There’s no better way to revamp your garage floor than to apply an epoxy coating. Not only is it durable and resistant to oil and grease stains, but it’s also customizable to your liking. Moreover, epoxy flooring comes in various colors, transforming your garage from a dull and drab space to a stylish one.
Installing epoxy floors isn’t challenging, and you don’t need to engage a professional. With our step-by-step guide on installing epoxy concrete floors upgrading your space has never been more straightforward.
PRO TIP: All Leggari Epoxy Floor Kits Come with in-depth step-by-step video tutorials to walk you through every step of Installation Process.
What You Will Need for the Project
Tools and Materials You Will Need (Depending on Application)
- Roller handle, rollers, and roller tray
- Paintbrushes and paint sticks
- 5-gallon buckets
- Plastic containers (various sizes)
- Painter’s tape
- Plastic drop cloth
- Electric drill and paddles
- Denatured alcohol and spray bottles
- Spike shoes
- Epoxy floor coating kit
Note that epoxy garage floor coatings often come in kits including decorative color chips, two-part epoxy, and an etching solution. At Leggari Products, all of our kits use the finest raw materials on the market. We highly recommend our urethane top coat for durability and scratch resistance.
Prep the Garage Floor
Remove all the items on the floor, including bins, tools, shelves, and other things. Next, clean the garage floor thoroughly to remove dirt, oil stains, and old floor paint chippings.
Vacuum or Shop-Vac the floor to remove all debris and junk from the surface.
From here we have several options to prep the garage floor depending on the size of the room you will be coating. The application will vary depending on your circumstance. You may only use one of these options or all of them. It really does depend on your individual situation.
PRO TIP: Leggari's detailed video instructions will help you decide exactly what type of prep is required for your Floor.
For smaller floors, we often use a handheld diamond angle grinder to remove the top of the substrate from the floor. These grinders also work great on larger floors (in conjunction with a larger grinder or a shot blaster) to grind the edges and corners of the concrete.
For larger floors or bigger projects, you can rent a walk-behind grinder to speed up your prep. These are available for rent from big box stores like Home Depot and also tool rental establishments such as Sun Rentals. These larger walk behind grinders will usually also come with a heavy duty vacuum to minimize floor dust.
Our favorite prep tool and one used in most industrial settings is a shot blaster. These will both remove the sealer and prep the surface for application in one go. You can rent a shot blaster and shot from any nationwide tool rental company.
Floor Sander with Diamabrush Attachment
A floor sander with a Diamabrush attachment is a great option if you are needing to remove carpet glue or sealer from your floor. These are also rentable from a big box store like Home Depot.
Acid Etch The Concrete
Since the concrete must be slightly rough for the epoxy coating to adhere, acid etching may be another solution – though we do recommend diamond grinding or shot blasting for best results.
Start by mixing the acid with water in a ratio of 1:10 and pour it into a watering can or pump sprayer.
Then pour the solution onto the floor to allow it to etch the surface. It should foam slightly as soon as the chemical reaction starts.
PRO TIP: You must wear safety gear (protective glasses, a mask/respirator, and gloves) because the acid solution is dangerous. Etching solutions consist of a diluted form of muriatic acid with toxic fumes.
Prep Replacement Primer
When proper prep is not an option for whatever reason, Leggari Prep Replacement Primer is a great option. It is a clear, fast cure, water-based universal Primer the “go-to” product in the coating industry whenever an extreme adhesion is needed but proper prep cannot be achieved.
Repair the Cracks
Next, we’re ready to vacuum up any debris left on the floor and repair any cracks. You can use a patcher paste or two-part crack repair product depending on the size of your cracks. Allow the patchwork to dry before sanding it down to smooth any bumps.
Prepare the Epoxy Coating
Garage floor epoxy coatings usually come in two parts: a resin and a catalyst, which must be mixed before application. Open the can containing epoxy and the hardener and mix them according to the instructions. Be sure to stir the epoxy coating before adding the catalysts while continuing to stir. Then close the container with a lid and allow the mixture to rest. The container may feel a little warm due to the chemical reaction.
PRO TIP: Since epoxy floor coatings have a maximum window of Time before hardening, it’s best to prepare smaller batches of epoxy at once. The window period is even shorter in hot weather.
Apply an Epoxy Primer
Next, apply an epoxy primer to the surface. The primer is formulated to chemically bond to the surface in preparation for the metallic epoxy and prevents the coated surface from chipping, cracking, or peeling.
Apply the First Base Coat
Once the primer dries and the epoxy mixture is ready, apply it to the floor using a squeegee and a paintbrush. The 3-inch long paintbrush is the best as it cuts along the edges. Follow it up with a 9-inch roller with an extension handle to spread the epoxy on the floor. The 10 x 10 square foot sections make application easy, especially if you’re working with somebody else.
Keep a wet edge by continuously rolling over the edges of the previously applied epoxy. A squeegee and a roller are often the best tools when installing epoxy flooring because they provides even coverage, especially if applying two layers.
Start with the edge farthest from the exit and spread the epoxy coating. Rewet the roller and repeat the process in a perpendicular direction to remove uneven lines. Cover each section until the entire floor has an epoxy coating. If you must apply two coats, allow the first coat to dry before applying the second coat.
Apply the Second Base Coat
The next step is to apply the second layer of the base coat. Follow the same process as in the first application.
