It’s easy to overlook the garage, but that would be a mistake. Vehicle traffic and chemical spills put a lot of stress on garage floors. Because of the weight and traffic in a garage, the floor may eventually break and get stained. Garage floor finishing is the only option to preserve the garage floor while improving its aesthetic value.
Choosing the right garage flooring takes just as much thought and planning as any other room. It’s easy to lose sight of your garage needing a facelift when you park your car there. Finding out what’s wrong with the garage floor and considering your tastes are the first steps in settling on a finishing choice. Garage floor coverings and garage floor coatings are the two most common choices.
The Best Coatings To Use On Your Garage Floors
Priorities should be established before settling on a garage floor sealing strategy. Determine what you care about and how you can get there. Some things to think about are listed below.
Coatings vary in how much protection they provide. How heavily you rely on your garage floors for daily activities will determine how much protection they require. Do you only use your garage to store a couple of cars and maybe some equipment and other items? How heavy-duty are these vehicles, if any? Is there a lot of foot activity in your garage? Do you use your garage regularly for anything?
The more the foot traffic on your flooring, the more maintenance they will require. Therefore, polyurea coatings should be considered if durability over time is a priority. Water and solvent-based garage floor treatments are an option to keep the floor clean and dry.
You should care about how your garage looks if you spend a lot of time there and prefer to show it off to visitors. The appearance of your garage can be greatly improved by coating the floorboards. Epoxy and polyurea coatings, as previously noted, are available in many hues, textures, and gloss levels. To keep things simple, you may paint your flooring using epoxy in a single colour.
Conditions For Curing
Coatings have different application procedures as well. Some materials may take a day or more to fully adhere and dry, while others might begin curing almost immediately. Epoxy floors can take up to three days to install, while polyurea coatings can be done in a single day. Polyurea flooring could be the finest option if you must swiftly complete the task. However, faster dry times mean less time and less room for error, so hiring a professional with experience in this area is important.
What Is Your Budget?
In the end, you must factor in price. The costlier your garage is, the more durable its coatings should be. You want to provide your floors with the best protection without breaking the bank. Consider your options in light of your needs and financial constraints. The upfront cost of polyurea floor coatings may seem high, but the cost savings over several decades are more than makeup.
Concrete Coatings For Garage Floors: Common Types
Protective concrete coatings have a good chance of withstanding the weather when properly prepared and placed. The following coating methods for garage floors have benefits and technical aspects that make them ideal for certain uses. There are a few exceptions, but the most common coating methods for commercial and industrial floors may be broken down into four broad categories.
You can categorise them into four categories: epoxies, polyurethanes, acrylics, and polyureas.
Epoxies and polyaspartic polyurea (often called “aspartics”) are the most popular coatings for garage floors.
Epoxy is the most popular and commonly used coating for garages. Some epoxy flooring systems have been used for over a century, making this coating one of the oldest on the market. Naturally, epoxy systems have advanced greatly over the years. To make an epoxy coating, an epoxy resin is mixed with a hardener (catalyst) according to a specific recipe.
Epoxy is now more of a catch-all term for a diverse family of coatings than a single brand (think of it like saying “car” instead of “Chevy” or “Porsche”), and this has led to an explosion in the variety of epoxy coatings available. Epoxy is a thick, semi-self-leveling, resinous coating that comes in numerous varieties, typically made with special features appropriate to specific situations, such as chemical resistance, thermal cold/hot protection, wear prevention, etc. Novalac Epoxy is one of the most durable coatings on the market, offering excellent wear and chemical resistance at the expense of higher cost and greater complexity in installation.
Benefits Of Epoxy Flooring
- Epoxies are more user-friendly than other coatings when installed on garage flooring. This results from the after-epoxy of the after-epoxy, which occurs when the A component is combined with the B component. When applying the coating, a longer period of labour time is required.
- Due to the thick mil application of the fact that it has some self-levelling capabilities, the thick coats can hide minor defects such as modest trowel marks and little spider cracks that are essentially negligible.
- After proper installation, epoxies do have a pleasing appearance. The look of amazement on a customer’s face when they first see their new epoxy floorless to us.
- The material cost should be lower than alternative techniques. However, this benefit must be weighed against the increased time required to apply subsequent coats.
