How to Prep Your Garage Floor For Epoxy

Nine out of ten times an epoxy floor coating fails because of poor surface preparation. Proper prep is crucial to ensure that the chemicals in the epoxy can create permanent chemical bonds with the concrete.


Start with removing vehicles, boxes and furniture from the garage floor. Then clean the entire garage floor with a degreaser, being sure to get into all corners and seams.


Clean the Concrete

Whether you’re preparing your garage floor for epoxy yourself or have hired a company to do it for you, the first step is cleaning and rinsing the concrete. This ensures that any cleaning agents, dust, soap, or dirt is washed away before you move on to roughing the surface. It also helps to ensure that the concrete is completely dry before you apply any coatings. If it isn’t, the epoxy could crack or peel later.


The next step is a deep cleaning, which you can do either by acid etching or grinding. Both processes are effective, but acid etching is the cheaper option since it doesn’t require expensive machinery. Either way, make sure that you remove anything you don’t want to get covered in dust and that you cover any items on shelves or walls with plastic sheets to protect them from dust.


You should also take this opportunity to inspect the concrete floor for any sunken areas or settlement. These should be lifted with concrete leveling before applying the epoxy, and it’s a good idea to do so even if you’re not planning on changing the floors anytime soon.

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Moisture wreaks havoc on epoxy flooring, and you don’t want to start your new installation off with a failure. Before you apply the epoxy, check for moisture by putting down a piece of plastic and observing if there’s any condensation on it or if the underside of the plastic has a dark spot.


Acid Etch the Concrete

Your garage floor must be free of dust, dirt, grime and oils in order for epoxy resin to properly bond with it. Oils, dirt and dust create a barrier that prevents the chemicals in epoxy from making permanent chemical bonds with the concrete surface.


To remove these contaminants, etching the concrete is essential. This can be accomplished in one of two ways; either by grinding the surface or by applying an acid etching solution. Both methods result in a slightly rougher floor, which is better for epoxy adhesion.


When using an acid etching product, follow the manufacturer’s directions to properly mix the solution. Then, use a hose to wet the floor and apply it evenly across the area. It is important that the entire surface of the concrete be wet — not just where you plan to apply the etching solution. Once applied, the acid will begin to bubble. Wait until the bubbles stop to know that the floor is etched and ready for application of your epoxy coating.


After the etching is complete, rinse the concrete with a hose and clean up all of the rinse water with a broom or squeegee. Be sure to suck up any remaining rinse water with a shop vacuum to ensure it is not contaminated by the acids you used.

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Primer the Concrete

floor epoxy primer will provide a bonding surface that ensures your next coating, such as an epoxy garage floor coating or PU cast concrete floor, adheres well. This helps to reduce the consumption of your epoxy floor coating and improves its durability. It also minimizes moisture vapor emissions.


Moisture vapor can cause your epoxy to degrade or not cure properly. A primer designed to reduce moisture vapor emissions will help prevent this from occurring.


There are many different types of concrete primers to choose from, but it is important that you select one that is suitable for your project and that it meets the requirements for your environment. For example, if you are working in an area that will be exposed to various chemicals, it is important to use a chemical resistant epoxy primer.


Once your floor primer is mixed, it needs to be applied to the surface that you will be coating. Depending on the type of primer you are using, this can be done with a roller, brush, or sprayer. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when applying the primer.


Prep the Walls

Proper concrete surface preparation is one of the most important aspects of obtaining long lasting epoxy adhesion to the garage floor. If there are oils, dirt, stains, or dust on the surface of the concrete, epoxy will not be able to create a permanent chemical bond with the underlying concrete.


Use a degreaser to clean the walls of your garage before applying an epoxy coating. Follow the directions on the degreaser formula you purchased for best results. Make sure your garage is well ventilated throughout this step to avoid any fumes from the chemicals.

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Once the concrete is ready for epoxy, you can apply a coat of primer. It is recommended that you use a moisture seal epoxy primer. Moisture seal is formulated to penetrate deep into the concrete, allowing it to form a strong, long-lasting bond with the floor. Mix the material according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For best results, a drill and paddle mixer are recommended, but a paint stick may be used as well.


After the primer has been thoroughly mixed, you can begin applying the epoxy on the garage floor. It is recommended that you work in 10 by 10-foot sections to prevent any over-application. During the application process, keep the garage area well-ventilated to avoid any fumes or over-application. Once the epoxy is completely cured, you can move your cars into the garage and enjoy your newly coated floor.

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