When you consider the cost of a premium epoxy garage floor coating to other projects around the home, it’s an easy decision when you take into account that the garage is often the largest room in your home. Additionally, it’s likely the first room you see when returning from a long day of work. Pulling into a garage with an easy to clean and a colourful floor that protects your concrete investment is an easy home improvement decision.
If you are looking for an upgrade that will improve the look and function of your garage, as well as protect your concrete from damage, then an epoxy garage floor coating is what you need. Costs for these projects vary widely regionally, as well as with the type of floor installed. Most homeowners are somewhere in the middle, and it is determined by the preparation of the concrete needed, as well as the quality and quantity of product(s) required to achieve the proper floor for your needs, as well as the size of the garage project.
The most durable, and functional floor coating for a garage in most parts of the United States, is going to be a full broadcast garage floor coating. This type of garage floor coating will add colour, and make it easy to clean, but it will NOT be slippery when properly installed. As you drive in with rainwater or snow, you don’t want your garage floor to be slippery and hazardous. The texture full broadcast floors, also reduce the “dirty” look of floors, as dust, dirt, leaves, etc. don’t show on the floor nearly like a solid colour floor. So we will discuss the pricing and costs of a full broadcast floor, as they are the best for the garages of most homeowners.
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WHAT IS GARAGE FLOOR EPOXY?
We’ll start by ending some confusion about epoxy right now. An epoxy garage floor coating does not paint. Paint for garage floors is a latex acrylic product. Some paints will have a small percentage of epoxy added to the mix to make it more durable than standard paint, but it is still painted. These are known as epoxy paints or 1-part epoxy paint.
Epoxy is an actual thermosetting resin that is applied as a coating. It is formed when you mix one part epoxide resin with one part polyamine hardener. The hardener acts as a catalyst and is what gives epoxy its strength.
Unlike paint that has to dry, epoxy actually cures. When the two parts are mixed, a chemical reaction is started, which creates an exothermic curing process. This curing process produces polymer structures that are closely cross-linked, giving epoxy its superior strength and durability. The end result is a coating that is much thicker than paint and bonds tenaciously to a properly prepared surface.
BENEFITS OF A GARAGE FLOOR EPOXY COATING
So what makes an epoxy coating one of the best finishes for your garage floor? Besides looking nice, the hardened and thick application that you get from epoxy creates a coating that is very durable and resilient to impacts, chipping, chemicals, stains, and surface abrasion. You don’t have to panic about damaging the floor if you drop a wrench or a bicycle falls over.
The thicker coating also does a great job of covering over minor imperfections such as small spider cracks and flaws in the concrete. Because epoxy is a topical sealer, it is also anti-dusting. Much of the dust in a garage is created from the powder that a cement floor can shed. Normal traffic on bare concrete can kick up this dusty powder that has a tendency of collecting on cars, tool benches, and storage items, as well as being tracked into the house.
As a topical coating, it is also naturally moisture resistant. This is a great benefit for people who live in snowy climates. It makes for easy cleaning of icy brines and road salts that can collect on the floor during the winter. Just a little mild soap and water is all it takes. Dust and debris can be collected with a dust mop or soft broom when the floor is dry.
Depending on whether you added coloured acrylic flakes to the floor and the type of topcoat used, some surfaces can be slippery when wet. For people who live in drier climates, this usually isn’t an issue. If you want some extra grip; however, you can add slip-resistant aggregate to the final coat that will create a non-skid surface.
Epoxy coatings receive high reviews from the home mechanics and hobbyists as well. Since it is both chemical and stain resistant, oil, brake fluids, anti-freeze, gasoline, and other caustic car chemicals can easily be wiped up without worry – even if it sits for a while. Rolling tool boxes, jacks, and jack stands will not damage the floor either. It also brightens up the garage environment because it is very light reflective depending on what type of finish you choose.
As tough as this type of garage floor covering is, it’s not resistant to everything, however. Welding is hard on epoxy because it can create burn marks from the hot slag that falls on it. It’s also not a good choice for garage floors that have moisture issues. The rate of moisture vapour transmission from underneath the slab can cause the epoxy to delaminate if it is too high.
A common question that pops up about epoxy garage floors is hot tire pick up. This is caused when the hot tires from your car can soften lesser quality coatings. The tires then cool down and contract after driving which causes the tire tread to grab and pull at the surface of the still soft coating. This process will cause the epoxy to delaminate as the tire pulls it up off the floor.
