If you have decided to give your concrete garage floor a facelift with a bit of paint, finding the right product is about more than choosing your favorite color. You need a garage floor paint that is going to adhere to your concrete slab, protect your floor, and not become unstable in extreme conditions, such as underneath red hot tires.
So, what makes a good concrete floor paint? That is exactly the question we are going to answer. We’ll start by having a look at the different types of concrete floor paint available and the pros and cons of each. We will then also look at some of the top brands selling quality concrete floor paint, and talk a bit about what exactly is involved when it comes to painting your garage floor.
Spoiler alert! We recommend you go for floor paint that contains one-part epoxy. While these are the most expensive of the concrete floor paints on offer, the epoxy ensures the paint adheres to the concrete and also adds durability to the paint layer itself. As a result, you get better and longer-lasting color and a bit of extra protection for your floor.
- Types of Garage Floor Paint
- Best Garage Floor Paint Brand Reviews
- Choosing The Right Paint
- Painting Your Garage Floor
- FAQs About Garage Floor Paint
- The Verdict
Types Of Garage Floor Paints
First and foremost, whatever paint you use on your floors is going to be a bit different to the standard paint you are more accustomed to. So, whatever paint you choose, make sure it is designed specifically for floors.
You will see there are fewer color and finish options for floor paint than wall paints. And, when it comes to finishes, you will see fewer words like “high-gloss” and more words like “anti-slip” and “durable”; both of these are important qualities when it comes to the floor under your feet. This durability means that floor paints won’t scuff and mark in the same way as wall paint when you accidentally scuff your boot against it.
For these reasons, concrete floor paint is a bit more expensive than your standard wall paint. Expect to pay anywhere between $0.10-$5.00 per square foot depending on the type of paint you go for, the quality, and also the color. Floor paints will usually come in standard greys and beiges. You will need to pay a bit extra for royal blue, hot pink, or metallic silver.
While there is variation in between, there are three main types of concrete floor paint: latex, acrylic, and epoxy. You can also get concrete stain, though it is quite different from the other three options on this list.
Latex paint is a water-based paint that is generally recommended when painting large areas as it is both affordable and easy to use. This means it is easier to get an even color when you are covering a large area.
It is also a good option for first-timers, as any spills can easily be cleaned up with soap and water. It also gives off minimal chemical fumes, so you can breathe easy when using it.
Acrylic paint sees the pigment suspended in an acrylic polymer solution and resin. As a chemical-based product, it is water-resistant, and therefore, better than latex paint when it comes to damp spaces.
Acrylic paint dries quite a bit faster than Latex paint, which is great, but it can lead to uneven coloring when you are painting large areas. It also doesn’t hold up as well when it comes into contact with other chemicals, such as oils, during the applications process. However, once the paint is set, oils shouldn’t be any worse for acrylic paint than latex options.
Since acrylic paints dry quickly, and the paint is water-resistant, any accident(s) during the application process will need to be cleaned with a paint stripper. It can also give off fumes while being applied, so appropriate safety measures should be taken, especially in poorly ventilated spaces.
Epoxy paint is either acrylic or water-based paint that has been mixed with one-part epoxy. Epoxies are thermostatic plastics that can form a chemical bond with the floor itself, making for a durable and longer-lasting color.
But epoxy paints should not be confused with epoxy flooring solutions. Epoxy paints are one-part epoxy, and will work like a paint, coloring your floor, but leaving it with its distinctive concrete look. Epoxies are two-part epoxy, and they can be applied either like thick paint or poured in a similar fashion to self-leveling concrete.
The resulting floor no longer retains the character of concrete, but looks like a hard plastic coating. Epoxies are also a viable garage floor solution, but they aren’t what we are talking about today. But you can read more about epoxy floor coatings here.
But paint with added epoxy gains some of the advantages of epoxy. The color covering is more durable, and also more water-resistant, preventing water from soaking into the concrete underneath.
Epoxy is the most expensive paint option for your garage floor, at around $0.50-$2.50 per square foot. This paint is the hardest to apply, but could last two to three times longer than other paint options.
As well as concrete paint, there is also something called concrete stain. While concrete paint covers the concrete surface and, therefore, provides a level of protection, concrete stain soaks into the concrete and creates a translucent, mottled look.
The look is unique and cannot be achieved with paint. The stained concrete will then need to be sealed with a concrete sealer to protect the concrete. The sealer will need to be reapplied once or twice a year in order to maintain the stained look.
Stains are technically permanent because they soak into the concrete, but they only soak into the very top layer. This means they will quickly wear out with the concrete itself. For this reason, they have roughly the same lifespan as paint, of about one to two years.
