When we moved into our new house, I knew I wanted to put some money into the garage. Growing up my dad always had an immaculate garage and I remember how easy it was to maintain and clean when he epoxied the floor. Because of that, I wanted to make sure I epoxied our garage floor as soon as we moved into the new house. That prompted the hunt to find the best garage floor epoxy to use in our new garage
EpoxyShield Garage Floor Coating by Rust-Oleum is an excellent garage floor epoxy and is what we chose for our garage. The product is cost-effective, easy to use, and has multiple color options for the base color and your choice of paint chips. The instructions and application are easy to follow and are good for the DIY project. The product is durable and holds up well to normal abuse a garage floor might experience.
What is Garage Floor Epoxy?
In many cases, garage floor epoxy looks like paint. The reason epoxy is used on floors rather than latex paint is because of the durability and bond strength of an epoxy-based compound. Epoxies are used because the epoxide functional compound cures once exposed to air and heat. The compound cures and hardens and becomes rigid, non-porous, and non-reactionary to most chemicals. It creates a hard surface, that is easy to clean, and is durable enough to not chip away from normal use.
What to Consider When Looking for a Garage Floor Epoxy
There are two main types of epoxy covering. One being epoxy paint. The second being a two-part epoxy compound. Both products will be discussed at length later in this article. But the main thing you want to consider here is whether you plan to tackle this project DIY style, or if you will be hiring out for the job. Epoxy paint is usually more forgiving and can be applied to your floors with a roller, much like you would paint a wall. The two-part epoxy is more difficult to work with because as soon as you mix it, you are on the clock as the hardener begins to react. You have a short window of time to get the product on the floor before it hardens. This can be stressful if you are new to this type of product application. Leaving it to the pros may be your best bet.
Another thing you need to consider, more than the product itself, is the look of the garage floor and how it will go with the rest of the garage. I went with a dark gray base since living in the desert means dirt and sand everywhere you look. I went with the three-toned, gray-scaled paint chips to give the floor more texture and some additional durability. If I could do one thing over again when it came to our new garage, I would have spent some more time looking at the floor color options. When I was researching while writing this, I found a guy’s garage where he used a gloss, black base color, and matte black paint chips. It looked amazing and I was instantly jealous.
The third thing you need to be aware of when looking at coating options for your garage is the cure or dry time. For epoxy paints, you can normally walk on them after 48 hours, but you should normally wait for 72 hours before driving on them or placing something heavy on the newly painted surface. For 2-part epoxies, you will probably need to add an additional 24 hours in both cases. Make sure to read the directions on hardening times to make sure you do not ruin your project.
What Types of Garage Floor Epoxy are There?
As mentioned before, there are two types of garage floor coatings that are available: epoxy paint and 2-part epoxy coating. There is a lot of online discussion regarding the use of latex paint, epoxy paint, and epoxy coating and which one you should choose for your garage floor. Minimally you will want to go with one form of epoxy or another. Simply using paint, while less expensive, will cost you more in the long run as you will be sacrificing your garage floor’s protection, appearance, and overall durability. The epoxy additive strengthens the product material and helps it resist chipping away.
Epoxy paint is a paint base with an epoxy additive. This product has numerous color options and is generally an easy project to DIY. This product is simple to apply and provides good durability and lasting protection. Make sure to first assess what you plan to do in your garage. If you use heavy machinery, or you know you will need additional durability, consider the 2-part epoxy coating as it will better withstand the abuse. In most cases, the basic epoxy paint will be the most viable option as the customization of colors and textures with the paint chips is a very cost-effective project with quick benefits and visible progress.
2-Part Epoxy Coating
As you guessed, 2-part epoxy is made up of two major component products. The first being the epoxy resin and the second being the polyamine hardener. Word of warning – do not mix the two-component products until you are completely ready for application. Once combined, you have a limited amount of time to work with the mixture since the curing process will start immediately. The 2-part epoxy coating is by far the most durable and protective.
Using a 2-part epoxy will give you several options to consider when determining the garage look. You will not have as many “out-of-the-box” color options that are pre-mixed, but you will have more options as a whole since there are different sheens, colors, and additives that can be mixed into the resin before combining the component products. You might have to use a professional to obtain the final product that you are going for depending on what you determine.
The major thing that sets epoxy coating apart from epoxy paint is that the reaction between the epoxy resin and the polyamine hardener is that rather than the product simply drying, the mixture cures and creates a cross-linking bond. This causes the mixture to become extremely hard and guard against scuffing, abrasions, chemical spills, and stains.
