What Makes the Best Garage Floor Coating?
Now that is a loaded question. Too often chemical companies make claims that their products or systems are the best for garage floor coatings. It’s not that simple.
The real answer is “it depends”. Does your floor need a lot of repair? Was the concrete surface prepared with a mechanical diamond grinder or a shot-blaster? Did you want a decorative chip or solid color finish? Were you thinking about metallic epoxy?
Our “Best Garage Floor Coating” Recommendation
Here at STRONGHOLD FLOORS, most of the garages we coat receive an epoxy base coat, a full broadcast of decorative chips, and a top coat of polyaspartic urethane. We believe this often makes the best garage floor coating for the following reasons:
- Regardless of vendor claims, our experience (over a decade of operations and more than 7,500 garages) has been that epoxy still makes the best “binder”. Our epoxies do not flash quickly (like most polyaspartic and some polyurea), so they have time to really soak into the pores and scratches created during the surface grinding.
- While metallic epoxy pigments create unique, one-of-a-kind floors, they (just like solid color floors) really show dirt, smudges, scratches, water spots, spill residue, and waviness in the concrete surface itself. Larger decorative chip blends or hybrid blends do a much better job at hiding those issues.
- The polyaspartic coatings available today may be difficult to install. But, done correctly, the aesthetics, scratch resistance, chemical resistance, and overall durability make them ideal for a garage. Granted, they have a very high sheen, but once they have been cleaned numerous times, the high sheen is reduced by cleaner residue and minerals from the water.
- This type of system is thick enough to allow a new topcoat to be applied in the future. Many of the 1-day installed floor coatings use very thin clear coats over the chips. There is not enough build to allow the old clear coats to be mechanically abraded for a new clear coat to properly bond.
- Decorative chip floor coatings offer the best options when fixing damage to a floor. While the repair may still be slightly visible, it will be far less than the other types of coatings we mentioned in item #2.
Don't Get Fooled By the Epoxy Paint Kit Claims
If you are choosing to "Do It Yourself" instead of using a professional coatings company like us, be aware of the crazy claims made by many of the DIY kits sold in big box and paint supply stores.
- "You don't need to do any special preparation to the concrete, just apply the epoxy paint." - What a load of garbage. There is a reason that professional coatings companies always prepare the concrete. It's what allows the coatings to properly bond. Even if you are not planning to drive on the coatings, don't be surprised if that kit from a big box store doesn't hold up.
- "Guaranteed not to peel up under hot tires." - It's funny how the manufacturer or seller of that kit is making a statement they cannot begin to back up. Since they are not in control of the surface preparation, material temperature, floor temperature, product mixing, or product application, there is NO way for them to guarantee anything.
Are there good DIY kits out there? Sure. But, again, it's important that you properly prepare the surface and follow the mixing/application instructions.
If coating a daily use garage, we recommend the same thing we have in our garages – a decorative chip floor. I’m sure that when one of us finally has a “man cave” or car collection garage – we too will consider the other options of coatings.
Want to learn more? Check out 5 Myths about Garage Floor Coatings.
If you're interested in a garage floor coating (or another type of residential coating), request a free quote today!
Mike Mincemoyer is the President & Founder of Stronghold Floors. He has worked with dozens of vendors and chemical systems. While still a franchise owner (prior to 2011), he headed the Franchise Advisory Board for the Flooring Systems and advised the franchisors management with regards to chemical systems, vendors and application techniques.