Hot tire pick-up is a problem that is associated more with lesser quality products such as store-bought epoxy paint kits. These are usually water-based coatings that are 50% solids at best and only three mils thick, as compared to 100% solids epoxy that is ten mils or thicker. These thicker coatings are generally found in quality commercial grade product or professionally installed coatings.
Because the thicker, multiple coat epoxy floors wear so well, warranties of up to 15 years or more for installation by professional installers are becoming common—many manufacturers of 100% solids epoxy warranty the product against defects for the life of the floor.
What are the Pros and Cons of Epoxy Floor?
Pros of Epoxy Floors:
Compared to an average garage floor, epoxy floors are bright and professional. Their appearance alone makes them enticing to use. The smooth and even surface is also very easy to sweep and maintain. Since not much sticks to this type of flooring, cleaning up a mess a very easy.
Compared to other types of flooring, the per square foot cost of epoxy floors are tough to beat. Since it can be installed directly over concrete and other flooring types, the installation costs are quite a bit lower than the others. Pricing remains one of the biggest and the most immediate advantages you’ll find with epoxy flooring.
Epoxy floors are highly resistant to just about everything – oil, gasoline, bleach, transmission fluid, cleansers and more. This is one of the main reasons they’re frequently used in garages and within the automotive industry. Besides withstanding chemical spills/cleaners, epoxy floor coating is also heat and water-resistant. They are almost impervious to most chemical spills without any negative effects on the coating.
Another pro is that these floors also resistant to bacteria and germs, which makes them very easy to sanitize. This is why epoxy is an excellent choice for hospitals and clinics.
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Distinctly valued for their durability, epoxy floors have a longer lifespan than many other floor types. Concrete is the only material that beats it, but it needs to be properly sealed and maintained. Besides, an epoxy floor coating required concrete beneath it anyway. Epoxy floor coating makes concrete exceptionally durable. They also offer benefits of anti-fatigue and can be easily rolled-out on the cement without mortar or glue. But if you wish to go that extra step to care for your floors, consider getting yourself epoxy resins for wood on wood improve.
Epoxy flooring protects the underlying concrete from moisture, stains, grease and cracks. In the long run, this can save you a great deal on cleaning and maintenance costs by eliminating the need to clean carpet or grout. It’s also very reasonably priced for the duration and level of protection that it offers.
However, the protective qualities of epoxy flooring depend on the installer. You need to find a quality local epoxy floorer. You can find epoxy flooring near me if this is a concern.
Epoxy coating lasts longer than many types of flooring. When installed properly, it can last for several decades without cracking or peeling. Besides the durability, its lifespan makes it popular for commercial and industrial use.
Epoxy is a great choice to decorate your floors as well. It’s available in a variety of colours that add a flawless, smooth, elegant shine. The flooring can also be arranged into traditional or personalized patterns and designs. The number of choices makes it an economical way to upgrade plain concrete and improve the ambience of a home or office.
One of the lesser-known advantages of using epoxy on a garage floor is it enhances visibility inside the garage by reflecting light off the floor.
Epoxy floors are resistant to slippage, temperature fluctuations, extreme impact and even fire. That means your family remains safe in your home, regardless of the type of work going on in the garage.
If you use a do-it-yourself kit or simple paint from a big-box retailer, it doesn’t come with a warranty to correct problems should they arise. When you work with a reputable company like Boston Garage, we ensure your investment is protected by offering a five-year warranty against delamination, staining or defects in materials.
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Cons of Epoxy Floors:
One of the major disadvantages of using epoxy on your floors is that it’s a temporary flooring solution. Though durable and resistant, you will have to replace it eventually. Unlike some other flooring solutions, everyday wear and tear take its toll on epoxy floors. To keep things looking good, you’ll have to put down a new coat of epoxy. This is inevitable, especially if heavy things are dropped on the surface of the floor.
Cracks can develop, and chipping is a very common issue. Thought chips can start out as a small annoyance. Eventually, they can lead to a large area of the coat peeling off of the floor. Wheeled carts and toolbox wheels also get caught as they are rolled over the damaged spot. The floor has to be repaired when this happens.
