Discussion in 'DIY (Do-It-Yourself)' started by Chilipepper, Mar 13, 2008.
Can anyone give me assistance on finishing/having a garage floor finished in my home.
Our house was 3 years old when we moved in. Garage floor was in decent shape so we did it ourselves. It's a small 2 car garage and we picked up 2 packages of the floor kits at Home Despot. It's now been down for 3 years and has 2 cars sitting on it ... still looks great. The key is the prep work, we used the citrus cleaner package that came with the kit and purchased some additional concrete cleaner as well. Once that was done, we flushed out the cleaner and used a squeegee to scrap out the excess. After it dried, run your hand over the concrete, if you get dust on your fingers it's not flushed well enough. The waiting for it to dry in Florida humidity was a bit tedious but given enough time it worked fine. We did one side one weekend and the other side the next. Wait another week before you put cars on it and you're done.
You need to know if you have a sealed concrete garage floor. If it's at all shiny or reflective, it's sealed. Sealed is good if you're not going to refinish (keeps concrete from kicking up dust and absorbing stains), but if you do, it's bad. If it's not shiny, it may have been sealed and lost some of its luster (while retaining the ability to reject any finish laid down on top), so check by a method such as taping down a one-square-foot piece of clear plastic and seeing if, a day later, vapor has formed under the porous concrete, indicating it's probably not sealed. If so, then you can refinish yourself after doing a very thorough cleaning.
Otherwise you'll need to remove the surface of the concrete and that's an exotic machine that typically shot blasts the concrete to pull up the sealer and any dirt, grease, etcetera. That's probably a job you'd want to contract out and at that point you may as well have them lay down the epoxy or other finish. There are also ceramic garage tiles you can put down, or interlocking plastic flooring pieces. Do the job well and the 100% wool carpet you put down indoors will look cheap by comparison. Then once your garage is a showcase, you'll be thinking about matching cabinets for the well ... and a garden shed for the stuff you no longer want in the garage. The $30 gallon can of epoxy you envisioned acquiriing can become a $30,000 project.
As a ballpark number, you might pay as little as $500 for a one car garage to $3,000 for a double-bay garage including all the prep work.
I think we have confused two different items.
In general all concrete is sealed after finishing to aid in the curing process. This is generally a sprayed on chemical agent that helps to keep the concrete from drying too fast as it cures eliminating issues such as micro cracking, etc. Controlling the cure time makes for a stronger finished product.
For some general info see: http://www.seichemical.com/products/GCC-31S.html
This process will not generally affect the adhesion of an epoxy floor unless the floor preparation process does not remove all remaining traces of the agent.
Now what will affect the adhesion of the epoxy to the floor is water vapor wicking through the concrete from the ground below. To prevent this moisture from permeating the slab contractors will place a vapor barrier (plastic sheeting ~6 mils) on the bottom of the prepared area before the concrete is poured.
For some general info see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vapor_barrier
To test if your concrete has a vapor barrier a 1' x 1' plastic sheet duct taped around its perimeter will work just fine. Leave this on the floor for 72 hours and then check the underside of the plastic for moisture. If moisture is found then a professional floor coating contractor may need to be consulted to recommend a different coating material, etc. (The official ASTM test requires the area under the plastic to be checked using a dew-point hygrometer but I don' think most folks have access to this type of equipment)
Don't let all of this scare you. Almost all new construction will have vapor barriers underneath "indoor" concrete. Older homes are generally where the concern about moisture comes into play.
Finally, preparation is really the key to a great final product. If you read and follow all of the manufacturers instructions to the 'T' your epoxy floor will last for years and years.
Matt (Facilities Engineer by day....)
Ceramic Tile and Plastic Floor Pieces
There was some ceramic tile and plastic floor pieces mentioned above. How much would these items cost and where would i get them if i wanted to go this route?
Thanks for the help. I am in the process of researching do-it-yourself products and
installers. Keep the suggestions coming!
One more suggestion.
Look at the UCoat-It line of products. They offer a very comprehensive kit for the DIY enthusiast and seem to offer a very high quality product.
When I bought my house "new", the concrete garage floor was "virgin". No cars had been parked on it. However, the builder had used it plenty for tool and building material storage during the last part of construction.
I scrubbed it good with water, soap, and hosed it out real good. Then I washed it with Muriatic acid, rinsed it well, and let it dry for a few days. Then I applied 2 coats of a battleship grey concrete floor paint and let it dry for a week or so.
It amazes me, but 24 years later, the floor is still holding up. The only place where the concrete is starting to show through is where the 4 wheels of each car tend to sit. The paint has not peeled at all... Its just worn through.
I do want to repaint it, but haven't figured out the proper procedure for cleaning it prior to painting it again. I'd prefer not to have to remove the old pait... Its really stuck down. But I am concerned that new paint may not adhere properly to the old.
I would recommend a product by Rust Oleum called Epoxy Shield. I have done about 6 garage floors with this product and I like it a lot. The key is in the prep work. If you have oily spots on the floor, you will HAVE to get those out! There are lots of detergents out there. I would recommend using the citric acid wash that comes with the kit. If you have oily spots, use a degreaser called Xylene. It is not oil-based and it dries completely. Make sure and clean the floor thoroughly. And if you are planning on doing an epoxy floor, make sure and put down the abrasive while the coating is still wet. You will thank yourself the first time you step out onto the wet floor. Without the abrasive, you will surely fall and bust your ass! Good luck. PM me if you have any specific questions.
The new paint will more than likely not stick to the old paint. Stripping off the old paint will be a bear and short of the typically available paint strippers I do not know what to recommend.
When we refinish floors in our manufacturing plant we use a large shot blast machine to strip off any old coatings and get back to virgin concrete. This is also done on new floors (to a lesser degree for obvious reasons) to prep the floor for coating.
Maybe you could rent a portable sand blaster but it would make one hell of a mess.
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