Painting and Sealing Garage Floors
If you’re not happy with the look of your current garage floor, you might want to consider adding a coat of paint. Paint can dress up even the dullest and oldest looking floors. However, painting and sealing garage floors isn’t the same as painting other surfaces. For one, a garage is subject to a lot more abuse and traffic than a typical floor. It also must be able to withstand dirt and even grease, something an interior is unlikely to see. Follow these steps for painting floor surfaces in the garage.
Step 1: Clean the Floor
When painting and sealing garage floors you want to be working with a completely clean surface – something that could be a major challenge in a garage. It’s exponentially harder if you tend to have lots of grease or oil on the floor surface. You can purchase cleaners designed specifically for these surfaces or you can create your own using three parts water to one part bleach. Just make sure you protect your hands and have proper ventilation in the garage while cleaning.
Step 2: Repair the Floor
After the floor dries, you’re going to need to do some crack repair. You can purchase patches and fillers for concrete or mortar (depending on what your garage floor is made from) at your local home improvement store. Follow the directions to apply the material to the floor. Make sure you let it set before you move onto the next step.
Step 3: Etch the Floor
When you are painting concrete, you have to open the pores in the material or else the paint will not set properly. Etching will allow that to happen, but it’s not always necessary. If you put a little water on the floor, watch how quickly it is absorbed into the floor. Fast absorption typically means that no etching is required. Otherwise, you’ll need to purchase a commercial etching product and apply it to the floor.
Step 4: Add the Primer
After the etching is finished and the floor is dried according to the instructions on the etching product, you need to add a coat of primer to the floor. Using a long-handled roller brush makes the application easy. Make sure you apply the coat evenly since this will be the base for the epoxy paint. Let it dry for at least eight hours.
Step 5: Paint the Floor
Remember that you’re going to need special garage floor paint for this surface. Painting and sealing garage floors can’t be done with simple interior or exterior paint. These are going to be epoxy paints and should be labeled appropriately. You’ll also want to use only nylon brushes. Begin painting just as you would any other surface now that it’s been properly prepared and you are using the appropriate products. You do not want to apply more than two coats.
Paint and Surface Options: There are many different materials that can be used to coat a garage floor, not to mention the various additives and specialty products. We’ll summarize a few of the more common types.
- Epoxy Paint
Epoxy is one of the more widely used floor coverings. It dries hard and provides a very durable surface and will bond well to concrete that has been properly prepared. Epoxy is good for indoor use as it tends to yellow with sunlight. If your garage gets direct sunlight keep this in mind as it may lead to uneven color fading.
Polyurethane is excellent coating materials as they resist UV from sunlight and are excellent at resisting chemicals, dirt, and grease. This is a very durable high-gloss product that leaves a professional look and feel. The downside to this surface material is that the concrete must first be prepped with an epoxy primer to sufficiently bond to the concrete.
- Latex Paint
Acrylic latex paint is a solid solution that is easy to apply and can yield fast results. With some products, you can walk on the floor in 4 hours and park on it in 72 hours after application.
- Concrete Stains
Concrete that is acid stained can create a very unique finish and is available in multiple colors. What’s cool about acid stain is you can make the garage floor look like stone, leather or even wood. Concrete stains bond with the concrete and take on the unique texture and color of the concrete. The downside is that stains typically require a protective acrylic seal coat which typically requires a protective waxing one or more times per year.
Step 6: Let the Floor Dry
Once you’ve finished painting the floors, you need to make sure it dries completely. Normally, you’ll need to wait about a full day before you can safely walk on the recently painted surface. However, you have to wait at least one week before you drive your car on the painted surface. Each material is different and following the manufacturer’s instructions is key to making sure your finish is perfect.
Periodically, you’re going to have to touch up the paint in the garage. That’s because the floor is definitely a heavily trafficked area. You’ll need to make these touch-ups yearly or else you’ll have to repeat the entire process in just a couple of years.