Drawbacks Of Epoxy Flooring
- Epoxies can only be applied in dry, warm weather. Unless the garage is heated and enclosed, most epoxies are applied in the late spring, summer, or fall. Coating the garage slab’s apron requires careful attention to temperature. The apron is the slab extension floor that meets the driveway. Wet floors should not have any of the coatings applied to them. The curing process will be slowed if the floor slab temperature is below average.
- Epoxy coatings require significantly more time to cure between coats. Even while epoxy systems are getting faster at drying, you still have to get everything back in working order at least a workday between coats, as more money to get everything back in working order.
- Epoxies are not aliphatic, which is the scientific explanation for why they turn yellow and fade with time. If the floor needs fixing, this could become an issue. Matching the new shade to the old floor becomes a challenging, if not impossible, process.
- Although several modern epoxies claim to be resistant to ultraviolet rays, we have found that, in practice, they are less effective than alternative coating techniques. There is no indication that they are aliphatic.
- Under the tyre lanes, where stones caught in tyre treads can damage the coating surface over time, wear lines can appear if you use a garage epoxy that is less firm than other options.
- Surface mounting describes the epoxy technique, in which the epoxy base coat is mechanically attached to the top of the concrete slab. Therefore, it is crucial to get ready for working with epoxy.
- In other words, a “hot tyre lift” could happen. The rubber tyres can get very hot after a long drive on a hot day. As opposed to driving on the garage floor with hot tyres, the problem is typically caused by the tyres becoming sticky as they cool. Tyres driven in the heat overnight can cling to the coating’s surface when they cool down in the morning. The tyres of a three thousand pound car with power steering can peel off the coating. In that case, the yellowing problem mentioned earlier can become severe.
Epoxies and polyurethanes have been compared numerous times. Polyurethanes have been around for nearly as long as epoxies and are also a thick mil system with very distinctive features. Floors with a basement or other usable space beneath the cement slab are perfect candidates for polyurethane coatings.
Polyurethanes have a higher elongation than other coatings, making them more flexible. Elastomeric polyurethane has a 400-500% stretch ratio. This feature ensures that water will not seep through the slab and damage the floor. In the case of a multi-story parkade, for instance, it is important to prevent water from seeping through any fractures in the concrete slab and dripping onto the lower levels.
Urethane cement (also known as cementitious urethane) is another name for polyurethane. The urethane in this composition is combined with Portland cement. This finish is among the most durable flooring options available. Polyurethanes can be aesthetically pleasing if they are used correctly. Some of them have a short curing time and can be applied to achieve a high-gloss, semi-gloss, or matte finish respectively.
Benefits Of Polyurethane Flooring:
- Polyurethanes, unlike epoxies, can be aliphatic, meaning they won’t fade or crack in sunlight.
- Cement can be added to the mixture when extra thickness and strength are required.
- Fast curing times and compatibility with other systems mean you may have a durable, beautiful floor in no time.
- Elastomeric polyurethane with a 500% elongation factor. The elastomeric system is completely watertight. Even though most coatings are waterproof, moisture can seep through concrete fractures and reach the underlying surface. Water damage can be prevented by stretching an elastomeric coating over the crack.
Drawbacks Of Polyurethane Flooring:
- Labour costs will increase since some polyurethanes, particularly elastomeric, require a significant wait time between applications.
- There may be a delay in returning to duty.
- It takes more skill to fill out the application correctly.
- Compared to other coating systems, polyurethanes, especially urethane cement and elastomeric, are noticeably more expensive.
- Not all urethanes are suitable for use as a topcoat since they are not aliphatic. These finishes are meant to be used as base and bed coats, requiring an aliphatic topcoat.
Driveway sealants and one-component paints both rely heavily on acrylics. Methacrylate (MMA) is an acrylic floor coating that works well as a garage floor coating. Although The Garage Store has not had much practice using MMAs, we know they have many characteristics with polyureas. MMAs were widely available between 5 and 10 years ago, and they were seen as a formidable rival to both polyurethanes and epoxies at the time.
Benefits Of Acrylic Flooring:
- They do cure quickly, much like polyureas.
- It can be used in cold climates.
- It’s regarded as one of the longest-lasting garage floor treatments by some.
Drawbacks Of Acrylic Flooring:
- It has a brief working period and does call for off-gassing safety understanding.
- It’s not shiny like epoxies or polyureas; it has a drab, almost matte appearance.
- You may need help locating a floor installation provider with access to or experience in MMA application in the event of a repair.
- A skilled applicator is essential due to the limited window of opportunity.