Add Color Flakes
If you’re using color flakes, this is an excellent time to add them. Sprinkle them by hand while the second coat is still wet. The wet epoxy ensures the fragments adhere to the surface. Distribute them over the area by sprinkling them lightly and building up the distribution until they cover the entire surface adequately. Color flakes add texture and dimension to the surface while taking the focus away from stubborn stains, cracks, and other imperfections.
Prepare the Topcoat
A topcoat is critical in any epoxy concrete floor application as it protects the floor from fading away and provides chemical and abrasion resistance. The topcoat protects surfaces from harmful UV rays, scratches and wear.
To prepare the topcoat, mix it with the hardener and stir until they’ve blended completely. The hardener creates a protective barrier upon application. This is also an excellent time to add anti-skid granules or other materials if you plan on using them.
Apply the Topcoat
Like the epoxy coating mixture, you only have limited time to apply the topcoat. Apply the mixture just as you did with the base layer. Take a roller and apply the topcoat from the farthest point from the exit in 10×10 square foot sections.
Work it in one direction and repeat perpendicularly on every section until you’ve covered the whole surface. The coating appears white or milky but becomes transparent as it dries up. Then allow the layer to sit for 24 hours to dry. Foot traffic is allowed after this period, but if you want to park a car, allow it to dry for 72 hours.
Note that the topcoat quality also determines a floor’s lifespan because all the wear and tear from foot traffic happens here. As such, it’s essential to buy high-quality topcoat products. Water based top coats are best because they’re resistant to abrasion and scratches.
How to Choose the Best Floor Coating?
Using a suitable floor epoxy coating is critical to achieving the best results. Here’s how to find the best one for the project.
Check the Formulation
Typically garage floor epoxies are available in three formulations – solid, water, and solvent-based. Some formulations last longer than others.
Solid epoxies – like Leggari’s metallic epoxy – offer the best finish on concrete floors. They are described as 100% solids because they don’t have traditional solvents. They create the most durable surface, withstanding the rigors of garage spaces, including hot tires. However, they can be more expensive than other types of floor coatings.
A solvent-based epoxy system is the other option. It’s a mixture of water and solids in 40-60% ratios and comes in a range of colors. Most floor coatings have solvent-based garage epoxies because they penetrate the concrete and adhere well to the surface. They’re also not as expensive as solid-based epoxies but also do not possess the durability.
Finally, water-based garage floor coatings are what is typically sold in hardware stores and home improvement centers. These epoxy coatings use water as the solvent hence the name water-based epoxy coatings. Unlike solid epoxies, the total installation process is very quick. However, they wear out fast; hence if looking for an epoxy flooring option with long life, it’s best to use solid or solvent-based epoxy coatings.
Pick the Right Type
Finding the correct type of garage floor coating can be daunting, given the vast range of epoxy coating products on the market. Here are some of the most common types
Metallic Epoxy Floors
Metallic epoxy floors are a beautiful and unique flooring option that can give any space a high-end look. Often mistaken for marble, these floors are a luxurious option that is perfect for any home or business.
If you’re looking for a flooring option that will make your space stand out, metallic epoxy is a perfect choice. With its reflective and shiny finish, it’s sure to turn heads and add a touch of luxury to any setting.
Epoxy Flake Floors
Epoxy Flake floors, also called chip floors or broadcast floors, are a type of floor that is smooth and seamless. This type of floor is very resistant to chemicals and is very durable. Chip floors are most popular in garages and shops. They are easy to install and easy to maintain. The color flakes in the floor create a beautiful multi-hued appearance. The chips also provide subtle grooves that minimize falls and slips. Epoxy flake floors come in different colors, sizes, styles, and textures making it easy to customize them to your garage.
Hardwood Overlay Floors
If you want to have beautiful floors that look like traditional hardwood, you should consider using a Hardwood Overlay kit. Though not traditional epoxy, these floors are very durable and easy to install. They are thin, so they won’t create tripping hazards or complicate door thresholds. Plus, they are UV stable and can be installed indoors or outdoors. You can even put them in your garage or around your pool!
How much Does it Cost to Coat Concrete Flooring with Epoxy?
Cost is another essential factor when upgrading your garage floors using epoxy concrete coatings. Typically, epoxy flooring costs range from $500 to $5000 – depending on the size of the concrete floor you hope to coat. A square foot of epoxy coating is $2.00-$7.00 depending on the type of epoxy floor coating and the labor costs. The labor costs $2 to $5 per square foot (if you’re prepping the surface), while materials cost $1 to $2 per square foot.
If you are working on a budget, consider doing the job yourself. If you have basic DIY skills you can accomplish this project with the help of Leggari’s detailed video tutorials. You can save a ton by doing the work yourself.
How Long Do Epoxy Concrete Floors Last?
Epoxy flooring is a favorite garage floor alternative due to its durability. It lasts 15-20 years in industrial settings and 30 years in residential areas. What’s more, it has a longer life in residential areas because it doesn’t experience heavy foot traffic and vehicular rates, accidents, and other factors that make the floors wear out fast. However, factors like surface preparation, the strength of the epoxy flooring, foot traffic, and exposure affect how long epoxy coatings last.
So How Do You Upgrade Your Space With Epoxy Coating?
With this detailed guide, you can upgrade the garage floor in your house using epoxy concrete floors without hiring a professional. Our metallic epoxy coating kit should make installation easy, and if you need to repair some parts of the floor, be sure to use our concrete repair kit.
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