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What Are Your Garage Floor Coating Options?

One of the many upgrade options for your garage includes garage floor coating. Luckily, there are different choices varying in appearance meaning there’s something for everyone. 

Whether you’re a long-term homeowner or you’re building your dream home, we’ve rounded up all of the garage floor coating options you have to elevate the area’s style. It’s never too early or too late to make home improvements — including the garage!

Why You Should Coat Your Floor

While not necessary for your garage floor to be complete, a coating can help protect the costly investment. Regardless of material, a floor coating adds an extra layer of protection. Things a coating can prevent from hurting your ground floor include:

  • Spills 
  • Cracks
  • Stains
  • Grease spots
  • Rusting 
  • Scuffs

With so many dangers to your floor’s appearance and durability, why not add an extra layer of protection to ensure it is protected?

Epoxy Coating Types for Garage Floors 

Waterborne Epoxy Paint

This water-based epoxy is easy to apply and has a longer life after being mixed, meaning it won’t be impossible to spread if you take your time with the process. It is also inexpensive and can be found at most major home improvement stores and online. Waterborne Epoxy comes in multiple colors and is fairly versatile for the average DIY household. However, Waterborne Epoxy is not as durable as alternatives due to its water base. 

High Solids Epoxy 

This epoxy option is often time used in commercial settings and is one of the better options. Compared to water-based alternatives, the High Solids Epoxy is twice as effective with half the coats. However, with the increased durability benefits, the price is nearly double water-based epoxy. Other cons for High Solids Epoxy include a tackier material that requires more exertion to apply, and a shorter application window. 

Top Coats 

The floor coating market also offers clear top coats as a great way to seal in your hard work and expand the garage floor’s lifespan. Used for practical purposes and to give a glossy effect, you’ll probably want to add a top coat to your garage floor, though it is not necessary. 

How to Apply Epoxy 

Epoxy is relatively easy to apply with a few steps, but a lot of waiting time. But for a surface-level perspective, here are those steps. 

  1. Clean and prepare floors by sweeping and clearing debris, before scrubbing any impurities on the base floor. 
  2. Apply the epoxy in small sections working from the furthest point of the garage toward the opening. 
  3. Wait twelve or more hours for the first coat to dry and then apply the second if required.
  4. Add color chips and apply top coat if required
  5. Allow the floor to dry completely for at least twenty-four hours, but ideally three days to a week. 

Pros of Epoxy Paint 

There are many pros of epoxy floor coatings, ranging from affordability to stylistic draw. 

  • Stylist Choice: When opting for an epoxy finish, your garage floor will have a glossy appearance. Additionally, if adding the color chips, you will be able to add pops of color that make the floor fun, unique, and eye-catching. 
  • Price: The price for adding an epoxy coating is relatively inexpensive when considered against other options. Without having to alter the current flooring too much, epoxy is simply an overcoat that won’t require much more than the price of the materials. 
  • Protection: In addition to looking good, an epoxy coating adds a layer of protection for your base floor. Its thickness will protect against threats such as falling tools, heavy foot traffic, and liquids saturating the ground. By adding the inexpensive epoxy paint, you protect the more expensive base layer. 

Cons of Epoxy Paint

As with any good thing, there are some cons homeowners may notice when adding epoxy paint to their garage floors.

  • Safety. While there may be few safety benefits, such as a textured floor providing better grip with color chips, the epoxy paint can be harmful too. Well, not the epoxy itself, but any liquids that pool on its surface. Since the epoxy coating is spill-resistant, the spills will instead sit on top, posing a slip hazard. 
  • Painful Application. Epoxy is not the worst process in the world, but certainly one that requires much patience, applying an epoxy coat to floors can be time-consuming and tedious. The entire process can take a few days and that’s without any issues arising.

Polyaspartic Garage Floor Coating

Polyaspartic garage floor coatings provide long-lasting durability and an added layer of protection for your base floor. The coatings base is as the name suggests, polyaspartic, similar to the chemical polyurethane. 

Its ability to prevent abrasions and chemicals from damaging the base floor are a couple of the reasons the coating option is so popular. While trickier to install than its counterparts, the polyaspartic coating makes it up in other areas. 

Polyaspartic vs Epoxy

If we compare polyaspartic and epoxy flooring directly, there are a few key differences. 

 Areas where polyaspartic coatings prove to be better than epoxy include: 

  • Durability 
  • Drying Time
  • Air Quality
  • UV Stability. 

Areas where epoxy coatings prove to be better include: 

  • Nonslip and Safety
  • Easy Installation
  • Cost 

As evident above, each has choice has its strengths and weakness when it comes to being an effective garage floor coating. As a homeowner, you will need to choose which features are most important to you and your household before settling down on one option. Neither is a bad option; each just has certain features it does better with. 

How to Apply Polyaspartic 

Polyaspartic flooring is a quicker process than epoxy, though it requires about the same amount of energy. You’ll need to refer to your specific polyaspartic manufacturer for exact directions, but generally, you can expect the following process. 