Polyaspartic Polyurea Flooring
Polyaspartic polyurea is the kind employed here. It has been available to consumers for around 25 years (a long time in the realm of concrete). Since polyaspartics provided excellent protection against salt and could cure very cold temperatures, they were initially utilised as a spray coat to delay corrosion on floating drill platforms. Its cure time was astounding when it was first developed: less than 20 seconds. Its lack of protection from ultraviolet light was a major flaw, though. After making it aliphatic to deal with UV stability, they increased the working time to 45 minutes before releasing it to the public.
Both consumers and professionals immediately received it. Since it could be applied even when temperatures were low, it allowed for year-round work for contractors, and its rapid curing time meant that most garage floor coatings could be applied in a single day without disrupting business operations. Polyurea coatings improved garages’ durability, functionality, and aesthetics around Calgary and North America. Polyaspartic coatings, a subset of polyurea, are our forte; they provide unparalleled durability and adaptability.
These concrete waterproofing coatings offer UV protection, high durability, and many other benefits. The application and curing processes are rapid, but, as with epoxy, the surface must be thoroughly cleaned and prepared to receive a smooth, flawless finish. Applying polyurea alone without proper training is not a good idea because some coatings give off toxic solvent vapours.
Benefits Of Polyaspartic Polyurea Flooring:
- Extremely quick drying time, only 20-40 minutes between coatings.
- Curing temperatures range from very low (-30 C) to warm (+25 C).
- If the concrete is properly prepared, the base coat will penetrate deep into the surface and form a super bond. That takes care of the problem with lifting heated tyres.
- Potentially contributing to VOC-free status for LEED certification.
- Its inherent high shine makes it a great candidate for use as a finishing coat.
- A high level of abrasion resistance is one of its many desirable properties.
- Its extremely compact molecular structure prevents hydrocarbon-based substances like grease, gas, diesel, etc., from penetrating the coating and making cleaning the concrete a chore.
Drawbacks Of Polyaspartic Polyurea Flooring:
- Because of the limited time to apply the coatings, only a skilled applicator can finish the job quickly.
- A smoother prep is required because of the thin mil application.
- Cracks in the slab need to be fixed properly.
- However, the cheaper labour cost due to the quicker duration can more than make up for the greater chemical cost compared to some epoxies.
Garage floor finishing is crucial to preserve and improve the aesthetic value of your garage floor. It is essential to consider factors such as the level of protection needed, preferred aesthetics, and application procedures. Polyurea coatings are recommended for durability over time, while water and solvent-based treatments are available for cleaning and drying. Epoxy and polyurea coatings come in various hues, textures, and gloss levels, and can be painted in a single color.
Curing times for coatings vary, with epoxy floors taking up to three days to fully adhere and dry, while polyurea coatings can be completed in a single day. Hire a professional with experience in this area for faster dry times.
The cost of garage floor coatings should be considered, as the more expensive the coating, the more durable it should be. The most popular concrete coatings for garage floors are epoxy, polyurethanes, acrylics, and polyureas. Epoxy flooring is the most popular and widely used, with a history of over a century and a diverse range of features. Novalac Epoxy is one of the most durable coatings available, offering excellent wear and chemical resistance at a higher cost and greater complexity in installation.
Epoxy flooring offers several benefits, including being more user-friendly, having self-levelling capabilities, and having a pleasing appearance. However, it requires more labor time and requires more time to cure between coats. Epoxy coatings are not aliphatic, meaning they turn yellow and fade over time. They are less effective than alternative coating techniques, and they can cause wear lines under tyre lanes. Surface mounting, where the epoxy base coat is mechanically attached to the top of the concrete slab, is crucial for working with epoxy.
Polyurethane flooring, on the other hand, is a thick mil system with unique features. It is suitable for floors with a basement or usable space beneath the cement slab. Polyurethanes have a higher elongation, making them more flexible and can be applied to high-gloss, semi-gloss, or matte finishes. However, they can be expensive and require more time to apply subsequent coats.
Polyurethane flooring offers several benefits, including aliphatic properties, fast curing times, compatibility with other systems, and compatibility with other systems. Elastomeric polyurethane is watertight and can prevent water damage by stretching over cracks. However, it requires more skill and is more expensive than other coating systems. Acrylic flooring, such as Methacrylate (MMA), is a popular choice for garage floor coatings due to its quick curing time, ability to be applied in cold climates, and long-lasting properties. However, it has a brief working period and requires off-gassing safety understanding.