Using a 2-part epoxy is the better between your floor coating options if you are simply looking for performance and durability. Determine the usage of your garage to see if this is the best option for you to consider. You will need to keep in mind that this is normally a much more expensive endeavor because of the cost of the product. If you end up needing to tag in a professional the cost can increase exponentially.
What Are Their Benefits?
There are several benefits to using epoxy paint. This type of product is cost-effective and is easy to apply. You are given several out-of-the-box options for the base color and paint chips sprinkled on while it dries and gives several potential desired looks while also increasing the epoxy paints durability. If you are not a fan of the paint chip colors that come with the readably purchasable kits, it is very inexpensive to purchase another color option from Amazon, click here to view some of your options.
2-Part Epoxy Coating
Using a 2-part epoxy has several advantages when it comes to the final product. Customization of colors and looks are extremely versed and can greatly increase the appeal to your garage. The resistance to stains and durability against scuffs and floor damage are unmatched when you are looking at coating options for the garage floor.
Using an epoxy compound is normally a much thicker product. The thicker the product, the harder to damage and the more protection it provides. As discussed earlier, the cross-link bonding that the epoxy resin and the polyamine hardener creates a strong and durable surface.
What are the Drawbacks?
Like any product, there might be some drawbacks that you will need to determine if you are willing to live with. For epoxy paint, the benefits for ease of use and cost are negatively impacted based on overall durability. In many cases, this should not deter people from considering a product like this. Many people simply park their vehicles in their garage and use the space for common projects around the house.
2-Part Epoxy Coating
When considering a 2-part epoxy coating approach, you need to do your research and be aware of a few disadvantages to the product. First, normally an epoxy coating compound is more expensive than its epoxy paint counterpart. Second, there are customization options, but those options might be more costly and difficult to obtain.
Third, in general, the forgiveness of the product is less since the limited time you have for application once the components are mixed. Fourth, the level of expertise to work with the product is usually higher, and lastly, you might have to use a professional to work with the product, which will greatly increase the overall project cost.
General Benefits for Epoxying the Garage Floor
Eliminates Concrete Dust
Concrete, especially new concrete can be very dusty. It is also porous and can trap dirt within its air gaps. Using an epoxy will seal the concrete and will keep the dust down, as well as make it easier to clean so that dust from elsewhere is not tracked into the house.
Concrete is porous and can hold a lot of dirt, oil, grease, and the like. Using an epoxy seals the concrete and you obtain a flat, smooth surface that will keep dust, debris, grime, and the like on the surface of the floor. This will allow for easy cleanup and will be simple to maintain. Pressure washing and scrubbing with soap and a floor broom can clean up nearly anything you get on the floor in no time.
From fluids in your vehicle to oils and polyurethanes from the woodshop to storing paint and whatever your kid stepped in and is now tracking it across your garage floor; having your garage floor epoxied and protected can be a beautiful thing.
Garage Look and Feel
The garage floor is a large portion of your overall garage aesthetics. Using an epoxy coating will allow you to coordinate colors, look, and feel for one’s garage.
Our Pick for the Best Product
Overall the product we decided to recommend in this post was determined by looking at a few specific features. Affordability, customization options, durability, and intent of use. In my specific situation, my wife and I park the cars in the garage, I pull them out onto the driveway when I am working in the garage on any given project, I am a woodworker, so sawdust and the occasional linseed oil dribble is about as bad as it will get for my garage floor.
If the garage floor gets water or something that could cause a stain, the coating will not allow the liquid to permeate the concrete causing me any issues or discoloration. The protection against staining is roughly the same as the 2-part epoxy, and the increased durability was not a critical issue, as my projects don’t require extra protection of that extent.
Because of this the EpoxyShield Garage Floor Coating by Rust-Oleum, is our product of choice. I have used this product on a few occasions, and it has never given me any issues. If the durability of your garage floor coating is the most important determinant in your decision making, this 2-part epoxy product would be my second choice when it comes to your project.
Prep to Epoxy the Garage Floor
If you have determined this is going to be an upcoming project for you and your garage, I would suggest reading our articles on how to properly clean and how to prep your garage floor so that you can epoxy it. Here are the links to those articles: How to Clean a Garage Floor, How to Prep, Seal, and Epoxy Your Garage Floor