How to redo the surface of your concrete garage floor with an epoxy floor covering

How to redo the surface of your concrete garage floor with an epoxy floor covering

So, the next thing on your home renovation to-do list is to repaint your concrete garage floor with an epoxy floor covering. Can I do it myself? Or should I use the services of a floor covering specialist? The answer… well, that depends on:

  • the type of concrete,
  • the age of your concrete floor,
  • if there are numerous cracks,
  • the type of sealant that was used the first time

To get a better idea, we contacted Beton Surface who offers two solutions: doing it yourself or having it done by professionals.

There are different types of floor coverings for concrete floors: epoxy paint, polyurea with flakes, PVC floors, and rubber or porcelain tiles. In this blog, we will only be treating the application of epoxy paint and polyurea with flakes.

Before anything else…

Whether you decide to do it yourself or have it done by a professional, it is important to first ask yourself how you are going to use your garage. If you have decided to set up a portable car shelter for the winter so you can use your garage for family activities like a playroom for the kids or a fitness room, with one area set aside for a second fridge or another home appliance, the product to apply is not necessarily the same.

In addition, since the work to be done may risk lasting from 1 to 4 days, you’ll need to empty your garage temporarily. Are you going to use a temporary storage facility? Can you rent a closed 18-foot trailer or borrow one from a friend? Be aware that companies that specialize in the resurfacing of garage floors can provide you with a temporary storage service.

What type of concrete do you currently have?

This is the first question that anyone who sells products to seal your floor. How do you determine that? This requires a site visit to actually see what you have. At the same time, the representative will measure the moisture content of the floor.

It is important to measure the porosity of the concrete. If it is too smooth, it must be made porous with a diamond grinding machine. Don’t worry about any dust that may be created. These machines are equipped with an industrial vacuum to avoid spreading dust onto the walls and ceiling of your garage.

And next?

The condition of the cracks in the floor must be evaluated. Are they large? If yes, a grinder must be used to enlarge these cracks and then fill them with an appropriate sealant. Once that is done, simply sand everything to equalize the floor.

When building your house, if you decided to construct an area under your garage floor, often connected to the basement of the house, it is important to add a waterproof membrane to avoid any leakage of water into this area of your house. Some homeowners install a washing machine and dryer in their garages. This applies even if you have installed a trap door to access this space under the garage.

Preparing the floor

This is where it makes all the difference using a professional so that the work is guaranteed for several years. If you decide to do the work yourself, you can prepare the surface with a mild acid solution to avoid any efflorescence (the white powdery substance on the surfaces of unsealed concrete), open the pores in the concrete and provide better adhesion of the epoxy paint.  On the other hand, a professional team equipped with a diamond grinding machine can mechanically open the pores in the concrete and remove any surface imperfections

Which product to use: epoxy or polyurea?

Both products provide good adhesion to concrete. However, polyurea is more flexible than epoxy and much more resistant to scratches and marks left by tires. It then becomes a question of price and availability. Polyurea’s drawbacks are that it is three times more expensive than epoxy and it isn’t available in retail stores. It can, though, be found in some online specialty store like Beton Surface.

Don’t try to do everything in one shot!

We often say don’t bite off more than you can chew. Divide the tasks wisely and go step by step. As the catalyst that is added to epoxy paint ensures that the paint will dry quickly (around 45 minutes), it is important to divide the area to do into four or six parts, depending on the surface to cover. Use a carpenter’s pencil to mark off the divisions.

Start by edging around the walls and the outline of the floor drain. Then do one of the divisions you made, then another, until you’ve completed the whole floor. How thick to apply? Depending on the surface to cover, it is always better to put a little more to have better results and for the finish to last longer. Don’t stretch your painting out for anything. Follow the instructions given by the dealer where you bought the product. Often, they provide videos showing how to do the work.

How do you get the finish on the floor?

There is a colorant added to the paint, and then vinyl flakes are sprinkled on top of that to give it the finish you have chosen.

What else?

You can also install a PVC bordure around the bottom of the walls for a neater look. You may want to consider applying the epoxy paint on the exterior threshold of the garage door to give a beautiful look to the floor. But you should be aware that epoxy tends to yellow in sunlight, which is not the case with polyurea.

What is the drying time? This depends on the level of humidity in the garage which is affected by the exterior temperature. A good idea is to wait between 24 and 48 hours before walking on your new floor.

Do it or have it done?

It all depends on the state of your floor and the surface to cover. Ideally, it is always better to have it done by experts. What’s more, these professionals can provide you with a warranty up to 20 years against peeling of the surfacing.

And how much will it cost?

If there isn’t a lot of preparation work to do, you can estimate the costs between $2.50 and $4.00 a square foot, if you do the work yourself. If done by a professional, it can run you between $4.50 and $6.00 a square foot.

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