Painting a Garage Floor

Painting a garage floor is one of the biggest facelifts you can give a garage. The garage is a room too. It doesn’t have to be drab. Not only will a durable epoxy coating dramatically improve the way you look at your garage, it enhances the value of your home, makes cleanup of spills and tire stains easier, and just plain looks good.

Things You’ll Need

  • Long-handled bristle brush
  • Long-handled paint roller with three to six extra covers
  • 1 or 2 gallons of muriatic acid
  • 2-part epoxy floor covering of your choice
  • Large watering can
  • Pressure washer or strong water sprayer
  • Five-gallon bucket
  • Putty knife
  • Paint scraper
  • Paintbrush
  • Preparing the Floor for Coating

Make sure to read also my post about the 12 key tools you need at home.

The more time spent on cleaning and preparing the garage floor for coating, the better the finished job. Degreasing and etching the concrete is the most vital step to preparing the floor to adhere with the epoxy coating.

Plan on the garage being off limits for at least a week to allow the epoxy garage coating to properly cure. Often epoxy kit instruction will state a shorter curing time, but it’s not worth ruining the floor by driving on it too soon.

Sweep and wet-mop the floor thoroughly. use a paint scraper and elbow grease to remove any dried-on paint spots, dirt, grease, and everything else left behind from previous garage adventures. Once the floor is clean, fill in any cracks with concrete crack sealer available from most hardware stores. Make sure the crack sealer is truly a non-shrinking variety. Level off the crack sealer with a putty knife.

Etch the Concrete Floor with Muriatic Acid

Etching the garage floor will ensure the epoxy coat adheres to the concrete. etching works much like sanding wood to prepare the surface to better accept and stick to the paint.

While garage floor coating suppliers often market a cleaner / degrease / etching solution to use along with the coating kit, muriatic acid does the job for quite a bit less out-of-pocket expense.

There is no definitive recipe for muriatic acid to water solution for cleaning and etching concrete — the rule of thumb is three parts water to one part muriatic acid. Mix the cocktail solution in a five-gallon bucket and pour the contents into a large sprinkler can. The sprinkler can help to evenly disperse the acid cleaner/etcher onto the concrete floor.

Lightly scrub the floor with a medium-bristle brush and rinse the floor with fresh water. Go over the floor a second time with baking soda and the scrub brush to ensure the acid is completely neutralized before allowing the floor to dry. Rinse or pressure wash the floor as a final step. use a floor squeegee to remove excess water, and speed up the drying time.

Choosing and Mixing the Garage Floor Coating

Many of the garage floor coating kits available at the neighborhood home and garden warehouse are the same for the most part. They are fine for light to medium residential-type traffic. If you want a truly durable floor — the kind you find at the fast-lube garage — visit a professional paint store and pick up a xylene-based 2-part epoxy floor covering kit. It may not come with the pretty sprinkles, but you can pick those up extra if that is your thing.

Regardless of the kit you choose, the mixing instructions for 2-part epoxy are similar. Mix part A with Part B in a clean 5-gallon bucket and stir it until you feel your eyes starting to bulge — or 5-minutes — whichever comes first. It might be a good idea to pick up a paint mixer for your electric drill and save the workout for the gym.

Applying Paint to the Garage Floor

Before applying paint to the garage floor, ensure you have ample ventilation available, and a respirator. The xylene-based epoxy coating is strong; unless you have plenty of brain cells to spare, it’s best not to breath too much of the fumes.

Apply the coating on a calm, warm, day – preferably with air temps between 70 and 95-degrees F. Also, the less humidity in the air, the better. If the humidity is greater than 50-percent, hold off on the project until the weather is drier.

Start in the far corner of the garage and work your way out the door while evenly rolling the coating onto the floor. apply the coating in the same direction for the first coat, and in the opposite direction for the second coat. Yes, a second coat is necessary for a long-lasting garage floor coating. Touch-up the edges of the floor with a paintbrush.

Allow at least 8-hours between each coat for the best results. If you are going to apply flakes to the epoxy coat, apply them on the final coat only. When applying the flakes, cover a four by four-foot section at a time, and evenly spread the flakes by hand. covering a larger area before moving applying the flakes will allow the coating to start drying and prevent the flakes from properly absorbing into the epoxy.

Tips for a Professional Looking Garage Floor Coating

  • Use a new roller cover for each new coat of epoxy
  • Spend the extra time necessary to completely clean and degrease the floor
  • Keep the mixed epoxy covered when not in use — the mixed epoxy will begin to dry within eight hours.
  • Mix the epoxy with a power drill and paint mixer for optimum mix and blending
  • Allow the final coating to cure for a minimum of seven days before driving on the new floor.