June 25, 2024



Hints For An Easier Do-It-Yourself Epoxy Garage Floor

I have recently applied epoxy to 2 types of epoxy garage floor reno floors; one with new concrete the other an existing 20 year old floor that has never been painted.

There are several epoxy coatings for residential garage floors on the market. Some are water based and others are solvent based. Water based is effective and easier to handle. Whatever the product, some manufacturers will tell you to apply to a moist concrete surface while the majority will instruct you to be absolutely sure the floor is completely dry. Therefore, always follow instructions and do good pre-planning research. Whatever the choice of epoxy product, a new epoxy surface definitely makes a significant difference in appearances and makes the cleaning of a garage significantly easier. Don’t overlook the fact that a finished garage surface makes for more appeal when trying to sell your home.

The product I have used repeatedly is Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield that is water based epoxy and comes in 2 base colors-bluish gray and a tan. Either color coating generally requires only one coat. It is this coat that the colored paint chips are applied to add contrast to the base epoxy floor color. These colored chips not only add interest but also help hide defects in the floor or subsequent stains that come with normal wear and tear on any garage floor surface. But some people may not like the effects of the chips-it is your choice.

Here is the real key. If you are using Rust-Oleum, be sure to finish the color coat of epoxy with their clear coat. This adds a very high gloss look and it protects the color coat. Further, the clear coat bonds the chips to the color coat. The colored chips have sharp edges and stick to the color coat when immediately applied to a small (approximately 4′ x 4′) freshly applied color coat. That is a time consuming process when doing a 500 square foot garage floor.

Here is my list of hints: (I will NOT repeat the application instructions. These are simply hints that will make the job nicer, not necessarily easier.

  • Buy the 2.5 car garage size garage floor color kit. It appears to be an honest 500 square foot coverage kit.
  • It will probably NOT be enough to do a 2.5 car garage and the concrete foundation/footing that comes up around the garage parameter. To solve this problem, I bought 1 gallon of regular epoxy (1 part water soluble) that matched the color of the garage walls (white) and painted the concrete footing. That took 2 coats to get good coverage. Point being, the 2.5 car garage kit would not have been enough if I had used that to do the footings. Bottom-line, a 2.5 car garage kit will do 500 square foot.
  • Putting down the chips will take some practice.
  • To get good coverage with the color chips that come with the 2.5 car garage kit, you will run out of chips. So, get an extra bag of matching color chips to have enough. Most 2 car garages have extra space that needs to be covered.
  • Tape off around doors and steps (if any) going into the house.
  • Do not apply the colored epoxy out past the garage doors. Epoxy does not seem to like water,m the kind that happens with melting snow and rain.
  • Fill bubble holes in the exposed concrete footings with caulk before painting. It will make the surface smooth and keep the epoxy from running out and leaving unsightly runs.
  • To address the sectional seams in the floor… for a nicer look get self-leveling caulking and run a bead in the bottom of the seam (especially if there is a crack present). I have seen some applications of the caulk where the seam is totally filled. At $8.50 per tube that would cost about $50 of self-leveling caulk to totally fill them. But, then again that would make the floor seamless.
  • If you use the color chips you will not want to cut-in the entire garage at once; you will waste chips and most of the chips will not stick as the epoxy will start curing before you get around to throwing down the chips.
  • The Clear Coat will be applied approximately 24 hours after the color coat. Instructions say that it will take about 4 days before driving on the floor after Clear Coat application.
  • I personally do not like the look of the Clear Coat with the non-skid sand mixed in.
  • It is better to mix the color coat and clear coat with an electric drill and paddle wheel attachment but certainly not necessary.
  • Ambient air temp and humidity will dictate curing time.
  • Cutting-in the clear coat can be done all at once, but if you take that approach do not waste any time putting down the coating because it will get real tacky in an honest 90 minutes.