Saturday, March 22, 2008
Part 1 – Safety and Preparation
This is the first of a three part series with the first part focusing on garage floors that have never been epoxied; the second part will be focusing on garage floors that already have an old epoxy finish. Many do-it-yourself folks shy away from finishing their own garage floor in fear it may not get done right since traditional painting guidelines do not apply. Normal paint is not used an epoxy paint must be used, this requires mixing since it is two part is mixing, and if not applyed exactly in the time frame stated on the label the floor will peel or bubble. However, this is not rocket science and I assure you anyone CAN complete this type of project confidently and professionally by following just a few simple but important concepts.
Bleach or driveway cleaner
Concrete etcher (if needed)
Concrete/mortar-repair compound or concrete patch
Pressure washer (optional)
Goggles or other eye protection
Respirator (with an organic vapor/acid gas filter)
Protective rubber gloves
We will begin with safety. Because the project will involve using products (epoxy paint - solvent based, etctching compound - muratic acid) that can produce harmful fumes (VOC) and have caustic properties, it is important to make sure you wear protective gloves, goggles and long pants or painter’s coveralls. Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s directions on all of the product labels you are using. Also, make sure the garage is well ventilated. Adhering to all safety procedures is a very important component to completing the surface of any garage floor.
For the project we will be using an epoxy paint which will require the air and floor surfaces to be between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This will enable the epoxy paint to adhere correctly. Before beginning sweep and clean the garage floor thoroughly using a stiff bristle brush and a 3 to 1 water-to-bleach mixture or commercial driveway cleaner. Once that has been completed you may use a pressure washer to rinse the garage floor, working from the back to the front. Allow 24 to 48 hours to dry.
You must perform a moisture test to make sure the floor is dry. This is done by taking a 2 foot by 2 foot plastic square and placing it on the garage floor taping all the edges down. Let this sit for 24 to 48 hours before taking it up. What you are looking for when you remove the square is any moisture that may appear on the side that was touching the garage floor.
With the confirmation that the floor is dry, now is the time to repair any cracks using a mortar/cement - repair compound, following the manufacturer’s directions. Next, you may need to etch the floor by applying a commercial concrete etcher. This step may be skipped if upon sprinkling a very tiny amount of water on the concrete and it absorbs right away. Should the water bead at the surface or take a while to absorb, you will need to etch the garage floor with commercial etching compound. this will enable the epoxy paint to absorb down into the concrete for solid adhearence and bonding. “Fizzing” when the etcher has been applied will indicate that it is working. The garage floor is now ready to have an epoxy paint applied to the surface.
By Jeremy Berger