So you have purchased new equipment for your favorite DIY projects. You have a new chest for your tools and a new workbench – this is great. But wait, your garage doesn’t look complete. Before you think about overhauling your garage, start by upgrading your garage floor.
Now, we know floor paint is not the most elaborate upgrade that we can think of, but it does have an excellent effect when done the right way. Moreover, it can offer you a safe space to complete your projects, extend the life span of your garage, and give it a great look.
However, though it is a simple project, the process needs some skill and attention to detail for great results. In this piece, we shall take you through everything you need to know about garage floor paint and painting.
How to Paint your Garage Floor
Below is a quick guide on how to paint your garage floor. What you need:
- Protective gear, including safety goggles, dust mask, and rubber gloves
- Stiff bristled scrub brush
- Pressure washer
- Concrete filler
- Plastic bucket
- Metal bristled scrub brush
- Paint roller (water-resistant)
- Nylon paintbrush
Ensure you have sufficient ventilation in the garage
Before you start cleaning, you should ensure the garage is well ventilated. This is essential because you’ll be working with bleach and epoxy paint – products have toxic fumes, which can cause respiratory health problems if not handled with care.
You should open the window or have the garage door open. Doing this will make sure that air circulates through your garage continually.
You should also put on protective gear, including dusk masks, rubber gloves, safety goggles, and clothes you don’t mind getting paint splatters on.
Clean the floor
Start the process by sweeping the floor and washing away all stains using a mixture of water and bleach. This mixture ensures the cleaning is thorough.
When mixing water and bleach, follow the mixing procedure. Too little bleach and cleaning will be ineffective. On the other hand, if the bleach is too much, it might damage your floor.
For stubborn stains, use a metal bristled brush instead of a scrub brush. And when you finish cleaning, rinse the floor with clean water. Using a pressure washer will yield excellent results.
Fill in imperfections
So far, you have completed several projects in your garage. And though you might have been careful, the floor has taken a beating over time. Currently, it has some cracks and dents.
Before you paint the floor, be sure to fill up these cracks and dents. It is the same thing you would do if you were painting a piece of furniture. Failure to fill in these cracks and imperfections will leave behind noticeable dents that rob the final finish of its beauty and glory.
To fill small cracks, use a concrete filler, and for the large ones, use a concrete patch. After application, clean and dry the spots before painting.
Use concrete etcher to prep your garage floors
After everything dries, inspect the floor to determine if it will need etching. Now, etching is a process that prepares the floor surface to absorb the paint better. The inspection process involves sprinkling a couple of drops on the floor. If the floor absorbs it fast, you can proceed to the next step. However, if the droplets aren’t absorbed fast, you should apply concrete etcher to the floor.
So where can you get a concrete etcher? Every local hardware and home-improvement store stocks concrete etchers. Be sure to follow the instructions on the package.
With most concrete etchers, you need to dilute them with water in a plastic bucket. When it’s ready, apply it to the floor using a stiff-bristled broom. Leave the etcher on the surface for as long as the product manufacturer stipulates. Later, scrub the floor with a brush, rinse and mop with a lot of water. When you are done, the floor should feel like medium-grit sandpaper.
Let the floor dry overnight before you start painting.
Prime before you start painting
Painting your garage floor is like painting your furniture and walls. You should start the painting process by applying primer paint. And so that the painting process doesn’t take a toll on your back, you should use a roller instead of a regular paint brush. Let the paint cure for between six and eight hours before applying the top coat.
Add two coats of epoxy
Adding a coat of epoxy to the garage floor helps to protect the floor. Mix epoxy paint and use a nylon brush to apply the first coat. Let this coat cure for a day before applying the next layer. After the second coat, mark the floor out of bounds for five days. This will be sufficient time to yield excellent results.
What Paint to Use on Concrete Garage Floor
Like regular paint, there is a lot of thought that needs to go into choosing the right garage floor paint. There are different products by different brands, including Rust-Oleum, Coloredepoxies, and United Gilsonite. These brands offer the best garage floor paint in the industry.
As you choose the paint, you should also consider the garage floor paint color. Think of what the color makes you feel and why it is important to you. If the goal is to hide marks and stains on the floor, choose a dark color. If you want to brighten up the garage, choose a light gray.
Concrete floor paint options are either oil-based or latex. Concrete floor paint is a tough version of regular wall paint. However, it is the least expensive when compared to other garage floor paint options. You simply roll the concrete paint like regular paint. The application process isn’t tricky or complicated. Moreover, you can easily perform touch-ups for the damaged areas and completely re-coat the floor.
On the other hand, latex floor paint is easy to apply and clean in comparison to oil-based paint. It usually dries to a flat, low-sheen finish while oil-based paint as a high gloss finish.
