Photo of garage floor coating by SupremeCrete/Flickr.
Garage floor coatings make your flooring look great. They also protect it and make cleanup a breeze. You can hire a professional to apply the coating of your choice or you can DIY, if you have a weekend to dedicate to sprucing up the garage. As with any home improvement project, map out your plans ahead of time so you can do the job right. Pay special attention to all reminders and warnings on the products you use ... for your safety and that of others.
How Garage Floor Coatings Improve Concrete Slab Flooring
Most garage floors are simply poured concrete slabs, a cost-effective option for flooring. The problem with plain concrete is that it holds stains and dirt easily, and it might start to crack and weather over time. This looks messy, detracting from the value of your home. You can radically change the look and feel of the space with garage floor coatings, which create a smooth, inviting surface that still offers traction for vehicles.
Epoxy Coating Variations
The standard option is an epoxy coating, but the possible permutations with epoxy are limitless. All of them start with a primer, which helps to seal the concrete and establish a base coat. Next comes the body coat, which can be tinted with a wide array of colors. You can seal the body coat as-is for a plain tinted floor, or you can use an epoxy color chip system, which broadcasts small paint chips into the body coat. A floor prepared with this method will have tiny flecks distributed within it, adding color and texture, and thanks to the array of tints and paint chips available, you have hundreds of possible color combinations to work with.
Metallic Epoxy Garage Floor Coating
Another option, for those who want a more modernist effect, is a metallic epoxy garage floor coating. The body coat in this case has a metallic appearance, and it’s treated with a solvent after application to create little dips and craters that are later sealed in with a topcoat. The end result is a floor that looks highly textured and dynamic, but feels utterly smooth to the touch.
Both options are highly durable, able to stand up to high traffic as well as salt, snow, and mud. They clean up easily; you can quickly mop garage floor coatings to remove messes, and they’re easy to sweep out to remove dust and dirt. Critically, they resist cracking and staining, and should stay looking clean and polished for years as long as you regularly maintain them.
Prep for DIY Application of Garage Floor Coatings
Many home improvement stores carry a wide range of supplies for installing garage floor coatings, including base coats, body coats, and sealants along with application tools and respirators (which you will definitely want to wear while working with epoxy). Be sure to completely clear and clean the garage floor before applying the coating as directed. Take time to allow each coat to dry between applications so the end result will be even and smooth.
Prep for Hiring Contractors to Apply Garage Floor Coatings
Concrete contractors can install garage floor coatings for you if you don’t feel comfortable doing the work yourself. Plan on getting bids from several of them, and ask for samples of their work to make sure they’re a good fit for you. Before installation, discuss which guarantees, if any, they offer, and what will happen if the flooring needs to be repaired or replaced because of a fault in the workmanship.
s.e. smith writes for Networx.com.