5 Myths about Garage Floor Coatings
These are the top 5 myths I’ve heard over the past 10 years working in a garage floor coatings business. Some of them are propagated by Do-It-Yourself sites, others just by word-of-mouth. Here goes…
Myth #1 – Professional Garage Floor Coatings are VERY expensive!
Well, if you call some of the shadier garage makeover businesses in our service area, you will get quoted a very expensive price. Some of our customers got quotes from our competitors who wanted to charge $8 - $12 per square foot to coat their garage floor. That’s almost criminal.
A professionally installed, epoxy/Polyaspartic decorative chip floor coating needs not cost any more than $6 per square foot for a two car garage with good condition concrete. Our warrantied, easy to clean decorative chip floors are even less than that. I admit it’s not cheap. But neither was that SUV that will look better on a beautiful (well done) garage floor coating.
And, don’t get fooled by the # of layers some other companies talk up, the math doesn’t always add up (see Garage Coatings Math: When 3 is Greater Than 5).
Myth #2 – All garage floor coatings are the same, so just buy a kit at the big box stores.
Wow, that’s a doozy. A professional, garage floor coating is so much more than a garage epoxy kit, that we have wrote several blogs about this:
- 5 Criteria to Consider Before Going All DIY With Concrete Floor Coatings
- What Makes a Professional Garage Floor Coating Last?
- New eBook: How to Evaluate Garage Floor Coatings
Given all the information in those three prior blogs, I’ll ask that you read those to get more on this myth.
Now, I’m not saying all epoxy garage floor kits are bad. All the kits you buy at a big box, hardware store or paint store are bad. There are some decent kits that can be purchased on the web, but they will still be inferior to a professionally applied, epoxy and/or polyaspartic garage floor coating.
Myth #3 - Epoxy is just a fancy word for paint; you can just paint your garage floor.
Well, if this myth is true, than we can compare everything as “Apples to Watermelons”! In the most general sense, epoxy is paint (since paint is considered to be any liquid that, after a thin film application to a surface, converts to a solid film. But, all paint is most definitely NOT an epoxy.
Epoxy is a cured end product of epoxy resins and special hardeners. A wall or floor paint may got out at 2 mils or less (and dry to less than 1 mil dry film thickness). In contrast, our typical garage epoxies and polyaspartics go out (and dry) to 8 ~ 12 mils per layer. Thickness aside, our epoxies, urethanes and polyaspartics are far superior in bond strength, chemical resistance, UV resistance and abrasion resistance. They are also more flexible than “paint”.
Myth #4 – Just clean the garage floor and then, it’s ready to be coated in epoxy.
We wish it was that easy. To ensure an epoxy (or other polymer) is going to bond well, the concrete floor surface needs to be prepared to a concrete surface profile of 2 or better. This removes loose cement paste, removes surface contaminants, opens the pores of the concrete and imparts a rough surface to promote adhesion.
While acid etching will suffice for a DIY kit, it should not be used by a profession coating company. Depending upon the surface conditions and the coatings to be applied, the garage floor surface should be mechanically diamond ground or lightly shot-blasted. Since most garage floor coatings are applied at less than 125 mils (1/8”) thickness, diamond grinding is usually the preferred method.
Our Baltimore and Mechanicsburg crews utilize planetary diamond grinders from HTC and SASE to grind every square foot of the garage floor to “white”. Without the proper prep, we would not provide the industry leading warranties to our garage floor coating customers.
Myth #5 – You must redo the garage floor coating every 1-3 years to keep it looking good.
This myth may have some truth to it, but only if 1) the coatings are from a big box store’s garage epoxy kit, 2) the surface was not prepared properly or 3) the installers did not properly apply the industry grade, professional coatings.
As we celebrate our 10th year, we have had only a miniscule amount of customers require any assistance with their garage floor coatings. Applying a new top coat to existing garage floor coatings has not become part of our business yet, as most homeowners will get between 10 and 20 years of service from our original coatings. The most common issues we see with long term customers is that they have allowed films of road grime and ice melts to accumulate on the coatings, which makes the garage floor finish look dull.
For anyone experiencing that issue, please check out our blog on maintaining your garage coatings (Epoxy Floor Coatings: 12 Tips for Use and Care of Your Coatings).
The picture to the right is my garage floor. This decorative chip, epoxy/polyurethane floor was installed in July, 2004. It’s only repairs were made necessary when I accidentally turned my tractor’s snow blade on the floor instead of lifting the blade.
If you have questions about garage floor coatings and are in our service area, give us a call. We would be happy to help.
Mike Mincemoyer is the President & Business Development Manager of Stronghold Floors of the MidAtlantic (locations in Baltimore, MD and Mechanicsburg, PA). He is also the President & Founder of Stronghold Floors International. To date, his locations have completed over 6,000 garage floors in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.