Why Epoxy is a Premier Garage Floor Coating
Epoxy coating is one of the toughest and most reliable floor coatings you can find for your garage floor today. In addition to providing a durable surface layer, epoxy coating can take a drab and lifeless floor and transform it into something beautiful and functional.
The garage is far more than just a place to park the car. The specific types of activities and functions of the garage make epoxy flooring the ideal choice for a wide range of garage floor uses from storage, mechanic work and even playtime. Perhaps this is why epoxy flooring is in such high demand for both residential and commercial purposes.
Epoxy flooring provides incredible protection from all types of damage both physical and chemical. But all that strength is wrapped in a beautiful showroom shine that looks and feels amazing. Best of all, you can choose from a virtually limitless selection of design options. The colors, patterns and special blends can include flakes of various other colors or even the logo of your favorite sports team.
Do you want a marble style floor? Your epoxy floor can be made to look just so. How about some clear lines to cordon off your parking, storage and workspace? No problem. Actually, there is hardly any limit to the aesthetics available with an impressive epoxy flooring option.
Well, now that we know what to expect from a top-quality epoxy floor, let’s take a closer look at what an epoxy floor really is, what benefits it provides and how you can apply all these benefits in your home and garage.
What is Garage Floor Epoxy?
Epoxy floor coatings are made of an epoxide resin combined with a polyamine hardener and some other key ingredients that will ensure a strong and beautiful surface. These chemicals are typically produced and used in the adhesive industry when not applied to floor coatings. As these chemicals are combined, they create a chemical reaction upon contact and this initiates the exothermic curing process.
The curing process creates polymer structures that are cross-linked and this provides stability and strong connections with the surface onto which they will be applied. The surface below, typically porous concrete, is completely sealed behind the tough epoxy and safe from chemicals and moisture as well as impacts of all types.
In addition to colors, you can choose for your epoxy floor coating, there are many other design features available in an epoxy floor. For example, you can choose to sprinkle your flooring with flecks of other colors. This high gloss finish can be styled to look like a costly marble or granite floor. You can even choose a flooring option with 3D craters and shadows that look like the surface of the moon or even the dusty red sands of Mars.
But the many fantastic aesthetic options don’t end there. If you are not impressed by the traditional epoxy flooring options, wait till you see the metallic epoxy flooring options. Imagine parking your vehicle on a sparkling copper plate?
Of course, when choosing the right hues and tones for your garage floor it is important to know that darker tones will show the present of dirt and dust more easily, and twice so when the sun shines in. For this reason, most folks will choose the lighter tones for their garage. So they don’t feel like they have to sweep and mop every time the door opens. But good news there too, epoxy floors are especially low-maintenance and can be cleaned to perfection with the lightest sweeping and mopping.
Because of the impressive range of colors, the only limits to the final epoxy floor are the limits of your imagination. And did we mention that these results are especially long-lasting? That’s right, with just a little care and attention, your garage flooring can last as long as 20 years.
Are There Other Garage Floor Coatings Besides Epoxy?
There are other floor coatings that can be applied to a garage floor other than epoxy. It is because epoxy has so many advantages as a flooring option that makes it the most popular option for coating garage floors.
For example, single-part DIY polyurea coating is rapidly becoming one of the more popular options for garage flooring. Because of their impressive durability and ease of use, polyurea coating is quickly becoming one of the more popular options available.
Furthermore, there are “One-Day” polyurea Poly aspartic coating systems offered by many epoxy flooring specialists. These advanced floor coating systems are far easier to apply and cure within 24 hours. The speed and convenience of use has made these advanced options more and more popular over the past few years.
Benefits of a Garage Floor Epoxy Coating
Whether you are looking to improve the aesthetics of your garage or protect your concrete flooring from the attrition of moisture, chemicals and the elements, epoxy floor coating is the best option for you and your needs. Here are some of the top benefits of epoxy flooring:
Appearance and Covering Defects
Epoxy flooring provides a stylish and attractive surface that transforms a bare concrete floor with the charm of a gulag, into something bright and beautiful. Whether you are looking to improve the style and professionalism of a commercial garage or just your home garage, an epoxy floor is the ideal choice. The glossy floor will even enhance the lighting options you have selected for your room. Epoxy holds and reflects light like no other flooring option and this increases the perceived dimensions of your garage.