Epoxy floors are relatively skid resistant. This con is not universal. It’s specific only to oil-covered epoxy since that can be very slippery. But they can also become very slippery when wet, which creates a dangerous situation. They are not a good choice in areas that may be prone to spills or water on the floor. This is another drawback. However, you can mitigate this risk, at least to some degree, if you’re able to texturize your floor.
Getting the existing floors ready for applying epoxy is tedious. A significant amount of effort goes into it too. The concrete floor has to be clean and free of any grease, oil, or solvents before the epoxy coating is applied. Cracks will need to be filled as well. Cleaning concrete floors requires multiple attempts. All this preparation work required is a drawback.
The good news is that with the advancements in the manufacture and application methods, homeowners will find it relatively easy to apply using hand tools in a minimum amount of time.
Apart from the extensive preparation that goes into getting the concrete ready, applying the epoxy coating is a time-consuming process. It also takes several days to dry properly. Additionally, the first coat of epoxy must dry completely before adding the next coat.
Wet epoxy has strong fumes. Darker shades of epoxy have more hardeners than the lighter shades. They tend to have an ammonia smell after applying.
Epoxy flooring needs to be installed exactly according to directions. If not done properly, the flooring will not last as long as it should. The coating also gets scratched pretty easily. It’s very hard to clean paint overspray off of it. The coating should be applied only when during that time of the year when the humidity levels are low. This is because moisture can affect the durability of these floors.
We recommend using a dehumidifier to lower humidity for a period of 24 hours before applying your first coat of resin. This will extract as much moisture from the air as possible, which will prevent moisture from becoming trapped underneath the floor once the resin finish has been applied.
The concrete floor must be dried, prepared and cleaned thoroughly before applying epoxy to avoid adherence issues. Epoxy does not adhere well in a moist environment such as a basement. The epoxy paint peels off the floors if applied in a damp environment on a moist floor.
Since the material doesn’t breathe once it cures, any moisture trapped below the surface can be a problem as it evaporates. It may lead to the eventual need for repair or refinishing as bubbling or buckling in the flooring material may occur in some cases.
Homeowners have to buy special cleaning acids and other chemicals to ensure that the epoxy sticks. It’s also necessary to buy and use special protective clothing, protective eyewear and breathing devices when using these chemicals. Not only does this increase the amount of time and effort necessary, but in some instance, it can also increase costs.
Once the epoxy is applied, changing colours or designs can be a labour-intensive and costly endeavour. In those situations where the floor has to be repaired, removing the coating is quite extensive and difficult.
HOW GARAGE FLOOR EPOXY IS APPLIED
Epoxy garage floors require good floor preparation which is critical for a successful coating. This usually involves some form of either floor grinding, shot blasting or acid etching of the floor to profile the concrete for the epoxy. It’s very critical that it is done right or the epoxy coating will not adhere properly. Patching or repairing any cracks or other damage to the concrete before the epoxy is applied is required as well.
Quality epoxy floor systems usually involve multiple coats to ensure a very tough and resistant coating that will last for years. Many times this will involve an epoxy primer which is applied first.
Diagram of epoxy floor systemThe primer is what binds to the concrete to provide adhesion for the subsequent layers and provide for a higher build. Some primers will also act as a moisture barrier for those cement floors that are somewhat susceptible to moisture vapour that moves up from the soil through the concrete to the surface.
The next coat is the colour coat or base coat. This may sometimes be applied without primer depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations. This coat will also receive the application of coloured acrylic paint chips to add density and texture if so desired. The final coat is a clear topcoat. This is what gives the finish that glossy look and depth that these floors are known for.
One option would be a system that includes a polyurethane topcoat. Epoxy will yellow or amber, as the industry calls it when exposed to sunlight over a period of time. Polyurethane is a two-part polymer that hardens just like epoxy and is used as a sealer and protectant. When used in the colour coat and topcoat with epoxy, it will resist the yellowing effect that happens when exposed to the sun.
In conclusion, epoxy has many beneficial qualities for use in residential and commercial contexts. Epoxy is affordable, hygienic, durable, and long-lasting. Epoxy floor coatings are also highly customizable, so the design potential is endless. However, epoxy can be difficult and potentially hazardous to apply so proper steps need to be taken to ensure the best results. Finally, despite its overall durability, epoxy is susceptible to yellowing from UV rays and chipping from forceful impacts. If you have questions or are considering a concrete coating for your home, contact us now. We’ll happily talk you through your options and help you make an informed decision.