Q. Our house was built a couple of years ago and now I would like to paint the floor of my garage with an epoxy coating. I have talked with a guy that does nothing but epoxy floors for residential and commercial applications and his quote was pretty expensive. I have seen kits at my home improvement stores that are a lot cheaper and I figure I can do it myself. What do you think? — William of Kendallville
A. Well, there are several different directions I could go with the question, “What do you think?”
First off, the key to doing a good job that lasts on your garage floor is the preparation. Commercial flooring contractors that apply epoxy coatings usually prep the floor with a shot blaster walk behind. This machine uses small steel balls that basically pelt the floor, removing the top finish of the concrete. This process assures that the floor is clean and all the surface finish has been removed. This makes sure the finish epoxy coating will adhere properly to the concrete.
Do-it-yourself practices will be to use an acid wash that will remove any spots or finish sealers that might be on your floor.
It is critical that the floor is clean so that your new finish will stay adhered to the floor.
The second critical component is the paint or epoxy coating that you are planning on using. Epoxy floor paints are tough resins that come in a two-part form and have to be mixed together before use. There are basically three types: solids based, solvent based and water based.
Solids based are virtually 100 percent epoxy; they have very little evaporation, harden with exposure and are typically commercially installed.
The solvent based paints contain 40-60 percent epoxy; they penetrate and adhere well and are the most common professionally applied coating.
The water based products are not toxic and respirators do not need to be worn to apply. These are generally found in the home improvement stores and are still a two-part system that contains a percentage of solids.
The percentage of solids is really the comparable component; the more the solids the longer it will last and the more expensive it is.
Jeff Deahl is past president of the Builders Association of Northeast Indiana. Questions for the Square Corners column may be submitted at ba-ni.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for more columns by Jeff Deahl.