ inch). 300 microns is the thinnest that you can go to. 5mm is the thickest you can choose, but instances have arisen before where a floor needs a coat that is 1 cm (0.4 inches) thick.
Does Epoxy Garage Floor Increase Home Value?
Epoxy flooring can increase the value of your home. Potential buyers will love to have durable garage floors and might be willing to pay a higher price for a house with this flooring type.
Should I Paint or Epoxy My Garage Floor?
The paint can look nice for a while. But it will wear out soon. And you need to re-paint.
High-quality epoxy will last for years. An epoxy garage floor resists grease, oil, and many other substances that would ruin ordinary paint.
Garage floors are a tough environment for coatings, but epoxy is up to the job.
Epoxy vs. Epoxy Paint on Garage Floor
Epoxy floor coating is not the same as epoxy floor paint, which only has some epoxy mixed into it. Epoxy coating is a mix of epoxy resin and hardening agents. These agents are what make it a durable floor coating rather than paint.
Epoxy paint is not as nearly as durable as an actual epoxy coating.
What Is the Best Garage Floor Coating?
Epoxy. It’s most durable and looks great. Only your imagination is the limit for colors and textures.
The best coating that you can apply to your garage floor will be a premium multi-coat epoxy system. This will consist of a primer coat, 100% solids basecoat, acrylic colored paint chips if you desire, and one or two topcoats of clear epoxy or polyurethane.
Does Epoxy Flooring Crack or Scratch Easily?
Cracking floors are generally formed by the home’s foundation settling.
Epoxy floors are very rigid. As a material, epoxy has very little flexibility, so slight shifts in the foundation can lead to cracks forming in an epoxy coating, leaving you with cracked floors difficult to repair without recoating with a new layer of epoxy.
Scratching depends on the type of epoxy used. But not very easily like paint or tile.
- water-based only sustains minor scratches,
- Solvent-based is slightly stronger than water-based.
- 100% Pure Solid. Strongest and most durable. Resist heat, scratches, & chemical spills
Can I Epoxy My Garage Floor During the Winter?
The temperature of the concrete must be a minimum of 55 degrees F
Snow, cold temperature, and low ground temperature affect the epoxy mixing and installation processes’ chemical reactions. So if the project can wait, it should.
Epoxy resin has a chemically reactive threshold of 55°F; this reaction is called an exothermic reaction. Warmer temperatures accelerate an exothermic reaction, while cold temperatures decelerate exothermic reactions.
During a decelerated exothermic reaction, molecule cross-linking and, ultimately, bond strength decreases unless cured for longer times. During this process, epoxy’s optimal properties are compromised, ultimately reducing strength and durability.
Will Epoxy Crack in Cold Weather?
While epoxy coatings themselves do not crack in extreme heat or cold, concrete does. Epoxy coatings cannot withstand the stresses associated with concrete cracks due to settling, dry shrinkage, or other factors.
Can I Epoxy Garage Floor Myself?
DIY kits are available for $50 to $600 at local home improvement stores and include all the necessary project materials. Expect to pay about $250 for a 100% epoxy kit covering the floor of a 250-square-foot, one-car garage. If purchasing separately, you must include the following materials:
- epoxy sealant (solid, water-based, or solvent-based),
- cleaner and/or degreaser,
- patching compound, and
- application tools
- rent of special tools
How Much Does It Cost to Epoxy the Garage Floor?
If you want the job done by professionals or DIY, Here is up-to-date info at Homeadvisor.com and Homeguide.com
Why Is Epoxy So Expensive?
Compared to other coatings, epoxy is considered a good value. It is less expensive and more durable than other materials.
Solid epoxy costs two to three times the price of water-based. Solid epoxy will last longer and need less maintenance than its counterparts.
Like 100% solid epoxy or polyurea, commercial-grade coatings will cost more but can withstand more traffic and heavier-weight vehicles.
If you use your driveway or garage to house a tractor, RV, or dual-axle truck and trailer. The extra investment in higher-quality sealant will pay off in the long run.
How Much Is a Gallon of Epoxy?
|Type||Price Per Gallon||Pro & Cons|
|Water-Based||$30-$50||Least expensive. Weakest. Sustains only minor scratches, Reapply every 1-3 years.|
|Solvent-Based||About $45||Slightly stronger than water-based. Apply in lower temperatures.|
|100% Pure Solid||$45-$150||Strongest & Most durable. Resist heat, scratches & Chemical spills.|
How Much Does 1 Gallon of Epoxy Resin Cover?
Most (but not all) coating epoxies cover approximately 12 square feet per mixed gallon at ⅛ inch thickness. This may vary by brand, though, so always check the manufacturer’s instructions to be sure.
Most epoxy sold for home use is self-leveling.
Always have more epoxy than you think you need. It’s better to have more than enough. Otherwise, you may need to re-sand the entire surface. And pour again.
Rust-Oleum Offers Quality DIY Epoxy Coating Kits for Garage Floors. Check the prices out at Amazon.
How to Apply an Epoxy Coating to Your Garage
An application may vary for products. Always check the instruction for the product of your choice. The coating process takes many days to complete.
