How to Paint a Garage Floor
Are you ready to update the look of your garage? Noticing some wear and tear that a fresh, protective coat could help to prevent? Whatever your reasons are, painting your garage floor is a simple DIY task that can be a fun weekend project.
There are, however, a number of steps you’ll want to take to ensure that the project is a successful one. From pre-cleaning to the application, here’s what you need to know about garage floor paint.
The Damage Done
Your garage can quickly become stained with oil, grease, and rust from the cars or objects you place inside of it. Salt in the winter and mud in the summer can also take their toll on your concrete floor. You might find some simple stains in a best-case scenario situation, but you might face cracks and cervices in others.
Regardless of the damage your floors have received, a fresh coat of garage floor paint and a little elbow grease can make it look like new. You will need to choose between the ever popular latex paint, one-part epoxy, and two-part epoxy before you begin. There are also a number of tools to help you get the job done right.
Tools of the Trade
Before getting started, make sure you have the following items handy. Each is necessary for proper preparation and application of your garage floor paint.
A Quick Warning
Make sure to read all of the instructions on the products you buy carefully, paying extra attention to surface preparation and temperature points. If the floor isn’t prepared correctly or the room is too hot, your primer and coating won’t bond properly. High humidity can also ruin your DIY project, so watch out for these complicating factors.
Step One: Inspection
After removing everything from the room as a preliminary step, your first task is to examine the condition of the floor. What you’re looking for are any cracks or holes that could ruin your application or worsen in the future.
If you happen to find a few, don’t sweat. You can pick up a concrete patch product and brush to quickly fill these in. All you have to do is apply it according to the direction, let it dry, and this step is done.
Step Two: Proper Cleaning
Start this step by going around to any apparent blobs of oil or grease and wiping them off with a rag. This will ensure that no compounds interfere with your masonry cleaner. You should also take a broom and clean off any dirt or debris on the floor’s surface.
Next, you want to pour your masonry cleaner and etcher into a plastic pump sprayer. Go ahead and cover your garage floor with the product, making sure not to miss any spots. Make sure to let your mixture sit for about ten to twenty minutes.
Using a broom or brush with stiff bristles, start scrubbing the floor to help that masonry cleaner do its job. Don’t let the surface dry during this part of the cleaning process. If you need to reapply the cleaner, go ahead. Also, you might need to hit tough stains more than once.
Once you’re done scrubbing away, give your garage floor a thorough rinse with your garden hose. It helps to use a high-pressure nozzle, which can really blast anything the cleaner pulled up away. A pressure washer works even better, but it isn’t necessary.
Now you’ll need to dry the floor. You can speed up this process with a mop or squeegee, pushing the water out through your garage door or into a drain. You’ll still have to let the area dry, though.
Make sure to check for moisture before proceeding any further. You can do this by taping a 2’ x 2’ piece of plastic to the floor and leaving it to sit for twelve to twenty-four hours. If any condensation or water droplets form, then you’ll need to wait longer or apply a vapor barrier if the source is coming from underneath.
This is especially important when using epoxy paint. Any moisture in the floor could lift your coating straight off the floor, ruining your DIY project.
Step Three: Preparations
This is the easiest step on the list. All you need to do is apply painter’s tape to the perimeter of the floor. That way, you won’t have to worry about accidentally getting anything on your walls.
Step Four: Priming
Before applying the garage floor paint, it’s highly recommended that you use a bonding primer. This adds durability and an extra layer of protection to your floor. You can apply the primer the same way you would a coat of paint.
Mix up the primer in its bucket, then trace the area around your floor to give you ample space between the walls. Next, take a fresh roller and start applying from the back wall to the front of your garage. Once the floor is covered, it will need approximately eight hours to dry.
Step Five: The First Coat
After a good night’s rest, it’s time to apply your garage floor paint! Take your first bucket of paint and thin it out with a little water. You’ll need to do this for each bucket that will create your first coat since it helps the paint absorb into the concrete and bonding primer.
You’ll want to start in the same place you did the day before, using a brush to create an edge then working from the back to the front. Skip the roller and use a wide, fat brush for this first coat to help you work the paint into the floor. Once you’re finished, allow the paint to dry before adding the second coat.
Step Six: The Second Coat
Once again, you want to create your edge around the wall and work from the back to the front. This time, however, feel free to use a roller and paint tray to get the job done faster. If you want, you could work from one side to the other at this point depending on the layout of your garage to make using the roller easier.
Since this is the top layer, it’s important to make sure the coat is even. Working in four-foot by two-foot sections is an excellent way to make sure the finished look is uniform. Don’t be afraid to smooth things out when needed and go over any lackluster or light spots if you have to.
Once the process is finished, you’ll need to let the paint dry again. It’s recommended that you wait a full day before walking on the surface and an entire week before parking your vehicle inside. This helps to ensure the coating forms a shield of protection for your floor.
Tips and Tricks
If you’re interested in a non-skid surface, then you might want to apply some sand into the final coat while it is wet. This will help add grip to the surface that the soles of your shoes can grab onto. Alternatively, you could add an anti-slip additive to both coats.
Do you use your garage as a workspace? If so, you’ll want to consider a lighter color of paint for the coat. This helps to reflect light, so you can always see what you’re doing while tinkering away.
When shopping for epoxy, paint, and primer, it might seem like a great idea to stay as frugal as possible. While there’s nothing wrong with that, keep in mind that the more expensive professional quality products are more durable and last longer.
If you want the highest quality epoxy out there, avoid the commercially sold DIY kits. These are excellent for an economical solution, but they do not offer the same performance and durability that professional products do.
Even when doing a DIY project, it never hurts to ask someone at your local hardware store what kind of products they recommend for your area. Different primers and paints are designed for different weather conditions, so a professional opinion is always in your best interest to avoid a disaster.
Painting Your Garage Floor
Depending on the work that needs to be done, your DIY project can take as little as a weekend or as long as a week. However, the finished product is well worth the effort.