If you are looking for a solution to revitalize your garage floor, you have probably heard of Epoxy coatings and floorings. It is a relatively new flooring option, which is almost as easy to install as paint and almost as affordable, but it is highly durable and can protect the concrete floor in your garage for years to come.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about epoxy to decide whether it is the right flooring for you and learn what you need to do if you want to install it in your home garage. We will also have a look at some of the brands leading the market so you know where to start your search for the perfect epoxy to transform your garage.
- What Is Epoxy?
- Types Of Epoxy
- Pros Of Epoxy
- Cons Of Epoxy
- How To Install Epoxy On Concrete
- Cost And Warranties
- Leading Epoxy Brands
- FAQs About Epoxy
- The Verdict
What Is Epoxy?
Epoxies are thermostatic plastics created by the reaction of two or more industrial chemical compounds. OK, what does that mean?
When it comes to flooring, epoxy looks like thick paint, but rather than just coating a surface in color, it produces a durable, slightly plastic appearing coating that forms a chemical bond with the floor itself. It can feel a little bit like coating your floor with a highly viscous glue that hardens into a substance not dissimilar to a shiny concrete.
Epoxy is often laid over concrete, creating a similarly durable surface, but it protects the concrete underneath. Epoxy is also watertight, and so can protect concrete from water damage from above.
What you put on top of your garage floor will either be “epoxy flooring” or an “epoxy coating.” When the applied epoxy is more than two millimeters thick, it is called flooring. When it is less than two millimeters thick and applied more like paint, then it is called an epoxy coating.
But epoxy coatings need to be distinguished from garage floor paints that contain epoxy. Garage floor paints with epoxy are water-based, latex, or acrylic paints that contain “one part epoxy,” which means they contain a little bit of epoxy to make them a bit more durable.
True epoxy flooring solutions will always contain two parts epoxy.
Types Of Epoxy
There are a variety of different types of Epoxy flooring. Below are the three main categories, though there are a variety of options within each.
This is your standard epoxy flooring for home renovations that can be painted on. These epoxies often come with decorative chips that can be added to the epoxy mix or sprinkled on the floor after the epoxy is applied to give the floor a different look. These epoxies come in a wide range of colors to suit every taste.
Within this variety of epoxy, you can get antistatic epoxy that is designed to be used where there are status sensitive electronics. There is also vapor-barrier epoxy. While most epoxy is highly watertight, this reduces vapor transmission to almost zero.
Self-Levelling Epoxy Floors
Not dissimilar from self-leveling concrete, rather than painting the epoxy on, it comes in a more viscous solution you can poor and which will run into dips and cracks, gaining a slightly different level of thickness and settling into a level floor. These epoxies come in a wide range of colors.
Epoxy Mortar Floors
This epoxy will look a bit like concrete and is made up of 100 percent solid epoxies and graded or quartz sand. It is used in construction or can be used to repair a seriously cracked floor. The resulting floor is also highly chemical-resistant, so it is often used in factory spaces.
Unlike the other epoxies on this list, it should be laid by a professional. There are fewer aesthetic options with this type of epoxy, as the resulting floor is usually then covered again with another floor.
Pros Of Epoxy Flooring
While epoxy flooring is more expensive than paint, if you do a DIY installation job, it shouldn’t break the bank. Domestic epoxy costs between $3.00 and $7.00 per square foot, though professional installation can cost between another $1.00 to $7.00 per square foot. Installation can be tedious, but it is not challenging as the floor does not require much preparation.
Epoxy flooring is extremely durable both in terms of scuffs and scrapes but also in terms of being resistant to oils, cleaners, and other chemicals. This is important in the garage, where these dangers are more likely to be present than in the rest of the home. They are also both water-resistant and heat-resistant.
Depending on a variety of different factors, epoxy floorings in the home are expected to last 15 to 20 years, which is considerable considering the low cost. Because of its durability and aesthetic appeal, epoxy flooring in the garage can also add value to the home upon resale.
