Epoxy Garage Floor Paint Epoxy Garage Floor A Do-It-Yourself Story

Epoxy Garage Floor Paint Epoxy Garage Floor A Do-It-Yourself Story

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Epoxy Garage Floor | A Do-It-Yourself Story

If you couldn’t tell from my blog we install epoxy garage floors professionally. All of my buddies know that. My family knows that. Everybody that knows me knows that. But, when somebody wants to install an epoxy garage floor by themselves, do they call me and even ask for any help? No. Why not, I have no idea.

But what they almost invariably end up doing (and I don’t want it to sound like this happens all the time — two or three times only) is calling me once the job has gone south and they need help making their epoxy garage floor covering look as nice as it should. Here is one such story.

Let’s call my buddy Fred, since that is a pretty non- descript name. Fred one day decides he wants to put in an epoxy garage floor. Not only have I been telling him about all the benefits, making your garage floor easier to clean, easier to maintain, provide homemade energy. and overall just look nicer, but I’ve been telling him how we can usually do a job in two days maximum. I guess this talk got him to thinking he’d just do it himself. So he did.

Fred is a pretty thorough guy, so he didn’t just run out there and buy something. But he is cheap, so I think he became scared to even ask me for help when he learned of the approximate $2600 epoxy floor installation price tag Home Depot quoted him. After getting the quote, he priced out some what I call over-the-counter epoxy garage floor coating products, namely Quikrete epoxy garage floor coating. Rustoleum. and Behr. He ended up going with the Quikrete because it came with an accompanying product that degreases. cleans, and etches the concrete (a clean garage floor is very important to effective epoxy floor installation). It ended up costing him about $250 for the epoxy material itself.

After purchasing the product, Fred watched the instructional DVD and read the instructions (very important, although it doesn’t give you the information an experienced epoxy floor professional would have accumulated over the years!). After that, he had to purchase additional tools for the job: 3 pack of 3/8″ premium roller covers; 3″ solvent resistant brush; roller tray, 3 disposable roller trays; goggles, rubber gloves (the epoxy product is actually pretty hazardous to work with — it gets very hot and can burn the skin, eyes, and anything else it comes into contact with); rubber boots; plastic water pail to mix the cleaner/ degreaser in; roller and stick; garden hose; sweep broom; angled broom; thin stiff bristled broom; a buddy to help apply the epoxy garage floor product and spread the flakes; and a NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) mask to keep him safe from the fumes. I’m not sure what all of this cost him, but I’d bet it’s at least another $200 bucks.

So far, he’s spent $450 bucks, give or take, and he hasn’t even started yet.

Once he did get started, it was on a Saturday, in the morning. He began, as I’ve described in previous posts, with the most crucial part of the project — cleaning and degreasing the garage floor. This is extremely important because you want the epoxy garage paint to bond with the concrete of the garage floor. If grease or dirt is on the floor, this will not happen. Fred used a cleaning product that came with the Quikrete epoxy floor product, and finished the entire process in about 4 1/2 hours.

Once he was satisfied the floor was clean, he began the epoxy floor paint process, which includes mixing the solvents to form the epoxy, applying them to the garage floor, and waiting for the epoxy to bond to the concrete (in very simple terms). When he started applying the product he immediately noticed that it was absorbing a lot more than he thought, and that it was setting up much faster than he thought it would, so he had to really hurry his effort to apply the product. Each can of epoxy paint took approximately two hours to mix and apply, so for his job it was about 6 hours of work.

Once finished he immediately noticed a bunch of alternating flat and glossy areas. In case you were wondering, it doesn’t look good. So he tried to put some more product on the floor to match the area — it didn’t work. What he thinks happened is that he used two different batches of mix in one area, and they weren’t exactly alike (we make sure our epoxy garage floors match all the way across — that’s the point, isn’t it?)

To remedy the situation he called quikrete. who was nice enough to give him a refund for what he purchased. He used that money to buy more epoxy floor paint product and do the whole process over again (another 10 hours). At that point I think he was satisfied enough with the look to leave it be (although he mentioned it didn’t look as good as some of the professional jobs he’d seen).

All in all not a disaster, but certainly a hassle and a pain. And let’s review what actually happened here — supplies cost $450, at least 20 hours was spent on installing the epoxy garage floor, not to mention the time and hassle of talking with quikrete customer service, Lowe’s customer service (to get the return and get the new product), the time to actually go pick up the new product, and then not knowing if it was going to be okay after that. That is a lot to deal with.

To put it another way, here I am, an epoxy garage floor professional. among other things (including general contract work). But you know what, when I have a plumbing problem or a problem with my car, I don’t try to fix it myself, even though I could probably get it done. If I gave it a shot I might be able to save a little money, but I’d have to give up a lot of time and the possibility that I wouldn’t do it right and would either have to eventually call someone to help or start all over. For me, my time is worth more to me than that, and I like knowing that if a job is messed up by someone I hire to do it, they have to fix it at no extra cost to me.

So the next time you are thinking about do-it-yourself epoxy garage floor installation. at least explore hiring a professional. It is safer, you are guaranteed to receive a great looking product, and you get to save the time and hassle of trying to do it yourself.


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