Somewhere a home owner is thinking:
“Exterior Painting done – check. Interior painting done – check. So next on my list, hmmm, well let’s see I remember the garage floor looks like it needs a little TLC. Wonder if I should get a chemical cleanser to clean the oil stains? Then how long should I let that dry before I consider getting a clear coat sealer? Better yet, who do I get the stuff I need to do it from? Home Depot? Lowes or my local hardware store? Awe man, forget it. This is just too much.”
As a professional painter we can tell you that this is 90% of what we hear from great home owners who care about their home. They want to take care of their garage, but it’s a job just a little past their expertise. They want garage floor epoxy or paint, yet the balance between it being a DIY project and the floor turning out like they want is a fine line.
SO PAINTING OR A GARAGE FLOOR EPOXY SYSTEM?
Let us help clear something up. Epoxy garage floor coatings and standard floor paint are not the same. The typical paint for garage floor application is a latex acrylic product. While it’s true some floor paints have a small portion of epoxy added to make them more durable then regular paint, in the end, it’s still paint.
Garage floor epoxy is an actual thermosetting resin applied as a true floor coating. It is a two-part combination made when mixing one part epoxide resin with a one-part polyamine hardener (catalyst). The catalyst is what gives epoxy its strength, durability and variety of finishes.
Paints dry while garage floor epoxy actually cures. The chemical reaction from the combination of resin and catalyst is an exothermic curing process. This polymer structure gives epoxy its superior strength and durability and finish. The end product is a coating much thicker than floor paint and is actually bonded to a properly prepared concrete surface.
WHAT’S THE BENEFIT TO GARAGE FLOOR EPOXY?
What’s the benefit to garage floor epoxy? True, it REALLY looks nice and the hardened thick application you receive from epoxy sets up a coating that is very durable. But then what?
FIRST – Garage floor epoxy is resilient to sudden impacts, chipping, chemicals, stains, and even surface abrasion. There is not much to be worried about when damaging your floor if you drop a tool or a yard equipment falls over on it.
SECOND – A well applied garage floor epoxy system does a masterful job of covering things such as small spider cracks and flaws in the concrete. Maybe even some foolish stuff from previous home owners (ahem, ahem).
THIRD – Garage floor epoxy is a topical sealer, completely non-porous leading it to be ideal for anti-dusting. Most dust is created from the actual powder that a cement floor sheds. Regular floor traffic on untreated concrete floors kicks up this powder. It has the tendency to collecting on cars, tool benches, and storage items.
FOURTH – Garage floor epoxy applied as a topical coating is a highly functional moisture resistant compound. Regardless your environment in the north, south east or west there is great benefit to people in all climates. As an example: garage floor epoxy makes for ideal and simple cleaning of the icy brines from most road salts that continually collect on your floor during winter. Just wash, rinse and repeat.
Past the benefits of resilience, covering flaws, eliminating dust and being moisture resistant there are a few additional things to consider with garage floor epoxy.
Most garage floors become decorative at some point. Whether you added colored acrylic flakes to the floor or a type of topcoat was used, some garage floor epoxy surfaces can be slippery when wet. Should you live in a drier climate where moisture is scarce, this won’t be an issue. Yet, should you want some extra ‘grip’ the addition of simple slip resistant aggregate to a final coating will provide a non-skid surface to your floor.
WHAT’S THIS GONNA SET ME BACK?
As usual, the most inexpensive method to receiving a quality coating is to apply the garage floor epoxy yourself as a DIY project. Even for the most ardent DIY’er as professionals we’ll go on record as saying, “It ‘might be hard even with the proper tools”. You can purchase a quality-grade single coat 100% solids epoxy kit that will cover a standard 2-car garage. A typical purchase price is for just less than $300.
REMEMBER: This doesn’t include any expense for your garage floor preparation (100% removal of oils, contaminants, etc.) or additional tools necessary. You should expect to pay approximately $200 more if you want to add a quality clear top coat.
Professional installation usually starts around the $4.00 a square foot installed. Typical work includes a minimum of 3 coats and your costs rise depending on various top coats involved, how much color flakes and aggregate are applied in the base coat and top coats. Standard 2-car garages are approximately 400 square feet so build your costs from there.
Past your expense is the issue of time. Due to curing time necessary between epoxy floor coatings times to complete a project where you can park your car on your floor range 4 to 5 days. On the market today and available to professional installers are newer polyaspartic and polyurea garage floor epoxy systems. These fast curing systems are applied in one full day and can be driven on the next. Professional installation of these garage floor epoxy systems start just north of $6.00 a square foot. In all seriousness, due to their incredibly fast cure rate, we appeal to the average DIY’er NOT attempt this type of installation.
So there you have it. When you review your own garage floor remember there are different garage floor epoxy and paint solutions available. The best garage floor is going to be an epoxy based system with a 100% solids multi-coat system. Yes, it is more expensive than the standard option of floor paint for a floor covering. By far it’s hands-down the most economical of floor installations compared over the duration and livelihood of the actual floor.