There is quite a difference between a poured cement floor in your garage and epoxy garage floors. Cement cannot protect your floor from moisture, stains or grease and oil. The shiny, hard surface that epoxy gives holds a professional look for years, increasing your home's value.
It is possible for a DIYer to coat a garage floor but there is a lot of preparation that needs to be done. First of all is the testing. If you have a newly lain concrete floor, wait at least 30 days after it has been installed to make sure that it is cured completely.
Second, if moisture beads up on your floor, it has been treated with a sealant and will not hold epoxy. The third test is to cover an area with a trash bag, sealing all edges with duct tape and let set for 24 hours. Peel up the tape and check for moisture underneath the plastic. If there is moisture, your concrete will not bond with epoxy. If your floor passes these critical tests, you can begin.
This is a full weekend job and is quite a bit of work. Plan for a warm dry day to begin your project, as a rainy damp day will extend the drying time.
Your concrete floor will need to be scrubbed and dried thoroughly. A floor machine and industrial strength cleaner works best to get into the pores of your floors.
Once this has been completed, etch the floor with muriatic acid in order to build up a rough surface. This is done by mixing the acid one part to ten parts water and power scrubbing; then rinse, rinse, rinse.
If your floor is not gritty to the touch, scrub again with the muriatic mixture and rinse again. Let your floor completely dry overnight. Fill any cracks in with epoxy crack filler and let dry according to package instructions.
Note: Muriatic acid is a relatively weak acid. As yet I have not encountered any agency which did not approve this diluted mixture or considered it harmful. A friend was preparing a roof for a special coating and this mixture was approved for use on a building adjacent to a large lake.
I have personally used commercial cleansers containing muriatic acid many times to remove lime build-up from commercial ice machines and coffee pots, and it is used in many household cleansers. In commercial use it is a very diluted solution. Just don't use it full strength; always highly dilute this acid.
But rules and regulations change from time to time and it has been more than 15 years since I became disabled. Check with the proper agency for current regulations.
Now you can begin with the epoxy coating. There are three different types of epoxy that can be used. The first is almost straight epoxy and should only be used by professionals because of the difficulty in handling and it dries so quickly.
The second is blended with 40 to 60% solvent-based additives and the choice of most professionals. The third is the water-based epoxy that does not let off the deadly fumes of the solvent based but is only available in gray or tan colors. If you choose the solvent based, you will have to wear a respirator mask in order to avoid harmful fumes.
Apply the first coat of epoxy with a roller or brush and let air for sixteen hours. Apply to edges first and brush up the wall a few inches to prevent water damage to your drywall. With the second coat, mix with a non-skid product and apply again.
The actual application is the easy part but preparation is the key to a professional looking job. In just a couple of days you will have a fully protected and showroom looking epoxy garage floors that can be easily maintained for years of use.
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