Upgrade Your Space
One of the most used spaces in the home, the garage, often gets forgotten when homeowners consider upgrading. The garage is easy to overlook; however, there are some exciting ways to unlock the potential of this high-traffic area.
One of the most popular ways to transform your garage is to apply epoxy to the floor. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the epoxy process, there are essential steps you should consider before getting started. The following explains how to prep garage floor for epoxy and help ensure a quality job.
How to Prep Garage Floor for Epoxy
Clean Out the Garage
Since the entire floor space will need to be accessible, you’ll want to ensure that tools, lawn equipment, and seasonal storage are removed before beginning. If you have items secured to the walls and hanging up and away from the floor, that’s okay. In addition to removing items from the floor surface, you’ll also want to clean the concrete thoroughly.
Start by sweeping and gathering all the dust and debris from your garage floor. Once you have removed the dust, you should consider spraying the floor with water to rinse any additional dirt or grime away.
Repair Cracks and Chips
One of the requirements for epoxy to fully bond is a solid and clean surface. While the surface layer will need to be stripped and slightly rough for good epoxy application, cracks and holes can create problems. You should consider patching areas with cracking or potholes and waiting to proceed until these areas are fully dry. Besides, for optimal results, you’ll want a smooth and even canvass for your new epoxy floors.
Strip the Flooring
For the epoxy to form a strong bond onto the concrete, you’ll need to remove a fine top layer of your garage floor. There are a few different ways to remove this top layer, and it depends on what you’re comfortable doing.
For a garage floor that was previously painted, you’ll need to sand off the paint to roughen the surface layer. To de-gloss the floor, you’ll need a sanding pad, preferably one attached to an orbital sander tool. Once you’ve sanded the entirety of the surface, swept and cleaned the floor, then rinse and wait to dry.
For newer or bare concrete, you can use strong chemicals like those found in etching solution and apply then brush the compound into the floor surface using a large broom. Once you’ve spread the etching solution around the entire garage, you rinse the floor using a water hose until no solution is visible.
Another method of stripping the top layer of the garage floor involves grinding tools. Large specialty grinders can complete the job much quicker; however, a hand grinder is also effective. Major tool manufacturers offer 5-inch concrete surface grinders and grinder discs, especially for this process, and many do-it-yourself homeowners have found success in this method.
To achieve the best results for your garage floor, you’ll need both epoxy paint and epoxy hardener. Before applying the epoxy, you must first combine the paint and hardener and stir for several minutes until thoroughly mixed. Even after stirring the components together, there will need to be additional waiting time while the chemicals continue to mix and react to each other.
Usually, around thirty minutes is enough, and you should feel extra heat coming from the paint and hardener mixture. Ensure not to place the can in direct sunlight as this can cause problems before applying the epoxy.
Once the epoxy mixture is ready to apply, you can use paintbrushes and rollers to complete the job. Paintbrushes are great for corners and the very outside perimeter of the garage floor, while rollers can handle the larger open areas.
This step in the project must be completed within a few hours as curing diminishes beyond that. Consider painting smaller sections one by one and apply paint carefully, focusing on specific areas rather than trying to make massive sweeps across the entire surface.
You can apply more than one coat of epoxy, but only after the first coat has completely dried over twenty-four hours. Once dried, you can repeat the process over again for an additional layer of epoxy.
Add Color Flakes
You can sprinkle color flakes into the epoxy paint during the painting process for an added visual effect. After applying paint to an area, briefly put aside the roller and sprinkle color flakes into the wet paint with your hands. Using a small container filled with color flakes, you can easily switch back and forth from painting to sprinkling until the entirety of your garage floor is covered. These flakes come in different colors and can add a sparkling shine to your new floor.
The Final Top Coat
Once you’ve allowed the previous step up to twenty-four hours to dry, you can start preparing for the final topcoat. Like in an earlier step, you’ll add hardener to a clear paint and stir them together. After leaving the mixture sitting for around thirty minutes, stir a bit more, and you’re ready to apply the paint.
Like the epoxy hardener mix before, you’ll only have a few hours to use this top coat so manage your time carefully. Don’t worry if the topcoat appears cloudy or white, as it will turn clear as it dry’s.