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Garage Floor Paints & Finishes

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Epoxy for Garage Floors

Liquid floor finishes are easily applied to a garage floor with a simple paint roller or paintbrush, straight from the can, and are the most inexpensive option. They bond to the concrete surface while filling small cracks and open pores, creating a smooth surface that makes sweeping or mopping up less of a chore and finding dropped items less of a challenge.

Concrete sealers are usually clear acrylic or polyurethane. Floor paints may be oil-based, modified acrylic, or water (latex) based. A minimum of two coats is required to ensure coverage, but, because raw concrete is porous and tends to suck up finishes, especially first coats, you may need to buy and apply more.

Single-part Epoxy Floor Paint    Photo: Drylock

Single-part Epoxy Floor Paint Photo: Drylock

Surface finishes on concrete are problematic. They look great at first, but both paints and sealers wear off over time, and they wear unevenly. They also can be very slippery when wet. Sand may be sprinkled onto a wet finish to offset this, but it will wear away before long.

Another big problem with most floor paint is that a car’s hot tires will lift it right off the floor, no matter how well the paint is applied (or what the paint manufacturer claims). Solvents also attack most types of paint, and in a garage much of what is spilled usually contains some type of solvent.

If your garage floor has a water problem-that is, if water seeps up through cracks or mysteriously appears under items left lying around-surface finishes are probably not a good option for you. The hydrostatic pressure that forces underground water up through the floor will also prevent the finish from adhering.

Epoxy for Garage Floors

If you can imagine a paint for your garage floor that bonds like it’s welded to the surface; resists oils, acids, and just about anything else spilled on it; always looks like new and never wears off, you’re probably thinking of epoxy. These finishes have been around for years, but epoxy is notoriously difficult to mix and apply, so in the past you were better off hiring a pro to do it.

Today, there are do-it-yourself epoxy floor finish kits that are much easier to work with, and they offer an affordable alternative to lower-cost floor paints and expensive tiles.

You can buy single-part epoxies, like the one shown here, or two-part epoxies: With the latter, you still have to mix in a catalyst and work quickly to prevent the material from drying before you complete the job, but the process is more forgiving and the results are just as professional looking.

Epoxy floor finish kits include plastic grit particles that are sprinkled onto the wet finish to prevent slipperiness. These particles generally last longer and perform better (and look more attractive) than sand additives. As with paints and sealers, preparation of the concrete floor is all important to ensure a permanent finish.


About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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