Easy To Remove
If you do find that the epoxy floor just doesn’t appeal to you or your buyer for whatever reason, it is also relatively easy to strip. You can simply apply a stripping agent, let it settle for a few hours, and then peel the floor up. This is very effective, and it doesn’t leave behind a large amount of residue to be cleaned.
You have a lot of aesthetic options when it comes to epoxy, because it comes in a huge range of colors and finishes – you can even go for a metallic look if that floats your boat.
Cons Of Epoxy Flooring
Releases Toxic Fumes
Epoxy releases strong toxic fumes when installed, which can have negative side effects on those exposed to it until the floor hardens and the chemicals disperse. This means it is vital to wear proper safety equipment when installing, and it is best installed in a well-ventilated area.
The area should also be avoided while the epoxy is drying. How long it takes to dry depends on the conditions, and it will dry faster in hot and warm conditions. But, it can take up to 30 days for the epoxy to cure and dry completely.
Not Ideal For Moist Environments
If your garage is a damp environment, you will probably have trouble installing epoxy, and if the moisture is coming up from underneath the garage floor, then epoxy can pose a big risk. Because epoxy is designed to resist moisture, it will struggle to adhere to damp surfaces.
But worse than this, if you do apply epoxy, it will create a watertight barrier, trapping any moisture coming up through the concrete floor within the concrete itself. As the moisture builds up in the porous parts of the concrete, it can cause cracks and significant structural damage.
This is why you should always conduct a moisture test before investing in epoxy.
While a shiny Epoxy floor is not as slippery as it looks, it can get very slippery when wet.
How To Install Epoxy On Concrete
While specific installation processes will depend on the type of epoxy you choose, there are a few general steps when it comes to installing epoxy on concrete garage floors.
Prepare The Floor
First and foremost, you need to ensure the concrete floor is structurally sound, as the epoxy will not fix any serious damage to the underlying floor. Small cracks should also be repaired before the epoxy is applied.
You should also conduct a moisture test to ensure the space is appropriate to receive epoxy. In addition to this, you should check if the concrete floor is already treated with a sealer. This will prevent the epoxy from binding with the floor, and so it will need to be removed before the epoxy can be installed.
Newly poured concrete flooring will also need to be left to cure for at least 30 days before epoxy coatings are applied.
Naturally, the floor should also be thoroughly cleaned before laying epoxy.
Profile The Garage Floor
The concrete floor will need to be profiled in order to receive the epoxy. This is the process of exposing the pores on the surface of the concrete, which will allow the epoxy to run into the pores and form a tight bond with the concrete. You can either grind or acid etch the concrete surface to achieve this step.
Install The Epoxy
You will need to follow the specific installation that comes with your epoxy solution, but it is generally installed like a thick paint, and so will require most of the same equipment.
However, don’t forget your protective gear to protect yourself against the chemical fumes that epoxy gives off while being installed.
If you are using a relatively thin epoxy, you will apply it much like paint. If you are using a thick, 100 percent solid epoxy, you will need to pour it out onto the floor immediately after it is mixed, and then spread the liquid to create an even surface.
If you use any tape to demarcate areas, make sure to remove the tape about 30 minutes after the epoxy has set. If you leave it any longer, the epoxy will harden and it will be very difficult to remove the tape.
You will then need to wait for the epoxy to cure. Exactly how long this will take depends on the temperature and humidity conditions. Epoxy dries best in warm and dry conditions, with temperatures between 70 and 80 degrees considered ideal for installation. It can take between one week and 30 days for the epoxy to entirely cure and set.
You will need to wait for one layer of epoxy to fully set before applying a second layer if you so wish.
Cost And Warranties
Depending on the options you prefer, domestic epoxy flooring generally costs between $3.00 and $7.00 per square foot depending on the selected options.
Surveys of homeowners in the United States suggest that installing an epoxy flooring for a single-car garage of roughly around 250-square feet can cost anywhere between $750 and $3,000 depending on the type of epoxy selected and whether the installation was DIY or professional.
