I recently got a phone call from a customer moving into a new home in Eagle, ID. They wanted to finish the garage by applying a floor coating and had questions. They had spoken to a number of companies about options and had found that the prices as well as the processes varied greatly. They were confused and even considering buying an epoxy kit from Home Depot or Lowe’s and doing it themselves.
I spent time with them explaining the process and the options. It is a conversation I’ve had with many homeowners and decided to share my thoughts in this post. Let me start by saying that everyone is different when it comes to their budget, ability to do-it-yourself, and time. Therefore I’m not going to say that either of these options are “wrong.” However, it is important to figure out which option is the best for you before spending any of your time or money.
The Do-it-yourself option
There has never before been as many options for a home owner to improve their home themselves and this goes for floor coatings as well. If you decide to do it yourself and buy a kit from the hardware store, be prepared to prepare, or “prep.” Many people are anxious to apply the new coating and do little more than sweep the garage floor before application.
A concrete floor, even a new one, must be “etched” before applying a coating or the coating will fail and begin to peel up. “Etching” is similar to sanding a piece of wood trim before applying a new coat of paint. It gives teeth to the surface for the coating to bond to.
“Etching” can be done by many methods. The simplest for the average home owner is an acid wash. This is a process of applying muriatic acid to the floor and then neutralizing with Baking Soda. Following this step the floor must be thoroughly rinsed and dried. Follow the instructions on the label of the coating your purchase.
I have had many calls from owners who applied their own coating the first time and are now looking to have the floor recoated 4 or 5 years later. It isn’t that they applied the coating the wrong way, it has just been my experience from what I’ve seen that this is the life span of the coating.
Hiring a professional applicator
When hiring a professional to apply epoxy floor coatings there can be a variety of options and prices. While I can’t speak to what is out there and what other companies provide, I can walk you through our process and why we do it.
The first thing I prepare clients for is the time frame. I tell them to expect to keep heavy traffic off of the floor for a week. Following is a breakdown of our process and timelines.
On the first day we will prep the floor. In most cases we will do this by using a large machine called a “scarifier.” This is basically like a sander for concrete. It allows us to etch the floor while keeping it dry, making it possible to apply the 1st coat of our epoxy in the same day. (Some existing floors might take 2 days for this process if an old coating is being removed or there are areas requiring patch work.)
The first coat is a two-part, color specific epoxy. We offer four standard colors but the color can be custom picked by the client from thousands of options. During this coating we typically apply the “color chips” which give the floor it’s showroom look. Again there are thousands of color chips to choose from.
The next step is applying a two-part clear urethane top coat. This is when the non-skid surface is added as well (if requested by client). This hard coating is what will take the brunt of the wear and tear while maintaining the floor’s color & life. On some floors this coating might be applied on day 3.
By day 4 you can walk on your new floor and drive on it by day 7.
We offer a lifetime warranty against normal wear & tear, and we offer pricing options for moving your things in and out of the garage.
Our customers in Eagle, Idaho were thrilled with their new epoxy floor coating and even happier they didn’t have to do it themselves. Knowledge is power so getting the facts before you start into an epoxy floor coating will save you time and money in the long run.