“A smooth, easily maintained garage floor finish that is
relatively inexpensive and fairly easy to install.”
Cleaning up, organizing and redoing the garage is one of the most common do-it-yourself home projects during spring and summer. The garage has a tendency to become disorganized, crowded and dirty very quickly.
For those who do a lot of home projects in the garage, sometimes it’s necessary to do the garage first. One of the most common things needed to get the garage in shape is painting the floor.
Fortunately, epoxy garage floor paint is simple to apply. It does require some thorough preparation, but it’s one of the easier garage floor coverings to use. Prepping, coating and drying can all be accomplished in a weekend and the finished job can make a huge difference in the attractiveness and usability of your garage.
Preparing the Garage for Epoxy Garage Floor Paint
The first step in preparing your floor is to clean out the garage and then clean the floor. Anything that is on the floor should be removed to a location where it will be safe for about forty-eight hours.
This could be the basement, your back yard or your storage shed. Take out anything that isn’t hanging on the walls or stored on shelves.
Sweep the Floors and Walls Thoroughly
Next, you’ll need to clean the garage floor itself. It can be tempting to just sweep it, hose it down and begin painting, but these shortcuts will lead to chipping, peeling and an amateur appearance to the whole job.
You’ll need to sweep the garage floor very well with a push broom or deck brush. Be sure to sweep the walls as you go, too, since falling dust and cobwebs will mar your paint job.
Scrub the Floor and Remove Stains
Your next step is to scrub the floor to remove any remaining residue that will create an uneven finish. Use a degreaser and scrub brush on any heavy stains, such as automotive or lawnmower oil. One such product is Rustoleum’s Epoxy Shield Heavy Duty Degreaser .
Many epoxy garage floor paints come in kit form, including products to clean and etch the concrete. If it is not included, you can find a variety of cleaners at your local hardware or big box home improvement store.
For any very difficult stains, you can also use a solution of one part muriatic acid to four parts water. If you do choose to use the muriatic acid, it’s extremely important to have the garage door and windows open for ventilation and to use safety goggles and gloves. Because of its caustic nature, muriatic acid is not my first or even second choice.
Once you’ve scrubbed the floor, use a deck brush or squeegee to push the water out of the garage or to a central area where it can be removed with a mop or a wet/dry shop vac. The floor will need to dry completely before you start painting. You can speed up the process by opening windows, leaving the garage door open and even directing some fans at the floor.
Repair any Cracks or Dings in the Floor
If you want a really nice surface when you’ve finished painting, you’ll need to do a little repair work to smooth out any cracks or dings in your garage floor. Most big box home stores and hardware stores have several concrete repair options.
One method that works well is to use a 100% solids epoxy paste to fill the hole, crack or ding, then scrape any residual filler level to the floor and allow it to dry. Once it’s completely dry, clean with a damp rag to get up any residue that might remain. A good example is Rustoleum’s EpoxyShield Concrete Patch. Drying time is about 8 hours.
Applying the Epoxy Garage Floor Paint
The actual application of the epoxy garage floor paint won’t take very long. However, you’ll save yourself some time and unnecessary aggravation by gathering all of your tools and supplies before you get started. Also, once you get the epoxy paint and the hardener mixed, you’ll only have about two hours to get the job done before it hardens.
Due to the time limitations, you may want to consider inviting a handy friend to help with this part of the process. This is especially true if you have a large garage and a lot of floor area to cover.
The Right Tools for Applying Epoxy Garage Floor Paint
Most epoxy paint comes in a kit, so you’ll have your epoxy paint and your clear coat already. Some brands do not include clear coat. For example, Rustoleum’s Epoxy Shield Concrete Floor Coating kit does not.
Now you’ll need painter’s tape that’s wide enough to cover any baseboards or the bottom three inches of the garage walls, a paint tray, a 3″ paint brush, two 3/8″ nap paint rollers and an extension handle.
You’ll also want a few rags on hand and it would be best to wear a face mask, as well. One of the inexpensive plastic ones from the home store will do the job.
Tape off your Walls
Cover the baseboards or bottom three inches of your walls securely with the painter’s tape. If you have steps into the house, don’t forget to tape the bottom of the first step, as well.
Applying the Base Coat and Color Flakes
Plan your route out of the garage before you get started, then user the paint brush to cut in corners and edges. Then use the roller to roll the paint on in sections. It should feel slightly thicker and tackier than regular latex paint.
Apply the epoxy garage floor paint first in one direction, then in a perpendicular direction. Be sure to go over the seams to minimize any obvious lines. Also be sure to keep a wet seam as you move from one section to the other. If you’re using color flakes for your floor, scatter them by hand, like you would with garden seed, as you go along.
If you’re planning to apply two coats, you’ll need to let the first coat dry for between 20-24 hours, then repeat the process. The paint will need to be completely dry before you apply the clear top coat, also.
Applying the Top Coat (some brands do not use a top coat)
Once the base paint has completely dried, you’re ready to apply the top coat. Use the second roller for the clear coat.
You’ll need to mix the top coat and hardener about 30 minutes before using. If you’re using ant-skid granules in your top coat, add those now. Once the mixture has sat for about 30 minutes, you’re ready to go.
Use your paint brush to cut in your corners once again, then your second roller to apply the top coat. The mixture will be milky white at first; this is normal and it will dry clear. Once again, you want to work in sections, painting first in one direction and then in a perpendicular direction.
Once again, you’ll need to wait about 24 hours for the floor to dry. From that point, the paint needs to cure for about 72 hours before parking your car in the garage. Because curing times vary, be sure to carefully read the package instructions for the brand you choose. Curing times vary by
Epoxy Garage Floor Paint – Summary
If you are looking for a smooth, easily maintained garage floor finish that is relatively inexpensive and fairly easy to install, epoxy garage floor paint may be your best bet. Be certain to compare your garage flooring options first. Some garage floor coverings are easy to change and some are not. Once you apply epoxy coating, it will be very difficult to remove.