Looking for tips on how to prepare your garage for epoxy coating? There are many reasons for you to consider getting a coat of epoxy for your garage floor, mainly for it’s durability. Many epoxy floors have glossy surfaces, and some come with attractive epoxy flakes and colour choices. They are also very durable and easy to clean. Imagine every inch of your garage looking like a galaxy—and being easier to clean than a dusty old concrete slab!
But before you invest in epoxy garage floor coatings, there are things that you need to do to prepare your garage. Some of them you can do yourself; others you may want to hire a professional concrete epoxy contractor for, to ensure the job goes as intended.
Here are the steps you must take before giving your garage a coat of epoxy paint!
#1: Clear Out the Garage
The first step of for epoxy garage preparation is the most daunting: clear everything off of your entire garage floor. You want every square foot of your concrete floor to be visible and empty. If you have to temporarily put things (including cars) outside of your garage, or even storage … plan this carefully, and move what you can.
Now is also a great time to reorganize your garage or get rid of damaged equipment, de-clutter and get organized. Chances are you have been accumulating things in your garage over some time. If you know someone who could use a spare hose, now might be the time to be generous.
#2: Clean the Floor & Remove Stains (Especially Oil)
Now that you can see the entire surface of your floor, it’s time to clean it. Get a broom and begin sweeping. Shop vacs are ideal for cleaning heavy dirt and debris off of your concrete garage floor. Use a stiff broom to remove any dust. Clean until you can see the entire floor is respectable.
But even after you have made your floor clean on the surface, you may have unsightly stains soaked into the concrete. Remove these before applying any type of epoxy; you don’t want them to be visible beneath that rock-hard layer. They may be more or less urgent depending on the nature of the stain, but why not deal with them while you have the floor clean? Plus, you never know what kind of chemicals can mix with the epoxy for undesirable results.
Oil or gas stains are especially urgent. Epoxy does not react well with petroleum-based products. According to the blog Salvage Secrets, oil can stain epoxy and cause it to turn yellow more quickly. Use a sponge and a towel to absorb any oil stains, and a strong degreaser if necessary. You don’t want your durable epoxy garage finish to yellow and crack!
#3: Check for Moisture
Solid epoxy flooring is durable, but not flexible. That means anything that could warp the shape of your garage floor could put the epoxy surface at risk. If your garage has a moisture issue, especially a seasonal problem that causes moving cracks, that could affect the price of your epoxy installation. It may also affect the drying time of your beautiful epoxy floor.
If your garage has foundational/seasonal moisture issues, you may need to apply more layers of concrete and/or epoxy before getting a finished floor. More foundational problems may mean that epoxy flooring is not an option. If this worries you, it may be worth contacting a professional about concrete leveling and new concrete slab work.
#4: Do Any Crack Repairs
Before applying any kind of epoxy floor paint, do any necessary crack repairs to your garage. Apply concrete sealer and other products where needed. Read all instructions and take the necessary safety precautions when handling chemicals. Be sure to follow all instructions and allow for the full curing times.
Also, remember that one size does not fit all when talking about concrete cracks. This article from the University of Vermont details different methods for your concrete repair needs. Do this now so that you don’t have to worry about appearance issues later!
#5: Surface Preparation & Concrete Grinding
Finally, you want ensure you have the smoothest canvas possible, before an epoxy coat application. There are two different prep methods: grinding and etching. Grinding is exactly what it sounds like: use either an industrial sanding machine to make your layer of concrete a smoother surface. You may need to pay a contractor for this service, especially if you have a large garage.
Diamond grinding your floor until it is smooth is one option, but many people opt for acid etching instead. Many garage floor epoxy kits come with acid for concrete etching. The etching solution contains either hydrochloric or muriatic acid—please wear safety gear if you attempt it yourself. The rougher surface allows the epoxy coat to grab onto the concrete floor during the application process, making the eventual smooth surface less likely to flake. Rinse the concrete slab with clean water afterwards, and follow any instructions in your epoxy flooring kit.
#6 Garage Epoxy Coating Installation
Begin applying the resin coating as soon as the epoxy mix is ready. You will have a maximum of two hours to apply the epoxy, and even less time in hot weather. Keep the garage ventilated throughout the application and initial curing.
Cut in along the edges with a 3-inch paintbrush, then spread epoxy on the floor with a 9-inch roller and a 1/2-inch-nap roller cover. Work in 10 x 10-foot sections. This work will go quicker if you have a helper handling the cut-in work. Maintain a wet edge by rolling over the edges of previously applied epoxy, and be sure to roll an even coating. After spreading the epoxy, if you want you can apply decorative color chips by hand over each section to add to the design, look and feel.
To do this, take a small number of chips in your hand and toss them up and out onto the floor. A helper can speed up this process and get even coverage. If you are applying a second coat, wait at least 12 hours before application. Honestly this is going to go better with someone who has worked with epoxy and chip flakes before, the more work experience with epoxy … the better the results.
Need Some Professional Guidance?
Was this guide helpful? At Canadian Concrete Surfaces, Inc., we want to help with your entire project. The more garage floor preparation you do, the lower the average cost of your new epoxy coat.
There are many colour options for solid epoxy flooring, so contact us about a professional installation of your epoxy garage floor coating today!
Devon has over 25 years of experience providing customers with high performance epoxy flooring to fit any need or budget. Referrals are our best friend and customer satisfaction is always our top priority. When Devon is not working you can find him fishing, or hunting across North America.