Concrete stain is highly affordable, and you can expect to pay around $0.30-$0.50 per square foot for both the concrete stain and the required concrete sealer. But don’t forget that the sealer will need to be reapplied regularly.
Best Garage Floor Paint Brand Reviews
Rust-Oleum is one of the biggest names in floor coatings, so it is no surprise they have a top-quality concrete floor paint. Among their many products is an acrylic paint for concrete floors. It is a self-priming solution, so it can be applied in just one coat.
As well as their satin finish line, they have similar metallic finish, shimmer finish, and deep tint lines. All of their concrete paint products are formulated to be resistant to hot tires, motor oil, grease, and gasoline, as well as to be UV and weather-resistant so it won’t fade or peel. Your garage floor can be ready to drive on in just five days.
Kilz makes a wide range of paint, but their one-part epoxy paint for concrete and garage floors is one of the most popular on the market.
A water-based rather than chemical-based paint with one-part epoxy, it is easier to apply than a lot of other epoxy paints, but just as durable. It is resistant to scuffing, fading, peeling, and blistering, and is certified to resist hot tire pick up.
However, while this paint is top quality, there are relatively few color options available, so if you are looking for something shocking that really pops, you may need to look elsewhere.
Drylok also produces a one-part epoxy paint that is among the best on the market. It currently comes in two pre-mixed colors and is tintable to 12 different color options.
The epoxy means the paint dries with a thick coat, which makes it highly resistant to water. It also comes with primer included, so it can be applied in a single coat. Despite everything that is going on in the mix, it is a low odor paint, which means it is a better option if you are working in a space without good ventilation.
The formula is resistant to hot tire pick-up, oil, grease, gasoline, and chemical spills. It has a semi-gloss finish and dries in as little as four hours, though wait a few days before driving your car over your newly painted surface.
Choosing The Right Paint
While epoxy floor paints are a superior solution, they are also more costly. What is your budget for your garage floor renovation, and how long are you expecting the floor to last before you redo it? If you are expecting to redo your floors in one to two years, the extra time you get with epoxy paints may not be worth the extra investment.
While painting is generally considered a pretty easy install job, it can be harder than it looks to get an even finish if you don’t know what you are doing. Epoxy and even acrylic paints can easily go wrong when in the hands of a beginner. If this is your first time painting a floor, maybe try an easier option such as latex?
Epoxy paints also tend to have a slightly slipperier finish than latex and acrylic. Are there older family members who are less sure footed who will be clambering in and out of the car in the garage? This can be a consideration.
What kind of durability do you need in your garage? Do you just use your garage for parking and storage, or is it also an active workspace where tools and other items are often dropped on the ground? Do you put snow tires on your car for a couple of months of the year? Do you bring in salt and deicer on your tires in the winter?
If your garage sees relatively light use, then latex or acrylic paints are probably more than up to the job. But if your garage has to put up with a lot, paying a little bit extra for epoxy paint can be worth it.
We’ve talked about snow tires, but hot conditions can also be problematic. If hot tires are left to sit in the garage, they can delaminate the floor and cause the paint to start peeling. If this is an issue where you live, you will need to look for a paint option that is resistant to hot-tire pickup.
When Not To Paint
There are a few circumstances in which painting your concrete garage floor is not your best option.
In particular, if you have rising damp coming up from underneath your concrete into your garage, your paint probably won’t last, no matter what you do. In these cases, you should also avoid epoxy coatings and even epoxy paints. This is because they can form a watertight boundary, trapping the rising damp within the concrete itself. This can lead to pressure build-up in the concrete that can cause serious structural problems.
You can check your garage floor for rising damp by sticking a sheet of plastic of about 16×16 inches to your floor and sealing it with tape. Leave it overnight. If when you remove the plastic it is coated in moisture, or there are black marks on your concrete floor, you have a rising damp problem.
Similarly, if your concrete is damaged and has more than superficial cracks, painting is probably not your best option. This is both because those cracks will still be visible through the paint and because paint will not provide sufficient protection to prevent these cracks from widening.
In these cases, rather than coating your concrete with paint, you will want to investigate more protective concrete coverings, such as plastic floor tiles. You can read more about other good garage floor covering options here.
Painting Your Garage Floor
Unfortunately, painting your garage floor is not quite as simple as just whipping out a roller and opening up a can of paint. If you want your concrete floor paint to properly adhere, there are a few more steps in the process.
Clean And Repair
The first thing to do is clean your floor thoroughly, as you don’t want dust and other debris mixing in with your paint. Wash away stains with a mixture of bleach and water. If you encounter any particularly difficult stains, you can use a brush with metal bristles to try and get them up. You should then rinse the area thoroughly with clean water. A pressure washer can be a useful tool at this stage of the process.
