DIY Epoxy Garage Floor
One of the easiest ways to create a clean and usable space in your garage is to do a DIY epoxy floor.
There are so many products out there. The one we have always used in three different garages is from Home Depot called Rust-oleum Epoxy Shield.
We have done the epoxy in a brand new never driven in garage and in a garage that had been used for a few years.
The first is a little easier because you can skip a step but they are both doable.
Starting the Project
If you have been using your garage the floor needs to be cleaned. Not just rinsed out but cleaned really well.
You will want to use a cleaner and degreaser to remove everything off your garage floor. This is the one we have used and it worked really well. It will take off the grease, tire marks and anything else you may have on your garage floor.
It's not hard but does require some elbow grease and drying time.
Etching the Garage Floor
Your Rust-oleum kit will include a concrete Etch. This is a vital step to get the beautiful finish you need.
It's super easy but does require some dry time so the epoxy will adhere to the garage floor.
The purpose of the Etching is to rough up the garage floor so the epoxy will stick. Kind of like sanding wood lightly so the paint will stick. Follow the directions in the epoxy kit for best results.
After the floor is cleaned, etched and dried you will be ready for the fun part.
This is a new build so it didn't require additional cleaning. The dark spots are where they patched the cement. Because we live in Arizona the floor dried really quick.
This is our sons new home. We put garage floor epoxy on the top of the list of projects. This floor has never been driven on so it makes it a lot easier.
Be Mindful of the Temperature
Where you live will effect the dry time. You also want to watch the temperatures because the epoxy needs to be applied during certain temperatures. There is a large temperature spread but it shouldn't be done when it is too cold or too hot.
I guess what I'm saying is don't apply in the Winter if you live in Canada or in Summer if you live in Arizona.
Mixing the Epoxy
The rust-oleum epoxy shield has evolved since the first time we did a garage floor. I'm sure we had to pour it from cans and combine in a bucket. They have made it super easy. The paint and epoxy comes in a large bag that has a divider. You will roll the bag until the barrier between the two breaks.
Then mix the paint and epoxy which is in the large bag by shaking and rolling in your hands for a short amount of time to get it thoroughly mixed.
It then needs to sit for about 30 minutes before you get started. This is a project that needs to be completed once you start. You can't leave the mixed epoxy sit for an extended amount of time. Once you start you need to finish. My son purchased 3 single car kits. So when we were ready to start rolling one we did the mixing of the next bag so it would be ready when we got the first bag emptied.
Applying the Epoxy
My husband and I find it easiest to work as a team. I do the brush work and adding the sprinkles while he does all the rolling. It's not a good ideas to do all the brush work then start rolling. Because it's an epoxy it begins to dry and set up so it shouldn't be painted over after it starts to dry.
What works best for us is I paint an area with the brush then move out of the way and let my husband do the rolling.
Obviously you need to paint your way out of the garage and not into a corner. That would be a rough day. HaHaHa.
Because a garage floor is divided up it is decently easy to paint into sections. One thing is don't let the roller get too far ahead before you start adding the sprinkles. You want to be able to reach all the newly applied epoxy.
Our garage floor has the cracks that the builders include. Those need to be painted with a brush.
Be sure to roll it on nice and thick. You want to get good coverage. My husband likes to do a back roll so it looks even and consistent.
Tips for Adding the Decorative Chips
The Rust-oleum Epoxy Shield kit comes with Decorative Chips. I have found it isn't quite enough so we purchased a couple extra packages just to make sure we had enough. The decorative chips you buy separately is a bigger bag then what comes in the kit.
I like to dump the bag into a box or container. I don't dump the whole bag into a separate container because what is at the bottom of the bag is crumbs and doesn't look good. Kind of like the bottom of the cereal box.
I usually throw away 1/8th of the bag just because the chips at the bottom of the bag are more dust like then chip like.
To get the chips against the edge I throw them against the wall. I did a pretty heavy decorative chip install for this garage but my son was happy with the way it looks. It's ok to go lighter on the decorative chip installation. You can even go without decorative chips if you prefer.
See how we are working in sections, hand trimming, rolling and chip application.
Where to Stop the Application
You would think that painting to the edge where the garage and driveway meets is where you should stop. We learned at our first house that this wasn't a good idea. The epoxy will discolor in the sun. So you want to end the application where the garage door hits.
To get a crisp line we run a piece of painters tape and make sure the roller doesn't go past the line.
Be sure to remove the tape as soon as you are done rolling. If you don't want the tape will pull off the partially dried epoxy. Because you are working in sections you may need to remove part of the tape.
A Beautiful Garage Floor
The time consuming part of this process is waiting for things to dry and set. After you are finished you can't walk on the floor for 24 hours then and additional 48 hours before you park your car in the garage.
But the epoxy application only takes a couple hours with two people.
We will never move into a house that we don't add epoxy to the garage floor. It is so much cleaner and easier to keep clean. It also looks so good.