Hey folks. You ever been in someone’s garage and they have that really nice sealed floor? Yeah, well that’s what I’ve got in my garage and I absolutely love it! So when we got another house, one of the first things we wanted to do was seal the floor. And this time we wanted to make it look really nice! After all, you guys know how much I love my cars and my metal working projects, so I like to spend a lot of time in the garage.
Now believe me, this is something that anyone can do! It doesn’t matter if your house is brand new, or 100 years old. If you’ve got a concrete floor that can be painted, it’s fair game!
Ok, so the first thing you need to do is head on down to the local hardware store, which in my case is always going to be Lowe’s (never Home Depot!). Over in the paint department they carry concrete cleaners, sealers, and epoxys. They also have a kit made by Quikrete called the “Epoxy Garage Floor Coating kit”. (I found the Epoxy Garage Floor Coating Kitlowest price on Amazon so you might just want to have it shipped to you.) It comes in two base colors, one is tan, the other gray… but here is the trick! They can actually custom tint these base colors in a wide range of additional colors! Amazingly, the people over at Quikrete don’t even have this stuff on their Web site. Unbelievable.
Anyway, I picked up two of these kits because basically each one will take care of one standard sized car garage. We’re going to do a 2 car garage for purposes of this little tutorial.
Now the first step is that you’ve got to start out with a clean and unobstructed floor. This part is obvious, right? You can’t paint your floor if you can’t get to it! So, start by sweeping it out really good and removing anything that might be stuck to the floor like chunks of concrete or debris. You can get a heavy duty floor scraper from Lowe’s for this. Just ask anyone in the store and they’ll point em out.
The next step is actually to hose down the concrete thoroughly. You want to wash off any lose dirt, and also get the concrete nice and ready for the next step… where all the fun begins!
The first step of sealing the floor is actually an etchant (think ACID!). You have to get a plastic watering can, and dilute the etchant by using one bottle to one gallon of water. It’s important to be wearing rubber gloves and boots as well as eye protection when you’re messing with this stuff!
I’m sure they would recommend that you do NOT wear shorts like I was, but hey… I’m a rebel. What you see in the photo below is the foaming that occurred on contact as soon as the acid hit the floor. There were also lots of fumes, so clearly, the garage needs to be well ventilated.
As you pour the etchant in small sections of the floor, it’s important to use a stiff bristle brush to really scrub the concrete good to ensure that the etchant is getting into all the cracks and crevices. The goal here is for the acid to eat away any oil or other buildup to ensure that the epoxy can make a strong bond with the clean surface.
After etching the entire garage floor, you need to rinse it thoroughly, and then leave it to dry for a full 24 hours. Oh, and in case I forgot to tell you, you need to make sure the temperature outside is above about 50 degrees. This stuff isn’t going to work well if it’s really cold outside, so make it a spring project.
Once the floor has been etched and dried, it’s time to mix the epoxy and start rolling it onto the floor. A couple of things to keep in mind here…
- You’re going to want to keep the garage door closed, because otherwise dirt will blow into your wet paint.
- There are going to be lots of fumes, so you might want to seriously consider getting a 3M filtered painting mask. Those things are great and it’s cheap protection for your lungs.
- Remember to start in the far corner because you are going to need to basically end where you are able to exit the garage. You don’t want to literally paint yourself into a corner.
Also, before I started, I put painter’s tape all around the walls and the garage door so that if and when I accidentally bumped up against them, I wouldn’t get paint on them.
The Quickrete kit we used to do this floor not only allowed us to pick this beautiful deep blue color for the floor, but it comes with little sprinkles that you shake onto the paint to add texture and color. You basically paint a section of the floor, then sprinkle till you get the coverage you like, then repeat.
One thing that I kind of learned the hard way was that you really need to put the epoxy on thick. In the beginning I was worried that I might run out, and I was putting it on a little thin. As I realized that it was going further than I thought, I increasingly laid it on thicker and thicker. In the end I still had at least a half a gallon left which I wished I had used up front.
The lesson from this is that I’d recommend getting an extra kit up front, and just lay the paint on really thick. You probably won’t run out, but if you do it’s better to go thick than thin. The color looks nicer in the end and the cost isn’t really that much more.
As you complete sections and move on, the epoxy already begins drying. You can see from this next photo that as it dries it actually gets darker and darker.
Eventually, once you’ve finished the entire floor it’s just a waiting game. The epoxy is going to be dry enough to actually walk on it after about 24 hours. But I recommend giving it 3-4 days minimum before you start putting anything at all on the floor – especially cars.
The thing is, when you are driving around your tires actually get hot (go ahead, next time to stop somewhere touch one of your tires). Those hot tires parked on paint or epoxy can actually melt it and pull it right off the concrete. For this reason, you want to give the epoxy enough time to really bond with the concrete (another reason for the initial acid etching). Once it’s fully cured though, don’t worry, your tires aren’t going to damage it at all!
After you finish the job and give it time to completely dry, you’re left with an absolutely gorgeous floor that you can be proud to bring your friends over and see. A floor like this will make any car you park on it look twice as good, and it’ll improve the appearance of your home, most likely even translating into a little better resale value.
So what are you waiting for! That floor ain’t gonna paint it’s self… Remember, you can get that kit over on Amazon by following this link.