Greetings and Happy New Year!
I was fortunate to start out 2015 by refinishing a garage floor for some of my new favorite customers!
My customer was searching for a company that would give him a quote on refinishing his 3 car garage floor. While I am by no means a large chain specializing in garage floor refinishing, I had indeed epoxied a few floors in my past while serving my Tool & Die Apprenticeship.
Day 1: Cleaning
The most important thing to know when you are epoxying a floor (or anything for that matter) is that cleanliness is the most important factor in achieving a solid bond between the floor and the epoxy. To begin with you want to scrape any debris off of the garage floor with a putty knife. Follow this up with a thorough sweeping.
*Handyman Tip: I prefer corn fiber brooms. It’s non-cling/stiff bristles help to ensure that dust and dirt do not collect in the broom. Synthetic fiber brooms have a tendency to produce static that holds onto dust, later depositing it back onto your floor.
After you have thoroughly swept the garage floor and your feeling fairly erudite regarding your cleaning skills, sweep it again. When your done with that, maybe sweep it just one more time. My point here is that if you leave one spec of dirt on your floor, it may end up being the catalyst for chipping or pealing down the road.
Now that you have a clean floor, it’s time for etching.
Most all garage floor epoxy kits should come with a chemical etching solution. (In my case I went with Valspar Garage Floor Coating.)
Mix the etching solution with warm water in a clean bucket. Apply the mixture to all of your oil stained areas with a chemically resistance short bristle brush. As you brush the solution over the oil stain the solution should foam a bit.
*Important Note: If the solution does not foam, your floor may already be sealed with concrete sealant. If the concrete is sealed you have two options. #1 leave the floor as is and do not paint it. Or #2, strip the floor sealant off with a variety of abrasive chemicals and hard work, then paint. I’ve done much reading on the later option and my advice to you is to cut your losses and live with the sealed floor. Stripping concrete sealant is very difficult. Even if you manage to get most of the sealant removed, you will probably still have small spots in which the epoxy will not stick.
After you etch the oil stained areas, take a garden hose or watering can and thoroughly rinse the solution away. Let the floor sit overnight until it has dried and shows no sign of water.
Day 2: Now the fun begins!
After you have taped off your walls, sewer drains, and anything else you don’t want paint on, it’s time for the beautification process to begin!
In your garage floor epoxy kit you will have 1 gallon of epoxy paint and one quart of hardener. Pour the hardener into the 1 gallon paint can and stir for 3 minutes. After a good stir, close the can back up and enjoy your morning coffee for 1/2 hour while the contents chemically react and start to form their chemical bonds.
After your fully caffeinated, open the can and start by hand brushing the edges of your first section. If you are applying color flakes to your floor for additional flair, you will want to paint one 4’x6’ section at a time. This way you will be able to sprinkle your color chips onto the section you just painted. Repeat the process of painting and sprinkling color chips for the remainder of your space.
While you are rolling the epoxy on it is key to roll one way, rotate your roller 90 degrees, and roll over it again. This technique aids in the adhesion process.
Another important note about epoxy is that it will not stay in a liquid paintable state forever. The instructions will tell you that you have 2 1/2 hours to apply the paint after you’ve mixed it. In my experience you have about 1 hour. At the end of that hour it feels like your trying to paint the Kremlin with maple syrup in January. Wait even further to apply the paint and it’s like painting with cookie dough. You don’t want to rush the painting process because 1 hour is plenty of time to paint one garage bay, but you do want to work with efficiency with no distractions.
Let the floor sit for 72 hours and it should be good for use.
If this seems like too large of a job, or you simply don't have the time, feel free to give me a call for a free quote!
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