A high-quality, stain-resistant and easy-to-clean garage floor begins with an epoxy coating.
Q: I’m looking to add some excitement to my oft-used but outdated garage. Any tips or tricks for this weekend warrior?
A: You’ve got the garage of your dreams. It’s perfect, you say, while admiring the attractive, versatile cabinetry and well-organized tool bench. And then you look down. You try to ignore what you see, and maybe you even lie to yourself — that cracked, stained concrete is what a garage floor should look like. It tells a story, after all; each indentation and discolored corner a timestamp of projects past. It’s beautiful in its own way.
Except it’s not. Stop the lies and realize your garage deserves better. Your getaway space can and should have the showroom-quality floor you’ve always wanted but never thought possible. It is possible, and you can have it by the start of the work week.
A high-quality, stain-resistant and easy-to-clean garage floor begins and ends with an epoxy coating. Not only is it quick and easy to DIY, but you can also customize your color to incite excitement every time you open your garage doors.
Step 1: Prep, clean and patch
First, make sure all cracks and potholes are patched. Your concrete also must be at least 60 days old and not sealed for the epoxy coating to adhere properly. Prep your area by setting up plastic sheeting against the walls secured by painter’s tape. You’ll then want to perform a thorough sweeping to get rid of dirt and dust, ensuring not to ignore corners and crevices. If you have a painted floor, you’ll want to sand away the gloss and remove the debris. Once completed, use an all-purpose cleaner to cleanse the surface and rinse away the residue, then wait a few hours to let things dry out.
Step 2: Etching
Armed with proper skin and eye protection, mix and ready your etching solution and wet the floor. Spread the solution in 10-by-10-foot areas at a time, working from the area farthest from the garage door and moving toward the door as you go. Scrub each area with a bristle broom and then rinse each section once more, until the water appears clear. Then let sit for another four hours or so, or until completely dry.
Step 3: Mixing the epoxy
Stir the epoxy paint and hardener together until completely blended so that the chemicals can mix and react. Ideally, you should wait about 30 minutes so that the chemicals can do their thing. Ensuring your garage is well-ventilated, first paint the epoxy around the perimeter of your garage, making sure each seam and corner is covered. You’ll want to complete this step in around two hours so that the epoxy can cure correctly.
You’ll then repeat the process you used when etching, except using the epoxy solution. Cover each 10-by-10-foot area and make sure the surface is even, without visible seams or lines. While each floor section is still wet, sprinkle in your color flakes until you have your desired coating. Play the waiting game once more to allow everything to dry (typically 24 hours).
Step 4: Time for the top coat
Mix the hardener into the top coat until effectively blended, then wait 30 minutes. Once ready, give the mixture another good stir and apply in the same manner you did the epoxy, one section at a time until the floor is completely covered. Give the floor another 24 hours before use.
Congratulations, you have a flashy new floor! As always, read the directions carefully and take precautions when using chemicals, because safe is always better than sorry.
Cameron Poague is a writer for the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS). If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBAKS’s nearly 3,000 members, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.