If you think that epoxy flooring is a costly option, you haven’t fully considered your options. Sure, vinyl or tile flooring may seem like a cheaper option per square foot, but they also include additional installation costs that further inflate the project estimate. Epoxy flooring can be laid down on the floor you have as is. Additionally, epoxy flooring is far more durable than tile or vinyl. By the time your tile floor has begun to crack and chip under regular garage related activities, your epoxy floor will look bright and new.
Your garage floor will see some of the roughest action of the home. There will be heavy tools impacting the floor, harsh chemicals and even a certain amount of vehicular and foot traffic. This type of treatment would send another type of flooring option into retirement, but not epoxy flooring. Epoxy flooring is favored in all types of environments for its tenacious durability in the face of shock, extreme heat, corrosive chemicals and certainly moisture.
The unparalleled strength and resistance of epoxy flooring can also be applied to other flooring options as well. This is where epoxy forms an impregnable shield that protects the floor below from all types of attrition. Concrete is a porous material that can be affected by the chemical attacks in its environment. But epoxy bonds with the porous surface forming a protective overlay for the concrete and protects it from all types of attrition.
Ease of Maintenance
Keep things simple with epoxy flooring. There are no tough maintenance needs required for keeping your epoxy floor in perfect conditions. Because you have effectively covered the concrete floor with epoxy, there will be a considerable reduction in the dust and particles across your home. Whereas a concrete floor is brittle and difficult to keep perfectly clean, epoxy doesn’t have this problem. All that you need is a thorough sweeping and regular mopping to keep your epoxy floor looking like new.
Despite being made of some of the toughest chemicals in the world, epoxy flooring is one of the most eco-friendly flooring options you can hope for. No flooring materials will have to be removed and taken to the landfill to make way for your epoxy floor to be installed. Furthermore, no heavy machinery or tools are applied to the production or preparation for the flooring materials. Only the most simplistic tools are needed to install your new epoxy flooring.
Are Garage Epoxy Floor Coatings Slippery?
Epoxy can provide a variety of different surface types depending on the specific ingredients and design. Most flooring options are not slippery, but if you want a high gloss surface, it can be pretty slippery when wet. To counter this, you may adjust the surface texture with the addition of color flakes. But for a non-slip surface that provides excellent traction, you will need to ask your epoxy installations expert about anti-slip media.
Are There Any Potential Issues With an Epoxy Coating?
As an intelligent consumer, it is important that you consider the drawbacks of your epoxy floor coating, so we won’t sugarcoat this. Basically, epoxy flooring is NOT resistant to everything.
For example, welding projects typically produce a great deal of heat and can create burn marks and damage the floors. The hot slag that typically runs down from the project and hits the floor, this will not bode well for your epoxy flooring. Actually, if you plan on doing any sort of heavy metal work, an epoxy floor may not be the best option as it will be deteriorated by the hot metal. Furthermore, heavy metal objects being moved and dragged about the floor can be an especially bad thing for your epoxy flooring.
Another danger to epoxy flooring would be moisture that comes from below the floor. Garage floors that have issues
with MOISTURE will pass the moisture upwards to the protective epoxy overlay. This can cause your epoxy flooring to delaminate from the surface and this could spell trouble.
Finally, there is the concern with hot tires driven onto the epoxy flooring. The heat from the tires will cause the epoxy flooring to soften. The soft epoxy will then contract around the tires as they cool together. Then, the next time you try to pull out of the garage, the tires will pull at the epoxy flooring and this will begin to damage the fine surface.
But this is not typically a problem with only a problem with the DIY type of epoxy flooring that arrives in epoxy paint kits. This is because these epoxy paints are water based and only 50% solid. The DIY epoxy flooring is also a mere 3-mils and this is certainly not a heavy duty floor covering.
On the other hand, your average professional epoxy floor installation expert will use an epoxy with 90% – 100% solids and a minimum 9 mils film thickness. If you are not quite sure that this will be enough, you can always request a thicker coating.
Finally, epoxy will not stand up well to the light of the sun. After a few years of regular UV exposure, you will notice that your lovely epoxy develops a relatively unpleasant yellowing. The correct industry turn for this is “ambering”. A lower quality epoxy flooring option will begin to “amber” in just over 3 months with sufficient exposure.
