Garage Floors - More than just a place to park.
Let's talk about your garage. Do you park in it? Is it a catch-all for your extra household items that you can't store inside? Is it a "man cave" area or work space?
Most garages in our area have cracks and oil in or on the surface. Maybe you have been thinking about sprucing up the floor. You MAY have even looked at those garage floor kits they sell at the big box stores and thought "that looks easy, I can do that". I'm going to give you the lowdown on those kits and why they may not be such a bargain after all.
Most of these kits contain similar products:
*A cleaning/etching solution for floor prep
*Two part epoxy base coat
* Color chips
* Top coat (on some systems)
Let's start at the beginning with why I don't love these kits. Rarely do they address the kind of prep work that is actually needed to give you a good floor. Just like any other project, proper prep is essential to an amazing finished product. Do you refinish a piece of furniture, cabinets or a car by just washing it with a cleaner before resurfacing? No? That's basically the instructions given in the box. They suggest you power wash and use the citric acid "etching" solution to clean.
Oil stains are not going to come out by power washing. What needs to happen is mechanical grinding of the concrete. If there is a lot of oil, it may need to be burned out or chemically removed. You should never install a "liquid floor" over a contaminated surface.
Cracks should be filled. Sometimes you have to make the cracks bigger (a procedure called "crack chasing") to widen them enough to fill them. Cracks that are not filled can (and usually will) come back through your finished surface. We use a mixture of 2 part epoxy and sand to fill cracks. Once the epoxy has hardened, we grind off the top surface to make sure it is level with the floor.
They also fail to stress the importance of a moisture test and/or application of a moisture barrier. Epoxy doesn't love moisture. It really, really doesn't. Not even enough to be considered a "frenemy"
Once these steps are completed, the power washing begins. This is not a gentle spray with a garden hose. Squeaky clean is what you are going for. Once clean, the floor has to be completely dry before proceeding.
Now let's talk about their epoxy bond/base coat. Most of them are around 50% solids by volume. Think about this for a minute. If they are 50% soli