What is the best Epoxy for your Garage Floor?
Spring is here and you might be thinking about what a beating your garage floor has taken over the years. When it comes to protecting your concrete floor, a simple paint job isn’t going to get the job done. That’s why so many people choose an epoxy floor coating for their garage, basement, or other "industrial" area. Garage floors, by definition are ugly; they get stained with dirt and motor oil, and marred-up by your auto's tires and other elements that it picks up on the open road.
For this reason, epoxy garage floor kits are a big business, and often carried by Home Depot and Lowe's. Though these kits are DIY friendly, they typically are not the best products to use on your garage floor if you want it to endure the elements and last. The key question to ask is "How long do epoxy floors last"?
Professional Installation that lasts.
The floor coatings used by a professional company are so much more than garage floor paint and colored acrylic flakes that make up the epoxy paint kits. DIY kits materials are often no more than fortified latex or enamel paints which lack durability. They can chip and crack rather quickly, which will leave you disappointed and frustrated. Most DIY garage floor epoxy kits have after-pictures that look beautiful, but the product itself is far more inferior in strength to professional products.
When you hire a professional, youll get true industrial-strength epoxy and polyaspartic floor coatings. The materials that are used on your garage floor are the same as those used in fire stations and trucking facilities - designed to withstand weight, heat and dirt.
Prepping the Space
The prepping of your garage floor is also a process. A professional will take great lengths to prepping your concrete floors before applying any floor coating to ensure its durability and life-cycle. Many professionals will use diamond grinders to strip off the top layer of concrete and any previously applied coatings or sealants. This step is critical to the application process, as it adds deep scratches, making the floor porous enough for materials to adhere to.
There's also a risk factor that many DIYers fail to take into consideration - your personal health. Time put into the project is also something to consider when balancing hiring a professional or spending your entire weekend slaving away in frustration.
For the DIY enthusiast getting ready to apply an epoxy paint kit, I would ask these questions of your self:
- Is it worth playing around with muriatic (hydrochloric) acid to prepare the concrete floor? Minimally, you'll need acid resistant gloves and eye protection (sunglasses are not eye protection). Acid burns can leave nasty scars, so you shouldn't have any bare skin exposed.
- Do you have a respirator or ventilation system that can trap out acid vapors? No? You should probably stop right here then. Acid vapors that can be released in this process are not stopped by an organic vapor cartridge, so that respirator you bought at the big box store is probably not going to help. And if you're thinking about acid etching the concrete floor in your basement, think again. Those same vapors may not only seriously harm you, but other occupants in the home and exposed metals in the basement and other rooms.
- You decide to rent a grinder... Are you protecting yourself from the dust generated during operation of the grinder? Concrete dust is, quite frankly, the silica dust that contributes to lung disease. High end grinding systems feature very powerful dust collection systems and skirting. Your shop vac will not be up to the task.
Scratch-Resistant Clear Coating
Possibly the biggest difference between a professional garage floor coating and the DIY epoxy paint kits is in the clear sealant that gets applied after the epoxy has dried. This special urethane or polyaspartic coating provides incredible protection against scratches, chips and stains. You can simply mop up gasoline, oil, road salt and anti-freeze - they won't leave a mark.
If you want a coating that is durable, you wont find it with a DIY epoxy paint kit. A professional garage floor coating has all three of these elements, which will position it to be long lasting, superior product.
Protect yourself, your family and your pets by hiring a professional. What seems like a guys project for the weekend can quickly become a long-lasting, painful experience.
Types of Professional Garage Floor Coatings
- Color Quartz
- Color Flake
- Color Micas
- Metallic Dual Coat