Epoxy Coatings make for one of the easiest and most economical flooring solutions on the market.
They provide an aesthetically pleasing finish, are durable, and long-lasting. They also allow you to customise the finish you are looking for whether that be in design or grittiness.
Installing epoxies is not as hard as it seems and with hundreds of DIY products on the market, installation has never been easier. If you’ve ever painted a wall or a picture then you can certainly paint your garage floor!
Below we will discuss the standard installation process for applying epoxy floor coatings in your garage.
- Read the instructions
- Floor preparation
- Workstation Setup
- Mixing the Epoxy
- Applying the first coat
- Finished product
Items You will need:
- Epoxy paint
- Epoxy top coat
- Shop vacuum
- Garden hose
- long-handled acid brush
- Stiff-bristle brush
- Acid etching solution (Acid Magic or Muriatic Acid)
- 9” in or 18” nap in rollers
- Rolling Stick
- Garbage bags (Industrial)
- Power drill
- Metal mixer
- Wooden mixing stick
- 9-inch medium-nap roller and roller pole
- Gorilla or Duct tape
- Plastic sheeting
- Latex gloves
- Respirator or dust mask
- Instructions from your paint manufacturer
- Mixing buckets
1. Read the instructions
Reading the instructions before you begin your flooring project will allow you to fully understand the application process.
Make sure to read the instructions at least 2x especially if you have never installed an epoxy coating in the past. With so many epoxy, urethane, novolac, and polyaspartic floor coatings available each one will differ in their application. For this reason, I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to read and understand the instructions before you start.
2. Floor preparation
Floor preparation is the MOST important step in any floor coating application.
Whether you are using a power washer and acid etching or mechanically prepping your floor you must ensure its cleanliness before applying any coating.
Make sure your surface is free of debris, dust and any other substance that might have seeped onto the floor during its lifespan. There are two main methods for floor preparation. Acid etching and mechanical prep.
This process involves first cleaning the floor of any debris with a power washer and then using the acid etching solution to scrub the floor with a bristled broom or mop.
Make sure to wear proper protective gloves, goggles and clothing as acid can be irritating to skin and eyes.
Most acid etching solutions will call for a ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part muriatic acid. You will need to wait at least 24 hours for the floor to dry before moving onto the next step.
When concrete is poured there is usually a clear sealer applied by the GC or sub. You will need to remove this layer of coating in order for your product to properly adhere and bond.
If your floor had a previous epoxy coating applied you need to strip it before application begins. If the existing floor coating is peeling then putting another coat of paint on the floor will only lead to issues down the line.
Diamond grinding or shot blasting is the only way to fully remove these types of coatings as they strip away any existing paints and “open up” the surface to allow for proper adhesion of epoxy products.
You can rent or buy floor grinders or “shot blasters” at local tool rental stores.
It’s important to note that mechanical prep produces a lot of dust even when using a vacuum so be sure to vacuum the entire floor after you finish mechanically prepping to remove any residual dust that will be left behind by the machines.
If you are removing glue, adhesives and any other guck then shot blasting will be the most efficient prep method as diamond grinding will not suffice. If the floor is in pretty good shape and only needs to be scratched up then using a sander or diamabrush type tool (with a floor buffer) will work well.
Remember, the goal is to “open up” the floor to allow your coating to properly bond to the surface.
3. Workstation setup
Workstation setup will ensure that you have an easily accessible and well prepared place to apply your coating from. The best workstation is right outside of the garage.
Lay down duct tape or gorilla tape to create a seamless finish where your floor coating will end. Ideally, this will be where the garage door meets the concrete.
If working indoors then make sure to setup your station near a doorway so when you are working your way toward the station you can easily clean up the workstation and coat the area you were working from (remember you will need an electrical outlet to plugin the drill to so be sure to scope the nearest outlet).
Lay down a plastic sheet and make sure to tape down the edges so it does not blow way or get crumbled from applicators stepping on it.
Get some cardboard or red painter’s paper and roll it out on top of the plastic sheet. If you only work on a plastic sheet and accidentally spill your coatings your sheet will become a hazardous working area. Make sure to lay out all of your tools on the workstation so you know where all your items are when you begin install.
4. Mixing the epoxy
Many coatings are pre measured by manufacturers and resellers so they make it easy to understand how to mix, but depending on the product you use these mix ratios can vary slightly.
Most 2 part epoxies use a mix ratio of 2:1.
When mixing the paint be sure to mix thoroughly and consistently for a couple of minutes so as not to miss any areas of your bucket. If you are able to use a drill then this is the best method for mixing, but a mixing stick will also get the job done. You just need to use a little more elbow grease!
5. Applying the first coat
Once your product is mixed, carry it to the farthest point in the garage, usually the back corner.
Whether you are using a painter’s pan or pouring the paint on the floor and rolling out you will want to roll in an M and W fashion. This method ensures you roll evenly and do not miss any areas.
If your floor is porous it might require more paint so it’s important to take visual notes of these areas as to not put too little down.
Once you have rolled out the entire floor, depending on whether you are using a flake or chip system, this will be the time to throw the colored flakes on the floor.
Use spike shoes to throw the flakes on the floor to your desired broadcast level.
Decorative flakes will hide imperfections in your floor and if you have a beat up floor you might want to go heavier on the broadcast.
Once completed, you will need to clean up your used materials and discard into garbage bags.
You can leave your workstation setup overnight just make sure you clean all your tools and hardware with a little xylene or paint thinner. Be sure to double bag your garage as some non industrial bags will break.
Time to let to the floor dry!
Drying times will vary depending on the product used but standard drying times are 24 hours per coat. If using a fast drying product that allows you to topcoat within hours of applying the first coat, make sure that the floor is dry before topcoating.
You can test by touching the floor with one finger. If your floor is not “sticky” and dried you can begin topcoating. If you have paint on your finger you will need to give the floor extra time to dry.
7. Top coating
The workstation should still be set up from the previous day, unless you choose to discard it, but most times you can leave the plastic sheet and tape down overnight (as long as there is no rain!) and simply use new cardboard.
If using a non skid additive then this is the time to mix this into your topcoat.
Be sure to mix well as most non skids are heavy and will not stay suspended in the topcoat for long.
You will want to mix some topcoat, add the non skid and then apply to the floor. You can repeat this process as many times as needed to coat the entire floor.
If you mix up all of the topcoat at once and pour the non skid into it then be sure to mix every couple of minutes to keep the non skid suspended.
Once you have coated the entire garage floor do a visual inspection. Make sure that no areas were missed as sometimes it can be hard to note what part of the floor was coated v. uncoated when using clear topcoats.
8. Finished product
Once you have let the floor dry overnight, you can begin walking on your floor the next day. Make sure to keep heavy items such as cars and machinery off the floor for at least 48 hours. This will allow the floor to fully harden. Even though the coating is dry it still needs some time to settle and fully cure.
You should now have a basic understanding of how to apply an epoxy coating on your garage floor. If this seems easy enough it’s because it is!
Our friends at Epoxy Central have some of the most affordable and reliable DIY coating kits on the market. They sell complete “Job on a Floor” Kits that come with everything you will need to install a floor coating yourself. Starting from just $0.99 per sq.ft. you can check them out here.