  1. Clean and prepare floors by sweeping and clearing debris, before scrubbing any impurities on the base floor. 
  2. Apply the polyaspartic mixture in zig zags across the floor, working from the furthest point of the garage toward the opening. 
  3. You will then spread the polyaspartic coating into an even finish with a roller or even a squeegee if you have one. 
  4. Allow the first layer to air dry. It should take roughly 60-90 minutes. 
  5. Apply a second coat if the brand of polyaspartic mixture you’re using requires it. If you’re adding a non-skid aid, be sure to sprinkle them heavily over the coating before it has completely dried but after it has settled a little bit. 

Pro Tip: Grab a friend for this coat method. The polyaspartic material dries very quickly and you do not want your materials to dry before application. With an extra pair of hands, you can cover twice the square area in half the time.

Pros of Polyaspartic Coatings

There are many pros of polyaspartic floor coatings, ranging from application to stylistic draw. 

  • Quick Dry. Compared with its epoxy counterpart, polyaspartic coatings are generally easy to apply. With a straightforward spreading process and a quick drying time, many find polyaspartic coatings to be quick and easy. 
  • Style. If you’re looking to add some shine to your garage floor, epoxy is not the only option. Polyaspartic coatings add a gloss to the floor that a regular cement would never have. Especially if you opt in for the color chips and traction aids, you can expect a garage floor unique to your home!
  • Emissions. Maybe not something you considered when the idea of polyaspartic coatings popped into your mind, but they’re a great alternative to keep emissions low and air quality better. There is little to no smell during installation meaning your space will not reek of the chemicals during and after installation.

Cons of Polyaspartic Paint

As with any good thing, there are some cons homeowners may notice when adding polyaspartic paint to their garage floors.

  • Material Time Limit. Unfortunately the polyaspartic materials do not last long once combined. This means that you will need to work quickly from the moment you begin in order to complete the floor before your materials go bad. You may find yourself with a half-done floor and an impossibly tacky solution too high in viscosity to spread. 
  • Peeling. Polyaspartic coatings do not like moisture. If you live in a cold damp climate, your coating will not react well. Instead it may begin to peel and separate from the base flooring. 
  • Application. The application of this coating can be difficult from the get-go. That’s why many opt for epoxy despite polyaspartic coating’s obvious benefits. Unlike a thin layer of epoxy, this coating will be a thick liquid that needs to be spread and manipulated to be an even layer. It can be incredibly daunting, and many find themselves calling in a professional to ensure it is done correctly. 

Other Paint Options

Did you know that you can use acrylic and latex paints on your garage floor to give them a makeover? Now you do! Depending on your desired outcome, these two types of paint (aside from epoxy) are going to be your best options for a polished garage floor. However, the two vary in benefits and detriments as well. 

Latex Paint

Latex paint is generally considered the cheapest and easiest one to apply to the garage floor. It is a water-based paint that is easy to work with and makes a great option for first time painters. This option comes in a few colors and emits lower fumes than acrylic and epoxy. If you’re in no rush for drying time and you would prefer the least expensive one, latex is a great options for your garage floor. 

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic is the more expensive option, though only slightly. Ideal for places that see more moisture or dampness, this moisture-resistant paint is water-resistant and has a mixed chemical base. If you live in a colder place with high precipitation, this is a better option than latex paint. Despite having a small increase in price comparison, the quality and durability is overall, better.

Other Garage Flooring Options: Tiles and Mats

If you’re not looking for a permanent change but want an additional layer of protection for your base floor nonetheless, you might consider temporary solutions. The most popular options include interlocking tiles and rubberized mats.

Interlocking Tiles

Interlocking tiles offer a fun and cost-effective way to add color to your garage without breaking the bank. Ranging from non-slip grip workplace tiles to rainbow soft ones, there are options for everyone. This is especially useful for a garage space that may be used for multiple uses or will one day be converted. 

However, while there are many benefits there are a few potential problems. One of the biggest concerns when it comes to interlocking tiled floors is that they are not liquid resistant along the seams. This means that any spills left unattended may be able to seep into these cracks and damage the base floor below. With liquid seeping down, you run the risk of mold or mildew problems developing. 

Rubberized Mats

Rubberized mats can be a great option for a temporary and versatile protection method. Benefits include its affordability, easy installation (you’ll just need to roll it out), and no demanding preparation. You also have size options from just wide enough to fit under a work bench to the size of your car to the majority of the floor’s width. Regardless of how much you need to cover, a rubberized mat can be a great option. 

When it comes to detriments regarding rubberized mats, there are a few. Stylistically, they’re not nearly as appealing as glossy finish or color flecks. They’re also not as durable as other options and often times they’re a see-thru style, so any damage on the base flooring you’re hoping to hide may be visible anyway. 

Lastly, there are only so many options for a rubber mat. While tiles and coating finished can be customized to your unique style, the mats are often times limited in what’s available for size and textures. 

So, Which Option is Best For You?

Well, that depends on your preferences and needs. All of the above options make for great garage floor coatings and provide great benefit to the homeowner. However, they’re not without their individual flaws as well. Before choosing an option consider the things that matter the most to you.

  • Affordability
  • Style
  • Timeliness
  • Effort Required

These are all important factors to consider when determining which option is best for you. In analyzing each aspect, it should be easier to choose the best one for your home. 

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