Polyaspartic polyurea flooring, a subset of polyurea, has been available for 25 years and provides UV protection, high durability, and other benefits. Its quick drying time, ranging from -30°C to +25°C, and high shine make it a suitable finishing coat. However, it requires thorough cleaning and preparation to achieve a smooth finish.
Drawbacks of polyaspartic polyurea flooring include limited time for application, requiring a skilled applicator, smoother prep, and proper fixing of slab cracks. Despite these drawbacks, the cheaper labor cost and quicker curing time make it a cost-effective option for garage floor coatings.
- Selecting the right coating for your garage flooring is crucial.
- Don’t underestimate the importance of garage floor maintenance.
- Vehicle traffic and chemical spills can harm garage floors.
- Garage floor finishing enhances aesthetics and protection.
- Prioritize your preferences when choosing a garage floor coating.
- Protection level should match your garage’s usage.
- Polyurea coatings offer durability for high-traffic garages.
- Water and solvent-based treatments keep floors clean.
- Aesthetics matter; enhance your garage’s appearance.
- Epoxy and polyurea coatings come in various hues and textures.
- Quick-drying polyurea is ideal for time-sensitive projects.
- Budget considerations should guide your coating choice.
- Polyurea coatings offer long-term cost savings.
- Protective concrete coatings withstand harsh weather.
- Four categories of coatings: epoxies, polyurethanes, acrylics, polyureas.
- Epoxies are the oldest and most versatile garage coatings.
- Novalac Epoxy is known for excellent wear resistance.
- Epoxies hide minor defects and offer a pleasing appearance.
- Installation requires dry, warm weather conditions.
- Epoxy coatings need time to cure between coats.
- Aliphatic epoxies resist fading and yellowing.
- Tread wear can cause lines on softer epoxy coatings.
- Surface mounting requires proper preparation.
- Polyurethane coatings are flexible and elastomeric.
- Prevent water damage with polyurethane coatings.
- Urethane cement offers durability and aesthetics.
- Polyurethanes are aliphatic and UV-resistant.
- Quick curing times make polyurethanes attractive.
- Elastomeric polyurethane provides watertight protection.
- Labour costs may increase with polyurethane coatings.
- Acrylics are used in driveway sealants and paints.
- MMA acrylics are suitable for garage floors.
- MMA cures quickly and works in cold climates.
- Limited window of opportunity requires skilled applicators.
- MMA has a matte appearance.
- Polyaspartic polyurea coatings have been available for 25 years.
- Rapid curing times make polyaspartics ideal for garages.
- Polyurea coatings offer UV protection and high durability.
- Proper surface preparation is crucial for polyaspartic coatings.
- Quick drying time and wide temperature range are advantages.
- Polyaspartics are a top choice for garage finishing coats.
- High abrasion resistance is a desirable property.
- Polyaspartics prevent hydrocarbon-based stains.
- Skilled applicators are essential for efficient coating.
- Proper preparation is necessary for thin mil application.
- Repairing cracks in the slab is essential.
- Labour savings offset higher chemical costs.
- Polyurea coatings contribute to a cleaner environment.
- Choose a coating that matches your garage’s needs.
- Invest in garage flooring that enhances aesthetics and protection.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Epoxy Or Polyurethane Better For Garage Floors?
Newer polyurethane products tend to perform better than epoxies, but they take twice as long to install as other options — up to four days to cure fully. That lengthy cure time requires them to be applied in a thin layer, which makes them more likely to peel and crack.
What Is The Longest-Lasting Garage Floor Coating?
Polyaspartic floor coatings require professional installation and take 24 hours to cure. These floor coatings come with a lifetime warranty because that’s how long they’re expected to last you.
What Is The Cheapest Garage Floor Coating?
One of the most affordable garage floor ideas is concrete paint, which is a tougher version of interior wall paint for your home. Highly susceptible to damage from road salts and other chemicals, floor paint is not as tough as the other options on this list. It is, however, the least expensive by far.
How Thick Is Garage Floor Coating?
However, most professional-grade polymer flooring and epoxy coating systems are installed at thicknesses within the 0.020 to 0.250 inches (20 – 250 mils) range.
What Is The Most Durable Floor Coating?
Epoxy coatings have been the best available option for concrete floors for a long time. They’re a fine solution for many situations, offering some solid benefits that are tough to ignore. Pros: Resistant to stains and chemicals.