If you choose an oil-based garage floor paint, you will have to apply a primer coat. This makes it slightly expensive than latex but also more durable.
With that said, we should point out that floor paint isn’t as durable or as tough as garage floor coating options. Actually, garage floor paints are vulnerable to chemicals and road salt. In normal conditions, your floor paint needs touch-ups every two years or less.
And how much does the floor paint cost? Like interior and exterior painting, the costs vary depending on several factors. But generally, the garage floor painting project cost about $0.15 per square foot for each coat.
Garage floor coating options
Concrete satin has a translucent coloring, which is loved for its decorative purpose. The coloring soaks into the concrete to create a marbled and pigmented appearance resembling natural stone. With concrete satin, you will need to apply two coats and use a sprayer or a roller for application. After the application, you will use a nylon scrubbing brush to work it into the concrete.
Now, we should point out that the concrete satin doesn’t have protective properties. As such, once the floor is dry, you should rinse it and apply several coats of urethane sealer. This sealer will provide water resistance capabilities and protects the floor from stains and chemicals.
Depending on the traffic your garage gets, the floor should last for a maximum of two years, after which you will need to reseal or touch up the stain.
Concrete stains cost between $0.20 and $0.85 for every square foot of the coat, excluding urethane top coat.
Concrete floor sealers are available in tinted and clear versions. The sealers resemble floor paint, but they are tougher. They are the least expensive and easy to apply. They come in two variants- solvent-based and water-based.
Latex or acrylic concrete sealer
Like regular floor paint, latex/acrylic sealer is vulnerable to stains and chemicals. It is not tough and therefore needs protective waxing. But on the other hand, latex/acrylic sealer sticks better to concrete floors in comparison to urethane sealer. This is the reason why experts and DIYers use a primer with oil-based garage floor paint.
Urethane concrete sealer
Urethane sealer is tougher than acrylic or latex sealer. However, it has the benefit of bonding better with bare garage floor concrete. It achieves a high-gloss and clear finish, which is chemical resistant and less likely to develop a yellow hue under direct sunlight. With all these benefits, you expect a urethane concrete sealer to be more expensive than an acrylic sealer.
How to prep your garage floor for painting
The success you achieve in any DIY project depends on the quality of prep work done. Say, for instance, you need to cut down a tree. Before you strike the stem of the tree, spend more time sharpening the ax. This way, when you finally hit, you’ll use less energy and time.
What do we mean to say with all this? Before you paint your garage floor, prepare it. And in this case, preparation includes checking the floor for moisture applying sealers and additives to the floor.
If the floor is wet, the coating will not stick to the floor. So how do you know the floor is wet? Well, if there is white powder and white crystals on the floor, it’s a sign that moisture has seeped into the floor. The thin layer of white crystals and white powder will prevent paint from sticking to the surface. You can also tell the floor is wet if there is a musty odor in the room.
But if these two signs are not available, you can perform a quick test – tape a clear plastic on the concrete floor. If you find water droplets under the plastic bag after sixteen hours or the floor has darkened, then the floor is too wet. When performing this test, bear in mind that cold weather can interfere with the results.
If you pour water droplets on the floor and it beads up, the floor either has a sealant or has oil contamination. If the concrete is saturated with oil, the garage floor painting project will fail.
How to clean the garage floor before painting
You can use a commercial de-greaser or an alkaline cleaner to clean the floors. As we mentioned earlier, paint doesn’t stick to contaminated floors. This means dirty floors or those with silicone or wax-based sealers are not ready for painting. You should note that some additives make floor coatings regardless of how well it is applied.
Below are some methods to prep or clean your concrete floor
Shot blasting – in this process, the floor is blasted with tiny steel shot pellets at high speeds. Though it is an effective prepping process, it isn’t practical for residential use.
Acid etching – in this process, a water and acid solution is poured on the floor, and a chemical reaction etches the floor. This etching makes it porous enough to adhere to the coating.
Grinding – a professional mechanical grinder is used to rough up the surface and to give it a porous feel. Increased porosity improves the bonding of the coats. This process is easier and safer for you.
How to remove old paint from concrete garage painting
Concrete garage floors are porous. What this means is that the floors absorb paint. And while the porosity helps in durability, it makes it difficult to remove old paint when you need a change. Luckily, difficult doesn’t mean impossible. Below are several removal options that you can use.
Things you need
- Scrub brush
- Soft cloths
- Paint stripper
Steps to remove old paint
Most paint manufacturers also make removers. If regular paint strippers like turpentine and mineral spirit don’t work for the surface, you should get in touch with the paint manufacturer and inquire of the best paint stripper to remove the paint.
Once you get the recommended stripper, apply it to the floor and leave it for several hours.
