Epoxy Garage Floor Coating Application

If you’ve decided to coat your garage with an epoxy floor coating, congratulations in advance! You will be rewarded with a colorful, tough, spill resistant and good looking garage floor. Application is not difficult, but doing the job correctly can be the difference between a wonderful floor and a pile of expensive, smelly, plastic goo.

Like any coating job, preparation is very important. If the concrete floor in your garage is a “new pour” you may think that your prep troubles are licked, but wait just a second. Is your cement fully cured? This can take 30 days or longer. To test, cover a 4 foot square section of the slab with clear plastic and seal the edges with tape. If the cement is not fully cured, you will see moisture under the plastic within 24 hours. If you do, wait a few more days and do the test again.

Once you have determined that your cement is completely cured, the next preparation step is to be sure the floor is completely clean. A thorough sweeping is a good start, but if you have access to a powerful shop-vac it will get up more dirt and dust. It is your choice if you will use a pressure washer or simply scrub with plain detergent and water to wash the floor. Watch for areas where the water beads, there may be grease trapped in the cement in this area, so treat it with TSP (Trisodium Phosphate). Rinse the floor thoroughly with a garden hose.

Once your floor is clean and dry (place some fans in your garage to help dry the floor) it is time for the actual application. Begin by putting on your personal protective clothing and gloves. Depending on the amount of ventilation where you are working, you may want to consider an organic vapor respirator. Follow the manufacturers instructions exactly when mixing and applying the epoxy coating. You will want to work carefully but quickly once you have begun mixing the epoxy- once the two parts have mixed a chemical reaction has begun that will turn the liquid epoxy into a solid plastic. But once it starts there is no going back! If the application is not finished before the epoxy “kicks”, starts to harden, the coating will have been wasted.

Follow the manufacturers instructions about the mixing ratio of the epoxy exactly. Most kits are delivered so that all of the A in one can mixes with all of the B in another. But be sure of the ratios if you are mixing partial kits. Some epoxy experts may be able to modify the handling characteristics by altering the mixing ratio but this is not recommended, and the manufacturer and the dealer will not stand by the results if the instructions are not followed.

There are a few horror stories of epoxy paint not curing properly. In almost every case this can be traced to improper mixing. In at least one case the painters thought they were smarter than the manufacturer and modified the mix ratio to make the coating cure faster. Three months later they were still scraping unhardened paint from the floor. There usually will be no problems if the label instructions are followed.

 

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