- Repair minor cracks and chips with any concrete patching product. Let the patched areas fully dry before the next steps.
- Clean the floor from any debris, degrease, and rinse the degreaser with a garden hose and allow the floor to dry.
- Etch the concrete using the solution provided by the manufacturer of the epoxy coating kit.
- Wear protective gear all the time. Pour the solution onto the floor and brush it all over the floor. It will foam and fizz. It’s abrading the surface. Rinse the area again with water thoroughly. And let dry completely.
- Apply painter’s tape along the walls and floors where you want the epoxy line to be.
- Mix the epoxy catalyst and resin just before application. Check the time specified by the manufacturer. Do not add decorative color chips yet.
- Apply the epoxy. Your coating time varies by the manufacturer but is usually under 2 hours. Keep the garage well ventilated. Use a 3-inch paintbrush to cut in along the edges, then use a 9-inch roller with a 1/2-inch-nap roller cover (with an extension handle) to spread epoxy on the floor. Work in sections. This work will go quicker if you have a buddy to help. They can also help you add decorative color chips.
- Wait at least 12 hours if you are adding a second coat.
- Let the garage floor dry 24 hours before walking and about a week before moving the car back to the garage.
- Organic vapor/acid respirator
- Paint roller
- Power floor scrubber (rental)
- Rubber/spike Boots
- Rubber gloves
- Safety glasses
- Stiff bristle brush
- Wet/Dry Shop Vacuum
- Cleaner/degreaser fluid
- Crack filler
- Muriatic acid
Check Videos Below for Applying Epoxy
Can You Put New Epoxy Over Old Epoxy?
If there has been heavy traffic and garage use, the clear topcoat of an epoxy floor can start to show its age. With the proper floor preparation, you can add another coat and make the floor look brand new again.
As long as the existing garage floor coating is a 2-part resinous product such as epoxy, polyurea, polyaspartic, or polyurethane. You should be able to apply an additional coat of a compatible product without issue. But, to be safe, you should always consult with the manufacturer of the new coating first.
If the coating is moderately worn with more concrete showing through than there is epoxy, then you will want to start fresh by grinding the floor. And prep the floor the same as applying epoxy the first time over concrete.
As long as the floor is not experiencing any delamination issues, you can often recoat right over a worn epoxy floor to create a brand new-looking finish.
If you only renew the top coating. What you are trying to do is rough up the surface, not remove it.
Use 80-120 grit sandpaper to the old surface before applying a fresh coat. This will help to eliminate any deeper scratches and/or embedded dirt that has marred the finish. Orbital or pole sander works great.
What Is Better Than Epoxy for Garage Floor?
Polycuramine concrete coating claims to be about twenty times stronger than epoxy coating and is used in highly corrosive environments. It’s about $0.40–$0.80/SF for coverage.
Polyurea garage floor coatings are more flexible than epoxy, but they harden within five minutes and require professional application.
Is Epoxy Permanent?
Once the epoxy has hardened, removing it can be tricky but can be done with epoxy stripper and scraped off. It’s easier just to recoat the old epoxy surface again.
How Long Does Epoxy Floor Smell Last?
After coating. Approximately 1-3 days. A fully cured floor – which takes 1-2 weeks – will not emit any scents.
How Do You Maintain Epoxy Floor?
- Wiping up all stains immediately or scrubbing them off with non-caustic cleaners.
- The important thing about car spills is not allowing them to sit on the floor surface for too long.
- Don’t use any cleaning compounds with citrus or acid in them.
- Epoxy floors do not need soap, warm water, and a good mop or deck-scrubbing brush should be just fine.
- Epoxy coating can lose/change color under UV rays, so keep your garage door closed whenever possible.
Can You Pressure Wash an Epoxy Coated Floor?
Yes, but you probably won’t need to. Mopping is usually enough.
Alternatives to Epoxy Floors
Acrylic & Poly Acrylic
Solvent-based acrylic and polyacrylic sealers cost $0.15 to $0.25 per square foot for materials and $0.70 to $0.90 per square foot to install, for a total price of $0.85 to $1.15 per square foot. Acrylic sealers are easy to spray on without bubbles or roller marks. You can also purchase them in a matte or gloss finish.
Polymer or Polyurethane
Polymer and polyurethane sealers range in price from $0.20 to $0.25 per square foot, not including labor. Including installation, expect to pay $0.95 to $1.10 per square foot. Poly coatings typically set more quickly than other sealers and can withstand a broader range of temperatures.
Polyurethane can be used as a topcoat for epoxy.
Which Is Cheaper? Epoxy Flooring vs. Tiles
Overall, floor tiles will run you about $3 to $5 per square foot, while epoxy will cost you between $3 and $12 per square foot. Garage tiles average $2 to $4 per square foot, making the materials more expensive. However, the installation is less than $1 per square foot.
Read about what are you different options when it comes to garage floors in this article.
Concrete Garage Floor Polishing
Concrete polishing is another alternative to epoxy. Polished concrete flooring costs$3 to $15 per square foot, depending on the design elements, number of colors, and level of sheen. The concrete is stained, grinded, polished, and sealed to create a high-gloss look at an affordable price.