If you have a garage that you park a vehicle in or use as a project work area then you probably keep wishing the floor looked a little better. Well with a few gallons of Epoxy Paint and a weekend your floor can look better then new.
To prepare the garage for painting the first thing you need to do is remove everything. If you can’t get everything out then you at least have to remove anything on the floor and anything hanging on the wall upto a height of about 3 feet.
Clean the Floor
Once the work area is empty you want to inspect the floor for any material that you can scrape off with a putty knife. While you are doing this you want to look for any cracks in the floor and clean out any loose material in them. We will patch them later. You can vacuum the area or use a leaf blower its quicker.
Now you need to remove any oils that dripped off your car. Use an engine degreaser in a can and let it sit for about an hour. Follow up by cleaning the whole area with a mild soap like laundry detergent. There should be no beading on the floor where water is. If there is repeat the process.
Fill any Cracks
Now you can get back to the cracks if you have any. You want to use a concrete patch that will fill the cracks. Some manufacturers make caulk tubes full of it others will need mixing with water. Apply the patch material and feather out the crack with your putty knife.
Allow the crack sealer to dry for the recommended time and because it maybe 8 hrs everything up to this point should be done on a Friday night so you will be ready to pant on Saturday,
Etching the Floor
This is an important step to open the surface of the floor so it will accept the paint. It will also clean the floor again. This step should be done as early as you can in the morning to allow the floor to dry for painting in the afternoon. Apply the etch solution with a broom following the manufacturers directions they will tell you how long it should be on the floor and how much water should be used for deactivating the acid etch. A general rule for acid etching is 5 to 10 minutes and then rinse all areas well. Allow the floor to dry and use a fan in the corners to help.
Some better systems have a primer that you can use over Oil or other stains and also as a full covering to act as a adhesion promoter and stable surface for the final epoxy. If your kit offers it then apply the primer by edging the outside of the garage floor with a 3 inch brush and then rolling the rest of the floor with a 1/4 inch paint roller.
Although there are a number of different concrete formulas an Epoxy Paint will probably work best for all applications. Epoxy paints are two part paints that need to be mixed just prior to the application. You should read the directions that come with your kit and mix only the amount of paint that you can apply within the cure time.
Just like you did for the primer you want to start at the outside of your garage and edge with a 3 inch brush. You can then apply your color to the rest of the floor.
It is important to work into the wet area of the last section you just finished. Don’t hop from one side to the other side and go down the center last. Work your way out of the garage and then keep the door open and let the paint dry.
Unfortunately you can’t just return your car and things to the garage once the surface feels dry to the touch. Epoxy paint needs about 24 to 72 hrs to cure and you should definitely wait that long or longer before you place your car back in the garage. Tires have a habit of lifting the paint so hold off as long as you can a week would be good but you can return your other items to the garage after about 24hrs.
Every manufacturer will offer different materials that can add to your finished floor. Many offer confetti flecks that they tell you to broadcast across the floor after you paint it. I don’t like this material and I recommend against it unless you are converting your garage into a disco.
You can also add Anti Slip materials to the paint which is probably just sand but it is not a bad idea to use antislip on concrete steps or around doorways. Epoxy will get very slippery with a small amount of oil and water mixed on the surface.
Epoxy with all its claims is not as hard as a diamond. If your car leaks fluids it will soften and eat the epoxy over time. If you scrape it the paint will come off and if you don’t prepare the surface by degreasing or etching then you will end up with paint lifting and chipping. However Epoxy Paint will cure the worst situations for at least a few years.
You should also remember how your garage floor got the way it did and use rubber floor matts around your work bench Although the rubber may adhere to the epoxy so use a liner under it. And fix your car or at least put a piece of plastic painters tarp under it until you can get to it.
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