Even at this early stage in the process, you will want to ensure the space you are working in is well-ventilated, as bleach fumes and later paint and epoxy fumes can be damaging to your health. If you are unable to ventilate the area, invest in appropriate safety equipment for yourself.
If you come across any imperfections in the concrete during the cleaning process, you will want to fill these with a concrete patch or filler. If you don’t fix these now, they will continue to be noticeable after you paint. Make sure the floor is completely dry from cleaning before you do your filling work.
Next, you will need to use concrete etcher to open up the pores in your concrete, which will allow the paint to adhere better. You may be able to skip this step. In order to check, just sprinkle a bit of water on the garage floor. If it is absorbed within a few seconds, your concrete is already supple enough to accept the paint.
If not, you will need an etching solution, which will come with its own instruction. In general, mix the solution with water and apply it to the entire floor using a stiff-bristled broom to rub it in. You should then rinse and mop the floor. The floor should feel slightly gritty once you are done, but this will pass. You should leave an etched floor overnight before painting.
You are now ready to start painting your floor. Whether you need to apply a primer coat first depends on the type of paint you are using. If you do apply a primer layer, you will need to leave it for six to eight hours before applying your first coat of paint.
While paints might say one coat is enough, you might want to consider applying two for extra richness of color. If you do, wait 24 hours between applying coats.
Make the painting process easier on yourself by investing in a paint roller with a long handle so you don’t need to bend over throughout the entire process. Your back will thank you for it.
FAQs About Garage Floor Paint
- Is Painting A Garage Floor A Good Idea?
- What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On A Concrete Floor?
- Can I Paint Over Old Concrete Paint?
- Do I Need To Prime The Garage Floor Before Painting?
- How Long Does Garage Floor Paint Last?
Is Painting A Garage Floor A Good Idea?
Painting your garage floor is a relatively quick, easy, and affordable way to completely transform your garage space and give it a fresh new look. Paint also provides extra protection for your concrete floor against mold, mildew, oil, and other spills. A painted garage floor won’t add anything to your home in terms of retail value, but it certainly will add in terms of aesthetic appeal.
What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On A Concrete Floor?
You can use any kind of paint on a concrete floor as long as it is specifically designed for floors. Floor paints are more durable and less likely to scuff and mark. If you want the longest-lasting paint, choose a paint that contains one part epoxy. The epoxy will improve how the paint bonds with the floor, and it will also make the paint layer a bit thicker and long-lasting.
Can I Paint Over Old Concrete Paint?
Unless you are touching up a fairly recent paint job, you will want to clean a floor that has already been painted with concrete paint before you paint it again. This involves scraping off all the loose paint and scuffing up what remains with sandpaper. After this, you should clean the concrete with a degreaser before prepping your concrete to paint again from scratch.
Do I Need To Prime The Garage Floor Before Painting?
While you may not need to apply primer, you will certainly need to prepare your concrete floor before applying paint. You will need to etch the floor to open up the pores of the concrete to better bond with the paint. Whether you then need to apply a primer layer before painting depends on the paint you are using. Some paints come with a primer included. If in doubt, add a primer layer.
How Long Does Garage Floor Paint Last?
You can expect a painted garage floor to look good for one to two years, and a bit longer on top of that if you use one-part epoxy paint. After this, you will probably start to notice chips, scuffs, and stains, but it is not a difficult task to touch up your paint job, as long as you can get your hands on the same color paint.
Painting your garage floor is a great way to breathe new life into a dated or worn concrete slab. However, not just any paint will do. You need paints specifically designed for floors, as these are more durable and less likely to scruff and scratch than standard paint, and, of course, they are a bit more expensive.
Paints for concrete floors come in latex, acrylic, or epoxy. While all will color your floor well and last for about one to two years, paints that contain one part epoxy are the best choice. The epoxy ensures the paint better adheres to the concrete and also adds an extra level of durability and moisture protection. A paint with epoxy might last two or three times longer than latex or acrylic paint.
Epoxy paint should not be confused with epoxy coatings, which are an alternative flooring solution to coat your concrete in a kind of protective plastic substance. This is also a great choice for garage floors, but the feel and finish is very different from epoxy paint or other floor paints.
While painting your garage floor probably won’t add any value to your home, it can protect your concrete and also bring a nice, bright aesthetic look into what can be one of the hardest areas in your home to design.
Do you have any experience working with garage floor paint? Please help the community by sharing your experience and thoughts in the comments below or via social media.