If you have installed a brand new garage door, it might get you to thinking about painting your garage floor. You can see by doing a quick search on the internet that there are quite a few products available to get the job done. There is also a large variation in cost of materials. You can find garage floor paint for around $40 a gallon that promises coverage of 500 sq. ft. up to two part epoxy paint systems for coverages of 250 sq. ft. for over $300. What’s the difference?
Wide Range of Costs
Well, the old saying, “you get what you pay for” seems to apply here. In order to get results that you will be happy with, you will need to properly prepare the surface of your garage floor prior to painting. On bare concrete, this will involve cleaning and in most instances, etching the floor. The more expensive kits will contain the cleaning and etching solutions, as well as a clear finish top coat you apply after the color coat has been applied. The inexpensive one part paint will give you a very thin coat and you most likely will need to apply additional coats to get any lasting results. Some kits contain color chips you can add that will provide a different look, or you can buy these separately and add them to most compounds.
New Materials Do a Great Job
Some new materials, like the resin Polyurea, claims to provide up to 4x the durability of commercial epoxy floor paints. It’s also much more flexible than epoxy paint and allows for any natural concrete movement. It is widely used in industrial applications and will give you good results, but does cost a bit more than most epoxies.
With the cost of the preparation materials and a quality coating, you should be prepared to spend around $80 per bay to get a professional quality job that will last. You can save money by purchasing the cleaning and etching solution separately. Kits normally use trisodium phosphate (TSP) as a cleaning agent and muriatic acid for the etching solution.
Preparation is the Key
Coating your garage floor not a complicated job but does take time. Preparation is the key to a long lasting finish. You will need to get the surface free of all grease and oils. The concrete should be slightly porous so it will accept the coating. This is the job of the etching material. If your floor has been previously painted, you will just need to rough up the surface. A floor maintainer – a power floor surfacing machine – can be rented to do this job fairly easily. You can also use this to treat bare concrete as well. Just be diligent in removing all dust and rinsing all cleaners completely away before you apply your coating.
Clean and Dry
One of the most important things to be aware of is the need for the floor to be absolutely clean and dry before you begin applying paint. Be sure to allow enough time for the floor to dry. This time will vary depending on the climate. In humid conditions, you may need to use a fan or heat lamps to speed up the process. The same goes for waiting for each coat to dry before applying another.
In some cases, your garage floor may not be properly sealed against moisture. Any moisture that is wicked up from the ground under the garage floor will ruin your finish, no matter how diligently you follow preparation and application directions. If you think you might have this problem, tape a piece of clear plastic to an area of the floor and see if any moisture is trapped under the plastic after a few days.
If you buy a quality product and follow the manufacturers’ directions carefully, you should be satisfied with the results. It’s a pretty easy job for a do-it-yourselfer and, if you are like a lot of us, the hardest part of the task will be getting everything out of your garage so you can get started.