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How to Epoxy a Garage Floor: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking to upgrade your garage, you may have come across floor epoxying. Garage floor epoxy is a relatively easy and cost-friendly option to elevate the appearance and durability of your garage floor.

In addition to preventing leaks from soaking through to the cement base, epoxy can also prevent cracks and abrasions. If you’ve decided on doing the epoxy yourself, this article will provide you with guidance on topics from preparation and applying epoxy to cleaning after the floor is finished. 

What You Need

For Cleaning

  • Hard or soft-bristled broom or brush depending on your original floor’s material. 
  • Mop 
  • Cleaning solution
  • Hose 

Pro Tip: You may cut some cleaning corners by power washing your garage floor instead of manually cleaning

For Epoxying

  • Epoxy flooring kit (can be found online or in major home improvement stores)
  • Painter’s tape
  • Degreaser
  • Paintbrush 
  • Paint roller

For Safety

  • Eye protection 
  • Gloves 
  • Shoe covers (optional)
  • Mask (optional)

What to Have in Mind Before You Start

Preparations Before Epoxying

Before you begin with epoxying, you will need to have a quality template to work with. This means repairing any cracks or similar issues. Considering that epoxy is a process best suited for brand new garage floors, you will need your floor as close to that state as possible for best results. 

This preparation should not take long as you will just need to clean and patch any imperfect areas of the floor. After properly cleaning and patching the garage floor, you can begin the epoxy process.

Extensive Patience

Also, remember the epoxy process cannot be done in an hour. Not for quality results, at least. While the exact amount of time and resources may depend on the brand of epoxy you choose to go with, a good rule of thumb is 72 hours. A great deal of patience is required!

Selecting Your Epoxy

When selecting your epoxy, most kits are similar in what they contain but vary in value. It is best to choose your epoxy early on to know what that specific brand calls for in regards to preparation. Any suitable and decent option should include all of the chemical supplies needed. 

Choose the Best Time of Day

Just like painting, there is the best time of the day for applying epoxy to your garage floor. You’ll want to wait for a time and day when precipitation and dampness are at a low and when temperatures are mild but not lower than 50 or higher than 80. 

How To Epoxy Garage Floor: Step-by-Step Instructions

1. First things first, you’ll need to clean. 

After removing any clutter on the garage floor itself, you’ll sweep. Gather up all debris, discard, and mop the floor to get rid of any rust stains, spills, and stains before epoxying. We have a more in-depth look at cleaning the garage floor here.

2. Degrease the Floor

The epoxy solution will have trouble sticking to any grease spots. If there are blatant remaining grease spots after the initial cleaning, spot clean problem areas with degreaser and scrub with a hard-bristled brush. 

3. Etch the Floor

Etching your floor should be relatively easy when following the manufacturer’s recommendations. However, you can expect it to be quite labor-intensive. The etching mixture should come in the epoxy garage floor kit. Most times, you will mix the etching mixture with water before pouring it onto the floor. 

Then, you will use a hard-bristled brush to work the solution into the concrete. This process is essential as it will wear the surface just enough for the epoxy to stick. When working the etching mixture into the floor, you will want to work in small sections from one corner to the next, meeting in the middle at the garage opening. 

4. Clean and Allow to Dry

Once the etching solution is worked into the concrete, you will want to spray the garage clean with a hose, guiding dirty water out of the garage. The water should be clear when you have successfully removed all excess etching solution. 

The floor will need to dry completely before the next step, which can take three or more hours depending on weather conditions. Be sure to wear your safety materials during this step and for all future steps involving chemicals. 

5. Prep Your Garage for Epoxy

Once the garage has dried from the etching process, you’ll want to prepare for the epoxy process itself. This is optional, though a good way to ensure no unwanted damage happens—place tape along with the trim of the wall where it meets the floor. You may also choose to tape paint covers along the walls to prevent any marks from splashing. 

6. Epoxy Prep

Before you can apply the epoxy to your garage floor, you will need to prepare the mixture. Your epoxy kit should come with both the required paint and hardener. The process to mix is a little different, so don’t just dump it all together and hope for the best.  Open both components and stir the paint while carefully and steadily pouring the hardener in. Continue stirring until they are completely incorporated, which could be a few minutes. 

7. Let the Epoxy Mixture Set

After you’ve mixed the epoxy, it will need to set for a time usually indicated by the brand you’ve selected. Typically, it is about a 30-minute wait, though you’ll want to verify as the prepared epoxy is only good to work with for so long. You don’t want to begin the process with a bad mixture!

8. Epoxy and Color Flake Application

The part you’ve been anxiously waiting for – epoxy application. Once your mixture is good to go, it’s time to apply. For the easiest application, pour the epoxy into a roller tray and begin by using your paintbrush to cover the trim of the garage floors.

Remember, you’ll want to do this section by section, so choose manageable sizes to work in. You’ll need to work fast enough that your trim epoxy application does not dry before you get into rolling. When rolling, be sure to meet that trim and go over it once more to blend the coats together. 

If you are using color flakes for your garage floor, add them as you go on top of the wet sections so they stick. While working as quickly as possible, start with a light-handed distribution, shaking the flakes between spread fingers, and building up to the desired appearance. 

Applying a second coat? If your specific epoxy brand requires two coats, do not apply the color flakes until after the second coat. You will also need to wait 12 hours between applications. 

9. Top Coat 

If your brand calls for a top coat, it’ll be an extra step, but not too much trouble. What you’ll want to do is slowly pour the hardener into the top coat mixture while continually stirring. Once it’s completely incorporated, about three minutes, allow the mixture to rest for 30 minutes, or a specified time according to the manufacturer. Follow the epoxy application steps listed above to apply the top coat effectively. 

10. Drying

One of the hardest parts of epoxying your garage floor is the waiting process. After you’ve applied your final coat of epoxy, you will need to let the garage floor dry completely, which could take an entire 24 hours. However, you will want to wait much longer before parking a car or repositioning heavy tools in the garage, approximately 72 hours to an entire week. 

How Long Does Epoxy Flooring Last? 

While it will depend on the function of your garage, you can expect your epoxy application to last 5+ years for a standard residential-use garage. For industrial spaces, the average is 2 years but can be much less with improper care. 

How To Clean Epoxy Flooring After

Epoxy garage floors are a bit more delicate than typical concrete. You will want to opt for soft-bristled brushes or mops and gentle cleaning solutions. Diluted mixtures of ammonia and simple green are good options for your epoxy garage floors, but you need to be careful with ratios as too much of the chemicals can strip your epoxy’s shine. As you go about your day-to-day living you can of course spot-clean any issues, but as for in-depth cleanings, every few months will suffice. 

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