After the stripper sets, use a scrub to brush off the paint. The scrubbing action will help to remove most of the paint.
After successfully removing a large portion of the concrete paint, wash it off thoroughly using the hose pipe to get rid of any residue.
If some paint remains after this process, allow the paint some time to dry and repeat the process.
Soda blasting is an excellent way of removing paint from concrete floors. The benefit of this method is that it’s environmentally friendly and doesn’t damage the underlying concrete.
What you need;
- Pot blaster
- Special sodium bi-carbonate
- Put on a respirator
- Prepare the pot blaster
- Start blasting the concrete floor as you maintain some distance. You should be about two feet away from the area you are blasting
- If the concrete floor is close to plants, ensure you cover them to prevent the plants and vegetation from affecting them. Plants cannot withstand the high pH levels prompted by the baking soda.
How long does floor paint take to dry?
The exact drying time depends on several factors. These include:
The type of paint used
If you use oil-based paint, you can expect it to dry in 8 hours. Usually, the paint will be dry to the touch and ready for a second coat within the first 24 hours.
On the other hand, latex paint takes about an hour to be touch-dry. After an hour, you can add another coat of paint and then leave it for four hours to dry.
Most floor paint manufacturers will specify the drying time on the product label. Therefore, ensure you read through the instructions before painting even if you have used similar paint in the past. Reading the instructions will also ensure that you are following the right process.
How the paint is applied
If the paint is applied thickly, it means that it will take longer to dry. Because of this, you should apply a thin layer for faster drying. Paint looks better with multiple coats instead of a single thick layer.
Also, if you apply a second layer before the first one dries, it will take longer to dry.
The temperature and humidity at the time of painting
If it is too humid, the air in the garage will be warm. This will prolong the drying time. High humidity also causes the paint to dry unevenly. If you want to reduce the drying time, you should open all the windows and doors. You can also turn on the AC and run a fan. Doing this will regulate humidity and temperatures.
Now that you know the drying times, let’s look at how long floor paint takes to cure.
Curing of the floor paint will not happen until after several days after the paint has dried. Though oil-based paint takes longer to dry, it cures in a week. On the other hand, latex paints can take up to 30 days to cure. But what is curing? Simply put, it is the process of paint hardening all through. You should always wait for the paint to cure before using the floor so that the paint lasts longer and becomes resistant to impact and footfalls.
Commonly asked questions
1. Is painting a garage floor a good idea?
Yes, it is. There are a several benefits of painting your garage floor, including:
Unfinished concrete is like a dust factor. Covering the concrete floor protects the garage and the entire home. Luckily, floor painting is inexpensive and puts a stop to the annoying dust build-up.
Protects the home against pollutants
Depending on the paint you use, adhesion to water, chemicals, oil, mildew, mold, and other staining materials is prevented. With a painted garage floor, you can easily wipe the surface with some detergent and water.
Personalize the space
Yes, this is a benefit as well. You can express your creativity by painting your floor. You can use different colors to match the premises or elevate its design.
Brightens the space without increasing your energy bills
Bare concrete absorbs a lot of light in comparison to painted surfaces. Painted surfaces, especially those with light colors brighten the room without having to add extra bulbs.
2. Can you re-coat an epoxy floor?
Yes, you can. If your epoxy floor is damaged, you can repair it by applying another layer. However, you have to prep it carefully, or the new epoxy will not adhere to the surface. The preparation process involves using a detergent to remove the invisible oily layer that might have built up over the years.
The process of re-coating the epoxy floor is similar to that of painting the first coat.
3. Is epoxy floor slippery?
The answer to this is not black and white. An epoxy floor is relatively skid resistant. Not all floors are slippery. However, those covered in oil are slippery.
Generally, all epoxy floors are slippery when they are wet. Because of this, they are not ideal for spaces that are prone to spills. Luckily, you can reduce the slippery nature by texturizing the floor.
4. Does epoxy stick to latex paint?
Yes, epoxy will stick to latex paint and acrylic paint but not to oil-based paint.
5. How long does garage floor paint last?
Epoxy floors are durable and easy to clean. They can last for a decade, depending on the care you afford them. Epoxy flooring protects concrete garage floors from solvents and salts.
6. What does it cost to epoxy a garage floor?
Homeowners pay about $2145 to coat their garage concrete floors — the materials for the project cost between $2 and $5 for each square foot. If you hire a professional, you will spend an extra $1-$7 per foot.
Garages, like kitchens and basements receive high foot traffic. Concrete flooring and paint help to protect the floor from wear and tear, chipping, and cracking. And if you are concerned about the costs, there are ways to reduce the cost. For instance, you can turn the project into a DIY. But bear in mind that this means setting aside time to learn the skill and handle the project.