Coating Concrete Garage Floors
Garage floors may be the most abused surface in a home. They are driven on constantly. Few people think twice about dropping things on them or dragging heavy objects across them. They can be stained with car grease, oil, paint or food. Many times, they were never sealed when first installed and therefore have absorbed all these stains over the years. They are gray, drab and bored.
Isn’t it time to consider the feelings of your garage floor? Simply by adding a new coating you can revitalize your entire garage, adding durability, function and color to your garage. If you are thinking about reorganizing, painting or redoing your garage, make sure you do not neglect the concrete flooring. A new surface can give a whole new dimension to the area.
Before you get started, think about how you use or would like to use your garage. Is it purely a functional space, or would you like to be able to use it for entertaining on occasion, even if just in case of rain when you are having a party. Do you actually park cars there or have you dedicated the space to a workshop? You may use it as a play area for your kids or simply the final resting place for their old toys.
How you use the space impacts the type of concrete coating you will need. If it is simply a storage area, a layer of paint with a built-in sealant may do the trick. For more frequently used and abused floors, a more durable coating is in order.
If your concrete floor is fairly new, it may not require much more than a sweep and a hosing off before applying a sealant. If it is older, you will most likely have to do some work to get the area ready. Clean the entire area with a cleaning solution made for concrete and a pressure washer. An acid wash may be required for particularly soiled floors, but this must be neutralized with an ammonia solution afterwards.
Attempt to get rid of any stains such as rust, grease or oil stains. They may require scrubbing and special cleaners. Stains that are still wet or oil stains may be able to be removed by applying an absorbent product, such as sawdust or cat litter, leaving for a few days, and then sweeping it away.
Once the floor is clean, look for any cracks. Smaller cracks can generally be filled with an epoxy or cement paste. Larger cracks may require attention by a concrete contractor to ensure that there is no related structural damage. If your floor is prone to moisture buildup, consider applying a vapor barrier as well.
Concrete floor installation
For the best results, a concrete garage floor should be coated with a three step sealing process, including a sealer, a base coat and a top coat. The primer ensures that the other layers will properly adhere with the cement. The primer should be applied evenly in a thin layer using a roller, following the instructions on the product. Allow to dry, and then apply the base coat. This can be an epoxy or urethane product that will seal the surface and provide additional durability.
If you are looking for a decorative surface using colored flakes in the sealant, broadcast them evenly across the floor while the base coat is still wet. The amount used depends on the look that you want – fewer color flakes will show more of the base coat, and vice versa. Sweep away any loose flakes, scrape the entire floor using a metal scraper to get rid of any partially adhered flakes, and then sweep again.
Apply the final coat to seal the floor. You may choose to use an aggregate in the final coating to provide slip resistance. The final coat can be another layer of your base coat, though a polyurethane coating is recommended in most situations. Consider the various options, including recommendations for your locality, when choosing what types of sealants are best suited for your project.