You can expect to pay between $1.00 and $7.00 extra per square foot for a professional installation.
While warranty periods depend on the specific epoxy, epoxy floors installed in domestic areas, such as home garages, generally come with a 20 year or a limited lifetime warranty.
Leading Best Garage Floor Epoxy Reviews
While there are a lot of options on the market when it comes to commercial epoxy, there are still relatively few options available when you are looking for DIY epoxy solutions for your home garage.
The leading brand dominating the market at the moment is Rust-Oleum, which produces a variety of home epoxy solutions. Their leading product is Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield Garage Floor Coating.
This is a relatively affordable product, as a single kit worth $150 contains enough epoxy to cover around 250 square feet, so a two-and-a-half car garage.
A standard two-part formula is an easy DIY option that can be applied like paint, and it dries quickly, which means it can be ready to walk on as soon as 24 hours after installation and drive on 72 hours after installation, though it will need longer to cure fully.
These domestic use DIY kits come in a fairly limited range of colors, but they are well-chosen and attractive, and associated Rust-Oleum tint and flake options mean you can personalize your floor.
FAQs About Garage Floor Epoxy
Epoxy is durable, easy to clean, and protects the concrete substrate of your garage floor. It is also a highly affordable flooring solution. If you are looking to renovate and protect your garage floor, epoxy is worth it.
How Much Should It Cost To Epoxy A Garage Floor?
Epoxy costs between $3.00 and $7.00 per square foot, though this does not include installation should you choose to have the floor professionally installed, which can cost an additional $1.00 to $7.00 per square foot. On average, it costs between $750 and $3,000 to install epoxy on a single garage floor.
Can You Epoxy A Garage Floor Yourself?
If you are a relatively experienced DIYer, you should have no trouble installing an epoxy garage floor yourself. It requires patience, but little specialist skills. Remember that if you do choose to install your own epoxy floor to invest in appropriate safety equipment as it gives off toxic fumes during installation and curing.
Should I Prime My Garage Floor Before Applying Epoxy?
While it is not necessary to prime garage floors to install epoxy, it will ensure better cohesion between the epoxy and the concrete and give your floor a longer life. You should always profile your garage floor before installing epoxy to ensure the concrete pores are open and the epoxy has something to stick to.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Epoxy Flooring?
The main disadvantages of epoxy are the chemical fumes that accompany installation, the long time it can take to set, and the fact that it can be very slippery when wet. Epoxy is also not appropriate to install on concrete that is damp or when moisture comes up from beneath the concrete.
How Long Will An Epoxy Garage Floor Last?
A properly installed epoxy floor in a domestic garage should last about 20 years, though you might start to detect color fading and other imperfections much sooner.
Does An Epoxy Garage Floor Increase Home Value?
An epoxy floor in the garage can increase the value of your home as it is durable and attractive. But unlike hardwood floors, for example, which are generally considered a bonus, there is much more variability in the value consumers place on epoxy flooring.
Are Epoxy Floors Slippery?
Despite often having a shiny wet look, epoxy floors are not slippery when dry, but they can become very slippery when wet. It is possible to add anti-slip agents to limit this problem.
Epoxy flooring is an affordable and simple-to-use floor option that can transform the look of your home garage and also protect your floor in the long-term. While there is still only a limited number of DIY options on the market for home consumers, mostly from Rust-Oleum, their product is both affordable and top-quality.
While epoxy flooring works well in most garages, bear in mind it is not appropriate to use in damp locations or where moisture is coming up from underneath concrete. Also, while it covers concrete in a protective layer, it cannot fix underlying issues with the concrete.
But if you are looking for an attractive floor that is scratch-, oil-, and chemical-resistant, and which won’t cost you the earth but might add value to your home, epoxy is certainly an option worth investigating.
Do you have any experience working with garage floor epoxy? Please help the community by sharing your experience and thoughts in the comments below or via social media.Back to Top