There are two ways that this can be prevented. Firstly, keep your epoxy floor shielded from UV rays by keeping the garage door closed when the light is shining in. The other way is to choose an epoxy with full color flakes and a high-performance coating. These will improve the UV protection of the epoxy and it will not amber in the sunlight.
How Garage Floor Epoxy is Applied?
The installation of epoxy flooring is not a particularly hard task and anyone with enough patience, a little experience and intermediate DIY capacity would have no problem with this task. Actually, DIY installation work can save you a considerable amount of cash in costs of labor.
You can learn a little about the process here and see if you are up to the task and would like to plan accordingly, or if you would rather delegate to professionals and enjoy the high-quality results.
Prepare the Concrete
Begin by getting the floor ready for epoxy. It is absolutely necessary that the surface of your concrete floor is properly prepared, this may involve acid etching or floor grinding in order to place the concrete surface in optimal conditions for long-lasting bonding. This would also be a good time to address any major cracks, holes or gouges that could disrupt the smooth continuity of the surface.
A high quality epoxy flooring will be applied in several coats that ensure a tough surface that will last as long as possible. The very best epoxy flooring will often require that a primer is used first. The primer will penetrate deep into the porous surface below and provide an adhesive surface onto which the epoxy above can be placed. Some of these primers will even act as a moisture guard protecting the epoxy above from the risks of moisture below.
Epoxy Base Coats
The next layer will be the epoxy base coat, also called the “build” coat. This could be applied without primer, but only if the manufacturer’s recommendations say so.
Once the base coat has been applied the colored acrylic paint chips can be added. The color coat is what will hold these flakes and the flakes must be applied while the paint is still fresh. If the color flakes cover the base coat completely they can provide a variety of attractive color designs and even protect the base coat with extra thickness and durability.
The Clear “Top” Coat
Finally, it will be time to add the clear top coat or “wear” coat. This will lock the color flakes you have selected into place and provide the ultimate protection for the entire epoxy flooring. When done just right the clear coat will also add that illusion of depth and dimension that makes epoxy flooring so desirable.
How Much Does Garage Floor Epoxy Cost?
The ultimate cost for having epoxy applied to your floor is going to depend on a variety of different factors. There is also the type of concrete you have and amount of preparation work that will need to be done before the epoxy can be properly laid down. This could mean repairing the concrete below. The number of coats, the quality of materials and the choice to use professional work or do the job yourself will also play an important role in the final price for your epoxy flooring.
As mentioned, the most cost-effective plan would be to do the work yourself.
The price for applying an epoxy flooring could be as low as .27 cents per square foot. But this figure represents the costs for having a single coat of low-tier materials and water-based epoxy coatings. This is what you can expect from the low-cost kits available at your local supply stores.
But, on the other hand, you can also choose to use a high-performance garage floor epoxy system, available in a DIY kit, for as little as $1 per square foot. This will include a primer, a base epoxy with high solids, color coat and color flakes as well as the final clear coat. This type of epoxy coating system can last as long as 15 years if the installation is done perfectly and the flooring is given proper care and maintenance. This is the option we recommend as it has the best value for the money.
Finally, there is the professional option that starts at about $4 per square foot. The costs for professional installation do vary and will depend greatly on the type of competition in the area where you live. This price will typically cover the color coat, color flakes and the top clear coat.
From here the costs can be increased depending on the number of top coats you will need and the amount of color flakes you would like to add. The size of the garage is another factor that will affect the final price. An average two-car garage for example is about 400 square feet.
You can expect the total installation time for your professional epoxy floor installations to be between 2 – 3 days. But you can park your car in the garage about 72 hours after the final coat has been completely applied.
In the end, epoxy flooring is an attractive and durable flooring option that is especially well-suited to your garage floor. In addition to being highly durable, epoxy flooring is easy to clean and maintain.
But if you really want to get the most for your investment, you should be prepared to pay top-dollar. Only the most top-quality items installed by experienced epoxy installation experts can be expected to last a full 15-20 years.
So, whether you will be repurposing your garage into the ultimate man cave, or simply improving the looks and function of your current set up, an epoxy floor provides a considerable list of benefits you should not be without.